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Darfur displaced call for US Envoy to visit camps

August 26 - 2015 DARFUR
US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth (ruv.is)
US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth (ruv.is)

The Darfur displaced welcome the visit of Donald Booth, US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, but stressed the importance that he visit the camps.

Yesterday, the US envoy arrived at Khartoum for talks with Sudanese officials on bilateral relations.

The Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association also called on the US envoy to pay a visit to the camps in Darfur, and “directly listen to their complaints”.

The Association’s spokesman, Hussein Abu Sharati, told Radio Dabanga that they have prepared “a package of urgent demands” concerning humanitarian aid and health and education services. “But most of all we need a secure situation, stability, and a lasting peace”.

Saleh Eisa, the secretary general of Kalma camp in South Darfur, one of the largest camps for the displaced in the region, urged Booth to “exert pressure on the Sudanese government in support of the efforts to achieve peace in a way that enables the displaced and refugees to safely return to their villages”.

The coordinator of the North Darfur camps, Omda Ahmed Ateem, said he hopes that the visit will help to achieve progress to the people of Darfur. He also stressed the importance of a secure situation, and demanded the arrest of “all those indicted by the International Criminal Court, including President Al Bashir and his former Minister of Defence Abdelrahim Hussein”, and the return of the expelled relief organisations.

“We need the US envoy to pressure the government and the rebel movements to extend the two-month ceasefire, offered by President Al Bashir last week, to 12 months, during which they should enter a genuine dialogue that will lead to a comprehensive peace that ends the suffering of the displaced in Sudan.”

Ceasefire to be extended’

According to the coordinator of the Sirba camps in West Darfur, the US envoy should “hear first-hand about the situation instead of relying on reports provided by the government”.

He told Radio Dabanga that the displaced desperately await the end of the war, and demand the disarmament of the Janjaweed militias and the expulsion of the strangers who occupied villages abandoned by the displaced.

“We need the US envoy to pressure the government and the rebel movements to extend the two-month ceasefire, offered by President Al Bashir last week, to 12 months, during which they should enter a genuine dialogue that will lead to a comprehensive peace that ends the suffering of the displaced in Sudan.”

Addressing the 61st anniversary celebration of the Sudan Armed Forces on Tuesday, the acting Minister of Defence, Mustafa El Obeid announced that the two-month unilateral ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, announced by Al Bashir last Thursday was put in effect on Monday.

Food gap

The camp coordinator added that a food gap is looming in the region as a result of the scarcity of rain this year and the expulsion of relief organisations during the past years, and expressed his hope that the US envoy will exert efforts for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the displaced and other affected people in Darfur.

A sheikh of Zamzam camp, North Darfur, pointed to the reduction of food rations, the spread of diseases, the deterioration of education services, and the donors’ reduction of financial support to relief organisations. “Yet, the biggest problem is the immunity criminals enjoy in the country.”

Leaders at the eastern Chad refugee camps also welcomed the visit of the US envoy to Sudan. One of them reported to Radio Dabanga that the Darfuri refugees are living in “extremely poor humanitarian circumstances” owing to the reduction of food rations.

“The dire humanitarian situation has forced most of the refugees to attempt to cultivate plots near the camps, despite the difficulties encountered hereby because we are living in a foreign country.”


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