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Darfur displaced question value of ‘model villages'

October 24 - 2013 DARFUR

The displaced inhabitants of Central Darfur camps have affirmed their determination not to return to their villages, unless a “just and comprehensive peace” is achieved. They strongly reject the new policy of establishing “model villages”.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, the Coordinator of the North Darfur camps, Omda Ahmed Ateem, commented that security is by far the main priority to achieve stability, not the creation of model villages. “Accountability of those involved in the most serious crimes in Darfur, those who have killed and displaced the people of Darfur is the main condition for achieving stability.”

Ateem stressed the displaced Darfuris’ “complete rejection of these resettlement steps: It is not the time for model villages, as long as displacements are ongoing and new displacements are taking place in East and West Jebel Marra and other regions in to Darfur. Bloodshed is still continuing with complete impunity.”

The Coordinator does not believe in the concept of model villages: “Although the Abuja and Doha Peace Agreements include the establishment of model villages, the idea is pursued for personal interests and gains only.”

Central Darfur

The Coordinator of the Central Darfur camps for the displaced told Radio Dabanga that “any talk about model villages is regarded as another crime against the people of Darfur. The displaced and refugees question the value of such projects planned for their return, when there is no safety, food, water or health care”.

He explained that the resettlement plans are “schemed by the ruling National Congress Party, or better said, their security forces.” "These plans are in fact preparations to dismantle the camps by refraining from providing the residents with services like food, drinking water and health care.”

The Coordinator added that resettlement can only be phased after the achievement of peace and security. “When the displaced are able to inhale the air of a safe life and feel that they are dignified human beings, only then planning and development can be started.”

He stressed that the solution lies in “ousting the National Congress Party regime, bringing those indicted to the International Criminal Court, and stopping the ongoing forced displacements, killings, rapes, and other atrocities against the displaced and civilians in Darfur.”

The Coordinator of the Central Darfur camps added that he has sent a message to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, saying that “some of the memos we send via Unamid may not reach you. Even though the UN-AU mission is doing nothing on the ground, we demand that it should be strengthened with a strong mandate.”

He also called on UN agencies and organisations working in Darfur to “activate their humanitarian aid and address the problem of food shortages, in order to save the people of Darfur from famine.”

Association of Displaced

The Association of Displaced Persons and Refugees similarly rejects the “random resettlements.” Hussein Abu Sharati, the Spokesman of the Association, told Radio Dabanga that the problem does not lie in resettlement, planning of the camps, or in the establishment of model villages. “The problem is the protection of the displaced and the refugees while the Janjaweed militias have not yet been disarmed.”

Sharati noted that “the security violations, in particular in Darfur, and in Sudan at large, show that the Sudanese government does not exist on the ground, since it is unable to protect its citizens, its state institutions or relief organisations.”

"The displaced are daily subjected to militia assaults, including murder, beatings, rape, and looting. Without restoration of security, there will be no development, voluntary return or model villages. None of this can be realised until a comprehensive peace agreement resolves the whole problem of Sudan, including Darfur. Peace cannot be realised by a partial solution. And peace in Darfur cannot be realised without the disarmament of the militias.”

Governor

The Governor of Central Darfur state, Mohamed Musa Ahmed, told the newspaper Sudan Vision in September, that the state “is witnessing major voluntary returns of displaced people during the agricultural season, stating that the voluntary return commission provided them with free seeds.”

According to Radi Ali Amin, Voluntary Return Commissioner, also quoted in Sudan Vision, about 14,000 displaced, constituting 60 percent of the total number of displaced in Central Darfur, had left the camps, heading for the agricultural areas to start with cultivation. “The stability of the security situation contributed directly to the success of the agricultural season.” He added that no breaches or assaults on citizens were reported.

Amin announced the construction of 11 fully-equipped model villages in various localities of Central Darfur to receive the displaced. 50 percent of these villages, funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and the Arabic League, was completed, he said, and displaced have begun to settle around them, “a matter which indicates a tremendous voluntary return in Central Darfur after the considerable stability witnessed in the area.”

File photo by Albert González Farran/Unamid

Related:

Militiamen impose ‘protection fees’ on Central Darfur farmers (22 October 2013)

Militia 'siege' of Mukjar in Central Darfur delays harvest (22 October 2013)

Displaced ‘reject Central Darfur model villages’: Sheikh (4 July 2013)

 


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