Darfur displaced to attend Nyala conference: their views
Different representatives of displaced persons in Darfur confirmed they will attend the Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees to be held in Nyala, South Darfur next week.
The summit and its results, that include the issue of voluntary return, will be discussed in upcoming Donors Conference in Doha.
UNAMID and the Voluntary Return and Resettlement Commission of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) expect that over 1,000 participants will attend the summit next Monday and Tuesday.
They include displaced and refugees in Darfur and in Chad, civil society groups, government officials, non-governmental organizations.
"Absence will not serve purpose"
The native administration and Ahmed Ateem Douabi, head omda of the Abu Shouk camp in North Darfur, said they decided to participate in the conference because the absence of displaced persons would not serve “any purpose”.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga Douabi warned that people pretending to be displaced from Darfur may also attend the Nyala summit, and if the real displaced do not participate, then their concerns would not be heard.
“Want want to be able to voice our opinions”, the omda said.
Douabi, who is also chairman of Umads (“omdas”), added he will be accompanied by nine residents from camp Abu Shouk, seven from El Salam and 13 from Zamzam. All of whom, he said, will be representing different groups.
Sheikh Daoud Arbab Yunis, head of the Higher Committee for displaced of West Darfur, also confirmed his presence and strongly stressed the importance that all participants are able to freely express their opinions in the summit.
The sheikh recalled that during a conference in El Fasher last year, also in connection with the Doha peace talks, he spoke very “frankly” about problems faced by the displaced. As a result, he was “interrogated” by the security services upon returning to El Geneina.
Yunis said other sheikhs experienced the same problem and asked how he could be sure this would not happen again, when speaking to Radio Dabanga.
Despite attending the talks, the sheikh believes the Doha Document has become simply “ink on a paper and does not exist on the ground” due to the shortage in tangible results.
Instead, he added, the opposite happened: the security situation has “completely" deteriorated and thousands more people were recently displaced in the presence of the government and regional authorities.
He disclosed that 50 representatives of West Darfur camps were invited to attend the Nyala conference and he is not sure how many of them will actually go.
“Our demands during the conference are security, disarmament of militias, the expulsion of settlers and the enforcement of rule of law”, Yunis said on behalf of the displaced.
“Security and economic conditions”
Hussein Abu Sharati, spokesman for the association of displaced persons and refugees of Darfur, told Radio Dabanga he intended to gather representatives of all camps prior to the conference to discuss their demands.
Holding the meeting was eventually proved not possible because bad security and economic conditions prevented many displaced from traveling and taking part in the talks.
Abu Sharati believes that displaced and refugees are currently divided in four different groups in relation to the Nyala conference: participate, decline, neutral and attend for personal reasons.
He attributed the differing positions among the displaced to the central government that is “exploiting the suffering of the people and dividing them".
The spokesman admitted he will not take part in the summit “because this is not the time for a conference”.
It is time that authorities stop the killings, rapes, lootings, plundering and extortions that take place in Darfur and in camps on a daily basis, he said.
Abu Sharati noted that addressing the roots of the problems in Darfur is the first step to solve the crisis. He said that attempts to solve the conflict should not happen through conferences, because Khartoum is the only beneficiary in the end, not the displaced.
“First stop the crimes, then we talk about voluntary return”, he added.
Radio Dabanga file photo
Displaced, refugees largely reject Nyala conference in S Darfur (22 March 2013)
Controversy ahead of government-led Darfur conference (9 July 2012)
Back to overview