'Dismantling Darfur's camps is a crime': Sudan Democracy First
The Sudanese government is determined to dismantle the camps for people who have been displaced by conflict in Darfur and to push out the Unamid, in order to create a cover for further crimes against Darfuris, according to the Sudan Democracy First Group. 'Khartoum wants to prove the existence of a phantom peace in Darfur.'
In an article published today, the Sudan Democracy First (SDFG) activists said that the recent statements from Sudan's second vice-president Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman and a couple of visits to various areas in Darfur confirm that the government wants to implement the plan of dismantling camps soon.
'Through dismantling the camps, the government and the ruling NCP will be able to impose their political agenda on the IDPs [internally displaced people] and use this new reality as a leverage in negotiations with the political armed movements,' SDFG writes.
Last month, Abdelrahman said that Khartoum intends to end the displacement in Darfur before 2017, by resettling the people who now live in camps or by the voluntary return of displaced people to their home areas. Displaced people in camps around Darfur have repeatedly rejected the plans, and demand security in their areas of origin and compensation for their losses during their displacement first.
“Second VP Abdelrahman's deadline of 50 days for the voluntary returns of displaced people to their home areas reveals a rush to dismantle the camps, prior to the Darfur States referendum.”
The activists add in reports of Darfuris who returned to their homes but suffered from attacks or robberies by militias and militant new settlers in the areas.
According to Democracy First, 'The Government is engaged in vehement diplomatic and public propaganda to deceive national and international actors that the war in the region has come to an end. Such political claims, coupled with attacks on IDPs and IDP camps and the attempts to force the exit of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) mission, are intended to create a smokescreen for the current intensive Government’s campaign of violence and control.'
But just 'as in 2014, 2015 witnessed a steady increase of violence in Darfur […]. 2015 also witnessed the continuation of [Rapid Support Forces] violations and government air strikes on civilian villages in Darfur,' says SDFG.
The group points out that the government takes advantage of a 'Darfur Fatigue' -the declining international and regional attention for the nearly 13-year-old conflict- by repeatedly announcing that the region enjoys stability. But the ongoing violence against civilians, such as the deadly attacks in the capital of West Darfur on Sunday and Monday, challenged these statements.
“2015 is the year of the silent war in Darfur.”
In October last year, President Omar Al Bashir declared the intention of his government to hold a referendum on the administrative status of the Darfur States in April this year, one of the requirements of the Doha Peace Agreement of 2011. However, 'it is not in the ruling party’s best interest to allow the referendum to take place in conditions which would reflect the real will of the Darfuri people and contribute to achieving a just peace and stability in the region.
'The current plan to dismantle the IDP camps and forcibly relocate IDPs has the objective therefore of altering the demographic composition of the region in a way that allows manipulation of the results of the referendum,' claims Democracy First. VP Abdelrahman's deadline of 50 days for the voluntary returns 'reveals a rush to dismantle the camps prior to the referendum'.
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