The Darfur displaced have expressed their reservations about the one-day assessment visit of a delegation of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to North Darfur on Friday.
Ahmed Ateem, coordinator of the North Darfur camps, called on the delegation members not to restrict their meetings to government officials, but to also visit the camps.
He told Radio Dabanga however that most displaced regard the visit as “a public relations activity in favour of the government.
“The Sudanese government has invited the AU delegation and set the stage for misleading reports by officials that do not reflect the reality of most of the people in Darfur. This visit may well be a forebode of new violent actions against the Darfuris.”
Ateem said that previous visits by AU representatives nor the presence of the UN-AU joint Mission in Darfur (Unamid) have achieved any of their goals to help and protect the people of Darfur.
According to the camp coordinator, the international organisations were expelled since 2009 to prevent reports about the real situation in Darfur, “while Unamid is carrying out Khartoum's policies, and hides most of the facts in its reports.”
He described the current living conditions in the western region as extremely bad “on all levels. Clean drinking water, food, health and education facilities, and public surveillance systems to curb the rampant criminality are almost non-existent.”
“The situation deteriorated rapidly again after the expulsion of aid organisations in 2009 and the ongoing attacks on the people by government militias and other gunmen, “despite the presence of what is called a government.”
Abu Sharati called on the AU Council delegation to request Unamid to present them the “real facts” about the current situation.
He demanded from the UN Security Council to implement its Resolution 1706 by setting up “a powerful mechanism to protect the people in Darfur”.
The coordinator of the Central Darfur camps for the displaced underlined Ateem's words. He urged the AUPSC to be “neutral” in its assessment of the situation in Darfur. “If they really want to retrieve the facts, they should also visit camps that “are not controlled by the government”.
The Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association welcomed the visit, though spokesman Hussein Abu Sharati wonders how the delegation members can assess the situation on the ground in one day.
“If they really want to get a clear picture about the situation, they have to extend their visit and talk with the displaced in all the camps, and not only with government officials in Khartoum and El Fasher and some people in a government-controlled camp in North Darfur.”