The authorities in Saraf Omra locality in North Darfur have threatened to forcibly deport the population of two camps for the displaced if they do not register for the Darfur referendum.
If the more than 37,000 displaced living in the Jebel and Dankoj camps do not register for the referendum, they will be expelled, Sheikh Abdelrazig Yousef Suleiman, Coordinator of the Saraf Omra camps told Radio Dabanga.
The Sudanese president announced in October last year that the referendum on the permanent administrative status of the region will take place on 11-13 April. People currently residing in Darfur will be able to determine whether the region will continue as five states or return to one administrative unit.
Darfuris living in the camps for the displaced, Sudanese opposition parties, and civil society activists have expressed their grave concerns about holding an administrative referendum while the situation in the conflict-torn region is far from secure, and hundreds of thousands of people are surviving in camps.
“If the people are deported from the camps, they have no choice but to take refuge in government buildings.”
“The 2011 Doha Document [for Peace in Darfur] prioritises the restoration of the security situation, through the implementation of the security arrangements and the disarmament of the non-military in the region. Yet, the disarmament has never taken place,” a Darfuri human rights lawyer told Radio Dabanga in October.
The Governors of four Darfur states said last week that the registration rate has reached 80 percent. In the latest census, in 2008, the population of Darfur was estimated at 7.5 million.
“After the displaced categorically rejected the referendum, locality commissioner Bilal Hammad threatened to deport them,” the Saraf Omra camps coordinator said.
He stressed that “this threat will not break the will of the displaced to stick to their demands of security and compensation before anything else.
“If the people are deported from the camps, they have no choice but to take refuge in government buildings,” he added, referring to the incidents in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, on 10 January, when fleeing villagers took shelter in state buildings.