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Sudan PM pledges transitional justice to Darfur displaced

November 5 - 2019 EL FASHER
Zamzam camp, February 2015 (Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)
Zamzam camp, February 2015 (Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)

According to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who visited Zamzam and Abu Shouk camps for the displaced in North Darfur on Monday, refugees and displaced people should take part in Sudan’s peace-building process. He vowed to achieve transitional justice in the war-torn region.

The residents of the two camps that are among the largest in Darfur, pointed to the need to tackle the roots of the problems in Darfur in order to achieve “a just and lasting peace”. They further asked the government to allow humanitarian organisations to return as soon as possible to provide services to the people living in the camps.

At both camps, Hamdok pledged to achieve transitional justice. This is “a priority and a basic requirement”. The new government will exert all efforts to meet the demands of the displaced, and added that “every criminal and corrupt person” will be prosecuted.

At Abu Shouk camp, north-east of El Fasher, the PM told representatives of the camp and the nearby El Salam camp that peace negotiations were previously held in closed rooms without taking into account the visions and ideas of the displaced and refugees.

His government however is determined to include the views of the displaced and refugees, “the most vulnerable groups affected by the country's wars”, on how to achieve a sustainable peace.

“The government will not rest until the displaced and refugees have voluntarily returned to their homes or have resettled in a place of their choice in a safe and stable environment,” he stated.

Justice

The omda of Abu Shouk camp stressed that all perpetrators of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Darfur, including former President Omar Al Bashir, should be brought before the International Criminal Court for justice.

In his speech to Hamdok, he demanded the dissolution of all militias “without procrastination” and to re-establish “regular national forces that owe allegiance to all parts of the homeland”.

The implementation of these demands represents the first step of reconciliation between the victims of the war in Darfur and the government, he said.

“The government will not rest until the displaced and refugees have voluntarily returned to their homes or have resettled in a place of their choice in a safe and stable environment.” - PM Abdallah Hamdok

The omda further urged individual and collective compensation for the displaced, “similar to the compensation for those affected by the building of the Kajbar dam under the previous government”, and reconstruction of the war-affected areas “with standard specifications suitable for human life, such as what happened in Rwanda and South Africa”.

He also called for giving priority to the issue of land rights, in particular of the hawakeer (lands traditionally used by a particular tribal group) and its use to be in accordance with customs and traditions, in addition to expulsion of foreign settlers now living on the lands of displaced people.

Insecurity

At Zamzam camp, 15 km south of El Fasher, women representative Fatima Abdelrahman raised the still rampant insecurity in the area to the prime minister.

She stressed that in spite of the change that happened after ousting of the government of ousted Omar Al Bashir, killings and rapes continue in Darfur.

"At least 37 displaced people were shot dead and 67 houses torched inside the camp this year. The perpetrators have not been held accountable until today," she said.

Abdelrahman therefore called on the Prime Minister “to take decisive decisions concerning the ongoing violence in Darfur, hold the perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice”.

Other community leaders living in Zamzam camp pointed to the importance of achieving “a just and comprehensive peace”. They emphasised the need for security and stability in the region, in particular in the agricultural areas.

"At least 37 displaced people were shot dead and 67 houses torched inside the camp this year. The perpetrators have not been held accountable until today." - Darfur woman leader

They further explained to the lack of security and soaring prices, 80 percent of the displaced children do not finish school, and demanded free classes for their children “at all educational levels”.

Others called for the return of international organisations to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced in the camps. 

Foreign settlers

Displaced in Darfur, in particular in the area east of Jebel Marra (Tawila locality in North Darfur), have repeatedly complained about foreigners settling in their areas of origin during the past years.

In March, Radio Dabanga reported that the Sudanese authorities allegedly converted large tracts of agricultural lands to housing areas in Kabkabiya, North Darfur, and handed them to people from Niger and Mali.

Villagers reported to this station from North Darfur’s Tawila in June 2015 that thousands of newcomers took plots in areas deserted by the displaced. The newcomers were identified as members of Sudanese Arab militias and migrants from Chad, Mali and Niger, bringing their livestock with them. Members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces protected the new inhabitants, the sources said.


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