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UK delegation leader renews warning on stability in Darfur

September 28 - 2018 LONDON
Parliament in London, UK (file photo)
Parliament in London, UK (file photo)

Parliamentarians from the United Kingdom renewed their warning that “the rapid withdrawal of Unamid, without a clear plan, puts stability and security in Darfur at risk”. Their 4-day visit to Darfur and Khartoum was concluded on September 20.

The delegation of UK parliamentarians travelled to Sudan from September 16 to September 20. The group spent 3 days in Khartoum and one day in Darfur. They met with government officials, parliamentarians, and civil society activists in Khartoum, as well as UN officials, local government representatives and displaced people in Darfur.

Following the visit in Darfur yesterday, the parliamentarians said instability and insecurity have remained in Darfur despite the decrease of the conflict. Earlier the delegation released a statement saying that any further reductions to the African Union and United Nations’ Mission in Darfur (Unamid) “should reflect real improvements on the ground”

In a press statement yesterday by the leader of the delegation, MP David Drew said that they “visited Darfur and warned that the rapid withdrawal of Unamid, without a clear plan, puts stability and security in Darfur at risk. It’s vital that the UN maintains a strong presence to provide security for humanitarian organisations, to ensure the Rule of Law and Human Rights are respected, and to help those communities displaced by conflict rebuild.”

Human rights defenders told the delegation about the challenges they face living under this government, and independent Sudanese businesses informed the parliamentarians about the ongoing impact of the United States’ economic sanctions. Recently the US State Department rated Sudan on its counter-terrorism activities and lifted certain sanctions.

The delegation spoke to migrants travelling through Sudan from across Africa, “who are at risk of exploitation by a cruel human trafficking industry, and met with Internally Displaced People in Darfur who were still afraid to return to the homes they fled over a decade ago”.

Drew: “We raised human rights concerns directly with the Government of Sudan, urging them to cease the arbitrary arrest and detention of civil society activists. We called on Ministers to respect the rights of women, safeguard Freedom of Religion or Belief for all minorities, and respect their democratic constitution which guarantees rights for all Sudanese people and acts as a vital check on executive power.”

He said that it was “great to renew [the UK and Sudan] relationship and reiterate our commitment to peace and prosperity for the Sudanese people” and said the delegation will continue its work to promote peace, social justice and human rights in Sudan.

Omar Al Bashir

President Omar Al Bashir met with the delegation on Wednesday September 19. According to the president, the situation in the states of Darfur is stable. “The incidents that occur from time to time is something normal in all countries, especially in the countries emerging from conflicts.”

Al Bashir said that the problem of Darfur is not currently a security issue, rather, the concerns are the resettlement of displaced people and refugees. The Association of Displaced People and Refugees contradicted the president’s statements. “These include peace, disarming of the militias, their expulsion from the villages they have occupied, and prosecution of the perpetrators of crimes in Darfur.”

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