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Unamid spokesperson resigns from her post in Darfur

April 23 - 2013 KHARTOUM

Aicha Elbasri, spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid), announced on Tuesday she has resigned from her post eight months after her appointment.

"I resigned from my post because I wasn't receiving the support I needed in terms of access to information in a timely manner, including the accurate and up-to-date information the media was asking for", Elbasri told Radio Dabanga.

Since the former Unamid spokesperson was appointed on 22 August 2012, violations have sharply increased in Darfur, in line with testimonies from different sources.

Reports about lootings, killings, bombings, raping and other human rights abuses in Darfur were frequent, along with complaints about Unamid failing to realize its mandate to protect displaced persons and its own troops, according to a camp’s leader who spoke on Tuesday to Radio Dabanga.  

At the same time, serious violations against civilians have occurred in East Jebel Marra and in other areas, which Unamid could not properly assess due to access restrictions imposed against the mission, as local citizens informed.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Khartoum, a journalist noted that relations between the local media and Unamid had improved after Elbasri’s arrival.

“Before Elbasri, Unamid did not release press statements in Arabic, only in English, which made our work to write news about Darfur even harder”, he was quoted as saying.

Nevertheless, he also noted that having more information about Darfur has raised more questions among journalists about the situation on the ground, but Unamid did not make enough information available to them.

Ms. Elbasri, Ph.D., is a published author and former contributor to several newspapers and magazines in the region. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

Read below Unamid’s press release from the time of Elbasri’s arrival:

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, August 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Please be informed that the new Spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ms. Aicha Elbasri, a Moroccan national, has arrived. This is her second posting in the Sudan, where she served as the Communications Manager for the United Nations Development Programme between 2005 and 2009. Before joining UNAMID, Ms. Elbasri was the Head of Publications of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (2010-2012). The UNAMID Spokesperson also served as a Press Officer at the News and Media Division of the Department of Public Information at the UN Headquarters in New York (2002-2005) and a Verbatim Reporter in 2000, the year she joined in the U.N.

File photo: Aicha Elbasri, former Unamid spokesperson

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