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Posts Tagged ‘Ban Ki-moon’

“South Sudan faces large displacement and protection crisis”– UN expert calls for dialogue to halt violence

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013


GENEVA, Switzerland, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ “South Sudan will face a large displacement and protection crisis, if the situation is not managed with restraint or if political dialogue does not take place,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, warned today.

“I am deeply concerned about this violent upsurge, and the targeting of civilians, and call on all those involved to cease hostilities immediately,” Mr. Beyani said, adding his voice to those of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

More than 34,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought shelter in UN compounds in Juba, Bor and Bentiu due to the violence that broke out in South Sudan’s capital earlier this week. “The real scale of the internal displacement remains unclear at this stage as violence has started to spread across the country,” the expert said.

“This is primarily a political crisis that is spreading into an increasingly ethnicized conflict across South Sudan,” he said. Initial reports indicate several hundreds have died with many more injured. “Ethnically targeted violence is already reported and could escalate unrest across the rest of the world’s youngest nation,” Mr. Beyani noted.

Clashes in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, began on Sunday, 15 December 2013, allegedly triggered by either a mutiny or an attempted coup. The President’s dismissal of the former Vice President in July 2013 along with the entire Cabinet had already intensified political frictions along ethnic lines.

The war-torn capital of Jonglei, Bor, is now reported to be under the control of troops defected from South Sudan’s Liberation Army (SPLA). “This is likely to exacerbate the already volatile situation and displacement in Jonglei,” the expert noted.

The Special Rapporteur, who recently undertook an official mission* to look into the situation of internally displaced persons in South Sudan, welcomed the initiative of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to begin political dialogue in South Sudan.

 

SOURCE

United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

 

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UN’s Amina Mohammed in a meeting with Erna Solberg of Norway

Posted by African Press International on December 14, 2013

Amina Mohammed og Erna Solberg

Amina Mohammed og Erna Solberg. Foto: Statsministerens kontor

The Norwegian Prime Minister today met Amina Mohammed, special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon responsible for UN development goals by 2015.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, is the leader of the Secretary General advocate group to meet the MDGs with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

– This work is an important starting point when new development for the years after 2015 shall be designed and was a key topic of conversation, the Prime Minister said.

– Education for all, especially girls’ right to education, is another important issue. This is a high priority in the government’s development policies, as well as the MDGs and to work with the new development targets for the years after 2015, said Solberg.

Amina Mohammed has broad international experience in the work on the MDGs, women’s education and development., including experience having worked for Nigeria‘s president and the Gates Foundation.

 

end

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UN SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NIGER, 6 NOVEMBER

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

NEW YORK, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Niamey, from Mali early in the morning of Wednesday, 6 November. This was the second leg of a four-country joint visit to the Sahel region with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim; the Commissioner for Development of the European Union, Andris Piebalgs; and the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka.

That morning, the delegation had a meeting with the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, and inspected the Guard of Honour. They then held a larger meeting with the President, the Prime Minister, Brigi Raffini, as well as members of the Cabinet. Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary-General said that the delegation was in Niger and the region to show its solidarity and to coordinate its actions with the countries of the Sahel. The Secretary-General also underlined Niger’s contribution to peacekeeping, including in Mali, and noted the assistance given by the country to the thousands of Malian refugees in Niger during the presidential elections. S

After briefly speaking to reporters in a joint press briefing, the Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank answered a “Call for Action” for improvements in women’s reproductive health and girls’ education by President Issoufou. The Secretary-General said that throughout his visit to the Sahel, he was calling on leaders to listen to girls and women, to hear their needs and concerns and give women a voice in decision-making. He also asked men to speak out for gender equality. (See Press Release SG/SM/15445.)

 

After attending a State lunch hosted by the Government, the Secretary-General met in the afternoon with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hama Amadou, and then addressed a plenary session of the National Assembly. He told the Parliamentarians that the United Nations was in the country to help Niger in its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and underlined Niger’s role in addressing the challenges of the Sahel. He also offered his condolences to the families of the migrants who died in the Sahara a few days before, saying we must bring their traffickers to justice and address the problems that pushed them to leave.

The Secretary-General left Niamey, Niger, for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the third leg of his trip to the Sahel, in the early evening of 6 November.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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SECRETARY-GENERAL IN BURKINA FASO, 6-7 NOVEMBER

Posted by African Press International on November 14, 2013

NEW YORK, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from Niger, on Wednesday evening, 6 November. This was the third leg of a four-country joint visit of the Sahel region with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim; the Commissioner for Development of the European Union, Andris Piebalgs; and the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka.

Shortly after his arrival, he attended a state dinner at the Presidential Palace hosted by the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré.

The following day, Thursday, 7 November, the Secretary-General held a joint meeting with the Prime Minister, Beyon Luc Adolphe Tiao, and members of his Cabinet. The Secretary-General said that he was encouraged to see that the region was coming together to solve its problems. He underlined three of the current United Nations priorities: accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015; defining sustainable development goals for after 2015; and having a legally biding agreement on climate change. (See Press Release SG/SM/15451.)

The Secretary-General then held a meeting with President Compaoré in which they discussed, amongst other subjects, Burkina Faso’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as regional efforts to address the serious security, humanitarian and development challenges facing the Sahel.

Before departing Ouagadougou, the Secretary-General held a press briefing. He said Burkina Faso was an active player in the Sahel region and underlined its role in forging solutions to the many challenges facing the Sahel and West Africa. He said it was essential to work together to find solutions to the problems of the Sahel.

The Secretary-General left Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, for N’Djamena, Chad, at midday on 7 November.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Africa tour

Posted by African Press International on November 14, 2013

NEW YORK, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in N’Djamena, Chad, from Burkina Faso, in the afternoon of Thursday, 7 November. This was the last leg of a four-country joint visit of the Sahel region with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim; the Commissioner for Development of the European Union, Andris Piebalgs; and the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka. Before arriving in Chad, the delegation had visited Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Early that evening, the Secretary-General had a meeting with the President of Chad, Idriss Déby Itno. At the beginning of the meeting, he congratulated Chad on its election to the Security Council and also thanked the country for its contribution to peacekeeping. He noted Chad’s role in regional stability and said that the United Nations was determined to assist the region and strengthen coordination at all levels. He added that this joint visit to the Sahel by five institutions symbolized their commitment. (See Press Release SG/SM/15455.)

Following that meeting, the Secretary-General spoke to reporters, telling them that challenges in the region did not respect borders and solutions should not either. He said progress had already been made in many areas and noted he was leaving Chad and the Sahel with hope and optimism.

Before departing, the Secretary-General attended a state dinner hosted by the President.

Having completed his four-country joint visit to the Sahel, the Secretary-General left N’Djamena late on 7 November to return to New York.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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ACTION NEEDED TO PULL CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC OUT OF CRISIS

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

NEW YORK, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the meeting of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic, as prepared for delivery by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Bangui on 8 November:

I thank the African Union and the Mediator of the Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic crisis, His Excellency President Sassou Nguesso, for inviting the United Nations to participate in the third meeting of this International Contact Group. I thank the Government of the Central African Republic for hosting this first meeting of the Group in Bangui.

We meet at a moment of real urgency for the people of the Central African Republic. They are suffering. They are vulnerable. Their security, dignity and future must be foremost in the discussions today and in the actions that must be taken as soon as possible to pull the country out of this dire crisis.

All too often in the past, the Central African Republic has been described as a forgotten crisis. But, today more is being done to sound the alarm and mobilize a response. Since the last meeting of the International Contact Group in July, there has been increased awareness about the situation and the plight of its people.

The African Union and Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic have strengthened their efforts to support the transitional authorities and agreed to deploy the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic. A high-level meeting on the Central African Republic was organized by the European Union, France and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. And, the Security Council adopted its resolution 2121 on 10 October 2013.

The international community is speaking with one voice. We must now translate awareness and concern into effective action to ensure that the crisis is addressed in all its dimensions — security, political, human rights and humanitarian. We must help stop the suffering and act now, without delay.

There has been some movement on the political track. Most of the transitional institutions and implementation mechanisms are now established. The Government has developed a draft road map for operationalizing the transitional commitments. A key milestone on the horizon will be the holding of free and fair elections within 18 months of the inauguration of the Head of State of the Transition. I encourage the National Transitional Council to adopt the draft road map and promulgate the electoral code as soon as possible. I also encourage the authorities to establish the National Authority for the Elections. The United Nations stands ready, once the National Authority for the Elections is in place, to provide assistance in identifying the technical requirements for the successful organization of elections, defining a more specific calendar and mobilizing resources.

Security remains the most immediate priority and pressing concern. I am profoundly concerned about the rapid deterioration of security and the rule of law in the Central African Republic, particularly in the countryside, and the corresponding deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

Elements of the ex-Séléka coalition have continued to terrorize the population, with rampant looting and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, targeted killings and the recruitment of child soldiers. We have also seen the emergence of local self-defence groups and a cycle of targeted attacks and reprisals with religious underpinnings. This is planting the seeds for a long-lasting conflict between communities that have always co-habited peacefully. We must do everything in our power to de-escalate the religious tensions between Muslim and Christian communities.

I remind the national authorities of their responsibility to ensure respect for human rights, to bring perpetrators to justice and protect all Central Africans from abuse. I call on them to take all necessary measures to restore security and the rule of law and to facilitate humanitarian access. The regroupment and cantonment of former Séléka fighters should take place as soon as possible, in compliance with international standards.

I encourage ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) to help the authorities organize a national conference as soon as possible, as decided by ECCAS leaders at their last Summit. I urge the international community to provide support to MISCA. A Technical Assessment Mission led by my Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations ended its visit yesterday, and I will report to the Security Council shortly.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has earmarked $2.5 million through the Peacebuilding Fund to support the refurbishment of police and gendarmerie stations in Bangui and the interior. Additional support has also been approved in principle by the Peacebuilding Fund to support the regroupment of former Séléka elements.

Finally, let us all recognize that the Central African Republic faces a financial crisis that limits its ability to address the current crisis. While I encourage the international community to help, the level of assistance will depend on the Central African Republic authorities themselves. You must help us to help you. I therefore encourage the Government to make every effort to improve the transparency in the management of the available financial resources.

Excellencies, let me return once again to the urgency of the situation, and the need to act while there is time to prevent any further deterioration. Sparing the people of the Central African Republic more suffering and insecurity must be our collective goal. There is a chance to work together to reverse the downward spiral in the Central African Republic and to set the country on a path toward peace and stability. Time is of the essence. We cannot let the people of the Central African Republic down at this moment of pressing need. Thank you for your attention.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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SUPPORT EFFORTS FOR WELL-COORDINATED SOLUTIONS

Posted by African Press International on November 10, 2013

NEW YORK, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the National Assembly of Niger, in Niamey, 6 November:

It is a distinct privilege to address the Members of the National Assembly of Niger. It is particularly meaningful to do so with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. We are joined by Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development of the European Union, and my Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi.

Together, we are on a journey of solidarity with the people of the Sahel. We are here to listen — and we are here to act.

Our message is simple and clear. It is drawn from many years of experience around the world. Peace is not sustainable without development. Development is not sustainable without peace. The two challenges must go hand in hand. And so, we have come to Niger to join hands with you.

The United Nations is proud to have worked with the people of Niger over the years to forge sustainable solutions. We are teaming up to accelerate progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals — including through the ambitious agricultural transformation plan, the 3N Initiative — Nigeriens Feeding Nigeriens.

We are committed to assisting in your efforts to advance good governance and build effective, trustworthy institutions. We are partnering to support your initiatives to expand opportunities and sustainable livelihoods, particularly for young people. We are resolved to do all we can to open doors for the women and girls of Niger — to quality schools, good jobs, safe communities, decent health care and greater political participation, including here in this parliament.

Earlier today, I was pleased to join President [Mahamadou] Issoufou’s call to action on demographic issues. I am doing my part at the United Nations to empower women. For the first time in history, five UN peacekeeping operations are led by women. I selected a distinguished daughter of Niger, Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, to head our mission in Côte d’Ivoire — one of the largest in the world. She is doing an outstanding job. I am proud of her and I know you are, too.

Niger is contributing to global peace and security in so many other ways. I pay tribute to the almost 2,000 brave Nigerien citizens serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations — from Mali to Haiti, from the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond. I honour the memory of the 19 who lost their lives serving under the UN flag. I also appreciate Niger’s continued assistance to thousands of Malians who have taken refuge in your country.

Throughout the Sahel, we see instability and unrest, more people being displaced, rising food and fuel prices, severe drought and people sacrificing everything to migrate for greater opportunity.

I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those who so tragically perished in the Sahara last week. Even had they survived the desert crossing, we know their journey would have remained treacherous. Their hopes for a better life may have remained simply a mirage.

Our debt to them must be a solemn commitment to prosecute the human smugglers who stole their lives, to address the food crises that plague Niger, to improve conditions in the communities from which they came so that others do not feel compelled to leave, and to create safe opportunities for willing migrants to work abroad. The United Nations is devoted to protecting human rights, and the rights of migrants are of urgent concern to me.

Across these complex and difficult challenges, the people of Niger and the Sahel are teaching the world something very important. You are proving that problems can no longer be confined within borders, and so solutions must also rise above dividing lines — across borders and bureaucracies, across communities and cultures, across politics and parties.

This is our twenty-first century test. We must dig deeper to get at the root causes of conflict. In the Sahel, those roots can be traced to scarcities of water and food, pressures on land, the lack of development and rampant insecurity. We must deal with these issues in a comprehensive way — not merely as isolated, unrelated problems of armed conflict, political instability or economic development.

That is why our United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel is based on identifying crucial connections — and supporting your efforts to drive hard at them with well-coordinated solutions.

As representatives closest to the people of Niger, you are essential to success. You are the crucial link between the local and global. As part of our strategy, we are working to establish a regional platform of parliamentary committees to share experiences, discuss common challenges and define common priorities. We want to help strengthen parliaments and empower all political parties to build a culture of peace across the Sahel. We invite your active engagement.

No country or organization can do it alone. We must work together so that we hear all voices, take in all political views and build peace and stability that lasts. That is the twenty-first century test that Niger and the Sahel are putting forward to the world. Together, let us join forces and pass this test. Together, let us take strength from your great country’s motto: “Fraternité, Travail, Progrès”. Thank you.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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WHEN WOMEN DETERMINE THEIR OWN FUTURE, THEY ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL

Posted by African Press International on November 7, 2013

NEW YORK, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the launch of the call to action on demographic issues in the Sahel region, in Niamey, Niger, 6 November:

Good afternoon. Thank you for coming together today. This call to action on demographic issues is based on sound statistics. But it is not about numbers. It is about people. When we give women the education they deserve, society becomes stronger. When we protect women’s human rights, society becomes more just. And when we allow women to determine their own future, they will advance development for all. Throughout my visit to the Sahel, I am calling on leaders to listen to girls and women. Hear their needs and concerns. Give women a voice in decision-making.

I also have a special message for the men: speak out for gender equality. To benefit from the demographic dividend, we need many concrete steps. We need to invest in young people to unleash their full potential. We need better health care for women and girls. We need to increase access to family planning. We need to raise the marriage age. We need more girls in school. We need to address HIV/AIDS.

These steps are important — but they are not enough. We also need to change mindsets. Women should be able to demand their rights. But I also want men to join this call. Help us create conditions where your daughters, your sisters and your wives have full equality. Help us create a society where women never have to fear violence at the hands of men. Help us create families where mothers and fathers decide together how many children they want to have. The time to do this is now.

I have full confidence that the men of Niger and the Sahel can support the women here, and that together you can open a new future. The United Nations is your dedicated partner as you advance along this path to progress. Thank you.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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The dangers faced by immigrants are many

Posted by African Press International on October 5, 2013

The dangers faced by migrants such as these, near the Italian island of Lampedusa, were highlighted by the deaths on 4 October of more than 100 people when their boat capsized barely a kilometer from the island (file photo)

NEW YORK,  – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development at the UN General Assembly on Thursday by outlining an eight-point agenda to “make migration work” for the world’s 232 million migrants, as well as their countries of origin and destination.

The meeting brings together migration experts and delegates from 150 countries to discuss ways to support the developmental benefits of international migration while reducing its economic and social costs.

Ban described migration as “a fundamental part of our globalized world” and “an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future”. His eight-point agenda included ending the exploitation of migrants, addressing the plight of stranded migrants, improving public perceptions of migrants and protecting their human rights.

The opening of the meeting coincided with news that more than 100 migrants had lost their lives after the boat they were travelling on caught fire and sank just off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. The boat was carrying an estimated 500 passengers, many of them believed to be Eritreans, from Libya. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that 150 migrants had so far been rescued, leaving some 250 of the passengers still missing. Earlier this week, another 13 migrants drowned while trying to reach Sicily. UNHCR estimates that in 2011 alone, 1,500 migrants died trying to reach Europe from Libya.

Ban and several other speakers at the meeting referred to the latest tragedy as further evidence of the need to commit to addressing the challenges arising from migration, particularly as the political climate in many countries remains hostile to migrants.

Research needed

“Too often, migrants live in fear,” Ban told delegates. “We need to create more channels for safe and orderly migration.”

Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at Oxford University, referred to the meeting as “a ray of light… in what is otherwise an extremely cloudy environment for migration and development.”

Goldin cited a World Bank study that found that changes in national migration policies that increase the flow of migrants even minimally bring significant economic benefits to sending and receiving countries, in addition to transforming the lives of individual migrants and their families.

Photo: IOM
Syrian refugees on a flight to Germany

But both Goldin and Ban, in his list of recommendations, highlighted the need to strengthen the evidence-base on the positive benefits of migration as one way to combat the political rhetoric that fuels negative perceptions of migrants.

“Migrants contribute greatly to host societies…They are doctors, nurses and domestic workers and often the unheralded heart of many service industries,” said Ban. “Yet far too often they are viewed negatively. Too many politicians seek electoral advantage by demonizing migrants.”

Fuelling development

Much of the discussion on the first day of the meeting made a case for incorporating migration into whatever new set of goals replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are due to expire in 2015.

One compelling reason why migration matters for development is the estimated US$550 billion that migrants remit to their families back home annually, according to the World Bank. The figure is more than three times higher than global aid budgets but could be larger still if transaction fees, which are often exorbitant, were lowered.

However, at a side meeting devoted to how to incorporate migration into the post-2015 agenda, speakers warned against framing migration and development as a purely economic issue.

“Migrants are not just commodities or conduits for financial remittances,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. “We must look beyond the dollar value of global remittance flows and pay more attention to the conditions in which this money is being earned. Development won’t work where it’s accompanied by inequality, injustice and repression.”

While there is a greater understanding of the role migration plays in contributing to development now than in 2000, when the original MDGs were formulated, several speakers also pointed out that many people still view migration as a threat rather than a boon to development.

“From a political point of view, it’s a very hard sell,” said a delegate from the Bahamas. “What do you do when people feel the economy is being under-cut and their identity swamped?”

The migration community has come late to the debate over the post-2015 development agenda, and there is unlikely to be a stand-alone goal associated with migration. Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration Laura Thompson advocated instead for trying to incorporate migration and the rights of migrants into a series of existing goals. “This would reflect the reality of migration as a cross-cutting issue,” she said.

ks/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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New hope for a lasting solution

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

The international group of donors to Palestine has expressed its strong support for the new round of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians 20 years after the Oslo Accords. “The donors want to contribute, but it is the Palestinian and Israeli leaders who are responsible for ensuring that this opportunity is not lost,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

On 25 September, Mr Eide chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC) in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the meeting, and the parties were represented by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Prime Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“It’s extremely good news that a political process is once again underway. At the same time, we know that reaching a solution will be challenging. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have taken courageous steps. Time is running out for a two-state solution. This is why everyone must help to ensure that the negotiations reach a successful conclusion,” said Mr Eide.

At the meeting, Palestine reported on the status of the peace talks to US Secretary of State John Kerry. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Quartet representative Tony Blair, and numerous ministers from the other donor countries gave their support to the current process.

Steps to ease the closure regime in areas occupied by Israel, Palestinian state-building, private-sector driven economic growth and a political solution to the conflict must be seen as interrelated. The meeting also underlined the importance of making process along all these tracks.

“A peace agreement will be in the fundamental interests of both Israel and Palestine. The donors are prepared to make an extra effort to support the political process. But unless the parties reach agreement this time, the donors will not be able to continue as before. The parties are aware of this fact,” said Mr Eide.

 

End

source mfa.norway

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The Killing of Seven UN Peacekeeping Personnel in Darfur

Posted by African Press International on July 23, 2013

All evidence to date strongly suggests that the armed force responsible for the killing of seven Tanzanian members of the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a Khartoum-allied militia force led by Hamouda Bashir (seventeen peacekeeping personnel were wounded, some very seriously).  Radio Dabanga reports today (July 18, 2013), on the basis of a series of interviews with witnesses on the ground, the following (all emphases have been added; there are a few very small edits for clarity, chiefly punctuation):

[Excerpts]

• The UN says the identity of the armed group that ambushed a UNAMID patrol in South Darfur on Saturday morning “has not yet been established”; however, witnesses have told Radio Dabanga that “UN vehicles” were spotted in the area being driven by members of a known government militia.

• During his daily press briefing in New York on Monday, spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky…said that “the peacekeepers were attacked when they were undertaking a routine confidence-building patrol. The peacekeepers were outnumbered four to one by their attackers who numbered between 100 and 150.  [The attackers] had trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. Nesirky said the “the UN is conducting its own investigations and calls on the Government of Sudan to identify and bring to account those responsible.”

• Various witnesses from South Darfur have reported to Radio Dabanga that “two UN cars were spotted on Saturday being driven by members of the government Central Police Reserve, nicknamed Abu Tira.”

• “The soldiers driving the cars were dressed in uniforms with the distinctive ‘eagle insignia’ on their shoulder,” they said. Apparently, the vehicles had “at least five uniformed members of the Central Police Forces of Sudan on each side of the back.”

• Observers say that the vehicles were driven from Hamada Forest (Khaba Hamada), through the area of Manawashi, across the bridge of Musko (Wadi Abu Hamra) in the direction of Shengil Tobaya. “When they reached Shengil Tobaya, they turned west towards one of militia’s bases in Jebel Afara, just cross the border in North Darfur.” The UN vehicles are now reportedly parked in the fenced base in Jebel Afara. The witnesses also confirmed that “nine Abu Tira vehicles” were at the market of Manawashi early on Saturday early morning to buy food. [The UN reported] that about ten vehicles were involved in the attack on the Tanzanian force—ER]

• “They bought meat before driving off in the direction of the Hamada Forest, a bush area that lies a few kilometres off the main road connection between El Fasher and Nyala.”

• Over the past few days, several people have reported in detail to Radio Dabanga that the local Abu Tira commander, Hamouda Bashir, was recognised.  Bashir is the right-hand man of Ali Kushayb, one of the main commanders of the Abu Tira [and who] has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes.

• The local population of the villages who testify to the presence of Abu Tira on Saturday morning mainly consist of Arab tribes and people from the Birgid, Barno and Tama tribes. They confirmed to Radio Dabanga that no SLA-MM troops were present.

Only several furgan (tent encampments) of traditional nomad camel caravans of the three main Arab tribes of Irigat, Awlad Beni Mansour, and Itifad roam this area.

• UNAMID has confirmed that the ambush occurred about 25 kilometres north/northwest of the Mission’s Khor Abeche base [i.e. a few kilometers off the main Nyala/el-Fasher road (see above)—ER]. “The UNAMID patrol was a relatively small one. It was ambushed by a large group, so we were completely outnumbered. We came under heavy fire from machine guns and possibly from rocket-propelled grenades,” a spokesman told Radio Dabanga. Several UNAMID vehicles, including armoured patrol vehicles and Land Cruisers had to be towed from the scene. The wheels of the patrol vehicles were all blown.

*************

This account comports with previous reports I have received from the region, which have made the same claims about responsibility for the attack.  And yet the story of this outrageous crime is about to disappear into the abyss of UN expediency.  For the simple fact is that neither the UN nor the AU has any interest in an investigation that clearly establishes Khartoum’s responsibility.  For all the vigorous rhetoric that has come from various UN officials and others, it is merely rhetoric (an exception may be Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete).  Past behavior makes clear that neither element of the UNAMID “hybrid”—the UN and the AU—has any stomach for confronting Khartoum.  This was made especially clear following the deadly attack on a UNAMID convoy traveling to Hashaba in North Darfur last October, a mission that had as its task the investigation of a civilian massacre in the Hashaba area.  The attack was clearly the work of Khartoum-allied militia, as a great deal of evidence made clear (see “Violence in Hashaba, North Darfur: A brutal portent, another UN disgrace” at http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3525).  To date, there has been no assignation of responsibility, and the rhetoric of the moment has proved entirely empty. 

There is a compelling historical precedent here.  For the same failure to assign responsibility for a deadly attack defined the response of the UN Secretariat and Security Council following an extraordinarily fierce attack on a UNAMID patrol on July 8, 2008 by what were clearly Khartoum-allied militia forces.  During a three-hour fire-fight near the village Umm Hakibah, North Darfur (approximately 100 kilometers southeast of el-Fasher), seven UNAMID personnel were killed and 22 wounded, some critically (see http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=2219).  This remains the highest casualty total among the many attacks on UNAMID over the past five and a half years.  The head of the UN peacekeeping at the time, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, was explicit about responsibility in his July 11, 2008 briefing of the Security Council (we have had nothing comparable from the current head of UN peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous):

[1] Guéhenno told the Security Council that the attack on UN-authorized peacekeepers “took place in an area under Sudanese government control and that some of the assailants were dressed in clothing similar to Sudanese army uniforms. He also said the ambush was ‘pre-meditated and well-organized’ and was intended to inflict casualties rather than to steal equipment or vehicles” (Voice of America [UN/New York], July 11, 2008). The peacekeepers who were attacked reported seeing approximately 200 fighters, many on horses—a signature feature of the Janjaweed (often translated as “devil [or spirit] on horseback”).

[2] Agence France-Presse reported: “Guéhenno was quoted as saying that the ambush was designed ‘to inflict casualties’ and was carried out with ‘equipment usually not used by (rebel) militias'” (UN/New York], July 11, 2008). Separately and confidentially, a UN official went further in confirming to me that some of the arms used, including large-caliber recoilless rifles, have never been seen in the arsenals of the rebel groups. This official said that Guéhenno, who is retiring, had rarely been so explicit in assigning responsibility for attacks in Darfur.

There was additional conviction that the Janjaweed—armed and in this case almost certainly directed by Khartoum’s military command—were responsible for this attack on 61 Rwandan soldiers, 10 civilian police officers, and two military observers, who were returning to their el-Fasher base after investigating the killing of two civilians:

[3] Agence France-Presse reports from Khartoum on the views of UN and African Union officials on the ground in Darfur: “Officials in the African Union and UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, said on Wednesday [July 9, 2008] that suspected Janjaweed militia, who have fought with the state [i.e., Government of Sudan], were behind the attack that killed seven peacekeepers” (July 10, 2008).

Why, then, is this UN-authorized peacekeeping force so intimidated by Khartoum?  Why has the regime not been directly confronted over these brutal, criminal attacks?  For the same reason that the UN has deferred on so many other occasions to sensibilities of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party: because a direct accusation of Khartoum would likely prompt a crisis in which the regime, particularly the more militaristic elements, would demand that UNAMID withdraw.  And with an environment that had suddenly become “non-consensual,” UN instincts would almost certainly be to use this as an excuse for abandoning a mission that has failed and has been targeted for “draw-down” on the basis of supposedly improved security “conditions on the ground” (this was Ladsous’ assessment this past April).

This in turn would almost certainly lead to wholesale withdrawal by international non-governmental humanitarian organizations, and UN security regulations would restrict all UN agencies to exceedingly small areas of Darfur.  Nearly all the displaced persons camps would be beyond reach.  Without strong support from international actors such as the U.S., the EU, and individual African nations, this scenario would play out with a grim relentlessness.

This is why the UN and AU—despite the rhetoric—wish for nothing so much as that this story disappear and that some suitably ambiguous report be accepted as “definitive.”  Its most likely form will be to acknowledge the fact of Khartoum’s claiming that the Minni Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/MM) is responsible—but that there is “other evidence” on the ground that contradicts this claim.  The language of the report (if in fact one is issued) will be as irresolute, as ambiguous, and as non-confrontational as possible.

This is the UN and AU tribute to the courage of the seven Tanzanian personnel who lost their lives, and the seventeen who were wounded in the attack of July 13, 2013.


END

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Talking peace for DRC: M23 Kampala talks set to resume

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2013

The M23 rebellion has displaced hundreds of thousands in North Kivu

KAMPALA,  – Delegates representing the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the rebel M23 are back in Kampala, Uganda, for a fresh round of peace talks, but analysts say that unless both sides are fully committed to the negotiations, a political solution to the crisis in the DRC’s North Kivu Province is unlikely.

The talks, which kicked off in December 2012 under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), broke down in April; M23 representatives walked out following a decision by the UN to deploy an intervention brigade to neutralize armed groups in eastern DRC. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations says the 3,069-strong force, comprising troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, should be fully operational by mid-July. The force has been given a more forceful mandate than any previous military contingent with a UN peacekeeping mission.

“The representatives of both delegations are back here in Kampala. The talks will be resuming any time. We hope there will be commitment by both teams this time round,” Crispus Kiyonga, the chief mediator and Uganda‘s Minister of Defence, told IRIN. “We shall be working towards the signing of the peace agreement. But how soon it will be reached depends on the progress and commitment of both parties. The fact that both parties keep coming and going back shows some commitment.”

On a recent visit to DRC, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and his special envoy to the region, former Irish President Mary Robinson, urged both parties to remain committed to the Kampala-mediated talks.

An estimated 900,000 people are displaced in North Kivu, more than half of them by the M23 rebellion; tens of thousands more have fled across the DRC’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda. Humanitarians continue to flag the issue of civilian protection even as the DRC national army (FARDC) and M23 engage in intermittent battles in and around the provincial capital Goma, where fighting over the past year has displaced more than 100,000.

In May, four days of fighting between the government and the rebels saw thousands flee their homes for overcrowded camps on the outskirts of the city.

Commitment

Some regional analysts are suspicious of M23’s return to negotiations.

“The M23’s return to the negotiation table should be seen first and foremost as a PR [public relations] manoeuvre. The movement wants to show that it is seeking peace by all means,” said Michel Thill, Great Lakes Region programme manager at Rift Valley Institute (RVI). “Its demands, however, are well beyond what Kinshasa would agree to negotiate with what they consider terrorists – the M23 knows that.

“The tensions are mounting between the M23, the FARDC and the civil population in North Kivu, in the face of repetitive claims by UN senior officials and the Secretary-General himself that the international brigade will be deployed in mid-July,” he added. “The renewed fighting in late May just before Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Goma proves this.”

Other analysts see it differently: “The return from M23 to the negotiation table is a sign from M23 and its external support they want to solve the crisis politically. M23 does not receive the same support as in November 2012 and is no longer in a position to take Goma or conduct an aggressive war,” said Marc-Andre Lagrange, DRC senior analyst for the think tank International Crisis Group (ICG). “Another question is how strong the M23 really is at the moment. There are rumours that Sultani Makenga [M23’s military leader] is seriously ill and weak… It remains to be seen if the movement stands up to the current pressure.”

Both the rebels and the government say a military solution is not feasible

M23 representatives deny that Makenga is unwell. They also accuse the DRC government of lacking the will to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis in North Kivu, and of preparing FARDC and its allies for further clashes in the region.

“We have to seize this opportunity of the international community’s commitment to end this rebellion through dialogue. The military option can’t end the conflict,” Rene Abandi, the head of M23’s Kampala delegation, told IRIN.

In a 13 June letter to Special Envoy Robinson, the rebels accused the government of refusing to negotiate at the Kampala peace talks and of preparing for further conflict in North Kivu, claims government officials have denied.

“Their allegations are baseless,” Jean Charles Okoto Lulakombe, DRC ambassador to Uganda, told IRIN. “Some members of the government delegation are already here, and some are coming. We are determined to end this conflict through dialogue. We believe it is only the talks that can end this conflict, not military [methods]. We can’t continue to allow our people to suffer and die because of this conflict.”

Beyond talks

But analysts agree that it will take more than peace talks – and even peace agreements – to solve the problems in eastern DRC.

“I think a return to Kampala without a genuine commitment from both sides to address the root causes of the conflict, reasons for continuity and failures of past talks is a waste of time and money. It’s simply a peace joke,” said Stephen Oola, a transitional justice and governance analyst at Uganda’s Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project.

“DRC needs more than just peace talks. There is need for a shift in how the state fulfils its obligation to citizens and how local resources are accessed and utilized locally, nationally and internationally,” he added.

“Anyone interested in returning peace to the DRC should focus on strengthening the Congolese government, not undermining it… There must be investment in ensuring that the government in Kinshasa is both legitimate and strong enough to have full control of its vast territory,” said Nicholas Opiyo, a Kampala-based legal and political analyst. “The internal governance framework of the DRC must be re-engineered to be both accommodative of the various interests in the DRC and meaningful to the majority – if not all – Congolese.”

“The solution for peace in the Kivus is not just political or only military. Economic cooperation has to be put in place between the countries of the Great Lakes,” said ICG’s Lagrange. “At the same time, minorities have to be protected and land issues solved. This can be achieved through politics.”

so/kr/rz source http://www.irinnews.og

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Taking Human Displacement in Darfur Seriously

Posted by African Press International on June 5, 2013

OVERVIEW

A brief moment of shocking clarity accompanied confirmation by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that some 300,000 Darfuris have been newly displaced in the first four and a half months of 2013, an estimate first reported by Radio Dabanga on May 16, 2013, a week before other news sources:  

“In its latest report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirms that more than 300,000 people have been forcibly displaced in Darfur since the beginning of this year. It attributes the displacement to inter-tribal fighting and conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and armed rebel movements.”

[In this brief, numbers (including for mortality), names, dates, and locations are in bold throughout; italics are used for emphasis, which has always been added in quotations; spelling, transliteration, and the punctuation of quotations have often been regularized for clarity.  I have also continued to use the division of Darfur into three states: West, South, and North Darfur states.  This division is preserved in the highly detailed UN Field Atlases for Darfur: http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3938 ]

It is worth noting a peculiar use of this staggering figure for human displacement, by both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and OHCA head Valerie Amos, in comparing it with the previous two years:

“The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have fled fighting in all of Darfur in the first five months of this year, which is more than the total number of people displaced in the last two years put together,” Amos said [in Khartoum].” (Agence France-Presse [Khartoum], May 24, 2013]

The statistical claim here is highly dubious, as the data collated here suggest (see Section One below).  And to the extent the claim is meant to suggest that 2011 and 2012 were not years of extraordinary levels of violence and displacement, this was simply disingenuous.

Moreover, displacement continues at a shocking rate: even subsequent to the mid-May figure reported by OCHA, tens of thousands of additional people have been displaced.  Nor does the Secretary-General or any other voice of consequence in the international community offer meaningful and realistic proposals for halting this displacement, which over the past ten years has correlated highly with mortality.  Indeed, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has done nothing to signal that it plans to change course in beginning to draw down the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which has a UN Security Council mandate to protect civilians—including from displacement.

In their comparisons, the Secretary-General and OCHA chief appear to be continuing a pattern that has been evident since UNAMID first took up its civilian protection mandate (January 1, 2008), viz., trying to overstate previous “successes” in the face of ongoing catastrophe.  But UNAMID’s inability to provide civilian and humanitarian protection has been conspicuous from the beginning, and was all too continuous with that of the preceding and grossly inadequate African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), UNAMID’s primary source of men and equipment early on.  There is simply no sign that violent displacement will end or even diminish, or that aerial bombardments of civilians—rarely investigated by UNAMID—will cease to be a primary agency of human displacement, despite the wildly mendacious protestations of the Khartoum regime:

“‘It is absolutely not true that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) bombed civilian targets in the two regions, or in any other areas of Sudan,’ said on Thursday [May 30, 2013] foreign ministry spokesperson, Abu Bakar Al-Siddiq.” (Sudan Tribune, May 31, 2013)

[ I will soon be updating “They Bombed Everything that Moved”: Aerial Military Attacks on Civilians and Humanitarians in Sudan, 1999 – 2011
(analysis and bibliography of sources, 80+ pages with accompanying Excel spreadsheet, at www.sudanbombing.org); analysis and data spreadsheet previously updated June 5, 2012.  More than 2,000 such aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians have been authoritatively reported since 1999. ]

Section One below offers the data and reports—from the UN, non-governmental organizations, and news reports—that support the following summary of findings about human displacement in Darfur over the past six and a half years:

2007:                         300,000 civilians newly displaced

2008:                         317,000 civilians newly displaced

2009:                         250,000 civilians newly displaced

2010:                         300,000 civilians newly displaced

2011:                         200,000 civilians newly displaced

2012:                         150,000 civilians newly displaced

2013:                        320,000 civilians newly displaced as of June 1, 2013

The total for civilians newly displaced, 2007 – June 2013, is more than 1.8 million.

This figure is itself greater than the total number of IDPs, for all years, promulgated most often by OCHA (1.4 million); and of course the figure of 1.8 million does not include the figures for the years of greatest displacement, 2003 – 2006.  At the end of 2008, according to OCHA’s last Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 34), there were 2.7 million people in displaced persons camps. 

There is glaring, finally shocking statistical incoherence here.  Whatever over-count is reflected in the OCHA figure for the end of 2008; whatever duplication has been generated by the fact that displacement figures do not disaggregate those displaced for the first time and those who have been displaced multiple times (and on each occasion been counted as “newly displaced”); whatever the ambiguity of status for many who live in the camps but attempt to work their lands; and whatever the highly limited success of the UN push for “returns” of IDPs to their lands and homes—none of this can possibly obscure the basic statistical fact represented here: there are clearly a great many more than 2 million Darfuris presently internally displaced; and—according to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNHCR—there are also 330,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad (as well as a significant Darfuri refugee population in Central African Republic).

There is something deeply, disturbingly inaccurate about the figure for displacement that OCHA promulgates, and that news services, for the most part, simply repeat.  OCHA sometimes acknowledges in its reports that another 300,000 people are in the IDP camps, but not being fed by the UN World Food Program.  It is quite unclear why not being fed by WFP makes a person any less displaced.  But even the figure of 1.7 million is not as great as the figure for those newly displaced since 2007—again, more than 1.8 million.  And this of course says nothing about those who remain displaced from before 2007.

Section One (below) provides detailed accounts of sources for the data summarized above, as well as explanations of inferences and representative accounts of particular episodes of displacement.  I offer as well some thoughts about why the UN has distorted this most basic reality in Darfur today.  Section Two looks at the lives of displaced persons from the standpoint of health and malnutrition reports, as humanitarian relief aid continues to shrink amidst growing insecurity.  Section Three looks at reports of attacks on displaced persons attempting to return to their lands and homes, the violent means of intimidation deployed, and other factors limiting the civilian “returns” that the UN disingenuously celebrates.

SECTION ONE: Human displacement in Darfur

Here are the data totals for the years since 2007:

• Displacement for 2007: OCHA estimated that more than 300,000 Darfuris were newly displaced (UN OCHA, Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 30: conditions as of January 1, 2008; http://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-darfur-humanitarian-profile-no-30-situation-01-jan-2008

• Displacement for 2008: OCHA estimated that 317,000 Darfuris were newly displaced; (UN OCHA, Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 34: conditions as of January 1, 2009; http://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-darfur-humanitarian-profile-no-34-situation-01-jan-2009  

By the end of 2008, OCHA estimated that 2.7 million Darfuris were internally displaced; this did not include the more than 250,000 Darfuri refugees then in eastern Chad.   http://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-darfur-humanitarian-profile-no-34-situation-01-jan-2009 

• Displacement for 2009: In this year of humanitarian expulsions, OCHA promulgated no figure of its own, indeed ended publication of its data-rich “Darfur Humanitarian Profiles.”  But data were still being collected: the Canadian “Peace Operations Monitor” found evidence suggesting that “over 214,000 people were newly displaced [in Darfur] between January and June [2009] alone.” (http://pom.peacebuild.ca/SudanRelief.shtml)

Given the reports of violent displacement that followed June 2009, a total figure for the year of 250,000 seems conservative.

• Displacement for 2010: the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre collected data suggesting that approximately 270,000 people were newly displaced in Darfur (http://tinyurl.com/n6fzjx).  This figure was last updated on January 4, 2011, and thus is highly unlikely to have taken full account of the large-scale displacement of December 2010. The OCHA Sudan Bulletin (January 7 – 13, 2011) reported that the “overall number of people displaced during the December 2010 fighting in the area of Khor Abeche stands at 43,000.”

300,000 newly displaced for the year again seems a conservative figure;

• Displacement for 2011: There is no aggregation of the data, and what data there are cannot be considered adequate to measure the full scale of displacement; but various reports suggest that the scale of displacement certainly did not diminish dramatically, and may well have increased significantly in eastern regions of Darfur following the defection of Minni Minawi and his Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/MM) fighters from the Khartoum regime in late 2010:

§ UN IRIN (Nairobi) reports, March 16, 2011:

“Tens of thousands of people continue to flee their homes in Sudan’s western region of Darfur for the safety of internally displaced people’s camps after recent fighting between government forces and armed militias.  According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 66,000 IDPs have arrived in camps in North and South Darfur since JanuaryAt least 53,000 are in and around North Darfur State’s Zam Zam IDP Camp.”

[These OCHA figures almost certainly do not include the many Zaghawa displaced in eastern Darfur; see “Forgotten Darfur: Old Tactics and New Players” (below)].

§  Radio Dabanga [Nertiti, West Darfur], 24 July 2011:
Twenty families fled from Nertiti camp to Zalingei camp in West Darfur, after repeated attacks by militias. Coordinator of the Zalingei camps, told Radio Dabanga from camp Hamidiya, that new displacements are being caused by militia attacks, as well as by members of the uniformed services. These attacks include sexual assault and abuses at farms. He told Radio Dabanga, that, this month, the two camps (north and south) near the city of Nertiti, have seen armed militias take over in the territory of the displaced. §

§  Tens of Thousands flee violence from the air and on the ground North Darfur Radio Dabanga, June 1, 2011

The aerial bombardments, killings and rapes have caused a reported 140,000 people to flee for safety since mid-December. The fighting in December already caused 40,000 people to flee from their homes. Since January, an additional 83,000 newly arrived IDPs have been reported at Zam Zam camp, and another 15,000 in camps near Nyala, Tawila and Khor Abeche. Shortage in food, water and fuel increase humanitarian suffering in the camps, where there is a sharp increase in deaths among children and infants since April. The renewed fighting began after the Sudanese government severed ties with the Sudan Liberation Army rebel faction loyal to Minni Minawi (SLA-MM). The bombardments and fighting is mainly located in the area of east Jebel Marra.  §

§  from Small Arms Survey, “Forgotten Darfur: Old Tactics and New Players,” Claudio Gramizzi and Jérôme Tubiana, July 2012

Late 2010 and the first half of 2011 saw a significant offensive by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and militias, backed by airstrikes and aerial bombardments, targeting both rebel groups and the Zaghawa civilian population across a broad swathe of eastern Darfur. Significantly, the Government of Sudan has partly shifted away from using Arab proxy militias only to rely on newly formed (and newly armed) non-Arab proxies. This development has fundamentally changed the ethnic map of eastern Darfur, drawing on previously latent tensions between non-Arab groups over land, ethnicity, and local political dominance—and generating some of the most significant ethnically directed violence since the start of the conflict in 2003.  §

NB: There is little evidence that the UN or UNAMID took any statistical account of the displacement that resulted from Khartoum’s new orchestration of ethnically-targeted violence in eastern Darfur. 

In light of the evidence and reports presented here, the most reasonable estimate for 2011—based on inadequate data, inadequate because the UN and UNAMID refuse to collect it—is approximately 200,000 newly displaced, again a conservative estimate.

• Displacement for 2012: Again, there is no detailed aggregation of data that I am aware of that looks with any specificity at violence that displaced or killed civilians in 2012. 

[ In fact, mortality data and quantification have long been a taboo subject concerning the Darfur conflict, even as the extant data suggested that in August 2010 some 500,000 people had already died from violence as well as the disease and malnutrition that have come in the wake of the violence (http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=2269).  Khartoum’s evident sensitivities over any discussion or release of data on the subject have produced a complete silence. ]

With respect to displacement, the UN appears content with a figure of 90,000 – 100,000 newly displaced civilians for the year 2012.  I believe this significantly understates the scale of displacement for the year and offer here a compendium of reports that must figure in any accounting:

Section Two, which follows, includes relevant excerpts bearing on the threats that the displaced encounter—both in flight and in the camps—as well indications of mortality among the displaced.  Section Three examines the fearsome dangers encountered by displaced persons—overwhelmingly from the African/non-Arab tribal groups of Darfur—on attempting to reclaim their homes and lands. ]

§  UNAMID: alleged air strikes cause displacement North Darfur (Radio Dabanga [el-Fasher] 21 December 2012)

A press statement issued by UNAMID on Friday, 21 December, claims that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have allegedly carried out air strikes in Shangil Tobaya and Tawila localities, North Darfur. It was added that UNAMID deployed a patrol to Dalma and Dady villages to verify the reported air strikes in the area, but was denied access by SAF. The statement said that UNAMID received reports of an increased number of displacements of civilians from Daly, Kotto, Msaleet, Nomaira, Dawa Sharafa, Dolma and Hemaida villages in Shangil Tobaya area.  §

[Other reports received by Radio Dabanga indicated] that civilians from Kunjura, Hashaba, Namira and Masal villages have fled to Argo camp in Tawila area as a result of air strikes allegedly carried out by SAF on 18 December 2012.  §

§  Displaced present demands to UNHCR (Radio Dabanga [Zam Zam Camp] December 13, 2012)

Displaced, sheikhs, omdas and camp’s representatives from Zam Zam, North Darfur, presented a package of demands and needs to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that was visiting the site, an activist told Radio Dabanga…. On the same day, the UNHCR representative and other humanitarian organizations spoke to about 1,350 displaced persons arrived from East Jebel Marra to Zam Zam, the activist said.  §

§  1,000 people flee Sigili (Radio Dabanga [Sigili], November 10, 2012)

About 1,000 people, or 140 families, from Sigili in Shawa area, North Darfur, have reportedly fled their village following the militia attack that left 13 people dead last Friday, 2 November, locals told Radio Dabanga.  According to sources, virtually all inhabitants left the Shawa area and are moving to El-Fasher and to Zam Zam camp, they explained to Radio Dabanga on Thursday, 8 November. In addition, reports concerning a new imminent attack in Sigili by a militia based in Kalimandou, have also influenced the large displacement of residents, according to witnesses.  §

§  280 displaced families arrive at Zam Zam (Radio Dabanga [Zam Zam camp], December 7, 2012)

An activist from Zam Zam camp near El-Fasher, North Darfur, announced that 280 families from East Jebel Marra have arrived at the camp on Friday, 7 December. He asserted these families are fleeing aerial bombardments and ground assaults, in addition to the looting of thousands carried out by pro-government militias around East Jebel Marra one week ago. Many of the individuals are in poor health after walking for seven days to reach the camp. §

§  More than 12,000 fled Hashaba (Radio Dabanga [Hashaba], October 19, 2012)

Residents from Hashaba, North Darfur, estimate that between 12 and 13 thousand people have fled the area due to recent attacks, Radio Dabanga was informed on Friday, 19 October. They described the region as “virtually deserted” after the militia attacks and aerial bombings last September. According to witnesses, Hashaba and surrounding areas including Umm Laota, Khashim Wadi and Tabadiya are completely abandoned…. Sources added that villages got completely burnt during the recent attacks and that the situation in the region is now tense, as fear and insecurity dominate local residents. They said the humanitarian situation in the area is critical and that it requires urgent intervention.  §

§  Arrival of more than 2,000 people fled Hashaba attacks (Radio Dabanga [Mellit], September 30, 2012)

More than 2,000 people who fled the recent attacks around Hashaba have arrived to Ba’ashim area, north of Mellit, North Darfur, on Sunday, 30 September, Radio Dabanga was informed. Sources told Radio Dabanga that these people traveled for three days by foot, hiding around mountains and valleys when it was light and moving only by night. This way, sources explained, the victims could avoid being found by pro-government militias during their journey to Ba’ashim. Witnesses said these people are suffering from fatigue, adding that they barely ate or drank anything during the three days they traveled.  They added that the 2,000 people who arrived in Ba’ashim represent only one fourth of the victims who fled the Hashaba attacks.  According to witnesses accounts, Hashaba and surrounding villages saw intense aerial bombardments last Wednesday and Thursday, 26 and 27 September. In addition, pro-government militias were also accused by sources of invading the area during the same period. The attacks allegedly resulted in more than 80 people dead or injured around Hashaba area, sources told Radio Dabanga.  §

§  Sudan army and SRF clash, bombs kill 15 (Radio Dabanga [East Jebel Marra], September 19, 2012)

Heavy clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) took place between Tabet and Khazan Tinjur, in East Jebel Marra, North Darfur, on Wednesday morning, 19 September, according to witnesses. The amount of fatal victims is not yet known.   Victims who fled their villages in east Tabet due to the SAF bombings informed Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that the Sudanese army is carrying out a retaliation campaign against them. They claimed to having been beaten, insulted and humiliated, adding that many were also arrested. Residents also said that their conditions are dire, as they have no water or food…. 

On Tuesday, 18 September, 13 people died in two separate incidents took place between Zam Zam and Tabet. Radio Dabanga was informed that both accidents were caused by bombs dropped by the SAF. On Wednesday, September 19 witnesses affirmed that SAF bombings killed a nine-year-old girl and left her mother in critical condition. They said Suad Bakr Hamid and her mother, Khadija Omar Mohammed Issa, were hit when traveling from their farm to their home in El-Kunjar, north of Tabet, on a horse cart. Another farmer was killed by an SAF bomb while working in his land in the same area, Radio Dabanga has learned.

The aerial bombardments in East Jebel Marra led to a new wave of civilian displacement from cities and villages to IDP camps, camps leaders from Dali and Rwanda told Radio Dabanga. They said that 87 families arrived in their camps, located in Tawila locality, between Saturday and Wednesday this week. The leaders pointed out that people are coming from the villages of Goz Duru, Timo, Derty and Argo in East Jebel Marra. In addition, they said the condition of these families is critical.  §

§  Hundreds displaced due to bombings in North Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Jebel Marra], August 6, 2012)

Hundreds were displaced from east Jebel Mara to Tawila locality, North Darfur. According to a witness, this is the result of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ (SAF) intensive bombing on east Jebel Mara throughout the week. A source informed Radio Dabanga that residents from the villages of Arosha, Hijer, Deloomi, Humeda, Sabi, Wadi Mora, and Tangarara were moved to Tawila locality in North Darfur. One of the fugitives said that dozens of people, including a large number of women, children and elders, are still in open fields, forests and valleys. They have no food, no medicine and no shelter. He added that after the bombings pro-government militias chased and dragged the people out of their homes and plundered their livestock.  §

§  UN: 25,000 displaced by latest unrest in Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Kutum], August 10, 2012)

UN reports indicate that the entire population of Kassab IDP camp in North Darfur has fled as a result of the recent fighting. There were more than 25,000 IDPs in Kassab camp. The fighting erupted after a district chief, Abdelrahman Mohammed Eissa, was shot dead in Kutum during a carjacking attempt.  Eissa’s tribesmen retaliated by killing two displaced persons and a police officer.  §

§   Thousands displaced on border of Darfur-South Sudan (Radio Tamazuj [Juba] July 11, 2012)

Border clashes and insecurity along the border between Western Bahr El Ghazal and South Darfur have affected thousands of people in Raja County, causing displacement and sufferingaccording to the county executive.  §

§  7,000 flee after government forces raze villages in North Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Khartoum], April 2, 2012)

More than 7,000 people have fled their homes in North Darfur after government forces and militants reportedly burned down their villages last week. ‘7,000 have left the villages of Adam Khatir, Nagojora, Hamid Dilli, Amar Jadid, Koyo and Duga Ferro near Donki Hosh and fled to the surrounding areas where there is no food, water or shelter,’ said a newly displaced witness to Radio Dabanga from a safe area. ‘They attacked us for three days, from Tuesday until Thursday evening. They burned down five villages, looted more than 20 and destroyed water wells and pumps,’ added the witness. §

§  3,000 displaced in North Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Khartoum], March 27, 2012)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN said on Monday that about 3,000 people from the areas of Dar Es Salam and Zam Zam camps in North Darfur have been displaced to Kalimdo and other areas with El Fasher. The FAO said that the displaced people are in need aid, food and medicines.  §

§  Heavy shelling forces villagers out of homes in North Darfur (Radio Dabanga [North Darfur], March 15, 2012)

Heavy shelling took place across five villages in North Darfur forcing residents to flee from their homes. Witnesses said an Antonov plane bombed the villages of Dika, Bain, Keda, Jok and Senagarai over the past three days and is still circling the area. They said planes dropped more than 40 bombs as ground troops in six tanks and 150 vehicles moved in to the villages beating male residents, looting and burning houses. The soldiers also reportedly raped more than 30 women and girls and arrested ten of the men. Witnesses said villagers fled to Wadi Maghrib in the desert area where they are now surrounded by government forces.  §

§  1,500 displaced need food assistance in El Daein (Radio Dabanga [El Daein], March 6, 2012)

1,500 displaced people from the villages of Uzban, Um Kurkut, Keiluk in northeast Darfurare experiencing severe lack of access to food in el-Daein, East Darfur. The group consisting mainly of women, children and the elderly, arrived in el-Daein in February last year. A witness told Radio Dabanga the World Food Programme distributed tarpaulins and tents for the displaced, and promised them food which is yet to materialise.  §

§  Abu Delik displaced families seeking refuge at UNAMID HQ (Radio Dabanga [Zam Zam camp], February 29, 2012)

120 families displaced from Abu Delik, the area that witnessed heavy fighting last week, and an adjacent area Sag Al Nagam have refused to leave the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) headquarters, in Zam Zam internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, near El Fasher. Newly displaced families were reportedly attacked by Abu Tira forced on arrival to the camp… The witness said there are 60 families currently seeking protection inside UNAMID’s HQ, and 160 families have been staying just outside the base since Tuesday. He noted that the new IDPs are mainly children, women and the elderly, and added that Zam Zam is experiencing an daily influx of IDPs traveling on foot and donkey.  §

§  Government forces storm village near El Fasher (Radio Dabanga [Abu Delik], February 24, 2012)

On Thursday, government forces attacked  Abu Delik village, southeast of el-Fasher in North Darfur, killing one person and injuring six others…. Eyewitnesses said the force stormed the area at 10:00am indiscriminately attacking, beating, and abusing villagers, who had welcomed the soldiers into the area. They said the troops killed a man, named as Salih Adam El Daw, and injured six others. The soldiers looted homes and shops before burning some of them down. Many residents fled the area.  §

Perhaps the most remarkable statement concerning displacement in Darfur came the previous year from the Humanitarian Protection Strategy section of the UN/AU mission in August 2011:

§  400,000 displaced in West Jebel Marra; region needs urgent humanitarian aid (Radio Dabanga [Jebel Marra], August 16, 2011:

Nearly 400,000 people have been displaced in West Jebel Marra areas, the Humanitarian Protection Strategy of the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said on Tuesday. “The assessments so far conducted confirm that approximately 400,000 people are displaced in Jebel Marra area,” said Oriano Micaletti, head of the UNAMID Humanitarian Protection Strategy. “They have received very limited assistance during the last few years and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.” There is an urgent need for humanitarian aid according to the Humanitarian Protection Strategy of the Mission.  §

There is no evidence that this extraordinarily large figure is included in UN calculations about total human displacement in Darfur; indeed, statements by former UN/AU joint special representative Ibrahim Gambari would seem almost pointedly to ignore this finding when he was busy trumpeting his successful accomplishments as JSR last summer before leaving UNAMID.

It should be emphasized that in the absence of any meaningful security provisions for Darfur, fighting between Arab tribal groups has also dramatically increased displacement in recent years, and Arab groups make up a much greater percentage of the total displaced population.

• Displacement for 2012: The total for 2012 suggested by the reports above—far from complete and with many offering no estimates of numbers displaced—appears to be between 150,000 and 200,000.  Moreover, the character and consequences of displacement are certainly much more fully represented in these dispatches than in any recent UN or UNAMID accounts.  I include in calculations for total displacement a figure of 150,000 displaced for 2012, but accept that it is only a crude estimate, based chiefly on calculations of displacement during the episodes presented above.  If this figure is even approximately accurate, given the displacement estimate for 2011 (approximately 200,000), it is not true, as claimed by Amos and Ban, that the figure of 300,000 “exceeds the total for the preceding two years”—2011 and 2012.

Accepting the UN figure of 300,000 newly displaced in 2013, and aggregating the other figures offered here for human displacement in Darfur from 2007 to the present, yields a ghastly total of approximately 1.8 million human beings newly displaced.  This is a figure greater than the current UN figure for total current displacement in all of Darfur, i.e., those displaced before and after 2007. 

Whatever qualifications must be made for double-counting (i.e., those people who have been displaced more than once), temporary displacement (the 30,000 people at Kassab camp displaced in August 2012 returned to this insecure location within a matter of weeks following brutal attacks), whatever (highly limited) success there has been in returning IDPs to their lands and homes, such a vast figure incinerates the credibility of people such as Joint AU/UN Special Representatives Aichatu Mindaoudou, who—with former JSR Rodolphe Adada and Ibrahim Gambari—has taken her place in a continuing spectacle of mendacity.  For on the basis of almost no understanding of Darfur, Ms. Mindaoudou very recently joined her predecessors in offering a culpably distorted characterization of Darfur, declaring last month that “the numbers of people affected by violence had decreased each year between 2008 and 2011.”  Such lies ensure that Darfur’s crisis will continue to intensify, and its suffering will be rendered even less visible.

Moreover, all signs are that large-scale human displacement will continue so long as security remains in free-fall in Darfur (see March 20, 2013 analysis of security conditions at http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3838).  Even since mid-May of this year, when the UN first promulgated its figure of 300,000 newly displaced civilians in 2013, there is clear evidence of substantial, ongoing human displacement:

§  Gimr-Beni Halba clashes leave 94 dead, 6,500 displaced in South Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Katayla, South Darfur], May 30, 2013)

[The Gimr are one of the smaller non-Arab/African tribal group in South Darfur—ER]

Tribal clashes involving the Gimr and Beni Halba in South Darfur have left a total of 94 people dead and another 65 injured since they resumed in March in Katayla locality, a Gimr stronghold. A UN OCHA report released on Thursday states that an estimated 6,500 people have fled Katayla and have sought refuge in Tullus.  

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Gimr spokesman Abkar Al Toum, added that 1,200 houses were torched, five water wells destroyed, 14 villages were set ablaze and all the property of the inhabitants stolen.  Al Toum said that 22 Gimr died in attacks on Monday and Tuesday in Kabba, Butab Abu Bashir, Umm Gutiya, Kabo, Amud Al Sah, Ati Kena, and Ajuekheen, while 32 were wounded, of whom 11 were taken to Nyala hospital on Thursday.  §

§  Central Darfur’s Umm Dukhun “virtually deserted” after clashes resumed (Radio Dabanga [Umm Dukhun], May 30, 2013)

Umm Dukhun city in [formerly West] Darfur, which has witnessed renewed violent tribal clashes between the Salamat and Misseriya tribeswas virtually deserted as of Thursday morning. In addition, shops and markets have been closed since hostilities resumed earlier this week.  §

UN figures on displacement in Darfur

In the past that both the UN and UNAMID have deliberately distorted and misrepresented displacement figures, a corruption I have addressed at several moments in recent years, including:

 “How many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are there in Darfur?” Dissent Magazine [on-line], April 28, 2011 http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/how-many-internally-displaced-persons-are-there-in-darfur

• Updated, August 31, 2012, with a critical examination of UN statistical methodology: http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=2320

Also dismaying is the repeated failure to highlight the total of Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad, a population that has recently increased dramatically. There are now 330,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad, a surge of some 50,000, confirmed by both the UN High Commission for Refugees and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); the latter reported from Tissi, eastern Chad (April 26, 2013): “Violent clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region have driven approximately 50,000 people across the border into southeastern Chad since early March [2013].

Even more invisibly, Darfuri refugees continue to suffer in Central African Republic, thousands of whom were only recently displaced into this exceedingly remote area:

§  UNHCR new release, May 31, 2013 (http://www.unhcr.org/51a8b7756.html)

The UN refugee agency has established contact with some 3,500 Sudanese refugees who made their way to northeast Central African Republic after fleeing inter-tribal conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region two months ago. Refugees are presently scattered in the Birao, Boromata and Roukoutou districts, which are difficult to access. UNHCR staff in Central African Republic were finally able to meet some of the refugees in Birao on May 23. The refugees said their villages in Am Djeradil district had been torched during the clashes in March and many people killed. Some families were also separated during the confusion, with hundreds heading to Central African Republic and thousands of others crossing the border into southeast Chad.  §

SECTION TWO: Displacement and Humanitarian Conditions

The fact that many people in camps are not receiving WFP food rations, or rations that are shamefully meager, should give pause and raises serious questions about the competency of WFP, OCHA, and UNAMID.  Most urgently: why is the international community not being informed about the scale of deterioration in the humanitarian conditions throughout Darfur? 

Certainly a number of the dispatches (below) from particular camps make painfully clear the severe deprivation that Darfuris are suffering.  Here it is important to bear in mind that many of the various threats faced by displaced persons are a function of the rampant insecurity throughout Darfur, which makes adequate humanitarian response impossible.  Khartoum’s security forces continue to deny access on a regular basis—to both UNAMID and relief organizations, including those of the UN.  Humanitarian conditions in the camps are clearly deteriorating rapidly, with food and clean water in particularly short supply.  This comes just as the heavy seasonal rains are about to begin, making transport extremely difficult to many locations. Conditions will become ideal for water-borne diseases; the rains will also exacerbate the problem of finding clean water and addressing acute sanitation and hygiene issues.  The potential for skyrocketing mortality is yet again clearly present.

And reports from Chad indicate that the Darfuri refugees are an increasingly invisible and under-served population.  The reports are scattered, but telling:

§   Serious water shortage in eastern Chad camp; refugees facing threat of diseases as they use contaminated water from nearby valleys (Radio Dabanga [Brejean, also Bredjing], August 9, 2012)

Nearly 45,000 Sudanese [Darfuri] refugees from the Brejean camp (eastern Chad) are suffering from acute water shortage after the water pump’s generator broke down, residents complained on Tuesday. This has resulted in refugees traveling to nearby valleys in search of water for drinking and domestic purposes. The water from the valleys is, however, not suitable for consumption. Refugees in the camp told Radio Dabanga that the water was contaminated by both human and animal waste and carcasses leading to the spread of waterborne diseases, especially among children.  §

§  Food shortage in eastern Chad camp (Radio Dabanga [Eastern Chad], August 22, 2012)

537 Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad’s Gaga camp have not received their food rations since last June, a sheikh in the camp told Radio Dabanga on Monday. Sheikh Mohammed Ismail said, “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has asked the veteran refugees in the camp to share their food rations with the new arrivals until August, which should have been the next date for replenishing the food stocks.” However, the refugees were surprised when the UNHCR asked them to prolong that initiative until October. The decision was therefore vehemently rejected by the refugees. Sheikh Mohammed Ismail added, “The new arrivals were registered as refugees and must receive food on showing their food ration cards.”

From the camps in Darfur itself, Radio Dabanga yet again provides our most concrete and revealing examples—indeed, in most cases the only examples.  The selection here is representative, but hardly exhaustive.  What is indisputable is that humanitarian conditions in Darfur have been deteriorating ever more rapidly over the past year, often for reasons directly related to insecurity, especially in the transport of food:

§  22 displaced die in two weeks (Radio Dabanga, [Garsila, West Darfur], October 16, 2012)

The increasing spread of diseases in Garsila camps, West Darfur, led to the death of 22 displaced persons in the first half of October, camp representatives told Radio Dabanga, on Tuesday October 16. A camps’ sheikh told Radio Dabanga that residents of three of Garsila’s camps (Jeddah, Ardeeba and Jebelain) are facing critical health conditions as diseases like malaria, dry cough and diarrhea are spreading rapidly.

He added that mainly children and elderly are suffering.  §

§  16 deaths in Kendebe camp (Radio Dabanga [Kendebe camp] October 8, 2012)

Kendebe camp activist, in West Darfur, announced that 16 displaced persons have died in the past few weeks due to different kinds of diseases, Radio Dabanga has learned on Sunday, 7 October. He explained that many doctors prescribe medications that must be purchased from the market, instead of providing it to patients, adding that most displaced cannot afford buying medicines.  §

§  Diseases spreading rapidly in Darfur (Radio Dabanga [el-Fasher], September 16, 2012)

Health Minister of the Darfur Regional Authority, Osman El-Bushra, revealed the spread of diseases such as leprosy, scabies, tuberculosis, night blindness, river blindness, malaria, schistosomiasis and typhoid among the population of Darfur. He attributes the spread of these diseases to malnutrition, poverty, a lack of health and therapeutic institutions, and the deteriorating security situation in the region.  §

§  “Catastrophic” medical services in Darfur region (Radio Dabanga [el-Fasher], September 18, 2012)

The Minister of Health from the Darfur Regional Authority, Osman Al-Bushra, told Radio Dabanga that health and medical services in all five states of Darfur are “tragic and catastrophic.” The minister stated that West Darfur, with a population of 1,202,506 inhabitants according to the last census in 2010, is the state with the worst health conditions in the region.  §

§  Starvation in three camps of South Darfur after pull out aid organizations (Radio Dabanga [Nyala], June 22, 2012)

Children have died due to malnutrition after aid organizations pulled out of three camps, 40 kilometers outside the South Darfur capital of Nyala. Community leaders have urged aid organizations to resume health and food support in the displaced camps of Mershing, Manaoshi and Duma in South Darfur…. In the past week tens of children and several elderly people died of to malnutritionThe community leader says that starvation is the result of the aid organizations stopped providing food rations to IDPs for more than eight months. He added that since circumstances are increasingly challenging an insufficient number of health centers near the IDP camps. Camp leaders told Radio Dabanga that around 60 percent of camp residents are suffering of continuous hunger, since food rations were stopped, forcing some to go for days without a meal.  §

§  Poor health conditions leave dozens dead in Mornei (Radio Dabanga [Mornei], September 21, 2012)

Residents of Mornei camp in West Darfur are suffering from poor health conditions as diseases like malaria, typhoid and diarrhea are spreading rapidly. In addition to the rapidly spreading diseases, the residents suffer from malnutrition and a lack of health-care and medication. One of the sheikhs told Radio Dabanga that the report [composed by the camp sheikhs] revealed the death of 64 elderly and 30 children between the ages of one and five over the past two weeksIn addition, the report confirmed that the majority of deaths are a result of diseases like malaria and typhoid.  §

§   El Riyadh camp: one medical clinic for 30,000 residents (Radio Dabanga [el-Geneina] August 28, 2012)

Radio Dabanga was informed today that there is only one medical clinic available at the El Riyadh camp in El-Geneina, West Darfur. The camp counts 30,000 residents who claim to face a serious humanitarian crisis. A camp’s activist told Radio Dabanga that the three most serious issues in El Riyadh are lack of security, lack of water and lack of medical services. He added there is also scarcity of nurses and of midwives at the camp. The source said this situation arose after June 2011 when the Government of Sudan expelled medical international humanitarian organizations from the camp. He explained the international organizations were substituted by the Sudanese Ministry of Health.  §

§  Several camps Darfur do not receive food aid for four months (Radio Dabanga [Khartoum], June 23, 2012)

Several camps in North Darfur have not received food aid for several months. The ten thousands of internally displaced people (IDP) of Zam Zam-camp in North Darfur and the camps of Jeddah and El Jebelayn close to the town of Garsila in [formerly West] Darfur, said the World Food Programme does not enter the camps anymore to support the families most in need. Several camps in North Darfur have not received food aid for several months. A camp leader of Zam Zam tells Radio Dabanga that the WFP has not delivered food rations to over 800 poor and malnourished families as it did in the past.  §

§  Six children die from measles in Seraf Umra camps (Radio Dabanga [Seraf Umra, North Darfur], June 6, 2012)

Six children have died from measles in over past week in Jebel, Dankoj and El Naseem camps in Seraf Umra in North Darfur. They expressed deep concern at the quick spread of diseases in the camp due to the lack of health care….  §

§  Six months with no aid for South Darfur camps (Radio Dabanga [South Darfur], June 5, 2012)

Residents of Mershing, Manaoshi and Duma camps for displaced people in South Darfur have received not humanitarian aid or support for over six months. Camp leaders told Radio Dabanga that around 60 percent of camp residents are suffering with continuous hunger, since food rations were stopped forcing some to go for days without having a meal. One leader said they have been complaining for months about the situation with no help coming from the international community….  §

§  Sheikh, displaced concerned about food distribution in Darfur camps (Radio Dabanga [Nyala], June 2, 2013)

The displaced people of Attash [also Otash] camp near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, have voiced concern about the World Food Programme (WPF) distribution plans. The WPF have decided to delegate the distribution of food to traders, while the displaced would prefer it occur via the distribution centres established by World Vision, launched on 30 May. The Sheikh of the camp Abdel Karim Abkar, explained to Radio Dabanga on Saturday that “the displaced base their rejection on their negative experience in the past with Elbadrain Charity Organization (ECO) which distributed coupons to be used for grinding corn.” “The owners of mills later refused to accept the coupons under the pretext that they had not been not been paid, as a result this led to the collapse of the project,” he addedIn camp Attash, about 3,200 newly displaced families are suffering a humanitarian crisis due to the lack of water and health services.  §

§  Abu Suruj camp: no food aid for six months (Radio Dabanga [el-Geneina], May 28, 2012)

Residents of Abu Suruj camp for internally displaced people said they have not received food aid for more than six months. Witnesses said the camps north of El Geneina are reaching a desperate situation and called for the World Food Programme to immediately intervene and deliver food aid to people in need of urgent assistance.  §

§  Jebel Marra residents stranded with no aid access (Radio Dabanga [Jebel Marra] May 27, 2012)

The coordinator of internally displaced person camps in North Darfur, Ahmed Atim said the situation of civilians in Jebel Marra is becoming desperate. He said civilians are stranded with no access from humanitarian organisations including the World Food Programme (WFP).  §

§  Mornei camp food rations reduced by half (Radio Dabanga [Mornei camp] May 29, 2012)

Mornay camp residents have complained that the World Food Programme have reduced food rations by half. A camp leader told Radio Dabanga that the rations were reduced without any explanation from the WFP. He appealed to the WFP to resume full rations and remember the difficulties facing displaced people in buying food from the market, amid food shortages and high prices.  §

§  WFP: 30 per cent of Darfur threatened with food insecurity (Radio Dabanga [el-Fasher] May 22, 2012)

The World Food Programme says that 30 percent of the population of Darfur is threatened with food insecurity and in need of urgent aid. The Programme conducted surveys in Darfur finding around 30 percent to be in need of urgent assistance, said WFP Field Coordinator Adham Mesallami to Radio Dabanga. He said that families told the WFP about their inability to cover their daily needs for food.  §

§  Kassab displaced describe situation as famine (Radio Dabanga [Kassab camp], May 9, 2012)

Displaced people in Kassab camp in North Darfur have described their current condition as ‘famine,’ due to the reduction in food provided by the World Food Programme and the unprecedented high prices of food at the market. An activist from Kassab told Radio Dabanga that many families are now eating berries and nuts as they are unable to survive on the reduced rations.  §

§  WFP reduces rations in El Geneina camps (Radio Dabanga [el-Geneina], May 9, 2012)

A group of displaced people from 10 camps across El Geneina said the World Food Programme told them on Monday that their rations of maize will be reduced by 50 percent. They said this have caused widespread discontent in the camps that are already suffering from food shortages and hunger. A camp leader that attended the meeting told Radio Dabanga that the WFP representatives justified the reduced ration by not being able to transport the required quantities, as truck drivers are reluctant to move around with the current security situation.  §

The future for the children who have known nothing but life in the camps is grim beyond description, though susceptible of some quantification:

§  Measles outbreak kills 25 children in Gereida camp (Radio Dabanga [Gereida, South Darfur], May 4, 2012)

At least 25 children have died from measles during a recent outbreak in Gereida camp in South Darfur. A camp official said there is a high rate of infection spreading amongst children. She appealed to humanitarian organisations, health officials and the World Health Organisation to immediately act to intervene and stop the disease from spreading and risking more lives.  §

§  75 per cent of Darfur’s refugee children show PTSD symptoms; study conducted by a UK journal says 38 per cent meet clinical criteria for depression    (Radio Dabanga, August 12, 2011)

75 per cent of the children in Darfur’s refugee camps met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to an interview-based study released by The Lancet, a UK-based health journal, on Thursday. The study also concluded that 38 per cent of refugee children in camps fulfilled clinical symptoms for depression. The research carried out by the Oxford-based group is meant to add to information about mental health issues faced by refugee children.  §

SECTION THREE: Are there meaningful “returns” of displaced persons in Darfur?  What guarantees are there that the returns will be safe and voluntary?

When addressing the question of displaced persons in Darfur, the UN and UNAMID inevitably speak of their success in beginning a program of “safe and voluntary returns.”  The claims made are hotly disputed by Darfuris, and the success stories are often revealed to be shams or, worse, set-ups for violent confrontation with well-armed Arab group that have opportunistically seized farms and land; there are continuous reports of these Arab groups coming from Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, and even Mali.  Certainly the UN and UNAMID are particularly culpable in failing to report “returns” that are unsuccessful, often dramatically so. 

For such honesty would compromise a narrative that has been relentlessly and shamelessly promulgated for several years, viz., that safe and voluntary returns have begun in significant numbers, and that the UN and African Union have succeeded in Darfur.  But the frequency and detail of Radio Dabanga reports indicate that the lands of sedentary African/non-Arab tribal groups displaced by violence remain too dangerous to return to.  The numbers of “returns” the UN claims—in the tens of thousands and still but a very small fraction of the number of newly displaced persons—seem to be based on a counting method that takes little account of the violence that characteristically returning displaced:

§  Armed herders burn village of voluntary return in West Darfur (Radio Dabanga [Mesteriha], December 10, 2012)

Armed herders have reportedly injured five members of the armed forces and burnt the village of Ronja for voluntary return as well as two other villages to the grounddestroying crops and around 10 kilometers of agricultural lands, sources informed Radio Dabanga on Sunday, 9 December. Sources from the area reported that the attacks started on Friday when farmers informed the police about trespassing of herders onto their farmlands.  §

§  Armed group shoots man, expels farmers from land, (Radio Dabanga [Gereida, South Darfur] June 14, 2012)

An armed group of 30 members traveling on horses shot a man and tried to expel farmers from their land near Gereida in South Darfur. Witnesses said the men entered a village and shot Muhannad Yacob from Al Safa while he was tending to his farm. They said Yacob was taken to hospital in Gereida for treatment. They added that militias try to take over farmlands belonging to displaced people as many are still living in the camps, forgoing the right to their land.  §

§  Armed militias seize farms in Kreinik, West Darfur (Radio Dabanga [el-Geneina], July 8, 2012)

IDPs returning to their lands in Kreinik, 36 km east of Geneina, found that their properties had been seized by armed militias. A sheikh [told Radio Dabanga that] IDPs returning to cultivate their lands during the rainy season in West Darfur were stopped by militias.  §

Further dispatches from the past year concerning threats to returning civilians can be found, along with a conclusion to this brief, in Part 2: http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=4022

 

 

End

 

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Everyone’s lives have to be transformed by growth

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2013

Everyone’s lives have to be transformed by growth

JOHANNESBURG,  – After nine months of consultations, the UN High Level Panel on determining the world’s post-2015 development agenda has issued a report calling for a path to sustainable development which will transform the lives of the very poorest.

Set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, it elaborates a vision of how the world should develop and grow after the expiry in 2015 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

While praising the achievements of the MDGs, the Panel said they had failed, among other things, to reach out to the very poorest and most excluded people; to highlight the devastating effects of conflict and violence on development; and promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

Spurred on by the central idea to eradicate poverty by 2030, the Panel also said development needed to be driven by five transformative shifts: Leave no one behind; put sustainable development at the core; transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth; build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; forge a new global partnership.

“What is particularly encouraging is that it sticks its neck out and chooses priorities, instead of an all-inclusive menu that is virtually impossible to monitor, much less implement”

The Panel recommends that almost all targets should be set at the national, or even local, level to account for different starting points and contexts.

Better focused?

Debby Guha-Sapir, director of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, told IRIN: “What is particularly encouraging is that it sticks its neck out and chooses priorities, instead of an all-inclusive menu that is virtually impossible to monitor, much less implement. The indicators listed are much more specific and better defined than the first phase of the MDGs and will therefore not only be actionable but also measurable. I was particularly heartened to note that comparable indicators, metrics and data are clearly mentioned which means we can look forward to more rigorous attention being paid for better data.”

On which topic the report’s executive summary calls for “a data revolution for sustainable development, with a new international initiative to improve the quality of statistics and information available to citizens. We should actively take advantage of new technology, crowdsourcing, and improved connectivity to empower people with information on the progress towards the targets.”

“Targets will only be considered `achieved’ if they are met for all relevant income and social groups.”

For instance, on setting a universal goal to eradicate poverty, the Panel suggests each country could set its own target to bring the number of people living on less than US$1.25 a day to zero and reduce by x percent the share of people living below that country’s 2015 national poverty line. Each country would also set a target to increase by x percent the share of women and men, communities and businesses with secure rights to land, property and other assets; cover x percent of people who are poor and vulnerable with social protection systems; build resilience and reduce deaths from natural disasters by x percent.

jk/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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There is concern about new DRC Intervention Brigade

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2013

Photo: MONUSCO
Tanzanian UN Intervention Brigade commander Brig-Gen James Makibolwa shakes hands with Tanzanian troops

GOMA,  – Nineteen international NGOs have sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express concern over the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and future military operations by a new UN Intervention Brigade.

The letter, dated 23 May and made public this week, asks the secretary-general to call on the 11 African states that signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) in Addis Ababa in February to implement the agreement, and to work with UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Mary Robinson.

The letter also recommends that the UN Security Council “should seriously consider suspension of the [UN Intervention] Brigade if it does not perform well or if the Congolese government does not make sufficient progress in implementing its commitments under the PSCF” agreement.

The brigade of 3,069 troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi, which the UN peacekeeping department says should be operational by mid-July, has been given a more offensive mandate than any previous contingent with a UN peacekeeping mission. UN Security Council Resolution 2098 empowers it to carry out “targeted and robust offensives… with a view to neutralizing and disarming armed groups”, whilst “taking into account the necessity to protect civilians and reduce risks”.

The NGOs’ letter asks Ban for his leadership “in ensuring that the operations of the Brigade… are clearly linked to the realization of the PSCF” and that it “is part of a broad, comprehensive approach to achieve long-term peace and stability”.

The NGOs also call on Ban to ensure that “planning and conduct of the Brigade’s operations prioritize mitigation of harm to civilians” and to urge “the Congolese government… to put in place a fully independent national oversight mechanism to oversee the implementation of its commitments outlined in the PSCF”.

Dialogue and DDR

Under this heading, the letter says “this should include local level dialogue to address the local causes of conflict and community grievances, as well as comprehensive Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) options for combatants, irrespective of nationality.”

During his visit to the North Kivu provincial capital Goma on 23 May Ban made it clear that the UN does not see the Brigade as the sole solution to eastern DRC’s conflicts.

“The Intervention Brigade will address all this violence” he told local media, “and will try their best to protect human lives, human rights and human dignity – but you should also know that this is only one element of a much larger process. I think a peace deal must deliver a peace dividend, health, education, jobs and opportunity.”

NGOs fear being linked with military action

One of the concerns that prompted NGOs to write the letter was the possible impact on their own work of future operations by the Brigade, said Frances Charles, advocacy manager for NGO World Vision (which sent the letter on behalf of the signatories).

“The issue of how the Brigade is related to the rest of the integrated mission and how independent humanitarian actors such as NGOs relate to MONUSCO is, I think, a very big issue.

“We need a lasting peace and that peace will have to be imposed by striking hard against negative forces”

“We have to preserve independent humanitarian access. MONUSCO needs to make clear to communities how all the different parts of the (UN) mission work together.

“One thing we are very concerned about, as World Vision, is being linked to any military action. We are independent and we want to make sure that our access to communities is maintained.”

Peacekeeping versus offensive action

Several observers have questioned whether MONUSCO’s existing role of protecting civilians, particularly in displaced peoples’ camps, will be possible in areas where the Brigade attacks armed groups, as this could result in retaliation against all UN military and civilian personnel as well as against other aid workers and civilians.

The interim head of MONUSCO’s office in Goma, Alex Queval, told journalists that all necessary precautions would be taken to ensure that peacekeepers continue all their existing work, but he did not go into details.

For its part the M23 rebel group has suggested that the Brigade will need to work in different areas to the other peacekeepers.

“It’s a very complicated situation for us,” M23 spokesman Rene Abandi told IRIN this week. “Blue helmets come with an offensive mandate while others are deployed in the same areas with a peacekeepers’ mandate. They have really to separate areas so that we can make the distinction.”

Speaking to the UN News Centre on 29 May, the commander of the Intervention Brigade, Tanzanian Brig-Gen James Aloizi Mwakibolwa, acknowledged there are fears among some observers that the Brigade will exacerbate tensions.

“Perhaps they expect collateral damage to the extent that several people are not positive about the Brigade,” he said.

“It should be understood that our first concern should be the protection of civilians as we take on the armed groups,” he added. “A UN peacekeeper is a person who must protect UN staff and UN property but, above all, he must protect the civilians.”

The brigadier stressed that while he heads the brigade, he is not the head of the UN force in the country. “We are part of MONUSCO and our instructions come from the force commander of MONUSCO,” he said.

Goma groups support Brigade

Civil society groups in Goma are generally supportive of the Intervention Brigade and its offensive mandate.

“For the first time people feel they can look forward to a better future – because the new force has a mission to put an end to the armed groups,” said Goyon Milemba, team leader of the North Kivu civil society association’s working group on security issues, after the arrival of the Brigade’s headquarters staff in Goma last month.

“If people think you can protect civilians by stopping attacks on armed groups, they are wrong. We need a lasting peace and that peace will have to be imposed by striking hard against negative forces,” the president of the North Kivu civil society association, Thomas d’Aquin Muiti, told IRIN.

He acknowledged there would be collateral damage but said the situation for the people in displaced camps is intolerable.

“This does not mean MONUSCO should stop protecting displaced people,” he said. “Rather it should reinforce protection.”

He added that the government should recognize it will have an additional responsibility for protection as the Brigade starts offensive operations.

nl/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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