9 August 2010

Sudan: UN Official Discusses Tensions in Darfur Camp for Displaced With Sudanese Minister

During his meeting with the top Sudanese humanitarian official today, the head of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur discussed the recent tensions in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the south of the war-torn region.

Ibrahim Gambari, who also serves as AU-UN Joint Special Representative in Darfur, underscored the willingness and commitment of the mission, known as UNAMID, to work with the Sudanese Government in challenging situations in the interest of justice and the people of Darfur.

In his meeting with Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Mutrif Siddiq, Mr. Gambari expressed UNAMID's regrets, as well as his personal concern, over recent events in Kalma and Hamadiya camps for IDPs in south Darfur and their possible negative impacts on the future of the peace process.

Tensions in Kalma rose late last month after the conclusion of the latest round of peace talks in Doha, Qatar, with some groups contending they were unrepresented. Thousands of IDPs took part in deadly protests in the camp.

On the issue of six people who sought refuge in the UNAMID Community Policing Centre in Kalma, Mr. Gambari said that the issue is both sensitive and delicate, but that it should not be allowed to "create an unnecessary breakdown in communications or mar the existing cordial relations" between the Sudanese Government and the mission, according to a UNAMID press release.

He also briefed the Sudanese minister on the 5 August talks with the Government, during which it was agreed to form a joint Sudanese-UNAMID committee to deal with all issues surrounding the events in Kalma and find a solution.

The Joint Special Representative also pledged the mission's commitment to work with authorities to resolve the issues of arms proliferation within the camps.

He appealed for immediate access for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian agencies to IDPs, especially given the current rainy season, as well as calling for those who have left camps to return if they wish to.

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