16 May 2013

Sudan: Media Highlights Plight of Darfur Displaced 'But Govt Ignores Us'

Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran/UN
UN Officers Discover Unexploded Bomb in Darfur Area Hit by Clashes (file photo).

Darfur — Displaced persons in the Darfur camps have praised ongoing efforts to assist approximately 40,000 people who have arrived in the El Rahad area, North Kordofan. Most of these are fleeing hostilities between government troops and rebel groups.

They have also praised the frequent daily coverage of the plight of the displaced of Kordofan in media including radio, television, and newspapers in Khartoum. This media attention has resulted in aid convoys being sent by various states and civil society organisations.

However, the displaced of the Darfur camps have denounced the government-controlled media's "total and deliberate disregard for the large and unprecedented influx of displaced persons in Darfur".

Displacement is still ongoing, which is not helped by the complete absence of relief organisations, a ban on their activities, and restrictions on the movements of Unamid. This makes it difficult for them to reach the areas of the incidents.

In April the UN said that "military clashes between government and armed movement forces and heavy intercommunal conflict significantly increased the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance. The number of people newly displaced also increased substantially.

Adverse security conditions and intermittent access restrictions imposed on aid agencies by belligerent parties impeded humanitarian needs assessments and the provision of aid in areas affected by fighting."

"Khartoum has failed us"

Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Zamzam camp in North Darfur, one of the leaders of the displaced persons stressed that the Khartoum regime has failed in its responsibility towards the Darfur displaced for the last decade.

"Displacement has been ongoing for ten years in Darfur without the government taking any action. However, when the same thing happened in El Rahad and Tendelti, the government reacted within hours. This alone is proof of the Sudan government's disregard for Darfur Arabs, blacks, armed movements, politicians and even people in Darfur affiliated to the National Congress Party."

The leader pointed out that the regime has the responsibility to treat the newly displaced of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile in the same way they handled El Rahad and Tendelti. "Why does the government deny access to relief organisations to Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where people in some of the camps have not received any food in six months?"

A camps' coordinator in Central Darfur state has confirmed that the government continues to deny the displaced of the region access to humanitarian services and food. There is therefore a prevalence of hunger and diseases, largely due to the government's expulsion of humanitarian organisations, or its preventing them from reaching those in need, he said.

"At the same time, however, the same the government opens centres to collect donations for relief for the displaced people of El Rahad and Tendelti, sending them aid convoys and supplies on a daily basis," the coordinator told Radio Dabanga. "In contrast, the government prevents them from reaching Darfur."

The coordinator added that the government-controlled media and local press try to make as if there were no displaced persons in Sudan other than those who fled to El Rahad, Umm Rawaba or Tendelti. "From this, we deduce that the National Congress Party practice racism and discrimination when dealing with the displaced of Darfur, Southern Kordofan or the Blue Nile."

The coordinator asserted that "provision of relief and assistance to those affected by natural and man-made disasters is the duty of the state and all officials".

He said that it seems as if Sudan's government wants to cleanse the peoples of these five states. "They rightfully ask: 'are we not Sudanese? Is this government not our government? Do we not have the same rights as displaced persons in this country as other Sudanese brothers do?'"

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