16 February 2018

Sudan: Two West Darfur Camps Oppose Dismantling

Sirba — The West Darfur state government's plans to dismantle two camps for displaced people in Sirba locality, and resettle them in another location, has been met with rejection by the camp coordinators.

Camp coordinators of Kendebe and Bir Dagig camps said in a statement to the press that the plan to dismantle the camps includes a transfer of the displaced people to Goz Sigeit, west of Kendebe.

Bir Dagig was home to 3,500 displaced people in 2013, according to information of the United Nations humanitarian affairs' office (OHCA) at the time.

The coordinators appealed in their statement to the United Nations, the UN Security Council and the international and regional community to intervene in the plans and rescue the displaced people in the camps from being transferred elsewhere.

Re-planning

Also the South Darfur government has started planning the transformation of El Sareif camp for displaced people, south of Nyala. The camp would be turned into a permanent town for the displaced to settle permanently.

The federal government is seeking to empty or abolish camps in Darfur and has given the people three options for this. The first plan embodies the voluntary return of the about 2.7 million people who have been displaced by the conflict that erupted in 2003, to their home areas. Additionally, states in Darfur plan for the transformation of the camps into residential areas, or to make camps integrate into existing cities and towns.

Voluntary return plans

Last week the commissioner for the voluntary return in Darfur, Ibrahim El Tahir, promised to provide basic services to the returnees in three villages in the area of Habila in West Darfur. In a press statement El Tahir said that after the establishment of security, following the recent collection of weapons in the area, displaced people may return to Teles, Hamida and Delisu.

In Central Darfur, the Darfur Refugees and Displaced People's Association has rejected the voluntary return plans for displaced people by the state government and several native administrations. Hussein Abusharati, the spokesman for the Association, told Radio Dabanga that voluntary return depends on fundamental issues including comprehensive peace and the expulsion of armed groups who have settled in the places where displaced people would return to.

Voluntary return of displaced people and refugees remains a challenge for both the Sudanese government as the displaced themselves. Insecurity caused by roaming militias and the abundance of weapons, as well as the danger of running into armed new settlers in the home areas has kept at bay many of the displaced people living in camps.

The plans for the resettlement of displaced Darfuris in so-called model villages is drawn up in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (2011) which the Sudanese government signed with several rebel movements.

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