11 June 2018

Sudan: Govt Denies Policy of Forced Eviction From Darfur Camps

Khartoum — The Sudanese government has no plans to forcibly evict the displaced from the camps in Darfur. It has also set new conditions for the work of international humanitarian organisations.

Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam told the press in Khartoum on Saturday that the government has given the Darfur displaced living in camps three options: Return to their villages of origin, resettlement in another area as desired by the displaced, or integration into the host community.

According to the commissioner the number of camps for the displaced in Darfur has decreased to a total of 39 camps. The total number of displaced in the region amount to approximately 1,900,000.

He said that by the end of December 2017, more than 386,000 displaced people and refugees returned spontaneously, without any support and arrangements by the authorities. This year about 400,000 displaced voluntarily returned to their places of origin so far.

UN OCHA reported in its Darfur Humanitarian Overview of October 1, 2017 that an estimated three million people, among them 2.1 million displaced, in the region were in need of humanitarian assistance. About 1.6 million of the displaced are living in 60 camps. The year 2017 counted 8,200 newly displaced, a large drop compared to 2014, when 430,000 Darfuris were forced to flee their homes.

Prominent Sudan researcher and analyst Prof. Eric Reeves stated in April this year that approximately 2.2 million Darfuris are living in one of the roughly 100 camp sites listed by the UN.

Voluntary return

The Voluntary Repatriation and Reconstruction Commission in Darfur announced in April that it will conduct a comprehensive survey among those people who have already voluntary returned to their places of origin, to identify their basic needs.

South Darfur Governor Adam El Faki however, said that the Kalma camp, with more than 100,000 residents one of the largest camps for the displaced in the region, would be dismantled "within one or two weeks". The displaced would be evacuated as part of the government's plans to eliminate all Darfur camps this year. By the end of 2018, there will be "no camps, food aid, or relief organisations" in Darfur any more, he said.

In May, he told a delegation of the UN Security Council that he had withdrawn his plans.

Restrictions

The Humanitarian Aid Commissioner announced as well that the authorities developed new, restrictive conditions for international organisations engaged in the provision of humanitarian aid in the country's conflict areas: Darfur, and South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

"In addition, any foreign organisation cannot carry out work in Sudan without the consent of a national partner - in all fields, be it health, education, or any other [sector]," he said, and threatened to withdraw the work permission of any organisation that does not comply to the rules.

He added that this step comes "within the framework of the codification of voluntary humanitarian work in Sudan", developed "to achieve the twinning stipulated in the Voluntary Labour Act for the indigenisation of voluntary work in Sudan".

There are 13,000 registered humanitarian organisations and 5,300 other organisations in Sudan. Until now, about 320 agreements between foreign organisations and their national counterparts have been signed, he said.

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