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Cablegate: Arab Tribal Resettlement in Darfur Issue More

VZCZCXRO9212
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1132 2031520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221520Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7946
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001132

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREF PHUM EAID SU CD UN
SUBJECT: ARAB TRIBAL RESETTLEMENT IN DARFUR ISSUE MORE
COMPLEX THAN INITIALLY TRUMPETED

--------------------------------------------- ------
Resettlement Issue Outside Scope of Current Findings
--------------------------------------------- -------

1. (SBU) The much-anticipated report by the UN High
Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) on the influx of Arabs from
Chad into Darfur will determine their legal status rather
than assess whether the Sudanese Government has launched a
program to resettle Chadian Arabs in the region, according to
UNHCR Deputy Head Craig Sanders (please protect). "UNHCR is
fairly confident that these people are refugees, fleeing from
a general conflict," Sanders told USAID/DCHA Team Leader for
Darfur and Poloff on July 19. He said that more
investigation would be needed before UNHCR could assert that
Sudan was resettling the Chadian Arabs, a topic that was
outside the scope of the investigation. Citing a
"compromised access situation" as a major hindrance, Sanders
noted that UNHCR's assessment was "a bit of a patchwork."
Given the legalistic nature of determining prima facia
refugee status and the charged political environment, the
report is undergoing extensive review for accuracy.

------------------
Terms of Reference
------------------

2. (SBU) The terms of reference for the report were: 1)
Investigate the circumstances of flight and make a
determination of status of those involved, 2) Develop a
strategy for assistance, and 3) Highlight the "protection
areas," such as nationality and land, that UNHCR will need to
monitor. UNHCR and the Sudanese Government's Commission on
Refugees (COR) cooperated in their examination of the
evidence to make a proper designation of refugee status. The
COR has not obstructed UNHCR's efforts to date, according to
Sanders.

----------------------------
Migrants Fleeing Prosecution
----------------------------

3. (SBU) The approximately 40,000 Chadians of Arab origin who
have settled in West Darfur in recent months are the second
wave of migrants, said Sanders. An earlier group of 20,000
Chadians began arriving at the end of 2005, and UNHCR had
determined that they had legitimately fled the conflict in
Chad. In the case of the new arrivals, UNHCR is striving for
a thorough assessment of the situation consistent with their
standards of prima facia refugee status. Some may be
excluded from refugee status, for example, if they are deemed
combatants or former combatants. However, Sanders
anticipated that UNHCR would conclude that the refugees left
Chad based on a "well-founded fear" of the deteriorating
security situation, either because they had been direct
victims of violence or had feared that instability would soon
affect them. Without further investigation, however, UNHCR
was unprepared to say that the 40,000 new migrants had been
persecuted because of their ethnicity.

-----------------------------
Complexity of Ethnicity, Land
-----------------------------

4. (SBU) Sanders said that reports were mixed on the
Government's involvement with the new arrivals. "There is
fairly compelling evidence in some cases that the authorities
are involved in this, in others not," he explained.
"However, the intention of this report was never to determine
with certainty if there was foul play." Sanders added that
any determination of nationality would require extensive
investigation in the future. Some members of the new group
of Arab tribesmen are known to be Sudanese nationals that
migrated to Chad in the 1970s, for example, and belong to the
same tribal confederations found on both sides of the border.
UNHCR would have to initiate a formal registration program
to determine the nationality of the new arrivals, which will
be difficult given poor access conditions due to insecurity
and the absence of roads. Determining land ownership would
prove equally complicated. "It is very difficult on the
basis of what we know now to come up with a rock solid, black
and white determination on land," he said.
FERNANDEZ

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