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Cablegate: Abductee Returns

VZCZCXRO8525
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0555 1011134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101134Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0522
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000555

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: ABDUCTEE RETURNS

1. (SBU) Meeting with Poloff on April 8, UNICEF Child Protection
Officer Viktor Nylund described the recent activities of the
Committee on the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children
(CEAWC) as "limited" and "disorganized." Formed in 1999 within the
Government of Sudan's (GoS) Ministry of Justice, CEAWC seeks to
resolve the status of thousands of Dinka women and children abducted
from Northern Bahr el-Ghazal prior to 1989, during the North-South
civil war.

2. (SBU) CEAWC negotiated the release of 95 individuals (65
children) in the Nyala region of South Darfur, and 71 individuals
(41 children) in the Ed Daein region of South Darfur, in March 2008.
UNICEF monitored the return process. Nylund said that CEAWC's Dinka
community workers regularly denied access for social workers from
the State Ministries of Social Welfare, and kept UN staff from
interviewing new arrivals, viewing convoy departure manifests, and
visiting returnee transit centers. When UNICEF workers were able to
visit transit centers, they noted that 100 returnees awaiting
transport were crammed into three small rooms and were subsequently
put on convoys heading south with limited access to food and water.

3. (SBU) UNICEF describes CEAWC's reintegration procedures as
non-existent. In some cases, abductees have been absent from their
home communities for two decades, and some are second generation
abductees, born to parents already in bondage. At the conclusion of
their trip "home," abductees are "dumped under a tree," in the words
of Nylund. The GoS and the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) do not
coordinate the return convoys, and the GoSS makes no preparations
for their returns, said Nylund. He said CEAWC does not track the
abductees upon their return, and Dinka tribal authorities have no
mechanism to integrate abductees into their former communities.

4. (SBU) Background: Militias from the Baggara tribes, notably the
Rizeigat and the Misseriya, raided Dinka villages for slaves as
forced labor in Southern Kordofan and South Darfur during the long
North-South war. CEAWC operated from 1999 to 2006, claiming to
return approximately 2,000 abductees to Bahr el-Ghazal, and was
mostly dormant until the GoSS granted CEAWC 1 million dollars in
February 2008 to resume its activities. CEAWC receives no funding
from international NGOs; UNICEF has not provided funding since 2004.
Due to the serious shortcomings in CEAWC's recent activities
described, UNICEF may consider pulling its limited support this
month. It is estimated that several thousand abductees may remain in
South Darfur and Southern Kordofan.

5. (SBU) Comment: Despite its criticism of CEAWC, in an October 2007
internal review UNICEF noted that CEAWC is currently the only
mechanism available to return the remaining abductees. Post will
check with both UNHCR and IOM to see if there may be some way of
supporting or coordinating with CEAWC to assist in this effort.
Since many of the returnees have not been to their home areas in two
generations, it is important to facilitate adequate reintegration
but this is generally an endemic problem in much of South Sudan.

FERNANDEZ

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