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ICRC - Sudan: Bulletin No. 24 – 15 February 2005

Sudan: Bulletin No. 24 – 15 February 2005
Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

General situation
The security situation in Darfur remains unstable. Violent incidents are still being reported in different parts of the region, and civilians continue to leave their villages, increasing the need for protection and assistance.

The ICRC is concerned not only about the situation of the estimated 1.5 million displaced people but also about the living conditions of those who have stayed behind in their villages and remain vulnerable to violations of international humanitarian law.

ICRC highlights
After two years of work, the Sudanese National Commission for International Humanitarian Law has finalized the legal texts paving the way for the ratification of the two Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions.

The ICRC actively supported the National Commission’s establishment and activities. It will continue to help the Sudanese Government promote understanding and national implementation of humanitarian law.

Improving access to the victims
The ICRC maintained its support for the Sudanese Red Crescent, which is currently strengthening its presence around Nyala (Southern Darfur) and reaching ever more people isolated because of the conflict. This is the first step in the National Society’s endeavour to bolster its activities, in particular first aid and dissemination.

Distribution of seeds and tools in Darfur
In order to prevent further mass migration from rural areas to urban centres and displaced people and refugee camps, the ICRC will distribute seeds and farm implements before the end of May, in time for the planting season. Its aim is to encourage people to stay in their places of residence, while regularly addressing security concerns to the local authorities.

By these means, the ICRC hopes to sustain the already meagre living conditions of those affected by the conflict, affording them some independence from food distributions by allowing them to assume direct responsibility for their livelihoods.

The project’s beneficiaries and the kinds of seeds and implements required are currently being identified. Darfur has different types of soil that vary from sandy to clay. Subtle variations in conditions and a number of other important considerations have to be taken into account if the assistance is to be meaningful.

Skilled toolmakers from rural areas around Al Fashir have manufactured about 60,000 of the farming implements to be distributed; the ICRC has thus supported the local economy and helped prevent further displacements.

IHL and Islam
ICRC Arabic-speaking legal experts conducted several sessions on international humanitarian law and Islamic Shari'a law at the Universities of Khartoum, Alrabat and the Holy Koran. The sessions were attended by more than 1,350 students who discussed topics such as the national implementation of humanitarian law in different Arab countries.

In 2004 in Sudan, the ICRC:

§ supplied essential household items to 525,000 people and fishing equipment to another 10,450;
§ distributed 8,500 tonnes of food to 400,000 people;
§ organized the setting up of three camps for about 90,000 displaced people;
§ upgraded, repaired and expanded five hospitals and three primary health care units which have since treated 370,000 people;
§ provided four hospitals and 12 primary health care units with medicines, immunization programmes, training and medical staff to perform consultations and operations;
§ set up, repaired and developed water supply systems, providing some 200,000 people with two million liters of water per day;
§ collected over 33,800 and delivered more than 35,600 Red Cross Messages.

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