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Un Security Council Mission Heads To Chad

Un Security Council Mission Heads To Chad

New York, Jun 9 2006 5:00PM

A delegation of United Nations Security Council members visiting Sudan and neighbouring countries held talks today with officials in North Darfur for talks on security, humanitarian issues and gender-based violence.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the mission, led by the British Ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones Parry, also met with the UN country team and representatives of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Overall, three years of fighting in Darfur among government forces, pro-government militias and rebels have killed scores of thousands of people and displaced some 2 million others amid charges of massacre, rape and other atrocities against civilians.

A small African peacekeeping mission known as AMIS has reduced some of the violence in Darfur but more troops, equipment and training are required to address the problems of the region, which is roughly the size of France.

The Security Council is considering a transition to a United Nations force to be deployed in conflict-wracked Darfur. The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is already stationed in the southern part of the country helping to implement a peace agreement that ended a separate conflict there.

The Council delegation was travelling to Chad’s capital, N’djamena, today and then on to refugee camps in Abeche and Goz Beida sheltering those who fled the violence in Darfur. The members would also visit internally displaced Chadians.

The team is scheduled to go next to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it will meet next Monday with President Joseph Kabila and his vice-presidents, before returning to UN Headquarters in New York.

Meanwhile, the first wave of southern Sudanese refugees to return home from the DRC crossed the border at Morebo this week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. The convoy carried 224 of the 2,600 Sudanese refugees who have been living in the DRC.

UNHCR noted that they have received only $10.6 million of the $75 million required for the repatriation process, which usual includes travel, stopping at transit centres and giving the refugees tools, food and reintegration allowances.

The 21-year-long rebellion in southern Sudan destroyed roads, schools, boreholes and homes, killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. UNHCR has been working in the region to clear roads of mines and rehabilitate facilities for the returnees.


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