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UN Demands Immediate End To Demolitions

UN Demands Immediate End To Demolitions And Forced Relocation Of Displaced Sudanese

New York, Aug 17 2006 4:00PM

A United Nations human rights expert joined her voice today to the growing alarm about the Sudanese authorities’ demolition yesterday – without warning – of the homes of 12,000 long-term internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in a camp south of the capital Khartoum.

Sima Samar, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Sudan, told a press conference in Khartoum that there had been reports “of a number of deaths,” including some children, during the demolition operation.

“I call on the authorities to immediately halt the forced relocation and allow access to the area so services can be provided to the population,” Dr. Samar said.

In a statement released today the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said heavily armed policemen and tanks surrounded the squatter camp at Dar Assalam, situated about 43 kilometres from Khartoum, about 8 a.m. yesterday.

With only a few minutes’ notice, bulldozers then moved in and demolished hundreds of houses. UN officials in the area were barred entry and told to leave after they heard gunshots.

UNMIS, which has also condemned the operation and asked for immediate access to the area to assess the humanitarian situation, said it was particularly concerned because Dar Assalam residents and authorities had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this year indicating that there would be no forced relocations until another site acceptable to both sides had been found.

“The UN remains ready to provide all necessary assistance to ensure that any relocation of the people of Dar Assalam takes place on the basis of the MoU and with due regard to the human rights and humanitarian needs of all residents,” according to the UNMIS statement.

Most residents of Dar Assalam have lived there since the 1980s, having fled western Sudan during the famine of that period.

Ends

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