Working To Ensure Security For Darfur’s Displaced
UN Working To Ensure Security For Darfur’s Displaced, Says Peacekeeping Chief
New York, Oct 10 2008 4:10PM
The United Nations is working hard to ensure the safety of civilians and to protect the camps housing those displaced by the five-year-old Darfur conflict, the world body’s top peacekeeping official said during a visit to the strife-torn Sudanese region.
During yesterday’s stop in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy met with representatives from three camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
They requested the UN peacekeeping chief to boost the presence of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) in and around the camps to ensure the security and protection of civilians.
Some 2.7 million people have been displaced and 300,000 killed across Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003.
The issue of camp security was brought to the forefront in late August when around 31 people were killed at Kalma camp, in South Darfur, when Sudanese military and police forces raided the camp to execute a search warrant for illegal weapons and drugs.
Mr. Le Roy reassured the IDP representatives that UNAMID takes their concerns very seriously and has adopted a number of measures to address them. These include plans to deploy at least another 4,500 troops by the end of this year – bringing the total deployment level to about 65 per cent of the envisioned 26,000 troops and police.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), in consultation with UNAMID, is also reviewing plans to increase police and Formed Police Units in the camps.
While in El Fasher, Mr. Le Roy also met with local civil society representatives, whom he referred to as “natural allies” in the peace process in the region. The only way to achieve peace in Darfur, they stressed, is to “pressurize” all stakeholders in the peace process to come to the negotiating table.
Mr. Le Roy made a stop in El-Geneina, West Darfur, earlier today before proceeding on to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, where he was scheduled to meet with local authorities, visit a number of IDP camps and meet with UNAMID staff.