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Cablegate: West Darfur - Interagency Cooperation To

VZCZCXRO9728
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1481/01 1760902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250902Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3386
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001481

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
USMISSION UN ROME
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR JBRAUSE, NSC/AFRICA FOR TSHORTLEY
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI KAWC SU
SUBJECT: WEST DARFUR - INTERAGENCY COOPERATION TO
CURTAIL ALCOHOL PRODUCTION IMPROVES IDP PROTECTION


-------
Summary
-------

1. Strict enforcement of a new policy designed to
curtail the illegal production, sale, and consumption of
alcohol in Riyad camp for internally displaced persons
(IDPs), near El Geneina, West Darfur, resulted in an 80
percent reduction in alcohol production and a decline in
the number of protection incidents recorded at the camp.
An interagency group comprising the Office of the U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), African Union
Mission in Sudan (AMIS), the international non-government
organization (NGO) camp coordinator, Government of
National Unity (GNU) police, and community leaders
jointly assessed the problem and devised an effective
policy that limited the production and sale of alcohol by
threatening to evict individuals engaged in these
activities inside the camp. Frequent patrons of illegal
alcohol establishments included armed security personnel
who, when intoxicated, became belligerent and abusive,
threatening the safety of camp residents. Furthermore,
the illicit alcohol trade contributed to the development
of criminal behavior that also threatened the public
safety of the camp's vulnerable IDP residents. Notably,
the successful restriction of the camp's alcohol trade
was achieved without evicting any camp residents. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Illegal Alcohol Trade Destabilizes an IDP Community
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. The production, sale, and consumption of alcohol in
northern Sudan are prohibited by law. Individuals who
fail to comply with this law can be imprisoned for up to
two years. Despite the prohibition against alcohol in
Darfur, strong demand has created a viable black market
for the production and sale of alcohol. Locally made
alcohol is available for sale in towns and cities, as
well as in several large IDP camps throughout Darfur.

3. In January 2006, UNHCR and several NGOs working in
West Darfur became concerned about an apparent rise in
the number of violent incidents at Riyad IDP camp near El
Geneina, West Darfur. UNHCR and NGOs jointly analyzed
protection incident reports from the camp. The
investigation revealed that a majority of protection
incidents -- including nightly weapon discharges,
physical assaults, shootings, harassment, home invasion,
and sexual assault of women by intoxicated, uniformed,
and armed men -- involved alcohol as a root cause. The
assessment team also found evidence indicating that
several sheikhs, or local community leaders, were
profiting from the illicit alcohol trade and obstructing
attempts to curb the production, sale, and consumption of
alcohol.

4. After conducting further research and consulting with
Riyad camp community leaders, the interagency group
concluded that a significant increase in local alcohol
production and consumption towards the end of 2005
destabilized Riyad camp's vulnerable IDP community. The
group's research indicated that more than 40 camp
residents were producing and supplying alcohol to an
active market with alcohol available 24 hours a day.
However, the majority of alcohol producers who had
established illicit businesses in Riyad camp were women
from nearby El Geneina rather than Riyad's IDP camp
residents. The group expressed particular concern over
the large number of uniformed, armed personnel found to
patronize these illegal establishments. The majority of
the reported protection incidents occurred at night when
joint patrols are not conducted by AMIS Civilian Police
and GNU police. (Note: International agencies are
prevented from working in the camp at night due to the
government-imposed curfew. End note.)

5. Riyad camp is located directly adjacent to El
Geneina, West Darfur's state capital. The illicit
alcohol trade which developed as a result of this close

KHARTOUM 00001481 002 OF 003


proximity also spawned the development of a "red light"
district in the camp that was frequented by both IDP and
town residents. Solicitation of prostitutes by armed,
uniformed personnel threatened the safety and wellbeing
of the camp's IDP population. The interagency group was
also concerned by numerous destabilizing behaviors
associated with the illicit alcohol industry, including
gambling, smuggling, gun-running, and the formation of
gangs, possibly through forced recruitment of local
youth.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Interagency Cooperation to Solve the Alcohol Problem
--------------------------------------------- -------

6. Selling alcohol is a lucrative proposition. The
interagency group initially considered increasing
livelihood programs to serve as alternatives to alcohol
production. However, as the income generation potential
of the proposed livelihood interventions did not compare
favorably with that of alcohol production, the programs
were deemed unattractive substitutes. Since the research
indicated that the major alcohol suppliers originated
from El Geneina, the group concluded that IDP livelihood
programs alone would ultimately fail to address the root
cause of the problem. The group did not fully
investigate solutions designed to limit demand for
alcohol in Riyad camp.

7. Though the camp's residents wanted to bring an end to
the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol in their
community, they were prevented from taking action due to
fear of retaliation from powerful sheikhs who profited
from the illicit trade. Community leaders wanting to
halt alcohol production requested assistance from local
police. Many NGOs working in the camp were initially
reluctant to involve GNU police in any alcohol
interdiction effort. However, UNHCR viewed the problem
as an opportunity to engage the GNU police in an effort
to strengthen community law enforcement and build trust
between police and the IDP community.

8. The alcohol policy eventually developed by the
interagency group included both enforcement and
livelihood substitution measures. Issued in early March
through an information campaign involving community
leaders, women's committees, GNU police, UNHCR, AMIS, and
the NGO camp coordinator, the alcohol policy declared
that individuals producing alcohol in the camp had one
week to cease production activities. If producers failed
to comply, authorities threatened to confiscate and
destroy their equipment and evict them from the camp.
GNU police concurred with the importance of the alcohol
policy and agreed that no one would be arrested in
furtherance of the alcohol interdiction policy.

----------------
Positive Results
----------------

9. Since the policy came into force in mid-March, the
interagency group estimates that 75 to 80 percent of
Riyad's illicit alcohol stills have ceased production.
Though the group estimates that up to eight stills remain
operational, local alcohol production occurs on a much
smaller scale. Producers quickly adapted to enforcement
measures by brewing and selling alcohol early in the
morning, between 0300 to 0600 hours when the camp curfew
remains in effect.

10. According to the interagency group and Riyad's IDP
community representatives, the policy resulted in a
significant decrease in the number of protection
incidents in the camp over the 10 weeks since the alcohol
policy has been enforced. Moreover, protection incidents
that have been reported in recent weeks are less violent
in nature. Gunshots, which had been routinely heard at
night, no longer occur. An examination of the March and
April protection reports clearly reflects this
improvement.


KHARTOUM 00001481 003 OF 003


11. Two GNU police monitoring missions have discovered
and destroyed six stills since the end of the grace
period for voluntary compliance. Other materials used in
the distilling process such as plastic buckets, metal
pots, terra cotta pots, and glass jars have been either
confiscated or destroyed. UNHCR, the NGO camp
coordinator, and AMIS Civilian Police witnessed these GNU
police operations and reported that they were conducted
in a professional and restrained manner. (Note: While
commendable that GNU police are contributing to improving
public safety in Riyad camp, GNU police actions in other
IDP camps in Darfur and in the Khartoum vicinity have
prompted widespread reports of human rights violations.
End Note.)

12. To date, authorities have not arrested or evicted
individuals found culpable of alcohol production. The
interagency group maintains that if alcohol production
expands beyond current levels and protection incidents
once again increase, graduated enforcement involving
harsher consequences will be applied. Such measures may
include individual arrests and destruction of shelters,
particularly if producers are found to be residents of El
Geneina profiting from the illicit sale of alcohol in the
camp.

HUME

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