Cablegate: Codel Hears Idp Problems at Darfur's Zam Zam Idp Camp

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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Congressman Keith Ellison traveled to El Fasher,
North Darfur on August 6 to visit the Zam Zam Internally Displaced
Persons (IDP) camp. Conditions at the camp have deteriorated
following an influx of 30,000 IDPs from South Darfur in February and
the expulsion of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
in March. North Darfur Assistant Governor Idriss Hassan told the
Congressman his government cannot meet the needs of returnees, and
asked for assistance. UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
troop deployment is currently at 71 percent and will reach 96
percent by year end. The Government of Sudan has delayed visas for
50 top Western military officers, leaving UNAMID with only four
experienced Western officers; UN officials asked the United States
to intervene. Delays in the deployment of two Formed Police Units
(FPUs) has left only one FPU available to patrol three large camps
with IDPs totaling more than 140,000. END SUMMARY.

Governor Asks Help with Returns

2. (SBU) Congressman Keith Ellison, Charge' d'Affcires (CDA) and
accompanying delegation met Assistant Governor (Wali) of North
Darfur, Idriss Abdalla Hassan in the Wali's offices in El Fasher on
August 6. Hassan thanked the delegation for their visit, which he
viewed as a sign of improvement in the "special relationship"
between Sudan and the United States. Security in North Darfur has
improved dramatically in the last year, Hassan said, the result of
diminishing friction between the Darfuri rebels and the Government
of Sudan (GOS), and reestablishment of the social fabric in North
Darfur. The Wali's office is cooperating with UNAMID and the NGOs
operating in North Darfur, which Hassan called a positive
development for all partners. Hassan told the Congressman that
while El Fasher-based IDPs are eager to return home, assistance is
needed to support their returns, reconstruct their former homes, and
develop the local agrarian economies upon which most IDPs formerly
depended. Hassan cited a recent figure of 1,127 IDPs who had
returned recently from North Darfur to Haskanita, South Darfur, but
admitted that the GOS was ill-equipped to fully assist them. "The
government gave them necessities, but what we have is not enough,"
Hassan said. "When we conclude it is beyond our capacity, then we
need external support."

Zam Zam Conditions Deteriorating

3. (SBU) Escorted by UNAMID police and Rwandan peacekeepers,
Congressman Ellison, CDA and accompanying delegation traveled 17
kilometers southwest of El Fasher to Zam Zam IDP camp. Home to over
100,000 Zaghawa IDPs, Zam Zam once hosted large-scale USAID-funded
relief projects through partners CHF International and International
Rescue Committee, both of which were expelled in March.
Representatives from Relief International (RI) in North Darfur told
Congressman Ellison that RI is working to fill the gap left by the
expulsion of the NGOs in March 2009, but the need for large-scale
emergency humanitarian relief is growing. Conditions in the camp
are deteriorating, the RI representative said.

4. (U) Visiting the location of the former CHF clinic in Zam Zam,
Congressman Ellison was greeted by young Darfuri students who had
crowded to the location after GOS authorities converted the
straw-walled structures into a school. Amid the heavy stench of
untreated sewage, teachers and students all pleaded for more
assistance to the location, saying it lacked teachers, books,
classroom materials and transportation. Badr Ishaq, a former
administrator for CHF who has spent four years running the clinic in
Zam Zam, added that conditions at the school are not optimal for
learning. "We need CHF," he told Congressman Ellison.

5. (SBU) Zam Zam IDP leaders, including Zam Zam Umda (chief leader),
Adam Omar Ahmed, detailed the deterioration of services within the
camp since the arrival in February of up to 30,000 new IDPs fleeing
conflict in South Darfur, followed closely by the expulsion of CHF,
IRC and Oxfam UK from the camp in March. Umda Ahmed and other
leaders asked the U.S. to further press the GOS on increasing
humanitarian aid to the camp. The Umda told the delegation, "We are
completely dependent on the international community." Zahar
Mansour, the appointed speaker for the young women among the recent
arrivals to Zam Zam, said that the situation is particularly
difficult for women in the camps. Citing the scarcity of water and
lack of medical facilities, she told Congressman Ellison, "Our
suffering is your responsibility." "No one is speaking on our
behalf except Allah and the international community," a young man
told the Congressman.

UNAMID Deployment at 71 Percent

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6. (SBU) Meeting at UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher, Darfur, AU-UN
Joint Special Representative (JSR) Rodolphe Adada told the
delegation that UNAMID peacekeeping troop deployment stands at
13,938 troops, 71 percent of the total allowed under its mandate.
JSR Adada expects steady progress on military deployment until the
end of the year, when the total should reach 96 percent of 19,630
total peacekeeping troops. The end of Darfur's rainy season in
September will bring with it increased mobility for UNAMID troops,
but slow movement of contingent-owned equipment (COE) from source
countries delays deployment to points far afield in Darfur. Colonel
Noddy Stafford, Chief of J5 plans, suggested that the United States
can assist by providing airlifts for COE from Port Sudan to El
Fasher and Nyala.

GOS Refusal to Grant Visas Serious Problem for UNAMID
--------------------------------------------- --------

7. (SBU) Adada called the GOS's refusal to grant visas to
experienced Western military officers a "serious problem." UNAMID
currently projects that by the end of August this year, only four
Western officers will remain with the mission, two from(Italy, one
from Germany and one from the UK. "The GOS is limiting visas to
sensitive nationalities," Adada said, and urged the United States to
raise the issue in discussions with the Sudanese. Adada said that
the current wait list for senior Western officers now includes over
50 officers, but that does not take into account countries such as
France that have stopped sending officers to UNAMID due to the

Police Units Deployments Delayed

8. (SBU) Elizabeth Muwanga, UNAMID Deputy Police Commander and
Officer in Charge of UNAMID's substantial contingent of Formed
Police Units (FPUs), told the delegation that while UNAMID's
military deployment continues apace, UNAMID is facing a shortage of
FPUs. Tasked to patrol the IDP camps and coordinate with the GOS
police to develop community policing centers, the FPUs are under
deployed and under equipped for the task of policing among Darfur's
2.7 million IDPs. Muwanga asked that contributing countries send
more female police officers and policing equipment. She also
requested that the international community address delays in the
deployment of FPUs. Police Colonel Johni Asadoma, leader of the
Indonesian Formed Police Unit (FPU) that escorted the delegation on
August 6, noted that his contingent was also under equipped and
spread too thin. According to Asadoma, ideally, El Fasher's three
IDP camps would be patrolled by one FPU each, but delays in
deployment have hamstrung the Egyptian and Jordanian FPUs meant for
the other camps. For that reason, the 140-man Indonesian force has
to patrol Zam Zam, Abu Shouk and Al Salaam IDP camps, a total
population of around 140,000 IDPs.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: Thanks to the GOS's recent affection for U.S.
Congressional delegations, Rep. Ellison's visit to Darfur proceeded
smoothly. Local authorities permitted the delegation to access
honest perspectives from a wide variety of parties on the ground in
El Fasher. Zam Zam IDPs would agree with the Assistant Wali's
assessment of GOS capacities in Darfur: the GOS cannot handle the
humanitarian effort on its own. For example, piecemeal GOS attempts
to return educational services to Zam Zam have resulted in one
underfunded school in a camp that once hosted 20 functioning IRC
kindergartens (ref B). UNAMID's struggles to deploy fully are
well-known, but significant progress will have been achieved by the
end of this year. Post agrees with the assessment by JSR Adada that
the refusal to issue visas to Western officers is a "serious
problem," and his newfound honesty may reflect the fact that Adada
is due to depart the mission within a few months. Post will
continue to follow the FPUs closely, as they bear the responsibility
for bringing 24/7 security to the camps. END COMMENT.


© Scoop Media

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