UN envoy encourages Sudan to take lead on internally displaced persons

UN envoy encourages Sudan to take lead on internally displaced persons

The United Nations envoy for internally displaced persons has encouraged the Sudan, which has the world's largest number of people uprooted from their homes, to take the lead on the issue both nationally and internationally.

Francis M. Deng, the UN Secretary-General's Representative for Internally Displaced Persons, raised the issue during his visit to the country from 11 to 18 September, when he held official meetings with President Omar al-Beshir and other senior officials to discuss the development of a national policy and strategy on internal displacement, including the establishment of a national focal point and an institution with a specific mandate for meeting the needs of all those affected.

Members of the Government expressed support for this approach and agreed to undertake a comprehensive study that would review current government policy and develop cooperative strategies in light of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and UN institutional arrangements.

The Government also agreed to use the study as the background document for an international conference to be held next year in Khartoum which would provide a forum in which the Government, UN agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, the donor community and the internally displaced themselves could discuss the national response to internal displacement and develop ways of enhancing that response with the support and collaboration of the international community.

Mr. Deng also met with representatives of UN agencies and other international organizations and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives of the diplomatic and donor community. His programme included visits to settlements of displaced persons in the capital, Khartoum, as well as to Ed Daien, Abyei and Atbara, during the course of which he met with local authorities and internally displaced persons themselves.

In his discussions with government officials, Mr. Deng noted that the Sudan, which has an estimated 4 million internally displaced, had much to gain from being seen to be taking the lead on this issue, both at the international level in advocating for the cause of the internally displaced, and in particular at the national level, in responding to the protection and assistance needs of its own uprooted citizens.