Sudan must stop relocating internally displaced people in Darfur – Annan

Sudan must stop relocating internally displaced people in Darfur – Annan

Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for the Sudanese Government to halt the forced relocation of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the strife-torn Darfur region.

In a pre-dawn operation, Khartoum reportedly moved hundreds of IDPs from El Geer village near Nyala in South Darfur. A spokesman for Mr. Annan issued a statement calling the action a violation of international humanitarian law and saying it directly contravenes commitments made by the Government.

Mr. Annan strongly urged the Government to immediately halt all relocation operations and to facilitate the return of the affected people from the “inappropriate sites” to which they have been taken. “This should be done in accordance with the principles noted above and in consultation with the international agencies present on the ground in Darfur,” he said.

The Secretary-General voiced concern about the overall deterioration of the situation in Darfur, where 18 people were recently kidnapped by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) while and thousands of Arab militias mobilized in areas of West and South Darfur.

“The SLA and the militias risk sparking a new round of violence that could claim the lives of thousands of civilians,” he warned.

Mr. Annan urged the parties to the conflict to fully respect the N'Djamena ceasefire, the SLA to release the hostages, and the militias to stand down.

He also reminded the Government of Sudan that under international humanitarian law it must prevent any attacks against civilians.