One day after parties to the conflict in Darfur missed the African Union’s deadline for reaching a peace agreement, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the main rebel groups in particular to redouble their efforts to end the suffering and destruction in the strife-torn Sudanese region.
“The situation in Darfur continues to be dire,” Mr. Annan warned through a statement issued by his spokesman today addressing the parties, especially the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Pointing out that millions of civilians remain dependent for their survival on humanitarian assistance which is threatened by the continuing violence, he added: “The clear solution is for the parties to seize this historic opportunity to achieve peace and begin the task of recovery and reconstruction.”
The Secretary-General pledged that the UN “stands ready to assist” in this endeavour.
Meanwhile, the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to be serious, according to the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, who reported today that fighting over the past three months has resulted in the displacement of some 250,000 more people.
He told a press briefing in Khartoum that a result of the violence in Darfur, “households that can take care of themselves,” dropped from 40 per cent to 20 per cent.
He was also critical of what he called the insufficient flow of funds pledged by donors to Darfur, adding that there was also an urgent need for $20 million to address problems stemming from the new displacements along the Chad/Sudan border and other areas plagued with insecurity.
In order to keep the spotlight on conditions in the country, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, arrived over the weekend in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, intending to visit Darfur and the south of the country.
Also over the weekend, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) together with other UN agencies, launched a training programme designed to strengthen the capability of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to restore the rule of law in Darfur.
The programme, the very first UN Joint Programme in Darfur, is fully funded by the Government of Japan through the Human Security Fund and will cover a broad area of topics including, internally displaced persons, child rights and protection, gender-based violence, codes of conduct, the notion of voluntary return, and Sudanese legal and cultural frameworks, according to UNDP.