Volatile security in Darfur limiting UN aid workers’ access to needy

24 July 2006

United Nations humanitarian staff in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region cannot reach at least one in five of those in need of assistance because of the ongoing violence and insecurity there, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported today.

Direct attacks against humanitarian workers, acts of banditry and fighting among rebel groups mean the UN has access to less than 80 per cent of beneficiaries, well below the rates achieved in 2004, according to UNMIS.

The mission said it is also worried that the security conditions inside some camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) are so poor that humanitarian operations there have been placed at risk. In Zamzam camp in North Darfur, the presence of arms belonging to elements of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), one of the region’s rebel groups, is raising concerns. Last Thursday IDPs killed three government workers and a police officer at Zalengi camp in West Darfur.

The reports come as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, completed a two-day tour of South Darfur as part of his regular visits to the three states in the region.

Mr. Pronk met South Darfur’s governor and members of the local government yesterday, also holding talks with local UN staff and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers and inspecting a government-run camp for about 13,500 IDPs at Sureif.

Scores of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million others have been displaced since 2003 because of fighting between Sudanese Government forces, allied militias and rebels that has led to claims of civilian massacres, rapes and other atrocities.

 

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