Darfur: UN launches supplementary appeal to protect internally displaced
The United Nations refugee agency today launched a $19.7 million supplementary appeal to fund protection and aid for up to 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s Darfur region uprooted by fighting between government troops and rebels as well as by regular attacks by Arab militia on African tribes.
“Protection and security remain the most fundamental needs for IDPs and refugees in Darfur,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said, noting that there are also 20,000 refugees in Darfur who had fled fighting in neighbouring Chad. “Key challenges are the ongoing displacement and the occupation of villages.
“Particular attention to sexual and gender-based violence is still required, considering its high incidence among the displaced population. “Victims require both special medical and psychological care and support,” it added.
There are also 230,000 Darfurian refugees who have fled into neighbouring Chad. The more than three-year-old conflict between Government forces, allied militia and rebels seeking greater autonomy has killed at least 200,000 people. Beyond the 20,000 Chadian refugees in Darfur there are over 100,000 Chadian IDPs uprooted by unrelenting inter-communal violence there.
Despite the signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese Government and one of the rebel groups in Darfur last May, the security situation remains extremely volatile, UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.
“With constant fighting between government troops and rebels opposed to the DPA [Darfur Peace Agreement], as well as regular attacks by Arab militia on African tribes, there is no prospect of return for internally displaced people in Darfur, nor for the more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees hosted in eastern Chad,” she said.
She noted that aid workers had been the targets of organized attacks, with 12 of them killed in recent months, while assaults on humanitarian compounds and possessions had seriously reduced access to the people the most in need.
“Despite the extremely precarious security conditions in Darfur, UNHCR remains committed to assisting the displaced and refugees in the region,” Ms. Pagonis stressed.
In a separate development UNHCR reported today that 100,000 Sudanese refugees had now returned home to southern Sudan where a peace agreement two years ago ended a two-decade-long civil war between Government forces and rebels. An estimated 340,000 refugees remain in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia from that conflict, which also displaced some 4 million others internally in Africa’s largest country.