The looting and destruction of UN food relief agency premises and property in Sudan, has prompted the UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and UN Country Team, to condemn the assault as a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law”.
On 19 June, a group of protestors ransacked the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Graida office, in South Darfur, stealing an unspecified amount of money and vandalizing four vehicles. They also invaded and destroyed offices and properties of the humanitarian organization, World Vision International (WVI).
“This behaviour is totally unacceptable, especially the looting and destruction of humanitarian property causing serious disruption to the work of humanitarians providing lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable people of Graida”, said Gwi-Yeop Son, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.
“These actions constitute a blatant violation of international humanitarian law”, he spelled out.
Protect UN and other international staff -- UN Joint Chief Mediator
Attacks against civilian populations in Darfur continue and appear to be increasing in severity. Some 1.64 million internally displaced persons in Darfur remain especially vulnerable and sexual and gender-based violence continues to restrict women and girls’ freedom of movement in IDP camps and areas of return, according to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who briefed the Security Council last week.
She noted that this is part of a resurgence of grave crimes by former ‘Janjaweed’ militia fighters that are now part of the Transitional Military Council-sanctioned Rapid Support Forces and who were responsible more than a decade ago for many alleged atrocities in Darfur.
For his part, UNAMID Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator, Jeremiah Mamabolo, decried the limited support given to UN entities facing dangerous attacks that risk the lives of staff and local citizens.
“This looting incident in Graida comes just a few weeks after a similar intrusion took place in El Geneina, west Darfur”, he pointed out. “Such wanton destruction of UN property and assets cannot continue with impunity”.
Although the situation has been brought under control and evacuated UN staff have safely arrived in Nyala, South Darfur, the Organization stressed the critical need to respect humanitarians assisting the most vulnerable in Darfur and the rest of Sudan.
“The UN further reminds the Government of Sudan, as a member of the United Nations, and its citizenry in general, that they have a standing obligation to protect UN and other international staff operating in their country, including the organisation’s assets”, Mr. Mamabolo emphasized. “It is the responsibility of the of the Government of Sudan to be accountable and to protect all UN staff operating within Sudanese borders”, he underscored
In line with the protecting of civilians, UNAMID continues to monitor and facilitate humanitarian access in Darfur, as mandated by the Security Council.