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Rights group denounces arrest of Darfur IDPs after meeting US envoy

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August 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Cairo-based Arab Coalition for Sudan (ACS) has condemned the continued detention of eleven IDPs in Central Darfur state following a meeting with the United States Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth.

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U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth and his team members pose for a picture with Darfur IDPs on 2 August 2016 (Photo US Embassy Khartoum Facebook page)

On July 26, the American envoy started a visit to Darfur states to assess the security and humanitarian situation on the ground particularly in Jebel Marra area.

Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on August 1st, arrested 15 IDPs leaders in Nirtiti town, Central Darfur following a meeting with Booth.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the ACS considered the arrest of the IDPs as violation for the national laws and international conventions, saying the move reflects discord among government institutions because the Foreign Ministry had earlier announced Booth’s visit to Darfur to assess IDPs conditions.

It pointed that the meeting of the American envoy with the IDPs leaders was included in his visit according to statements made by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

“The authorities should have cancelled the meeting in the first place instead of detaining [the IDPs] and targeting and pursuing them in such a manner and use excessive force [against them] and unjustifiably abuse them” the statement read.

The ACS stressed that NISS’s fierce campaign reflects the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation besides the miserable conditions of the IDPs inside the camps.

It added that the crackdown reveals to a large extent the size and level of the human rights violations committed by the NISS, saying the latter sought to suppress the IDPs and prevent them from expressing their opinions to the American envoy.

The statement further wondered why the government accepted to cooperate with the international envoys and approved their involvement in all peace forums while it refuses to allow the American envoy to meet with the IDPs.

The ACS demanded immediate and unconditional release of the IDPs and civil society activists in Darfur besides all prisoners of conscience, stressing the need to ensure a decent treatment of the detainees and their right to a proper defence and a fair trial.

UN agencies estimate that more than 120,000 people have been displaced by the fierce clashes which occurred since last January between the government army and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abel-Wahid al-Nur.

Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located at a water-rich area that is characterized by mild climate.

On 12 April, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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