December 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed serious concern over recent protests by some of its former staff members saying they are “not peaceful in nature”.
On 5 December, dozens of UNAMD’s former local staff protested in front of the mission’s premises in four capitals in Darfur for non-payment of financial dues owed to them since 2010.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, the mission said the former employees “have on a number of occasions forcefully blocked movement in and out of UNAMID camps and obstructed access of Sudanese nationals employed by the Mission to their workplaces”.
“We, as a Mission, take our responsibilities towards the people we serve, including separated staff members, seriously. However, we cannot condone demonstrations that are not peaceful in nature and are based on unfounded accusations and demand for payments that are not in line with the rules and regulations of the United Nations,” stated the Head of UNAMID, Joint Special Representative Martin Uhomoibhi.
The mission stressed that “all national staff that separated from the Organisation on 31 December 2015 have received all benefits owed to them for the period of their service with UNAMID, except for a relatively small group whose pension entitlements are being processed”.
“UNAMID is working closely with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the body solely responsible for administering pension benefits, to finalize this category of payments” added the statement.
It is noteworthy that the former staff members protested seven times during this year in four Darfur states to demand overtime pay.
Chairman of the Dismissed Staff Committee, Hafiz Abiad, had earlier told Sudan Tribune that his committee represents 263 Sudanese staff who were dismissed and their financial rights denied in Nayla, Zalngei, El-Geniena and El-Fasher.
He pointed that the protesting staff demanded to be paid their pensions’ entitlements which was agreed on with UNAMID in March, saying the mission didn’t recognize some of their rights.
Abiad added that they made a complaint to a court within the United Nations to demand the overtime pay, saying the court asked them to provide a document proving their claim of the previous financial rights.
“We sent the document and we are still waiting [for the court’s decision]," he said.
The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.
It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.