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UNAMID’s local workers renew protests over unpaid benefits

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UNAMID local staff members protest in El-Fasher over non-payement of entitlements on 28 July 2016 (ST Photo)

January 22, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - Dozens of former local staff of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Sunday have protested in front of the mission’s premises in North Darfur capital, El-Faher for non-payment of financial dues.

Chairman of the Dismissed Staff Committee, Hafiz Abiad, told Sudan Tribune that the former workers protested peacefully to force the mission to acknowledge their rights, saying the security services asked them to leave the mission’s premises and meet the head of the security committee in North Darfur state.

He stressed they would continue to hold peaceful protests until they receive their rights, saying the deputy governor and head of the security committee vowed to meet them on Tuesday to resolve the issue.

Last December, 263 former UNAMID workers protested in front of the mission’s premises in four capitals in Darfur for non-payment of financial dues owed to them since 2010.

At the time, UNAMID issued a statement expressing serious concern over the protests by some of its former staff members saying they 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”.

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 2016 in four Darfur states to demand overtime pay.

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.

(ST)

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