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North Darfur endorses residential plan to resettle IDPs

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Sortoni IDPs camp has a population of 23,000, the vast majority of whom came in early 2016 when fighting started in Jebel Marrah mountains.(Photo MSF)

October 15, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The government of North Darfur State on Monday has approved a plan to turn the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps into permanent residential areas.

The plan proposes to establish a technical committee to conduct the necessary surveys to turn the camps into new residential compounds to accommodate the IDPs who wish to integrate into their current communities.

North Darfur government spokesperson Al-Hadi Burma Salih said each family would be granted a plot of residential land, pointing out that the plan was developed following lengthy consultations with the IDPs.

It is noteworthy that the first phase of the plan aims at resettling 45,000 IDPs families from Abu Shouk, Al-Salam and Zam Zam camps.

Despite the relative security in Darfur region and the deployment of the government troops across the region, the existence of displacement camps remains the symbol of the 2003 insurgency that displaced over 2.5 million since 2003.

Last June, Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) Ahmed Mohamed Adam stated that the government has no plan to forcibly evicting the camps, but has set a number of options for IDPs, including resettlement in the area where they are, or in another area according to their desire.

Since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011, the government constructed several villages and vowed to support IDPs who return to their home areas.

However, the return of IDPs and refugees remains the main challenge for the Sudanese government. There are 2.7 million people living in protracted displacement camps since 2003 despite the relative improvement of the security situation.

In a report released on 5 February, UNOCHA estimates there are about 386,000 returnees in Sudan conflict areas including Darfur and the Two Areas.

(ST)

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