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Sudan’s VP says IDPs returning to their villages in Darfur

A returning refugee steps off an aircraft in Darfur, Sudan, after a flight from the Central African Republic on 12 December 2017 (UNHCR Photo)

February 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) Sudan’s Vice-President Hassabo Abdel-Rahman said large numbers of refugees and internally displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their areas of origin following the improvement of security situation in Darfur.

Abdel-Rahman, who chaired a meeting of the Darfur voluntary return committee on Tuesday, pointed to the need to accelerate the provision of the basic services at the voluntary return villages.

He called on the committee to coordinate with the governors of Darfur’s five states and the Darfur Commission for Voluntary Return to provide these services.

Abdel-Rahman said large numbers of IDPs and refugees were encouraged to return to their villages following the success of the disarmament campaign.

For her part, the Minister of Welfare and Social Security Masha’ir al-Dawalab said the meeting instructed to support efforts of her ministry to develop sustainable solutions for voluntary return problems and provide the necessary services.

She pointed out that their work would focus on the urgent humanitarian needs as well as the sustainable solutions, saying the government plan aims to move from relief operations to development and reconstruction policies.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and over 2.5 million were displaced.

For several years, the government sought to dismantle IDPs camps that have been established in areas around the capitals of Darfur’s five states after the eruption of the armed conflict in the region.

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 displaced persons and refugees remains the main challenge for the Sudanese government. There are 2.7 people living in protracted displacement camps since 2003 despite the relative improvement of the security situation.

In a report released on 5 February, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) estimates there are about 386,000 returnees in Sudan conflict areas including Darfur and the Two Areas.

(ST)