Go home, Bashir tells Darfur's displaced

2012-02-08 16:44
El Fasher - About two million people displaced by conflict in Sudan's Darfur should go home, President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for alleged war crimes in the conflict, said on Wednesday.

"We will let IDPs [internally displaced people] and refugees start their lives again. It is not acceptable for Darfuri people to live in the camps," he said in the North Darfur state capital.

"We want all the people in the camps to return to their villages," he said, promising "peace, security and services".

The United Nations says about 1.9 million reside in settlements for those displaced by violence in the country's western region of Darfur, where rebel groups that rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003 were confronted by state-backed Janjaweed militia. The conflict shocked the world and led to allegations of genocide.

Bashir spoke at a ceremony inaugurating the Darfur Regional Authority, the body in charge of implementing a peace deal signed last year in Doha between the government and an alliance of Darfur rebel splinter factions.

Under that agreement, IDPs have the right to return voluntarily "and in safety and dignity" to their homes, or to resettle elsewhere.

The chief of one IDP camp told visiting journalists last month that officials have to provide "some kind of confidence building" measures to encourage returns.

"First they have to provide the security", said Ahmed Atim, chief of the eight-year-old Abushouk IDP settlement, which resembles not a camp but a village.

Residents said violence including shooting and looting continues.

War crimes

According to the United Nations, small numbers of people have returned home but Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, a non-profit research and advocacy group, says many have nothing to go back to.

"The original villages have been wiped out," he said earlier. "There's no reality to this."

Among its other provisions the Doha document calls for a truth and reconciliation committee, a national human rights commission, $2bn in government support for reconstruction and development, compensation for refugees, and affirmative action for Darfuris in government and military service.

Key rebel groups refused to sign the Doha pact, saying it failed to address the Darfur problem at its roots.

The UN estimates at least 300 000 people died as a result of the conflict in the vast region, with about 300 killed in clashes last year.

Sudan puts the overall death toll at 10 000.

Bashir is wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

Read more on:    omar al-bashir  |  sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.