Blog Post #2: Posted February 18, 2015
Topic: Improved Security in Sudan’s Darfur Lures IDPs to Return
El FASHER, Sudan, Feb. 13.
After 12 years of armed conflict, the security situation in Sudan’s Darfur region is witnessing a relative improvement, encouraging thousands of internally displaced people (IDP) to consider returning to their home areas.
At Abu Shouk, the biggest camp for IDP in Darfur, 4 kms north of El Fashir, capital city of North Darfur State, life is going on normally.
“This camp accommodates 47,500 displaced persons compared to about 127,000 three years ago. There has been a decline in the number of the displaced persons in the camp due to the voluntary return program,” according to the camp director.
The camp director says that the situation has become stable after the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in July 2011.
He hailed the life and security inside the camp. “This camp has become part of El Fasher city and life here is better where health, water and education services are provided. Presently there are additional services.”
“In terms of security, I must note that since Abu Shouk camp was established in April 20, 2004, only 12 cases of murder have been registered. Presently we do not have registered murder cases, save for normal theft and quarreling crimes,” Sheikh-Eddin added.
Since the Sudanese government and the Darfur Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed the DDPD in 2011, the military confrontations in Darfur have reduced which caused thousands of displaced persons to voluntarily return to their home areas.
However, some intermittent events, Sheikh-Eddin said, hinder the voluntary return program, adopted by the government, to achieve its entire goals.
He pointed out that some of the sporadic events which take place at various areas in Darfur compel the displaced people to return to the camps.
Sheikh-Eddin urged the government to work to provide the suitable circumstances for the voluntary return, including the establishment of model villages, enforcement of the sovereignty of the State and the rule of law, collecting the wide-spread arms in the region and compensating those affected by the conflict.
In the meantime, a number of displaced persons inside Abu Shouk camp expressed their true willingness to leave the camp on the condition that security and services are restored in their home regions.
“Definitely we want to voluntarily return to our home areas as it is illogical to live in the camp forever. We want to return to our villages and exercise our normal works of cultivation and grazing,” said, an administration official in Abu Shouk camp.
Ishaq Mohamed, also a camp officer, told Xinhua that “the security situation has greatly improved, which pushed thousands of the displaced people to interact with the voluntary return program.”
Fatima Abdul-Salam, a displaced woman in Abu Shouk camp, said voluntary return is better than staying at the camps.
“We want to return to our homes and exercise our normal works. We do not want to depend on what is provided by the organizations of food that do not meet our needs,” she said.
There are five IDP camps in North Darfur State, including Abu Shouk, the biggest, where around 47,000 people live, along with Al-Salam camp with 45,000, Zamzam with 42,000, Kassab with 26,000 and Fata Barno with 24,000.
According to the United Nations, around 1.4 million people are living in IDP camps in Darfur and others abroad, noting that the figure rises and falls based on the indicators of violence in the region which has been witnessing a civil war since 2003.
The Sudanese government and LJM on July 4, 2011 signed the DDPD which addresses issues relating to power and wealth sharing, human rights, return of refugees and IDPs, compensation, permanent cease-fire and security arrangements.
However, some major Darfur armed movements, including the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement, have rejected to sign the agreement.
Review the post, write your response, interact with classmates on their perspectives. Incorporate (within the post) additional research to provide a better understanding of Darfur situation.
Discuss the post in general and specifically answer the following questions:
In this post, which elements of security do you detect, that are motivating people to return?
In the context of this post, what is the meaning of return, for those displaced?
Your responses can be posted starting anytime through Tuesday, February 24, midnight.
Retrieved February 18, 2015