Sudan has plans to repatriate 200000 people in Darfur UN agencies

Sudanese officials in El Fasher, North Darfur, said yesterday that the Government wants to return the civilians to between six and eight urban centres in the region, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.Khartoum has asked humanitarian agencies to provide “return packages” to the IDPs to help them relocate, and to transfer their operations to the urban centres when required.UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are both operating in Darfur, where more than a million people have become internally displaced since early last year, when fighting broke out between two rebel groups, Government forces and Arab militias known as the Janjaweed. OCHA said the agencies and NGOs are insisting to Sudan that they be consulted before any IDPs are relocated so they can ensure the mass movement is voluntary and that returnees have adequate assistance to help them re-settle.Most IDPs have told the agencies they are unwilling to return until their safety is guaranteed. Many fled their homes after they were attacked by the Government-allied Janjaweed, who stand accused of killing and raping civilians and destroying villages, wells and cropland.In South and West Darfur, the number of IDPs continues to rise – in one example, about 12,000 people have recently arrived in Gereida in South Darfur, seeking shelter in schools and abandoned public buildings. More policemen have also been posted to the IDP camps to improve security.Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said heavy rains are severely hampering its efforts to help the estimated 180,000 people who fled Darfur for neighbouring Chad. About 140,000 people have so far been transferred to nine safe camps inside Chad.Rains are also causing problems in Darfur, rendering road travel almost impossible in some areas, according to OCHA.Tomorrow the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, will brief the Security Council on the latest developments in Darfur. read more