In Darfur, UN mission voices concern over possible security raid on camps for displaced

A section of the Kalma camp for internally displaced people (IDP), near Nyala, in South Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran

A section of the Kalma camp for internally displaced people (IDP), near Nyala, in South Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran

Darfur, 3 November 2014 – The United Nations mission in Darfur expressed concern today over the Government of Sudan’s alleged intentions to conduct a security search operation in a camp for internally displaced people (IDP), cautioning that such an act might increase tensions among the camp’s civilian population.

In a press release, the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID, noted that Government forces were possibly planning a raid in Kalma camp near Nyala, in South Darfur, adding that the Mission was taking “preventive measures to mitigate the impact of such an operation on the civilian population of the camp and to reduce the tension there.”

“The Mission has engaged the local authorities in South Darfur, in accordance with its protection of civilians’ mandate, and demanded that if there were a need for such selective searches, these should be conducted in coordination with the camp leaders and the Mission and that should be carried out respecting human rights and observing international humanitarian law,” UNAMID declared in its press release.

According to UNAMID, Mission personnel have been meeting regularly with IDP leaders, including women and youth, in order to explain the measures being undertaken to reduce the impact such raids may have on the civilian population.

In addition, the Mission noted, UNAMID had strengthened the presence of peacekeepers in the Mission’s Patrol Site in Kalma and increased the number of patrols which are conducted around the clock at the camp.

At the same time, UNAMID has also reminded the camp population that “harbouring, aiding or abetting offenders who possess weapons contravenes international humanitarian law and that such weaponry should not be stored, handled or trafficked in IDP camps.”

The press release explained that the Mission remained engaged “with all relevant stakeholders” while adding that Government authorities had denied any such plans for a raid at the Kalma camp “at the current time.”