Darfur: UN pledges support for voluntary return of displaced people to safe areas


The United Nations is ready to support internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region who wish to go back to their villages of origin, but only if the returns are voluntary and the areas of return safe, the head of the Organization’s humanitarian wing said today.

Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs focused on displacement and return issues as she continued her visit to the vast African nation, including during a meeting with IDP families in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, who have chosen to return to their original homes in West Darfur.

They asked for relocation aid packages, transport, agricultural support, as well as assistance in health and education, UN News Service reports.

In the nearby relocation site of Sakale on the outskirts of Nyala, Amos met communities from the Kalma camp who have decide to settle there permanently. The site is now a suburb of Nyala and offers families greater opportunities to regain a sense of normality. They are now able to seek employment, cultivate plots of land allocated by the Government and commute to their areas of origin during the planting and harvesting seasons.

At the Kalma camp, one of largest in Darfur, most individuals Amos spoke to at a food distribution centre said that they have not considered going back to their areas of origin because they believed the villages are not yet safe enough.

Amos will wrap up her six-day mission tomorrow, meeting with senior Government officials, donors, representatives of non-governmental organizations and UN officials in the capital, Khartoum.