The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the African Union reaffirmed his commitment to help bring peace to Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region and enhance the security of civilians in the area, as he met with a group of displaced persons in North Darfur.
Ibrahim Gambari’s remarks came during his first visit with Darfur’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) since taking up his post as the head of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, in January.
Gambari met with the traditional community leaders in Zam Zam camp, located 17 kilometres south of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and headquarters of UNAMID, as well as women’s groups and youth leaders.
He reaffirmed his commitment and support to help bring peace to Darfur where at least 300 000 people are estimated to have died and another 2.7 million more have been driven from their homes in over six years of fighting between the Government, its militia allies and various armed groups and to enhance the security of civilians and IDPs.
The Special Representative added that he would ensure that the concerns of the IDPs were raised when he travels to Doha, Qatar, to witness the signing of the agreement on cessation of hostilities between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
According to press reports, the signing is supposed to take place tomorrow, with leaders from both sides pledging to reach a final peace deal by 15 March.
Among the concerns voiced by the IDPs at Zam Zam include a lack of transportation, education and health care. In addition, a female leader spoke of the need for the participation of women in the peace process, and a representative for the camp’s youth thanked UNAMID’s police community centres for providing activities to 120 young people.
“I will work for you, to address all your concerns as quickly as possible,” said Gambari, thanking the representatives for their remarks.
Before concluding his visit, the Special Representative presented 3000 textbooks to be distributed to schools in the Zam Zam area.