IDPs, refugees discuss return and resettlement at South Darfur conference

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Participants of the conference attend the opening ceremony in Coral Hotel, in Nyala. © Albert González Farran, UNAMID

More than 400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from across Darfur, as well as refugees living in neighboring countries, came together for a two-day conference in Nyala, South Darfur, to discuss several pressing issues, including return and resettlement.

The forum, which concluded on 26 March, was organized within the framework of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), which stipulates that all stakeholders in the Darfur peace process be able to share their views and contribute to that process.

Participants presented proposals on a host of issues, including voluntary return and resettlement; peace and security; compensation, reparation and restitution for property; land rights, natural resources and nomadic routes; humanitarian aid; and the rights of women and children.

Addressing the conference, Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) Chairperson Tijani Seisi identified voluntary returns as a top priority of the DRA. Urging people to spread values of cohesion and tolerance, he noted that tribal clashes only serve to destabilize peaceful coexistence and the social fabric of Darfur’s communities.

Speaking on behalf of Ms. Aichatou Mindaoudou, the Acting Joint Special Representative of the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Mr. Mohamed B. Yonis, the Mission’s Deputy Joint Special Representative, stated that the continued displacement of people in Darfur breeds human suffering and impedes development. He noted that the conference is important because it brings together key stakeholders to map out a strategy to facilitate the return and resettlement of those displaced.

The forum resulted in agreement by the attending IDPs and refugees on several recommendations, including the formation of a committee to follow the implementation of the recommendations in partnership with the DRA’s Voluntary Return and Resettlement Commission.

Other stakeholders taking part in the event included representatives of civil society groups, native administrations, non-governmental organizations, the Sudanese Government, United Nations agencies and UNAMID.