Sudan: UNAMID statement relating to Kalma IDP camp

News and Press Release
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On 21 October, Sudanese media reported on the statement made by the Minister of Interior before the National Assembly saying that "the UN and the Government of Sudan (GoS) agreed that Kalma and Zalingei Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are considered a threat to security." He reportedly also called for the 'evacuation' of Kalma IDP camp. UNAMID, the African Union - United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, wishes to recall that following the incident of 25 August 2008, where 33 civilians were killed and at least 85 injured during a law enforcement operation at the camp, Government officials and UNAMID leadership held a series of meetings, during which the Government of Sudan committed not to make any unilateral decision regarding Kalma IDP camp.

Since then, UNAMID leadership has visited the camp on a regular basis. During the most recent visit by the Joint Special Representative on 19 October, the IDPs expressed their gratitude and requested additional UNAMID presence in the camp. The Mission is now providing round-the-clock presence in and around the camp.

UNAMID reiterates that while the alleged presence of weapons in the Kalma camp is a real security concern, any action to be taken to address the issue needs to conform to international humanitarian law. The Mission exhorts the IDP community to ensure that their camps are, and remain, free of weapons.

UNAMID is mandated to ensure the protection of civilians in Darfur, including the IDPs. The Mission continues to work with the Government of Sudan and the IDPs in order to improve living conditions in the camp. UNAMID also strives to create conditions conducive to the voluntary return of IDPs to their homes.