A United Nations Integrated Assessment Team, led by UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR)-Protection, Ms. Bintou Keita, travelled to Sortony, North Darfur from 29-31 January 2017 to conduct an on-the-ground assessment of the situation at the UNAMID Team Site, the adjacent IDP Gathering Site, and nearby Kube water point.
The Assessment Team comprised UNAMID staff from Civil Affairs, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Liaison, Gender, Legal Affairs, Rule of Law, Communications and Public Information Sections, as well as the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Darfur and staff from the United Nations Country Team (UNCT).
Extensive meetings were held with Team Site personnel, humanitarian personnel, IDP women, IDP leaders and Kube nomadic leaders.
The IDPs expressed appreciation to UNAMID and the humanitarian agencies for their provision of protection and humanitarian assistance to the population over the past one year. UNAMID peacekeepers provide protection through presence to the IDPs in the Gathering Site through short and long-range patrolling, including specifically for women undertaking livelihood activities such as firewood collection and farming. In addition, four observation posts have been constructed at strategic points inside the IDP Gathering Site in order to provide peacekeepers with clear long-range lines of sight into the camp and surrounding areas. UNAMID police also patrol within the IDP Gathering Site, including on foot, to ensure optimal interaction with the population.
The Assessment Team also engaged community leaders on the need to work with UNAMID Civil Affairs Section (CAS) to urgently address pending conflict related issues in the area which have the potential of degenerating into serious inter-community conflicts. Additionally, CAS is working with local opinion leaders, who have played a positive role in a number of the reconciliation efforts between the IDPs in Sortony, to support the local Native Administration bring the parties to the negotiating table.