UNAMID Head asks international community in Brussels not to forget Darfur crisis

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Brussels (Belgium), 23 May 2014 —African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, visited Brussels on 20-21 May where he met with European Union (EU) officials and asked them not to forget the Darfur crisis.

In a lecture delivered at Friedrich-Ebert Foundation on Tuesday, the JSR explained that Darfur appears to be on a new cycle of violence. “Civilians have been direct targets of violence leading many to draw parallels between today’s conflict dynamics and the armed conflict in 2003. While we should approach this comparison with caution, similarities do exist,” he said.

Mr. Chambas noted that the structural issues that drove the 2003 conflict remained unresolved and traditional resolution mechanisms have been weakened. He mentioned that economic downturn has pushed poverty and criminality up, and that competition over land, water and mineral resources is getting stiffer and more violent. “A new wave of displacements and deliberate emptying of certain areas are suspected by communities to be well underway.”

“If international community fails to grasp this pattern, create much-wider awareness, put pressure on parties to the conflict to negotiate, and help in any way it can to halt the spiral into renewed violence, the impact could be widespread and more debilitating,” the JSR warned.

The Head of UNAMID highlighted that the crisis in Darfur is deepening at a time when the attention of the international community is shifting to other equally pressing conflicts worldwide. “Without prejudice to other countries needing support, it is my appeal before the international community, to not let go of Darfur,” he said, requesting the international community to continue supporting a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Darfur and funding the humanitarian actors to mitigate the effects of conflict in the region.