13 April 2009 The joint United Nations-African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region today reported that the security situation is now relatively calm despite some continuing acts of banditry and carjacking in North and West Darfur.
Over the past month, the hybrid operation tasked with quelling the violence and protecting civilians in Darfur, known as UNAMID, had reported a rise in attacks on peacekeeping staff, carjacking, armed banditry, the burning of shelters in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and harassment of civilians in Darfur.
There has also been concern over the safety of humanitarian workers, many of whom have been ordered to leave the region following the indictment on 4 March of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the region.
Over the past 72 hours, UNAMID said that its military force conducted dozens of patrols across the region, including 22 confidence-building patrols, 15 escort patrols, six night patrols, and one investigation patrol covering 45 villages and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
UNAMID’s police component also conducted a total of 96 patrols in and around the villages and IDP camps.
The hybrid force was set up by the Security Council to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
More than one year on from transferring the task of suppressing the violence to UNAMID from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), well over 12,000 of the 19,555 military personnel authorized by the Security Council are now in place across Darfur.
In related news, the second regular meeting of the Darfur Human Rights Forum will kick off tomorrow in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. The one-day meeting is aimed at promoting transparent and constructive dialogue on human rights issues between the Government of Sudan and UNAMID.
Attending the gathering will be officials from the Government of Sudan at the local and national level; members of the Advisory Council on Human Rights (ACHR), also representing the Government; members of the diplomatic community; the AU; UNAMID and UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Human Rights officials. Participants from the Darfur State Committees on Combating Violence against Women and Children will also participate.
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