UN factfinding missions wind up work in Darfur Sudan

A mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Darfur, led by World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director James Morris, arrived earlier this week and has been visiting senior government and local officials, non-government organizations (NGOs), and refugee camps. According to UN agencies, an estimated 1 million people have been uprooted in Darfur by an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Arab militias against the black African population. More than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring Chad. Meanwhile, a five-member UN human rights team on a separate tour of Darfur was expected to return to Geneva this weekend and give its report to Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan next week. The human rights team already had conducted interviews with Sudanese refugees from Darfur in Chad. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it has transported about 45,000 refugees further into Chad and away from the Chadian-Sudanese border, where the refugees were still being attacked by Arab Janjaweed militias. The agency said it hoped to have transported at least 60,000 before the rainy season starts in late May. In other news, two dozen raids in the last three months by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on Sudanese refugee camps in the Zoka Forest south of Adjumani town forced some 500 of the 32,000 refugees to go back to their homeland. Another 80 per cent of the camp dwellers moved to refugee settlements north of Adjumani, leaving their tiny farms during the planting season. Many of those who fled took food with them, UNHCR said. The agency, together with its partner organizations and the Ugandan Government, was registering refugees in eight areas north of Adjumani and in existing settlements in four zones in Moyo district. UNHCR is caring for 173,000 Sudanese refugees west of the Nile and in and around the Zoka Forest in northern Uganda. read more