Saturday, January 31, 2009

Visiting a Sick Person

A delegation of IDP leadership in El Fasher approached UNAMID in December to warn that January would be a violent period. They felt exposed to retaliation by government-affiliated militia if a warrant was issued by the ICC for President Bashir, and claimed that both rebels and government would be consolidating their positions in the lead up to a political upheaval that would reconfigure the peace process.

Fearing for their own well-being and for the safety of UNAMID, the delegation asked what UNAMID troops intended to do if security deteriorated during the month. Senior mission officials assured the IDP delegation that UNAMID would continue regular patrols to provide safety for civilians throughout Darfur.

One Omda summed up his theory of UNAMID patrols’ contribution to safety in the camps with the comment “You know, we (camp residents) are not opposed to UNAMID patrols - as ineffective as they may be - but the patrols are a bit like sending a friend to visit a sick person in the hospital. The show of solidarity is nice, but it won’t heal the problem.”

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