Armed fighting over land, water and other natural resources in Sudan’s Darfur region continues to put civilians at risk, the top United Nations peacekeeping official has told the Security Council, calling for long-term solutions that will allow 2.6 million displaced people to return or resettle.
“Civilians remain exposed to significant sources of insecurity such as inter-communal conflict and criminality, including the activities of armed militias,” the undersecretary-general for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, told the Council presenting the latest report of the secretary-general on the situation in Darfur.
He added that despite a significant decrease in overall armed conflict, particularly as a result of the Government’s military successes against armed movements, the situation in the region was further exacerbated by a “widespread proliferation of weapons and the inadequacy of rule of law and justice institutions”.
Tensions between the various communities recur due to long-standing disputes over access to land and the control of water and other resources, according to information cited from the report.
For example, at least 70 people were killed in the past few months in clashes between farmers and herders in seasonal migration underway in the southern part of Darfur.
Such violence is raising concerns for the millions of displaced people living in bases and camps under the protection of the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
“Long-term comprehensive solutions remain necessary to create the necessary conditions for the return or resettlement of the 2.6 million people who remain in displacement in the region,” Ladsous said, “and the resolution of the underlying causes of inter-communal conflict related to access to land, water and other natural resources.”
Among other points raised in his briefing, Ladsous noted that despite efforts by UNAMID and the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and international initiatives, “little tangible progress” has been made in the peace efforts in Darfur.
At issue were delays over agreement on the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance.