UN Under-Secretary-General Holmes visits Darfur

1 Dec 2008

UN Under-Secretary-General Holmes visits Darfur

25 November 2008 -- John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, began a six day visit to Sudan today by going to one of the largest camps housing internally displaced persons in Darfur.

At the Kalma camp in Nyala, home to 88,000 IDPs in South Darfur, John Holmes listened to the concerns of the camp representatives and assured them of continued humanitarian support.

Among the concerns of the sheikhs in the camp were the incidents on 25 August, when 33 IDPs were killed and 108 wounded after Government security forces surrounded Kalma camp. For their part, the sheikhs appreciated the role played by aid organisations and the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) but called for reinforced protection.

John Holmes said that UNAMID police are now patrolling the camp on a round-the-clock basis, which has helped people to feel more secure, but added that more needed to be done, not least to ensure women can feel safe as they move in and out of the camp.

In meetings with UN agencies and NGOs, aid workers voiced their continued concern about security incidents, including increasingly frequent car-jackings and break-ins and a challenging work environment stemming from bureaucratic and other obstacles, particularly in sensitive protection of civilian areas.