Vatican appeals for more action to solve Darfur refugee crisis

 The Vatican's observer to the UN has made a desperate appeal on behalf of millions of people displaced by the war in the Sudan. Speaking at the 32nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva last Thursday, Mgr Fortunatus Nwachukwu, nunciature counsellor at the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations said: "The refugee situation in Africa remains a deep scar on the human family everywhere. The precarious and tragic condition of these millions of persons forcibly uprooted from their villages and their lands calls for concrete and prompt decisions to alleviate their suffering and to protect their rights." Mgr Nwachukwu noted the "positive signs given in the past year when voluntary and organized repatriation of refugees had started to normalize life for tens of thousands." However, there has been "insufficient funding" and a "worsening of violence and ill-treatment of the displaced population of Darfur where the humanitarian situation is critical. Systematic attacks on the civil populations, the destruction of infrastructures and entire villages and the elimination of livestock and crops lead to a widespread displacement of the civilian population." He said: "If a person is lucky, he or she becomes a refugee by crossing the border and ends up in a refugee camp in Chad, where protection and some relative safety may be provided. ... The African Union military monitors are insufficient in number and lack the necessary logistical support." In conclusion, he said that, notwithstanding "the courageous presence and assistance of the UNHCR, of other UN agencies and many NGOs, ... a strong UN leadership and an overall coordination by one agency of external assistance and protection to IDP (internally displaced persons) camps and other places of their concentration appear urgent. ... As international community we should develop a reliable system which effectively protects those staying in their own country, but displaced from their homes." Source: VIS

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