INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: South Darfur Hac Readmits Iom

Published: Thu 24 Sep 2009 09:50 AM
VZCZCXRO3235
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1080 2670950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240950Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4458
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001080
NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SMIG UN SU
SUBJECT: SOUTH DARFUR HAC READMITS IOM
1. (U) Summary: On September 15, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) signed "Terms of Engagement" with the South Darfur
Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). The document clarifies the
relationship between IOM and the South Darfur HAC, permitting IOM to
commence population tracking and returns verification activities.
End Summary.
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IOM SIGNS TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT WITH SOUTH DARFUR HAC
---------------------------- ----------------------
2. (U) On September 15, IOM and the South Darfur HAC signed "Terms
of Engagement." This document closely replicates the Memorandum of
Understanding with IOM, the Government of National Unity, and the
United Nations (UN), signed on August 21, 2004. The new agreement
will permit IOM to recommence operations in South Darfur that have
been stalled since February.
3. (SBU) IOM expressed concern at the government's high
expectations for IOM's support for returns, which the organization
must carefully manage. In discussions with the South Darfur HAC,
IOM emphasized that the organization's primary role is population
tracking and assessing the voluntary and appropriate nature of
returns. IOM is already working to monitor and map returns in seven
rural councils in North Darfur. IOM plans to reinstate the Returns
Working Group, and has invited the South Darfur HAC to participate.
To complement IOM's work with protection monitoring, UN agencies
continue to advocate for the South Darfur HAC to allow the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resume operations
in the state.
4. (SBU) Comment: In a recent note to UN agencies and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding 2010 strategy
planning for Darfur, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) for Darfur
noted that "Darfur today is not the Darfur of 2003 and 2004." IDP
needs have evolved with time; many IDPs are integrating into urban
and peripheral urban areas, while some are returning home for
seasonal activities or permanent resettlement. In fact, the HC
projects that larger numbers of IDPs may return home in 2010 than
during previous years, and consequently, NGOs and UN agencies must
be more vigilant regarding returns planning and response.
5. (SBU) Comment continued: IOM advises that humanitarian agencies
consider returns in the overall context of community needs in areas
of return, rather than thinking of returnees as a stand-alone
beneficiary group meriting targeted assistance. There is fear that
labeling individuals as "returnees" with special benefits could
stimulate artificial population displacements in search of
distributions. Moreover, an appearance of bias toward returnees
could aggravate inter-community conflicts that lie at the root of
the Darfur crisis. Finally, upholding the principles of voluntary
and appropriate return remains the foundation of international
support for sustainable returns. The news that IOM will be a
present and active partner in South Darfur is very good news. End
Comment.
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