‘Appalling’ conditions for Darfur displaced

Updated 01 February 2013
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‘Appalling’ conditions for Darfur displaced

KHARTOUM: Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in schools and government offices in Sudan’s Darfur region after violence this month, the UN said yesterday.
About 100,000 people are newly estimated to have been displaced or severely affected across a wide area of the Jebel Amir district of North Darfur state, the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) said in its weekly bulletin.
“Many of these people are living in the open in appalling conditions,” OCHA said.
It was the worst recent unrest in a region where a decade-long rebellion has been compounded by inter-Arab violence, banditry and tribal fighting.
Amnesty International says Sudanese security officers were reportedly involved in the gold mining-related attacks that killed up to 200 people and led to the massive displacement.
The largest group of 65,000 newly homeless are in El Sireaf, OCHA said, citing figures from the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission.
The El Sireaf district commissioner says schools and public offices have closed “due to the large number of displaced people who have taken refuge in these buildings,” OCHA reported.
In the local boys’ school alone, 25,000 people have sought refuge while a similar number are in the girls’ school, said the commissioner of the district about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of the state capital El Fasher.


Russia ‘skeptical’ over UN Syrian crimes against humanity report

Updated 21 June 2018
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Russia ‘skeptical’ over UN Syrian crimes against humanity report

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday said he was “skeptical” about a UN report accusing the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity during the siege of Eastern Ghouta.
The report published Wednesday said forces loyal to the government had deliberately starved civilians during the siege between February and April, among other crimes.
“We are in principle very skeptical toward the methods of this sort of work, whether it comes to war crimes or the use of chemical weapons,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
When questioned by journalists, Lavrov confirmed he had not seen the report.
He said it was “based on data obtained through social networks, video that was filmed by witnesses,” rather than being put together on the ground.
The five-year siege, on the outskirts of the capital, ended in April when Damascus regained control of the rebel enclave.
As pro-government forces dramatically escalated their campaign to recapture the besieged enclave, they used tactics that were “largely unlawful in nature,” the UN-commissioned report said.
The tactics, it said, “aimed at punishing the inhabitants of eastern Ghouta and forcing the population, collectively, to surrender or starve.”
Russia has been involved in Syria’s civil war since September 2015. Its military support of the regime changed the course of the war, allowing government troops to retake more than half the country from rebels and the Daesh group.
More than 350,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.