The recent politically-driven violence in Kalma, one of the largest IDP camps in Darfur which sheltered some 82,000 people before the violence, is a case in point. In addition to those killed and injured during the violence between different groups of IDPs, thousands had their lives disrupted and were forced to flee to areas they considered to be safe, within the camp or areas outside the camp, including Nyala town. Many humanitarian services inside the camp were interrupted, with the destruction of a number of shelters in two sectors of the camp, and the burning of a health clinic operated by an NGO and a school. Subsequent firing at night in some sectors of the camp, and further burning of shelters, appeared to have the aim of frightening more IDPs away from the camp.
This situation was further aggravated when local authorities denied NGOs and UN agencies access to the camp for 15 days after 1 August, amid suggestions that they wanted to get rid of the camp altogether. This prevented any proper assessment of the humanitarian situation, and any adequate response to the needs of the affected population.
Meanwhile, access restrictions, in the form of denial in practice of permission for humanitarian actors to travel, still prevail in Eastern Jebel Marra, where approximately 100,000 people have been affected by fighting between the Government of Sudan and SLA-Abdul Wahid since February. These restrictions must be lifted as soon as possible.
It is also vital that displaced populations are not threatened with violence or otherwise forcibly moved. Any movement away from their current locations, including Kalma camp, must be voluntary, and based on free and informed decisions. Any effort by government authorities, other armed groups or indeed humanitarian actors to resettle or return IDP populations must be on this basis...
I also remind both the government and rebel movements of the imperative need to maintain the neutral, humanitarian and strictly civilian character of current sites of displacement to ensure conflict-affected populations are able to seek shelter and other aid without fear of violence. Camps should not contain weapons, or be used for purposes of violence of any kind.