Demobilization in Eastern Sudan Enters its Second Phase
Khartoum, 1 April 2009: Demobilization of 2,254 ex-combatants under the second phase of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme in Eastern Sudan kicked off today in Kassala State.
The official ceremony was attended by senior governmental officials, representatives of North Sudan DDR Commission, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Popular Defense Forces (PDF), Eastern Front, donor countries, and UN officials. The DDR process is part of the 2006 Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) that ended a decade-long conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front.
"The DDR process has become a reality in Eastern Sudan with support from the governments of the three eastern Sudan states, donors and UNDP. After demobilizing and reintegrating 1,700 ex-combatants from the Eastern Front, the Government, as part of the second phase of DDR, is now demobilizing 2,254 combatants from SAF and PDF", said North Sudan DDR Commissioner, Dr. Sulafeldeen Salih. “The Government, working together with UNDP and the international community, is advancing the peace process in Eastern Sudan”, he added.
Eastern Sudan DDR is carried out under UNDP’s Support to Human Security Project. During its first phase (2007-2008), the project also succeeded in registering demobilized combatants, and providing them with several services including medical screening, food and clothing packages, and financial support.
In a joint reintegration effort, NSDDRC, UNDP, Food Agriculture Organization, and national NGOs, 1,251 ex-combatants were trained on veterinary and basic business management skills. They were also provided with goats, sheep and commodities to help them start up small businesses.
“The DDR is the backbone of consolidating any peace agreement. Without successful reintegration of former fighters, sustainable peace, and accompanying social and economic development will not be possible. Therefore, the work we are undertaking collectively will be central to assisting Sudan to achieve its social and economics goals and to foster peace and development in the East”, said UNDP Country Director, Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz.
Addressing hundreds of ex-combatants who attended the event, Mr. Sam Hanson, Canada’s Chargé d'Affaires said: "We see DDR as an opportunity for all of us to give peace a chance. It is an opportunity for you, the ex-combatants, to find a new beginning and prosper through the dignity of meaningful work. As you do that, it is also an opportunity for you to make a contribution to the recovery and development of your country, Sudan".
In addition to a significant
government contribution, Canada, along with the UK’s Department
for International Development, the European Commission, Norway, Italy
and UNDP have provided approximately $6 million in support of the second
phase of the project, which requires $10 million in voluntary contributions.
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