Demobilization in Eastern Sudan Enters its Last Phase

Khartoum, 31 July 2009: Demobilization of 767 ex-combatants under the second phase of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme in Eastern Sudan was officially launched yesterday in Gedaref.

The official ceremony was attended by senior governmental officials, representatives of the Eastern Sudan DDR Commission, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Popular Defense Forces (PDF), British Embassy officials 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. After Red Sea State and Kassala State, Gedaref is the last state in Eastern Sudan to start with the DDR process. Already 3.680 ex-combatants in Red Sea State and Kassala State have been demobilized and are now preparing for their Reintegration Process.

"The DDR process is well on its way in Eastern Sudan with support from the governments of the three eastern Sudan states, donors and UNDP. ", said Eastern Sudan DDR Commissioner, Abdelrahman Baleid. “The Government, working closely 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, HIV awareness and referral, food and clothing packages, and financial support.

“DDR in East Sudan would not be possible without the support and commitment of the governments of the three Eastern Sudan States, the Northern Sudan DDR Commission (NSDDRC), donor community but most importantly the determination of the ex-combatants who had the courage to leave their weapons and enter a new world of peace and prosperity. The government of Sudan is leading and implementing the DDR programme and we, the UNDP, are their partners in this challenging venture”, Basil Massey, UNDP DDR Programme Manager said. “The DDR programme is crucial for advancing the peace process in East Sudan and in the whole country. Without successful reintegration of former combatants, lasting peace and sustainable development will not be possible”, he added.

Addressing hundreds of ex-combatants who attended the event, Dr. Rosalind Marsden, the British Ambassador to Sudan said: “The DDR component of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement is crucial to promoting stability and peace throughout the region by putting former combatants back into civilian clothes and giving them the dignity that comes with having a new livelihood. Earlier this week in Port Sudan and Kassala I had the pleasure of meeting former combatants from the Eastern Front who were now working in a variety of civilian jobs running their small businesses or working as small livestock herders. All were now earning their own income and felt proud to be contributing positively to the society they live in.”

In addition to a significant government contribution, the UK’s Department for International Development along with Canada, 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.

Signed on 9 January 2005, the CPA ended the longest civil war in Africa. The DDR programme formed a key part of this agreement.

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For more information, please contact:
Ms. Monique Tummers, DDR Public Information Officer, Integrated UN DDR Unit, monique.tummers@undp.org


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