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Chad: Ban voices concern over impact of violence on humanitarian situation

10 July 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern over the impact of rebel activity in eastern Chad, which has thwarted access of humanitarian workers to the hundreds of thousands of people uprooted from their homes by violence.

“The civilian character of refugee camps and internally displaced persons [IDPs] sites continues to be compromised by the presence of armed elements in and around the camps,” Mr. Ban wrote in a report made public today.

He added that the tenuous security situation has hindered access by aid agencies, especially since the 1 May killing of Pascal Marlinge, the Country Director for the non-governmental organization (NGO) Save The Children, who was shot by bandits while travelling in a three-vehicle convoy on the road between the towns of Farchana and Adre.

“I reiterate my condemnation of this criminal act and urge all parties to grant unrestricted access to humanitarian workers in eastern Chad,” the Secretary-General stated.

The conflict in the country can only be resolved through a two-track approach: “real political dialogue” between the Chadian Government and armed and non-armed opposition groups, and an improvement in the relationship between N’Djamena and Khartoum, the capital of neighbouring Sudan.

“The United Nations stands ready to work together with the African Union and other partners in supporting efforts to restore lasting peace and security along the Chad-Sudan border,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, he wrote that north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR) is still calm following a peace deal last month struck between the Government and the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) after talks in Libreville, Gabon, facilitated by that country’s President, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba.

“This agreement will be an integral part of the upcoming inclusive political dialogue, a reconciliatory process aimed at addressing the country’s political and security crisis.”

The report was Mr. Ban’s latest on the multidimensional UN presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR, known as MINURCAT, which was created last year by the Security Council in a bid to quell humanitarian suffering.



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