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Sudan: Darfur

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 15 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to the recent statement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about displaced people in Darfur and refugees in Chad; and how the causes of those situations can best be addressed. [HL5374]

The UK Government remain deeply concerned about the plight of more than 2 million people internally displaced in Sudan's Darfur region and around 250,000 refugees in neighbouring Chad. We have given over £60 million in humanitarian aid to Sudan and Chad in 2008-09. This includes a direct contribution of £1.5 million to UNHCR in Chad. In Sudan, UNHCR has received almost £4 million from the UN's Common Humanitarian Fund, to which the UK is the largest donor providing £40 million this year—half of total donor contributions.

While the provision of humanitarian assistance remains a priority, peace can be achieved only through a political process. We regularly stress the need for all participants in the conflict in Darfur to cease hostilities and engage in the political process. We welcomed the appointment on 30 June of a new joint UN-AU chief mediator for the Darfur political process, Djibril Bassole, formerly the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso. The recently launched Qatar Darfur peace initiative is also welcome but needs to be framed within the overall UN-AU process. In recognition of the importance of the regional dimension the UK Government are an observer to the Senegal/Dakar process which is helping Sudan and Chad to reach a peaceful settlement.

The Foreign Secretary and Lord Malloch-Brown took advantage of their visit to New York from 22 to 26 September for the UN General Assembly to press for progress on the Darfur political process through meetings with Sudanese Vice-President Taha and other key international partners.