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UN REPORTS ONGOING EXPULSIONS OF DR CONGO CITIZENS FROM ANGOLA

By UN
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29 December - Citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) expelled from neighbouring Angola continued to arrive in their country of origin this month, with many reporting that they were subjected to mistreatment, including sexual violence, the United Nations humanitarian office said today.

Some 1,355 expellees have arrived in DRC's Bas-Congo and Kasai provinces since 11 December, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release. The new arrivals bring to more than 12,000 the number of Congolese expelled from Angola since September.

In September and October, humanitarian agencies reported the arrival of 8,296 people in the Luiza and Tshikapa areas of Kasai Occidental province, 511 people in the Tembo area of Bandundu province and some 2,000 people in Bas-Congo province. The majority were DRC nationals.

“Authorities in both countries must take all necessary measures to ensure that the human rights and human dignity of those expelled are respected,” said Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Humanitarian assessment missions that visited the areas of arrival in October and November found that many of the individuals had endured ill-treatment and human rights abuses, including torture. There were also more than 100 confirmed cases of sexual violence.

Those expelled are receiving food, clothes, hygiene kits, medication, as well as psychological assistance from the humanitarian agencies, according to OCHA. A response plan has been developed within the framework of the DRC Humanitarian Action Plan to address the needs of those recently expelled. Additional assistance is urgently required, the office added.

“We are seriously concerned by the accelerating pace of expulsions over the last two weeks. Thousands of people are living in deplorable conditions, and the capacity of the humanitarian community is being stretched,” said Fidèle Sarassoro, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC.

Forcible deportation of illegal immigrants between Angola and the DRC is a recurring problem. In October last year, authorities in both countries agreed to consult prior to any expulsions and to ensure respect for human rights, including protection and security for those expelled.

“These consultations must take place so that protection can be provided to those in need,” Mr. Sarassoro added.

UN-AFRICAN MISSION HELPS DELIVER AID TO NEWLY DISPLACED IN DARFUR AMID TENSION

29 December - Thousands of newly displaced people who fled their villages as a result of the recent fighting in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur are continuing to receive humanitarian aid, the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) reported today, adding that areas of the latest clashes remained tense.

Relief supplies to internally displaced persons (IDPs) were, however, temporarily suspended in Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur after new restrictions on movement were imposed, the mission said.

UNAMID peacekeepers are collaborating with local security officials to gain access to all affected areas and ensure the safe delivery of aid.

The IDPs have sought safety in sites where UNAMID units are based in North Darfur and South Darfur states, after fighting erupted this month between Sudanese government troops and forces of the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM).

An assessment team comprising UNAMID personnel and officials from several UN aid agencies today met with local authorities and IDP leaders in Khor Abeche and Shaeria in South Darfur, where more than 10,000 people have settled. The peacekeepers escorted a four-truck humanitarian convoy to Shaeria.

The mission is also investigating reports of conflict in Kazanjadeed, about 40 kilometres from Shaeria. The conflict has reportedly resulted in thousands of people becoming newly displaced.

An inter-agency mission to Zam Zam camp, outside El Fasher in North Darfur, has observed that around 100 IDPs, mostly women and children, have arrived from the Shangil Tobaya area. Revised figures put the number of IDPs in and around Shangil Tobaya at 14,000, with an estimated 5,000 of them at the UNAMID team site.

Tomorrow, a UNAMID team made up of military, police and civilian officers will embark on a four-day verification and confidence-building mission from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya, Jebel Tin and Dar al-Salam.

The security situation in all UNAMID team sites remains tense, the mission said. The peacekeeping force has taken additional measures to ensure the protection of civilians, including increasing the frequency and scope of day and night patrols, it added.