Sudan: UN promotes peace and disarmament in Darfur through the arts

By United Nations
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In a bid to promote peace, security and reconciliation in Darfur, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission to the Sudanese region (UNAMID) and other UN entities have used the performing arts to raise awareness of a disarmament and demobilization process.

The event, held yesterday in El Srief locality, 45 kilometres north of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, was aimed at raising community awareness on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process, and to enhance people understanding of threats to their security.

Sensitization was carried out through songs, dance and puppet shows by local performing artists, according to UNAMID, which organized the function in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Sudan DDR Commission (SDDRC) and other relevant UN agencies.

The outreach event began with distribution of 40,000 litres of water to the local residents by UNAMID. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is also installing water pumps and repairing others in El Srief, where residents are forced to walk long distances to fetch water.

“These performers have messages for each and every one of us – messages of unity, peace, messages about the dangers of arms,” UNAMID DDR officer, Joan Bao-in, told the gathering.

Hussein Elsherif, a child protection officer for the non-governmental organization (NGO) Friends of Peace and Development, said: “Here we send the arms control message on a daily basis. For example, people used to use guns to celebrate, shooting in the air, but we discussed it and the community agreed not to do that any more. We want to send a message of peace and coexistence among communities.”