Khartoum, (sudanow.info.sd) – The first of fifty workshop aimed to make war-ridden Darfur population understand and back a peace deal signed in Doha last year, started in Fashir, capital of north Darfur state, while the African Union representative is saying the region is closer to comprehensive peace more than any time ever.
According to the African Union –United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said the dissemination workshops for the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) began Wednesday among North Darfur’s communities.
“The exercise is organized by the Civil Society Follow-up Mechanism, an instrument created to liaise with the civil society organizations on the Doha peace process, and supported logistically and technically by UNAMID.” A release received Thursday said.
It pointed out that dozens of participants including women and youth groups, native administration, teachers, internally displaced persons representatives and political leaders attended the first four sessions held in Fashir and Mellitm north Darfur.
The dissemination process is a key element for promoting the understanding of the Doha Document and creating an enabling environment for its implementation. This activity will continue with more than 50 workshops planned in different localities in North Darfur. Similar exercises will take place in the coming weeks in all of Darfur’s states.
"Today is the real start in bringing the Doha document to the people of Darfur," the statement quoted UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari. Adding ,"By means of these workshops which we are holding across Darfur, people will be able to read, discuss and understand the agreement. You cannot fully implement the DDPD if people do not understand it."
“Everyone in Darfur must learn about the contents of the agreement. It is their concern and their right whether to support it or not,” said Dr. Khalil Adam, a representative of civil society and a member of the Follow-up Mechanism in North Darfur.
Meanwhile Gambari has pointed out that Darfur was now closer to a comprehensive peace than it has ever been.
The head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) told some 1,000 peacekeeping staff in his first town hall meeting of 2012, that “We must therefore redouble our efforts and work with full dedication and commitment.”
Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who is also the interim Joint Chief Mediator in the Darfur peace process, was quoted as stressing that “Darfur is at a crossroads: one direction is toward more peace, more progress, more movement toward early recovery and development; and one side is leaning towards the enemies of peace, the spoilers,” he added.
JSR Gambari noted the significant steps taken recently to implement the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
On 16 January 2012, UNAMID hosted the second meeting of the Follow-on Implementation Commission which oversees DDPD progress. Chaired by the Government of Qatar, the body of International envoys, the Government of Sudan and the Darfur Regional Authority praised progress in realizing several key steps set out by the Document.
The Darfur Regional Authority, a “new partner” for UNAMID, will be inaugurated on 6 February 2012 in Fashir, Gambari noted. Assisting the DRA to “bring the seeds of prosperity back to Darfur” will be one of UNAMID’s key priorities for 2012. The other is “kick-starting the mediation to consolidate the peace process and the gains achieved so far.”
The release said Gambari paid tribute to the sacrifices by peacekeepers during 2011, “a difficult year for the UNAMID family.” Seven military and police personnel “made the ultimate sacrifice while working to advance peace in Darfur.”
He also commented on the 24 December death of Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, with whom Gambari had met in the process of negotiations leading up to the Darfur document. “Every human life is precious and we mourn every loss. The people of Darfur have suffered through too many deaths and losses.”
He urged staff to continue their commitment to helping Darfur achieve a sustainable peace: “Now is the time to build a new future, a common future and a peaceful and prosperous future for all Darfuris. There is no military solution to the conflict in Darfur. Peace, compromise and common understanding are the only ways forward….The people of Darfur want it, need it and deserve it.”