11 August - Completion of Demobilisation Operations in Blue Nile State
The Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme implemented under the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) marked a key milestone today, with the successful completion of Phase One of the demobilisation exercise in Blue Nile State.
The last participants from a caseload of 5,674 that was earmarked for demobilisation in the first phase of the DDR programme in Blue Nile State were processed yesterday, 10 August 2009, in Ed Damazin.
"The commencement and completion of demobilization in Blue Nile State is in line with the Three Areas First approach, in which the North and South DDR Commissions agreed to jointly process DDR caseloads in Blue Nile State, Southern Kordofan and Abyei, before expanding to other areas under the January 2005 CPA that ended the North-South War", Dr. Abdul-Dayem Mubarez. UNMIS Head of Office in Damazin averred at a brief ceremony organized to celebrate the achievement. "This successful programme in Blue Nile State has been operationally managed by the Joint DDR Commissions, with technical and logistical support from UNMIS and the Integrated United Nations DDR Unit as well as from UNDP, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health organisation (WHO)," Dr. Mubarez said.
The completion of demobilisation in Blue Nile State is expected to boost moral among DDR stakeholders. Programme managers also see the success as a source of inspiration for the Reintegration phase now gathering pace in Blue Nile State. About a third of the ex-combatants demobilised in the State have already received preliminary counseling as a first step to their reintegration into civilian life. Preparations are also underway to start individual reintegration counseling in Southern Kordofan.
Upwards 180,000 combatants from the Sudan Armed Forces, Popular Defence Forces and Sudan People's Liberation Army are to be demobilised under the DDR programme of the CPA. The initial phase, which kicked off in Ed Damazin last February, targets mostly demobilised combatants with special needs, including the old, infirm, as well as women and children associated with the armed forces or groups. Besides Ed Damazin, DDR operations are also underway in the Southern Kordofan localities of Kadugli and Julud, and in Juba.
Under the multi-year scheme, the combatants are disarmed, demobilised and progressively reintegrated into civilian life. The programme is led jointly by the Sudanese DDR Commissions in North and South, with the United Nations providing financial and technical support.
Funding, especially for Reintegration, remains a major challenge to DDR programme. Required Reintegration funding over a period of three years is estimated at US$430 million. At the last DDR donor conference held in Juba on 15 February 2009, a total of US$88.3 million was pledged for the programme.