The Darfur Regional Authority was inaugurated in Sudan on Wednesday. The new regional body will be responsible for governing Darfur, as well as promoting reconciliation, peace, reconstruction and for distributing compensation after the nine-year conflict in the area.
The formation of the body was part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), a peace treaty signed between the government of Sudan in Khartoum and the Liberation and Justice Movement rebel group in 2011. The pact was part of the larger Darfur Peace Agreement (DRA), which sought to end the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of the country.
Today's event of the inauguration of the DRA is yet another important milestone of the Darfur peace process, said African Union Chairman, Yayi Boni, on Wednesday.
We must remind ourselves that there is still a lot of work to be done to capitalize on the gains of the DDPD so that Darfur can return to a situation of peace and stability that it has enjoyed before 2003. The African Union has always stressed the importance of stability in Darfur and Sudan in general, and warned of the negative and serious implications that the continuation of the conflict would have on the region and the continent as a whole.
At the inauguration ceremony, President Omar al-Bashir told the 1.9 million people who were displaced by the conflict in Darfur to return home. Many of those who were forced to leave the region are living in refugee camps and Bashir said that the government would help with resettlement, according to Voice of America.
We will let IDPs [internally displaced people] and refugees start their lives again. It is not acceptable for Darfuri people to live in the camps, the Sudanese president said, during his speech in El-Fashir.
We want all the people in the camps to return to their villages.
Bashir also released prisoners from the Liberty and Justice Movement, the only rebel group to agree to the creation of the DRA.
An estimated 300,000 people were killed in the Darfur conflict that began in 2003.