Protester killed in Darfur UNAfrican Union mission reports

17 March 2011At least one person has died and up to 10 others were injured after protesters clashed with police in Darfur, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission to the Sudanese region reported today. The mission, known as UNAMID, reported that the protests took place at the University of El Fasher in the North Darfur capital after the Government suspended political activity at that institution and the University of Nyala several days ago.Another demonstration planned for today in El Fasher did not take place, a UN spokesperson said, adding that the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamental and should be respected.Meanwhile, two Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have voiced concern over the impact of armed conflict in the Abyei area and in Southern Sudan after an eight-day visit to the country.The United States actress Mia Farrow and Martin Bell, a former war reporter and parliamentarian from the United Kingdom, saw first-hand the impact of recent violence during their visit, which concluded yesterday.“We have come here at what should be such a hopeful time for everyone in Southern Sudan,” said Ms. Farrow, referring to the recent referendum which calls for the creation of a new country in Southern Sudan.“But the lives of children along the border areas continue to be torn apart by violence – at times with unimaginable brutality. The women and children I spoke to were living in terror – afraid to go to their fields for food, afraid to go to school, or even remain in their homes. They told me that what they want and need most is safety and protection.”The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), notorious for its human rights abuses during its long conflict in northern Uganda, particularly its treatment of local children, has recently been operating out of Western Equatoria state in Southern Sudan.UNICEF has introduced several initiatives, including a motorbike ambulance service in remote areas so that pregnant women can get to health clinics in time to deliver, to improve the quality of life in LRA-affected communities.

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