Sudan: Darfur Province

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:01 pm on 9th February 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Middle East) 3:01 pm, 9th February 2004

My Lords, I am aware that since we discussed this on 15 January in the debate proposed by the noble Baroness, the situation in Darfur has deteriorated very badly. As she said, there are currently thought to be about 600,000 people internally displaced, with a further 100,000 having fled to Chad. The problem, as we have discussed in this House, is that of trying to get a realistic picture of what is happening on the ground. The violence in Darfur is such that it is difficult to get access to, and therefore an understanding of, the full extent of the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis.

We are trying to assess all the requirements, and civilian protection is a major concern. The DfID's humanitarian adviser for Africa, Mr Simon Mansfield, was in the region a short while ago making such an assessment, and I understand that he is visiting the Chad region today to ensure that he gets a fully rounded picture.