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Gration’s Visit Evokes ‘Very Strong Reaction’ in Darfur Camps

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Gration’s Visit Evokes ‘Very Strong Reaction’ in Darfur Camps

Posted by Laura Heaton on September 17, 2009

Gration’s Visit Evokes 'Very Strong Reaction' in Darfur Camps

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has been uncharacteristically quiet this week since he returned from his latest trip to Sudan, which included stops in the South, Darfur, and Khartoum, among others. No word yet on his blog or in official State Department releases about how the trip went.

We are particularly interested to hear about the special envoy’s visit with displaced people living in camps in the Darfur region, since General Gration has tended to downplay the humanitarian challenges in the region. Those suggestions were, naturally, not well received among Darfur’s displaced population.

The full story about the visit should be coming out later this week. In the meantime, author Bec Hamilton, who accompanied Special Envoy Gration on the trip, spoke to Public Radio International about the meetings in the camps. Bec, who is writing a book about U.S. policy toward Sudan and the role of the advocacy community, attended the meetings in Abu Shouk and Zam Zam camps as “a fly on the wall to see the special envoy in action,” and she had some interesting insights to share with PRI. Sounds like Special Envoy Gration had to spend a significant amount of time (Bec estimates 85 percent of the first of two days) doing damage control.

Listen to Bec’s interview here.


Photo: Camp leaders gather under a tree in Darfur region. Courtesy of Doug Mercado