Earlier this week, reliable sources have confirmed to Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is holding discussions within itself, for a new proposal regarding the status of the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which will significantly decrease the mandate and scope of the mission’s work. The new proposal is intended to confine the mandate of the UNAMID to only the Jebel Mara area, with immediate effect. Moreover, it will significantly reduce the Human Rights and Monitoring responsibilities of the mission. Furthermore, the proposal includes the fast-tracking of the withdrawal plan of the UNAMID from Darfur and effectively closes all mission bases, apart from the one in Zalingi, the capital city of Central Darfur state. This accelerated exit plan aims to complete the withdrawal of the entire mission from Darfur within two years. This proposal emerged after the conclusion of a three days visit to Darfur, by a delegation from UNSC Member states from the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, that commenced on the 10th
May 2018. It is worth noting that neither the size of the delegation nor the duration of the visit was appropriate to reach such a conclusion, and the new overreaching proposal to fast-track the withdrawal of UNAMID.
This proposal reduces the work of the UNAMID beyond the impact of the UN budget cuts and reflects how much the International Community and the United Nations are increasingly ignoring their commitments to protect civilians in Darfur, and in Sudan in general, for short-sighted political purposes. Despite the claims that there is a reduction in military operations in Darfur, civilians are still at risk. On the 24th of May 2018, in a public statement, UNAMID expressed its “deep concern about recent attacks” on Khamsa Degaig, Aradeiba, and Jedda Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, that took place between the 21st and 23rd of May 2018, which resulted in the death and injury of several people. In another related incident, on the 22nd of May 2018, security forces used live ammunition to disperse a protest by IDPs, in front of the General Secretariat building of the Government of Central Darfur State, at which they were demanding protection from repeated militia attacks in their areas. Similarly, in May, the UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR), Jeremiah Mamabolo, expressed his “concerns” about the military clashes between Sudan Liberation Army Abdul-Wahid Leadership, and government forces.
It is reprehensible, that the UNSC and the International Community continue to deliberate accelerated plans for the UNAMID’s withdrawal from Darfur, while killings, rape and forced displacement of thousands of civilians continue to take place in Darfur. The Government of Sudan (GoS) began to push for the exit of the UNAMID in 2014, after the peacekeeping mission urged for an investigation into the mass rape incident in the Tabit village, in North Darfur on October 31st 2014. Since then, the International Community has continued to yield to the pressure and extortion by the GoS to withdraw UNAMID, and turn a blind eye on the situation in Darfur, in exchange for the GoS’s services in the areas of terrorism intelligence cooperation, the war in Yemen and Libya, and the efforts of stemming migration to Europe, using the so-called Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, which is composed by the restructuring of the infamous Janjaweed of Darfur. It has become obvious for many observers, that the UNAMID mandate in Darfur has been compromised for the services provided by the GoS to the international community.
Sudan Democracy First Group is issuing this statement to alert and call upon all concerned parties and rights groups, to stand against this proposal and to remind the UNSC and it’s Member states, that the safety and security of the civilians in Darfur should not be compromised for short-sighted political interests. SDFG calls upon Members of the UNSC to not pass this proposal and to reconsider a more effective role for UNAMID in Darfur.