|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6638th Meeting* (PM)
Security Council Is Told Implementation of Doha Document for Peace,
Key to Success in Darfur, Needs Full Support of All Parties
Secretary-General Reports Some Progress, Significant Remaining Concerns
Briefing the Security Council this afternoon on the situation in Darfur, the senior United Nations official for peacekeeping highlighted progress in the implementation of the provisions of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and agreement between the Sudanese Government and the Justice and Liberation Movement.
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that progress had been achieved in the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed by the Government of the Sudan and the Justice and Liberation Movement on 14 July. On 23 October, Tijani Al Seisi, the Head of the Movement, took the oath as President of the Regional Authority of Darfur. His arrival in the area was the beginning of the implementation of the provisions of the Document, including the confirmation by President Omer Hassan A. Al-Bashir of the Sudan of representatives of the Justice and Liberation Movement for posts within the Regional Authority and other offices. The intention of the parties was to rebuild the institutions established under the Darfur peace process whose operations had been suspended by the Government after a break in the relations with the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi earlier in the year.
He said the Ceasefire Commission had discussed the need for the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Liberation Movement Fighters to verify and map out the position of their respective forces. The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was helping out the Movement in that exercise, while the Sudanese Armed Forces already had submitted the necessary information.
UNAMID was helping community leaders and civil society organizations in development of a plan to disseminate information about the Doha Document throughout Darfur, he said. UNAMID had learned from internally displaced persons, political opposition parties, civil society organizations and local authorities that there was broad support for the Document, but that many regretted the absence of the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army-Mini Minawi and the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid as signatories of the Document and had underlined that the success of the Document depended to a large extent on the willingness of the Government to implement it.
The United Nations and the African Union were working with the stakeholders and development partners on a “road map” for peace in Darfur in order to end hostilities and to make the peace process more inclusive. The main elements of that road map were: support for the implementation of the Doha Document; sustained engagement with hold-out movements; and support for internal dialogue among the people of Darfur on the peace process. Final consultations were needed within the United Nations and the African Union, as well as with international partners before the road map could be finalized.
Continuing, he said the security situation in Darfur was relatively calm during the reporting period, but in October it deteriorated in the Taweisha area of North Darfur and the Nertiti area of West Darfur due to sporadic fighting between Government forces and armed groups. After unidentified armed groups attacked officials and Government military targets in Nertiti on 5 and 12 October, UNAMID increased patrolling and engaged local leaders, Government officials and movement commanders to promote security and stability. In North Darfur, an unidentified armed group attacked a Government military unit on 6 October, reportedly causing three deaths, after which Government forces reportedly attacked nearby localities. UNAMID subsequently came upon some 80 displaced households in the area and was working to ensure they received aid.
He said that recent attacks involving UNAMID patrols included the attempted entry into a Mission vehicle by a lone man in civilian clothing who was pursued and shot dead by Government forces. In addition, as previously reported, three peacekeepers were killed when a UNAMID patrol was ambushed on 10 October near Zam Zam camp. Investigations into both incidents were under way.
In accordance with resolution 2003 (2011), he said, the Secretary-General was planning a review of UNAMID’s uniformed deployment and mission resources in the context of mandate implementation, led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations working in conjunction with the African Union, UNAMID and relevant Secretariat departments. The Secretary-General expects to be able to provide preliminary recommendations to the Council in the first quarter of next year.
In conclusion, he stressed the crucial need for the signatory parties to the Doha Document to broaden support for the peace process by working to ensure that peace dividends reached the people of Darfur. He called on the parties, therefore, to implement the Document faithfully and in a timely manner. He also urged international partners to support the efforts of the parties in that regard. The Government and holdout movements must also agree to cease hostilities and enter into dialogue. Recent clashes showed that protection and humanitarian challenges would remain as long as Government forces and armed groups engaged each other militarily.
In addition, noting the serious risks faced by peacekeepers and aid workers, he strongly condemned those responsible for the attack at Zam Zam and called on the Government to fully investigate it as well as other incidents. The continued support of the Security Council for UNAMID was critical to allow a more secure environment for civilians, safer humanitarian operations and a more inclusive peace process in what remained very difficult and demanding circumstances.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan), extending condolences to the people of Rwanda and Senegal for those killed near the Zam Zam camp by armed movements, said that the recent endorsement of the Doha Peace Document augured well for the future. That Document was a vision to address all concerns of the peoples of Darfur. After signing, his Government immediately earmarked $2 billion to assist people in camps and their voluntary returns, along with other measures to implement the agreement.
However, there were still enemies of peace in Darfur, he reported, saying that some movement leaders, rejecting the peace process, had entered into conspiratorial alliances with parties that had nothing to do with Darfur — the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Northern Sector — announcing their intention to topple the Government. Despite that, the peace process was still open to those groups. However, he feared the destabilization that the new alliance might cause. He expected the Council to act against the threat posed.
He reiterated his Government’s commitment to support UNAMID, but called for better coordination with his Government, as previously agreed, to avoid further casualties caused by rebel movements. That included prior notification of relevant authorities and avoidance of certain activities at night. He noted that the report showed that violence had decreased other than the incidents described. Regarding restrictions on delivery of humanitarian aid, he said that some associates of humanitarian organizations had not obtained necessary approvals. That must not be interpreted as impeding humanitarian organizations. At times there were security assessments through which United Nations and humanitarian organizations were warned not to go to certain areas for their own safety.
In regard to visas, he said that the Government had requested long ago a comprehensive list of visa requests that had not yet been supplied. He reminded the Council that it was agreed that Arabic-speaking police were being prioritized because of communication needs. He said that recent meetings in West Darfur showed how far stability had prevailed in the area and the results of the Government efforts toward that end. Further efforts in development and reconciliation would allow the people of Darfur to realize their aspirations.
The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 3:46 p.m.
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document S/2011/643), covering the period from 1 July through 30 September 2011, which includes assessments of progress made, of the status of the political process and the security and humanitarian situations and of the enabling environment for a Darfur-based political process.
On political developments, the report states that on 14 July the Government of the Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement adopted the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which contains provisions that comprehensively address the causes of the conflict. During the signing ceremony in Qatar, the signatories called on other armed movements to sign it, within a time limit of three months. The Government and the Liberation and Justice Movement also signed the Protocol on the Political Participation of the Liberation and Justice Movement and Integration of Its Forces on 16 July. In meetings with UNAMID, the governors of the three Darfur States expressed their support for the Doha Document. State governments entered into several local agreements with breakaway opposition movements.
On 11 September, according to the report, the Government of Qatar convened the inaugural meeting of the Implementation Follow-up Commission in Doha, established to monitor, assess and support implementation of the Doha Document. In accordance with the Protocol, President Al-Bashir of the Sudan appointed several Darfuri to high-level positions, including Second Vice-President of the Sudan. The United Nations and the African Union Commission have been developing a road map for the Darfur peace process based on consultations with several stakeholders. With regard to the conduct of a Darfur-based internal dialogue, a common understanding of the concept of the Darfur-based political process and how it will be conducted has yet to be reached.
As for the security situation, the report notes that reports of direct clashes between Government forces and armed movements decreased and that the number of recorded fatalities had decreased from 1,039 in 2010 to 342 thus far in 2011. Tensions nevertheless remained high in areas where there was fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and armed movement forces at the start of 2011. Two incidences of inter-communal fighting resulting in fatalities were recorded. UNAMID monitored areas of increased tension and worked with the Darfur Peace and Reconciliation Council and Native Administration, thereby providing support to traditional reconciliation mechanisms and enhancing their capacity to resolve conflict. Recorded fatalities from inter-communal clashes decreased from 882 in 2010 to 90 thus far in 2011.
UNAMID military and police components carried out 21,288 patrols during the reporting period. Restrictions on UNAMID patrols declined by almost 50 per cent to 35 during the current period. There were two armed attacks on peacekeepers. UNAMID measures to mitigate the risk of carjacking contributed to a decrease in the number of incidents, from 45 in 2010 to 22 thus far in 2011. During the reporting period, a total of nine vehicles were seized from UNAMID and non-governmental organization staff. Four UNAMID vehicles were subsequently recovered.
The report further notes that during the reporting period humanitarian agencies experienced access restrictions. On 17 August, UNAMID and partner agencies concluded the first phase of “Operation Spring Basket”, which had gained access to 13 remote and isolated areas across the three states of Darfur, and 10 humanitarian assessment and aid delivery missions were conducted. The voluntary return of internally displaced persons and refugees, in particular from camps in South Darfur and Chad to villages in West Darfur, continued. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has verified the voluntary return of 13,307 refugees and 46,560 internally displaced persons.
In the area of rule of law, governance and human rights, the report notes that the number of incidents and victims of human rights violations and abuses recorded by UNAMID remained relatively unchanged. UNAMID continued to receive reports of sexual and gender-based violence, recording 15 incidents involving 31 victims. UNAMID continued its activities to undertake and support capacity-building on the rule of law and human rights protection for prosecutors, judges and lawyers, women representatives of internally displaced persons, military intelligence officers and prison staff, focusing on women’s rights, international fair trial standards, sexual and gender-based violence, juvenile justice, national laws and international human rights standards.
As of 30 September, the strength of UNAMID civilian personnel stood at 4,521, representing 86 per cent of the approved strength of 5,285. The strength of UNAMID military personnel stood at 18,003, which is 92 per cent of the authorized strength of 19,555. UNAMID police stood at 2,944 (82 per cent men and 18 per cent women), representing 78 per cent of the authorized strength of 3,772. The readiness and self-sustainment capabilities of military contingents continued to be of concern because, among other things, of significant equipment shortfalls and serviceability rates. In July, the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission demobilized 188 ex-combatants belonging to the Sudan Liberation Movement-Mother Wing and Sudan Liberation Movement-Free Will.
The Secretary-General observes that the success of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur will ultimately depend on the willingness of the signatory parties to abide by its provisions and by the willingness of parties that remain outside the peace process to participate. Welcoming the work of the Ceasefire Commission, he urged the signatories to fully implement the ceasefire and security arrangements provided for in the agreement. He further urges the signatories to faithfully implement all other aspects of the Agreement with a view to providing peace dividends and encouraging hold-out movements to enter into negotiations with the Government.
The Secretary-General remains gravely concerned by the belligerent postures of the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi, Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid and the Justice and Equality Movement. The creation of an alliance between Darfur movements and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North and their stated objective of regime change, coupled with the movements’ ability to launch military offensives, risks a re-escalation of the conflict. He calls on the international community to deliver consistent messages aimed at convincing the movements that have not yet joined the peace process to do so now.
He reiterated his call to the Government and armed movements to immediately cease hostilities and allow unrestricted access to UNAMID and humanitarian actors. The risks posed to staff of both remained of great concern, he says, regretting the loss of a peacekeeper in an ambush and the abduction of a staff member of a non-governmental organization in August. He trusts that the Government of Sudan will bring the perpetrators to justice and spare no effort to secure the release of the abducted worker. He welcomes, on the other hand, the missions conducted by UNAMID and the humanitarian community to reach communities hitherto inaccessible.
He urged the signatories to fully implement ceasefire and security agreements as well as establishing the National Human Rights Commission, the Reparation and Compensation Commission, the Land Commission, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund. Enhancing ownership of the Document and its implementation by the people of Darfur would be critical and the Operation would continue to assist the parties with the dissemination of information.
Significant challenges remain in Darfur, the Secretary-General says. Open hostilities had subsided with the start of the rainy season, but he remained gravely concerned by what he called the “belligerent postures” of the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi, the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid and the Justice and Equality Movement. The announcement of the creation of an alliance between Darfur movements and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, and their stated objective of regime change, also threatens re-escalation of the conflict.
In that connection, he says, Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari, as Joint Chief Mediator ad interim, will continue to work in cooperation with the Government of Qatar to encourage movements outside the peace process to enter into negotiations. He calls upon the international community to complement those efforts. Meanwhile, consultations continue between the United Nations, the African Union, Sudanese stakeholders and international partners on the development of a road map for lasting peace in Darfur that assigns roles to major players, which he intended to focus on in his next report.
* *** *
For information media • not an official record