|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7159th Meeting (AM)
Upsurge in Darfur Violence Has Led to Mass Displacement of Civilians,
United Nations Peacekeeping Chief Tells Security Council
Sudan’s Representative Urges Armed Movements to Sign Peace Document
Following a period of calm, violence had returned to Darfur, the Security Council heard today as it evaluated the effectiveness of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping operation there.
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), warned that an upsurge in violence was leading to a massive displacement of civilians. Discord among local populations had been exacerbated by political rivalries, and the aggravating economic situation had led to clashes over mineral deposits.
Armed groups that had not signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur were stepping up their activities, the top peacekeeping official said. The arrival of the Rapid Support Forces militia in Darfur had further endangered the civilian populations as they had burned villages, looted properties and stole cattle. Operations conducted by the militia in Um Gunya in support of the Sudanese Armed Forces on 19 and 27 February had resulted in the displacement of 30,000 to 40,000 people, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In that challenging environment, he continued, UNAMID had focused on strategic priorities; mediating between the Sudanese Government and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document; supporting the mediation of community conflicts through such measures as addressing root causes; and protecting civilians, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and ensuring the safety of humanitarian personnel.
Mr. Ladsous welcomed the proposal by UNAMID Head Mohamed ibn Chambas, in his capacity as Joint Chief Mediator, to develop, together with the African Union, a common framework for political negotiations within the context of the national dialogue, as announced by President Omer al-Bashir. He noted that it had the potential to lay the foundations for a stable and prosperous Sudan if it was inclusive, transparent, open and took into account the concerns and interests of the board cross section of Sudanese society. The Doha Document had an important role to play as it sought to address the Darfur-specific concerns, including the much-needed economic development.
He stated that UNAMID continued to protect civilians in accordance with its Chapter VII mandate, with particular attention given to such highly vulnerable internally displaced persons, including women and children. The mission also played a critical role in addressing local conflicts by promoting peaceful co-existence and providing itsgood offices for the mediation of intercommunal conflicts, including a reconciliation agreement recently signed between the Rezeigat and Gimir.
He said that the capabilities of UNAMID would not be affected by reductions in personnel. The police component was being reduced by 723 police officers and four formed units. The military component would be cut by 200 observers, staff officers and liaison officers. The first phase of streamlining the civilian component had commenced, with reductions identified in the HIV/AIDS, gender, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, child protection and rule of law areas. All other civilian sections would be considered in the second phase and be included in the next Secretary-General’s report. The mission had begun to show more progress through building stronger relations and integrated management.
“ Darfur is at a crossroads,” he said, citing emerging dynamics that might necessitate the modification of relations between the United Nations and the African Union, between UNAMID and the Sudanese Government, and between UNAMID and the United Nations country team.
Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman Alnor ( Sudan) stressed that the Rapid Support Forces comprised regular troops that were part of the Sudanese Armed Forces. They complied with Sudanese military rules and were deployed to support military efforts in Darfur. He praised the United Nations for encouraging leaders of armed movements to support the Doha Document, but pointed out that those individuals had yet to confirm their participation. It was vital for the Council to robustly support the dialogue to eliminate doubt among the armed movements over the need to join. Lastly, he noted that, on 23 April, the Government had begun talks in Addis Ababa with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to ensure the latter’s participation in the inclusive political dialogue in order to resolve disputes concerning Darfur, as well as South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:25 a.m.
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