Lifting Regime Crucial to Rebuilding Stability, Country’s Representative Says, Stressing It No Longer Reflects Present Situation
Regional dynamics remained favorable to the peace process in Darfur, the Chair of the Security Council’s Sudan sanctions committee said during a videoconference meeting on 11 December, underscoring that such sanctions were not in place to punish the country, but to support its attainment of sustainable peace.
“The sanctions regime was established for the sole purpose of helping bring peace to Darfur,” declared Sven Jürgenson (Estonia) in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan.
Briefing the Council on the Committee’s work spanning the period from 15 September to 10 December, he noted that, thanks to facilitation by Khartoum, the Sudan Panel of Experts was able to visit the country in October and November despite pandemic-related restrictions.
Through its second quarterly report, submitted on 25 September, the Panel reported that the participants of peace process negotiations demonstrated their willingness to cooperate by signing the Juba Peace Agreement. However, peace remains elusive as long as land use and ownership issues in Darfur remain unresolved and the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid remains outside the peace process.
By the terms of the Juba Peace Agreement, the forces of signatory parties will return to Darfur to begin their integration into security forces. In that regard, he warned: “The Panel cautioned that if not managed carefully, this return of thousands of well-armed fighters could generate localized instability.” In addition, Darfur was in the midst of increased intercommunal tensions.
However, according to the Panel, internally displaced persons remain extremely vulnerable to violence, insecurity and restricted access to farmland, with the perpetrators of rights violations going unpunished. However, the situation will improve if local security forces in rural areas receive much needed resources and capacity-building. “Women and girls continue to bear the brunt of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights,” he stated.
Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig (Sudan) said Khartoum’s position towards the sanctions has been consistent, clear and well known. Lifting those sanctions was essential to ensuring lasting stability, as they no longer reflect the present circumstances in Darfur, compared to 2005 when the resolution was adopted. If necessary, sanctions should serve the interest of an overall political solution rather than run on autopilot. The Darfur region has largely returned to normal and Darfur is in a critical transition period as it shifts from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.
He said the situation on the ground and the arrangements set up by the Transitional Government to provide peace and stability in Darfur are conducive to trigger the Council’s end to sanctions. These arrangements include, but are not limited to, the development and implementation of the National Plan on Protection of Civilians and the conclusion of the Juba Peace Agreement.
The Transitional Government of Sudan is committed, with other partners, to expeditiously restore peace and stability to Darfur so its citizens can enjoy peace, he assured the Council. Lifting the sanctions will let the Government rebuild the capacity of the security forces and law enforcement agencies to preserve and enhance peace in Darfur and beyond. In a 2 November press statement, the United States Secretary of State said Washington, D.C., is committed to working with the Sudanese Government and its international partners to identify circumstances that could lift the sanctions related to the Darfur conflict. The two Governments have already begun consultations at the United Nations and Sudan is ready to engage with the United States and other Council members to swiftly end these sanctions.