Peacekeeping Head Briefs Security Council on Darfur, Calls on Signatories to ‘Doha Document for Peace’ to Live Up to Commitments for Sake of ‘Long Suffering People’
6762nd Meeting (AM)
Peacekeeping Head Briefs Security Council on Darfur, Calls on Signatories to ‘Doha
Document for Peace’ to Live Up to Commitments for Sake of ‘Long Suffering People’
Says Prospects for Negotiations between Government, Non-signatories Not Good;
Describes Assessment, Proposals for Possible Reconfiguration of Darfur Mission
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council today on the situation in Darfur, calling on the signatory parties to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur to live up to their commitment to implement the 2011 agreement for the sake of the region’s “long suffering” people.
The Doha Document, finalized at the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference in May 2011 in Doha, Qatar, is the culmination of two and a half years of negotiations, dialogue and consultations with the major parties to the Darfur conflict, relevant stakeholders and international partners. The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) lent technical expertise to the process and continues to urge non-signatory movements to join.
Mr. Ladsous, providing Council members with a 90-day progress report, said that while UNAMID and the United Nations country team were looking at how to support the peace process, Eltijani Siesi, Chair of the newly created Darfur Regional Authority, had cautioned in his 23 April remarks to Parliament that, without the agreed funding from the Khartoum Government, the process could collapse.
The parties also must resolve differences over security arrangements, he said, notably for moving beyond the initial verification of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) forces.
By way of background on that point, he said the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Forces Armées du Soudan were to move in parallel through a process of verification, disengagement, redeployment, and arms control, as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). The Movement had asked the Government for non-military logistic support. The parties must now decide whether they would move in parallel, or if the Movement would accept changes to the process. He had encouraged UNAMID to help resolve the issue. On a positive note, UNAMID and its partners were screening Movement forces and removing children.
As for renewing negotiations between the Government and the non-signatory movements, Mr. Ladsous said prospects did not look good. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), along with the Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, had informed the Chair of the Joint Chief Mediator ad interim they would only negotiate national economic and political reforms. The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)-Abdul Wahid indicated it was not willing to negotiate until the root causes of the Darfur conflict had been addressed.
Regarding the internal dialogue on the peace process, the parties, in line with the Doha Document, were to complete in June an information and consultation campaign that would allow for a canvassing of Darfurian stakeholder views. A preliminary analysis had shown those stakeholders were interested in the dialogue, but concerned about equal representation, freedom of expression and the security of participants. UNAMID would continue to work with the Government, the Movement and other stakeholders to resolve those questions.
Turning to the implementation of UNAMID’s protection mandate, he said that on 17 April, unidentified armed forces had attacked El Simah, near the border between East Darfur and South Kordofan; Um Dafok, at the border of East Darfur and the Central African Republic; and Saysaban, in South Darfur. The potential for more clashes persisted. Attempts by UNAMID and humanitarian agencies to access those areas, and others — like Jebel Marra — had been obstructed by the Government. UNAMID also had faced access restrictions in militarily sensitive areas.
In other incidents, he noted concern at the targeting of South Sudanese in camps in East Darfur, where, on 9, 17 and 18 April, armed assailants had attacked Dinka refugees in three locations. Police had been deployed to deter attacks. He also registered serious concern at three fatal attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers, including a 20 April attack on a convoy in Darfur, which led to the death of a Togolese police officer. He urged the Government to secure the safe release of a World Food Programme (WFP) staff member kidnapped from Nyala on 6 March, and two United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel detained since 24 February.
Also in his briefing, Mr. Ladsous outlined the key findings of a review of UNAMID uniformed personnel — carried out pursuant to Security Council resolution 2003 (2011) by the Secretariat, the African Union and the United Nations country team — to ensure the most efficient and effective use of police and military resources. Regarding the police component, the review found an increased risk to civilians from violent crimes in urban areas and camps for internally displaced persons. It recommended that formed police unit deployment be re-configured from outlying to urban areas and camps to increase their capacity for 24/7 patrolling. In so doing, the number of units could be lowered from 19 to 17 units.
While the “community policing” concept would be maintained, he said the community policing centres had not been as effective as hoped in facilitating outreach to local populations, due to the challenges of acquiring land and the requirement for a police presence. UNAMID would maintain the 13 centres already built, but dispense with 20 that had not yet been constructed. Resources would be redeployed towards more proactive protection activities. Coordination among military, police and civilian personnel would also improve, affording more flexibility in assisting internally displaced persons and local communities as the situation required.
“The impact will be a police component that is more flexible, mobile and better able to patrol where assistance is needed most,” he said. A reduction of 107 police officers performing similar functions of civilian personnel also could be made without significantly impacting operations.
Turning to the military component, he said the number of deployed military personnel would be adjusted by 3,260 people — including 1,600 infantry. The changed security situation also made it prudent to redeploy 29 of the 64 infantry companies, from areas of reduced threat to the potential flashpoints. The number of engineering personnel would be reduced to 530 from 981, with the remaining personnel and assets re-configured into a multi-role engineering capability that enhanced force mobility.
Currently deployed transport and logistics personnel would be reduced by 525, he said, in light of plans to outsource those functions to commercial providers. As for aviation units, a reduction of 200 personnel was recommended, in connection with the proposed redeployment of tactical helicopters. Military aviation support would then consist of eight military medium-utility helicopters to facilitate changed force needs and conduct aerial surveillance. A reduction of 240 reconnaissance unit personnel was also recommended, given the diminished need.
Additional recommendations for the military component included elevating the status of the three sector reserve units to force reserve units, he said, to place them at the Force Commander’s disposal, which would increase their mobility. Other measures included improved military planning and procedures, as well as coordination and operational control — such as joint military police and civil planning at the team site level — to improve incident response and conflict mitigation.
Mr. Ladsous said implementation of the adjustments would be completed over an 18-month period. The estimated cost savings in the 2012/2013 financial year would be $76.1 million against the Mission’s budget of $1.5 billion; and about $135 million per year in subsequent years. “In the months ahead, we will continue to streamline and strengthen the effectiveness of UNAMID uniformed personnel,” he added.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and adjourned at 10:35 a.m., after which Council members were invited to consultations on Sudan as previously agreed.
When the Council met it had before it the Secretary-General’s Report on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document S/2012/231), which describes the situation in Darfur in the past 90 days, and includes both an assessment of progress made against benchmarks set out in annex II of the 16 November 2009 report (S/2009/592), and — pursuant to resolution 2003 (2011) — an assessment of the enabling environment for a Darfur-based political process. It also covers key political developments, the security situation, the humanitarian situation, rule of law, governance and human rights, civilian protection, UNAMID deployment and operations, and a review of uniformed personnel.
In the report, the Secretary-General welcomes the establishment of the Darfur Regional Authority as an important step in the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, as well as the creation of the National Human Rights Commission and appointment of a Prosecutor for the Special Court for Darfur, with jurisdiction over gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian laws committed since 2003. He urges the signatory parties to ensure the Authority had sufficient resources and capacities to fulfil its responsibility, by fulfilling the pledge to contribute to the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund.
With the initial verification of the Liberation and Justice Movement’s (LJM) forces complete, the Secretary-General expects the parties to improve the security situation inside and around camps for internally displaced persons through the timely implementation of the provisions related to the disarmament of armed militia groups, civilian arms control, and establishment of the Government of Sudan/LJM joint coordination mechanism. LJM combatants required non-military logistical support, the report states, such as shelter, medical supplies, food and water. While that was the primary responsibility of the Government, the Secretary-General calls on international partners to assist in that regard.
The report also notes that the willingness of Darfuris to engage in an internal dialogue should be strengthened. Participants must be able to speak openly and move and assemble freely, and he encouraged UNAMID to continue consultations with parties on people’s proportionate participation in that process. The “belligerent” rhetoric and posture of the non-signatory movements was a matter of serious concern, and the Secretary-General calls on them to eschew violence.
On other matters, the Secretary-General, in the report, voices deep concern about increased attacks against UNAMID personnel and property, calling on the Sudanese Government to continue to work with UNAMID in investigating such violence, and further, to release detained United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel. On visa issuance for UNAMID personnel, he encourages the Government to “maintain momentum” in that regard, noting that any delay or restrictions constituted operational impediments.
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