Bringing Peace to Darfur Sole Purpose of 1591 Committee concerning Sudan, Chair Tells Security Council
The Security Council today heard an update from the head of its Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), as Sudan’s representative called for saving his State from the 18-year-long Damocles’ sword of sanctions.
Harold Adlai Agyeman (Ghana), briefing the 15-member organ in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, detailed its work between 7 December 2022 and 20 March 2023. During this reporting period, the Committee issued its annual report for 2022, which is available on its website, held informal consultations and received and considered updates and a report from the Panel of Experts on the Sudan.
He said that the Panel submitted its final report to the Committee in December 2022 and presented its content on 6 February 2023, which the Committee discussed in informal consultations. Following these discussions, the Committee considered the Panel’s recommendations and follow-up actions. This report was made publicly available on 7 February, he noted. The Committee then received the Panel’s third quarterly update on that same day and the last quarterly update on 10 March. In all its reports, the Panel provided substantial information on the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, the regional situation, the status of armed groups and the protection of civilians.
Thanking the Government of Sudan for extending its full cooperation to the Panel, he reiterated that the Committee was established for the sole purpose of helping to bring peace to Darfur. “It is not to punish Sudan, but to support the attainment of sustainable peace,” he underscored.
Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed (Sudan) pointed out that sanctions were imposed at a time when there was a different political and security context. The internal conflict in Darfur no longer exists — that region is now undergoing a significant transition towards peace that will continue with the participation of the transition Government and stakeholders to the Juba Peace Agreement, he said. The prevailing peace and stability have also allowed the voluntary return of people to their villages. For its part, the transition Government is endeavouring to implement its national plan for the protection of civilians and will continue to provide regular reports.
However, the situation is not ideal in that there are intercommunal conflicts, he admitted, noting that these were sometimes due to competition around grazing which is partially the result of climate change and its consequences. His Government is nevertheless resolving these conflicts by facilitating reconciliation; encouraging peaceful coexistence; deploying a joint force for civilian protection; and strengthening the rule of law, reparative justice and its institutions.
Sanctions have led to counterproductive consequences which undermine law enforcement efforts to maintain peace, order and coexistence and in turn help cross-border armed groups, he continued. Council resolution 1591 (2005) in particular has been used as a sword of Damocles for 18 years in that it did not have an extension built in like other resolutions of the organ. Moreover, there is a growing feeling in Sudan that the resolution is no longer geared to bring about peace and stability in Darfur; rather, it has become a tool for some Council members to exercise political pressure against Sudan and its decision-making at the national level. Urging the Council to seriously reflect on this, he spotlighted the support from some members, African Group, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement on the lifting of such measures.
There must be realistic, objective, applicable and measurable criteria in making this decision, he underscored. “We have seen to the extent at which the Security Council is divided on the evaluation of the content of the resolution — some support it and others not,” he said, pointing out that realistic countries, such as Brazil, have come from the Global South, understand the complex nature of the situation in dealing with a transition and have no political agenda behind their positions. As other countries should do the same and avoid double standards, members must not reduce Sudan’s size based on “dodgy” methodologies and on the “Greek idea of lying on a bed and then cutting off whichever parts of the body were too big to fit on the bed”, he stressed, calling on the Council to free his country.
The meeting began at 12:14 p.m. and ended at 12:25 p.m.