Resolution 1591 (2005) Undermining Sudan’s Sovereignty, Ability to Protect Civilians, Representative Tells Security Council
The worsening violence in Darfur would not have happened if resolution 1591 (2005) — which has undermined the strength and sovereignty of the State and the protection of civilians — had not been implemented, Sudan’s representative asserted to the Security Council today as the head of its Committee established pursuant to that resolution presented her quarterly update.
Carolyn Abena Anima Oppong-Ntiri (Ghana), briefing the 15-member organ in her capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, detailed its work between 21 March and 15 June 2023. During this reporting period, it met once in informal consultations and received the first quarterly report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan.
On 12 May, the Committee heard a briefing by that Panel on its work programme for 2023-2024 and the current situation in Darfur. The Coordinator provided the Committee with an overview of the Panel’s intended areas of investigation and monitoring in accordance with the mandate extended by Council resolution 2676 (2023). The Committee issued a press release on this briefing on 18 May. (For background, see Press Release SC/15288)
On 6 June, the Panel submitted its first quarterly report and updated the Committee on regional and conflict dynamics in Darfur — including the escalating violence.
Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed (Sudan) noted that his country’s relations with neighbouring States have not been affected by its humanitarian situation and the adverse impact of military clashes. Commending the cooperation of Chad in particular, he highlighted reports from N’Djamena that some of its opposition forces have been implicated with the rebels. That Government has also asserted its solidarity by welcoming 113,000 Sudanese refugees.
Turning to his country’s north-western border, he pointed to various forms of assistance to the rebels. Those rebels have also endeavoured to use the borders with Central Africa, which are “open and calm”. Similarly, its borders with Egypt are also “calm and open” and those with Ethiopia are “secure and stable” — both countries have notably received Sudan’s citizens and refugees. While some Council members have said that the relations with Juba might deteriorate from the return of southern refugees, this has not taken place. South Sudan has hosted more than 365,000 refugees, including 122,000 from Khartoum, he reported.
As for the humanitarian situation in Darfur, he said that the number of beneficiaries of humanitarian relief has reached 101,617 in Central Darfur; 33,120 in East Darfur; 134,946 in North Darfur; and 89,769 in South Darfur. Hostile acts by militias in Darfur’s centre, west and east have resulted in dire consequences, with civilians being targeted and vital infrastructure destroyed. This requires an urgent humanitarian response, he underscored, thanking all actors who have responded. While their support has greatly alleviated the humanitarian crisis, Sudan needs more — especially in West Darfur, which has witnessed serious events. Regrettably, militias supported by the Rapid Support Forces have arrested and killed the Governor of West Darfur — one of the signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement.
He then reiterated his Government’s commitment to facilitating access and mobility for humanitarian workers, including through the provision of necessary visas and permits while ensuring their safety. As well, it will continue to ensure access through ports and airports and the distribution of assistance according to the needs of all States affected by the crisis. It is important to exercise the utmost pressure on militias and rebels to ensure that they end their crimes and attacks, allow for human corridors, refrain from attacking humanitarian assistance and convoys and remove their military presence in residential and service areas, he stressed.
Council resolution 1591 (2005), he asserted, has undermined the sovereignty and strengthening of the State in Darfur as well as the protection of civilians, especially since it has restricted his Government’s efforts in maintaining security. The lack of financial support and the failure of the international community to respect its promises to disarm, disband and reintegrate armed groups have impacted the Agreement’s implementation. Beyond the concerning presence of armed rebels in Darfur, foreign elements have proven to be a part of militias — with some even filming themselves and finding state-of-the-art weapons smuggled into militia camps. The violence; large-scale looting; burning of residential areas, public facilities and Government institutions; and destruction of infrastructure are all crimes committed by those militias who try to bring down the Sudanese State.
Urging the United Nations to refer to this in its reports, he stressed: “Neutrality before crimes that amount to war crimes and wars against humanity is but an encouragement for them to continue with these egregious crimes.” The worsening communal violence in Darfur from a security vacuum would not have happened if Council resolution 1591 (2005) had not been implemented, he underlined.
He also called on the United Nations to support peace efforts in parallel with those of his Government. Spotlighting the current efforts of civil society organizations to de-escalate the situation and address the impact of war, he sounded the alarm over the increased gender-based violence and abductions in Khartoum being committed by the militias.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 10:20 a.m.