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UNAMID - UN-African Union Mission in Darfur

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to make a decision on the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on 27 June 2019. UNAMID’s gradual drawdown and eventual exit had been planned for 2020 before the April 2019 military coup d’état in Sudan. However with no political solution to the Darfur conflict, increased instability in Sudan and its suspension from the AU complicate UNAMID’s planned exit. The lack of coherence between a united AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and an internally divided UNSC on UNAMID’s future aggravate these challenges.

Since the second half of 2018, when UNAMID began to implement the transition plan through gradual reconfiguration and drawdown, the situation in Darfur has continued to be stable. This demonstrated that the Sudanese government has the capacity to assume its responsibility to maintain peace and security in Darfur on its own.

A Chinese envoy said 14 June 2019 that his country supports the planned withdrawal of the UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and calls for the promotion of the political process in the Sudanese region through dialogue. China welcomed the UNAMID strategic assessment report of the UN secretary-general and the African Union Commission chairperson, which indicated that the overall security situation in Darfur is stable, and suggests that the drawdown should continue.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously 30 June 2017 to cut the peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region by nearly 30 percent. The British-sponsored resolution was sparked by the evolving security situation in Darfur and U.S. pressure on the U.N. to slash $600 million from peacekeeping operations. The reduction in Darfur would be carried out in phases. Human rights experts said conditions in Darfur were still far from quiet and a UN withdrawal could put many civilians in danger.

A civil war which broke out in 2003 led to the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Darfuris and the displacement of nearly two million. In the fighting between the Government of Sudan and militias and other armed rebel groups, widespread atrocities such as the murder and rape of civilians have been committed. The UN raised the alarm on the crisis in Darfur in 2003, and finding a lasting resolution has been a top priority for the Security Council and two consecutive Secretaries-General. Under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and with support of the UN and other partners, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed on 5 May 2006. As few parties signed on, a renewed peace process under a joint AU-UN mediator took place in Doha, Qatar, over 2010 through June 2011, producing a framework document. Intensive diplomatic and political efforts to bring the non-signatories into agreement with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur continue.

Following the 16 November 2006 High-Level consultations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) augmented the existing African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and prepared to deploy an unprecedented joint AU/UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur. Intensive diplomacy by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and several actors in the international community resulted in Sudan’s acceptance of this force in June 2007. The African Union/UN hybrid operation in Darfur was formally established by the Security Council on 31 July 2007 through the adoption of resolution 1769, referred to by its acronym UNAMID, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. UNAMID formally took over from AMIS on 31 December 2007.

Resolution 2148 (2014) adopted by the Security Council on 3 April 2014 requires the Mission to: Protect civilians, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Sudan; Facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and ensure the safety of humanitarian personnel; Mediate between the Government of Sudan and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur; and Support the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes.

In Security Council resolution 2228 (2015) of 29 June 2015 and the communiqués of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 22 June 2015 (516th meeting) and 31 July 2015 (529th meeting), the two Councils extended the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for a period of 12 months and reiterated their endorsement of the mission and reiterated their endorsement of the mission’s revised strategic priorities, as set out in paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2148 (2014), namely: (a) mediation between the Government of the Sudan and non-signatory movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, while taking into account the ongoing democratic transformation at the national level; (b) the protection of civilians, the facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel; and (c) support for the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes, in conjunction with the United Nations country team.

Taking into account the volatile security situation and the continued large - scale displacement of persons in Darfur since July 2016, the troop-to-task review assessed the authorized strength of the military and police components and their deployment in detail. It recommended that the current numbers of uniformed personnel be retained in order to enable the mission to maintain a credible footprint in conflict-affected areas for the protection of civilians. In order to effectively implement its protection of civilians and facilitation of humanitarian assistance mandate, the review found that UNAMID should ensure a higher degree of flexibility in the deployment of its military contingent.

With only 14 out of an authorized strength of 16 battalions deployed, the mission’s military component was overstretched. The mission will further consider options to compensate for the lack of predictable mobility by enhancing the capacities of team sites with greater operational significance, through the deployment of troops. To accommodate this reinforcement, other locations will be considered for reductions in strength or even closure.

At the same time, and in line with the conflict analysis above, the review concurred with UNAMID plans to establish new team sites in Anka, North Darfur, Adila/Abu Karinka, East Darfur and Um Dukhun, Central Darfur, for which Government approval remains pending. As a means of achieving the desired flexibility, the sixteenth battalion would be reconfigured into a highly mobile reserve capability, while the planned induction of the military utility helicopter unit would complement the mission’s quick reaction capability.

As of mid-2016, UNAMID had a 26 per cent vacancy rate for individual police officers, which was the result of delays in the issuance of visas, the repatriation and non-replacement of police officers from certain police-contributing countries and bureaucratic delays in their deployment. Given the importance of individual police officers in engaging with internally displaced persons and local communities, Government police and humanitarian actors, there is a further need to increase their field presence. The review recommended the streamlining of posts from mission and sector headquarters to team sites, which are understaffed, as well as from currently less operationally significant team sites.

Given the importance of female police officers for interactions with internally displaced persons, the Secretariat redoubled its efforts to increase the number of female officers from police-contributing countries. A more flexible deployment of formed police units across sector boundaries will be initiated to ensure adequate protection for the internally displaced population. With respect to military and police integration, a need for enhanced coordination and planning has been identified, particularly for joint contingency planning based on common threat assessments.

Further to Security Council resolution 2228 (2015) and the communiqués of 22 June and 31 July 2015 of the Peace and Security Council, the African Union, the United Nations and the Government of the Sudan continued their discussions on the development of an exit strategy for UNAMID based on the benchmarks set out by the Peace and Security Council and the Security Council. The discussions took place within the framework of a high-level meeting held on the margins of the General Assembly, in September 2015, and of three strategic-level tripartite meetings that had been held in 2016, in Addis Ababa, New York and Khartoum.

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Page last modified: 24-06-2019 18:31:56 ZULU