October 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2009
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AFRICA

Sudan

Expected Council Action
In October the Council is due to discuss the Darfur issue and renew the mandate of the Sudan Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts. The Panel’s report was due in September and its mandate expires on 15 October.

Council members are also likely in October to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on Sudan. The report is expected to provide an update on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in the south and also the overall situation. Some discussion on the work of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is expected. The mandate of UNMIS expires on 30 April 2010.

Key Recent Developments
Serious challenges remain including insecurity in many parts of South Sudan and parts of Darfur.

Problems in South Sudan include inter-tribal violence and attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) both of which have escalated in the past few months. On 20 September, some eighty people were killed, nearly fifty wounded and around 2,000 homes were burned when Lou Nuer gunmen attacked Dinka Hol village of Duk Padiet in Jonglei state. Inter-tribal clashes in South Sudan are often linked to cattle rustling, while others are in retaliation for previous attacks. On 8 September, in a statement the Secretary-General urged the government of South Sudan to increase its efforts to ensure civilians are protected.

LRA attacks on Western and Central Equatoria states in recent months have led to a large number of civilian casualties and widespread displacement. The LRA attacks on southern Sudan, north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR), have in recent months led to an increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. In August and September, a total of 11 attacks have been documented. Since mid-December, some 68,000 people have been internally displaced, 18,000 refugees have arrived from the DRC and CAR, and within the last month alone close to 200 people have been killed and 130 abducted. In Sudan’s Western and Central Equatoria States, 11,000 IDPs have been registered during the past two months. UNMIS condemned the LRA attacks in an 11 September press release.

UNMIS is working with the government of South Sudan to provide protection, but has made little progress in implementing concrete responses to these attacks. The government of South Sudan is limited in its capacity to manage local conflicts, which continue to impact communities. Resolution 1870, which renewed UNMIS’s mandate in April, requires UNMIS to support local authorities to provide security to civilian population. It also calls for UNMIS to strengthen conflict management by providing assistance to the government of South Sudan and help reconciliation initiatives at the local level.

The Secretary-General’s statement on 8 September expressed concern about escalating inter-tribal violence in South Sudan, which can impact the upcoming elections and referendum, which are key benchmarks in the CPA.

While security is a constant concern, political tensions related to the upcoming elections are also a key factor between the north and south parties. The two most contentious issues are the laws governing the referendum and census results (which will have electoral consequences). On 9 September, the US Special Envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, met authorities in the north and south and urged them to work together to resolve issues related to the census, the upcoming elections, and preparations for the referendum.

The Secretary General’s report in July pressed the Government of National Unity (GNU) on the importance of elections being conducted in an environment where basic political freedoms are respected. The Secretary-General also urged the GNU and Darfur movements to permit a secure environment allowing for elections to take place.

In Darfur there has been an upsurge in fighting between the rebels and the government forces. In mid-September, some 18 civilians were reported to have been killed in the area of the town of Korma. Security remains a serious concern. On 28 August, two international staff members of the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) were kidnapped from their homes and were still missing at press time.

On 15 September, the Chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee briefed the Council on the Committee’s activities for the past three months and highlighted the findings of its UN Panel on the developments in Darfur.

Women’s rights are a significant concern. In Darfur and South Sudan, violence and sexual abuse against women and children by state and non-state actors continues, resulting in large number of victims. In the south, women and children are being increasingly targeted in attacks by the LRA.

The government has also been increasingly taking measures against women. In July, Public Order Police in Khartoum arrested 14 women for wearing trousers, as they were considered to be indecently dressed. Since the Sudanese Criminal Court does not define what constitutes indecent dress, this can lead to arbitrary arrests. One of the women arrested was Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese employee of UNMIS. Hussein decided to plead not guilty on 7 September. Hussein could have received the punishment of up to forty lashes under Sudanese 1991 Criminal Act. Instead she was sentenced to one month in jail, and given the alternative of paying of 500 Sudanese Pounds (roughly $200). She was released on 9 September, after the fine was paid by the Sudanese Journalists Union.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 15 September the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, said the case of Lubna Hussein was an instance of “a wider pattern of discrimination and application of discriminatory laws against women in Sudan.” Pillay said Hussein’s “arrest and that of 13 other women was in violation of Sudan’s international obligations as a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. The High Commissioner welcomed Hussein’s release and called on the government “to take all necessary steps to address the equality gap”.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council in October is likely to be the growing recognition that Sudan is now at a critical juncture with its future, not only in Darfur, but also in the south very much at stake. Elections are scheduled for April 2010. And in 2011 South Sudan is due to hold a referendum on whether to remain part of Sudan. This referendum was agreedin 2005 in the Naivasha Agreement between the Khartoum central government and the southern-based SudanPeople’s Liberation Army. In addition, referendums will be held in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile on whether they will become part of South Sudan or Sudan.

Inter-tribal violence in the south and attacks from the LRA in areas near the border with Uganda are central issues. Currently, there are discussions involving UNMIS, the UN Mission in DRC and the UN Organization Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad to increase coordination and information-sharing on LRA movements to provide better protection for civilians across the region. This initiative will support efforts undertaken by governments in the region to curb LRA attacks.

Sudan’s general elections scheduled for April 2010 will continue to be a key issue for the Council. In particular, members will be concerned about ensuring free and fair elections and the requisite protection of basic civil and political rights. Security for the electoral process will be among the main concerns. Another concern is ensuring that the largely displaced population of Darfur is given meaningful voice in the process.

Options
Council options include:

  • taking no action in October but using the various reports that will be available as a basis for discussions among Council members on the next steps;
  • using the opportunity of the October discussions to issue a statement supporting the implementation of CPA;
  • including in a statement language requesting the Secretary-General to focus UNMIS’s resources on the critical current role of supporting the National Elections Commission to facilitate an election process which is genuinely free and independent;
  • requesting UNMIS to intensify its efforts to support the government of South Sudan in dealing with the escalating insecurity;
  • urging all the UN peacekeeping missions in the region to strengthen information-sharing so civilians are better protected; and
  • renewing the mandate of Panel of Experts.

Council Dynamics
Members seem agreed that strengthening the partnership between the north and south is critical to the survival of the CPA process. Council members increasingly seem to recognise the key linkages between political developments in the North and South.

Most council members would likely give attention to the humanitarian situation both in South Sudan and in Darfur, and with the current level of civilian casualties. Some want the Council to urge both the government of South Sudan and UNMIS to take active steps to prevent further escalation of violence.

The UK is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1870 (30 April 2009) renewed UNMIS’s mandate.
  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS’s mandate.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2009) established the Panel of Experts.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/391 (28 July 2009) was the report of the Secretary-General on elections.
  • S/2009/357 (14 July 2009) was the latest UNMIS report.

Other

  • SG/SM/12438/AFR/1886 (8 September 2009) was the statement of the Secretary-General condemning inter-tribal attacks in South Sudan.
  • SG/SM/12397/AFR/1878 (3 August 2009) was the statement of the Secretary-General condemning the attacks in South Sudan which resulted in 161 people killed.

Other Relevant Facts

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi (Pakistan)

UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military personnel and some 750 military observers; up to 715 police personnel
  • Strength as of 31 July 2009: 9,644 total uniformed personnel, including 8,472 troops, 510 military observers, 622 police; supported by 797 international personnel, 2,395 local civilian and 255 United Nations Volunteers.
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Cost: 1 July 2009-30 June 2010: $958.35 million

UNMIS: Duration

24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 30 April 2010

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