October 2010 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action
The high-level meeting on Sudan held at UN Headquarters on 24 September has focused attention on the risks over the coming months and seems likely to ensure ongoing attention in the Council as well. At press time there were indicators that the Council would visit Sudan in the first week of October.

On 15 October the mandate of the sanctions panel of experts expires and is likely to be renewed. Prior to this, the Sudan Sanctions Committee is expected to meet to discuss the panel’s final report, which was submitted in late September. Reports on both peacekeeping missions, UNMIS and UNAMID fall due in October.

Key Recent Developments
Preparations for the January 2011 referenda continue to be problematic. The Secretary-General of the referendum commission, Mohamed Osman al-Nujoomi, assumed his duties on 7 September after the composition of the commission was settled in late June. Voter registration has yet to commence. Under the referendum law the final list of voters should be drawn up by 9 October. Border demarcation between the north and south remains incomplete and stalled despite the provision in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that the task be completed within six months. Additional unresolved issues include citizenship (the status of northerners in the south and vice versa in the event of a vote for separation) and wealth sharing. The UN estimates that there are 1.5 million to 2 million southerners in the north. The Abyei referendum commission has yet to be formed despite the fact that the Abyei referendum is also scheduled for 9 January 2011.

On 15 September Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy briefed Council members. Le Roy reportedly said referenda preparations remain slow and, in the case of Abyei, there was no progress to report. On post-referendum arrangements, parties were still talking about matters of procedure rather than substance. In a press statement following the consultations, Council members called for the parties to the CPA to take urgent action to facilitate peaceful and on time referenda that reflect the will of the Sudanese people, to respect their results and to resolve key remaining post-referenda issues. They also welcomed the Secretary-General’s intent to create a referenda-monitoring panel. (On 21 September it was announced that former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa would lead the panel. The other panelists are former Portuguese foreign affairs minister (and former High Representative for the Cote d’Ivoire elections) Antonio Monteiro and the former chairman of the Nepalese election commission, Bhojraj Pokharel.)

On 24 September the Secretary-General convened a high-level meeting on Sudan in order to mobilise international support for the full and timely implementation of the CPA and for the peace processes for Darfur and eastern Sudan. The meeting was attended by more than thirty nations and international organisations and Sudanese First Vice President and South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha. In the communiqué adopted at the close of the meeting the CPA parties committed to overcoming the remaining political and technical challenges and to ensure the referenda are held on 9 January 2011. Participants noted delays in the referenda processes and expressed a willingness to assist the joint efforts by the parties to expedite them. Participants agreed that international funding was necessary to alleviate the suffering of the affected populations in southern Sudan. They also highlighted the urgent need to assist southern Sudan in developing its governance capacities. Participants expressed concern at the security situation in Darfur. Progress on the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement was noted.

On 1 September the UN announced it had opened its first field office in Western Equatoria as part of its plan to expand its presence in southern Sudan for the January referendum. Offices are to be opened in the region’s 79 counties.

Darfur peace negotiations between the government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement were expected to resume on 29 September in Doha. A draft peace document that is expected to serve as the basis for a comprehensive peace agreement was to be considered.

On 2 September at least 37 people were killed and some fifty wounded when militiamen loyal to the Sudanese government attacked Tabarat village in northern Jebel Marra, North Darfur. On 7 September, the Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Atul Khare, briefed on the attacks in closed consultations.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 IDPs remain in Kalma Camp following the late July eruption of violence between political rivals over attendance at the Doha peace talks. The governor of South Darfur state has announced his intent to close Kalma Camp and move IDPs to alternative sites. On 5 September six people were reportedly killed and dozens injured in Al-Hamidiya camp, near Zalingei in West Darfur in similar violence regarding participation in the Doha peace talks.

On 23 August the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the time, John Holmes, told Council members in closed consultations the level of restrictions imposed on humanitarian operations and harassment, threats and violence directed at humanitarian personnel in Darfur are once again becoming unacceptable.

On 17 September the chairman of the Sudan Sanctions Committee, Austria’s Thomas Mayr-Harting, presented his regular ninety-day report to the Council. 

On 27 August the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two decisions, informing the Security Council and the Assembly of the States Parties to the Rome Statute about Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir’s visits to Chad and Kenya. The pre-trial chamber noted both countries had a clear obligation to enforce the outstanding arrest warrants for Al-Bashir issued by the ICC both under the Rome Statute (Chad and Kenya are state parties) and as UN member states. Kenya also held the vice-presidency of the Assembly of States Parties. The AU defended Kenya and Chad, saying they were acting in accordance with the July 2009 AU decision that AU members shall not cooperate in the arrest and surrender of Al- Bashir.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 17 September the Human Rights Council (HRC) held an interactive debate with its Independent Expert on Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman. In his two reports on human rights in Sudan (covering the period June 2009-August 2010), Othman found that South Sudan continues to be plagued by increasing tribal violence. Common causes of the violence are tensions between ethnic groups, competition over resources, resistance to disarmament and occasional acts of indiscipline by armed state agencies. Since the elections in April, the human rights situation in Sudan has deteriorated. Violence and widespread human rights abuses during the post election period in southern Sudan were particularly troubling. Othman reported that the security situation in Darfur had significantly deteriorated in recent months. The conflict was characterised by banditry, criminal activities, fighting between government troops and armed movements and inter-communal violence. The persistent climate of impunity in the region remains the central driver of many acts of violence and criminality. Sudan is calling for the termination of the Independent Expert’s mandate, which expires at the end of the HRC’s current session on 1 October.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is that the referenda be conducted on time and in a credible, peaceful way. A related issue is whether there is now enough time to prepare for such referenda.

Another key issue continues to be the perilous security situation in Darfur and the persistent unwillingness of all key stakeholders to come to the negotiating table to consider a credible political strategy to resolve the conflict. A related issue is the growing instability in IDP camps and the tension between supporters and opponents of the Doha peace talks. A concern is that the instability may deteriorate further and spread throughout Darfur.

A related issue is how to address the continued violations of the Council-imposed arms embargo, as attacks and counter-attacks between the Government of Sudan and armed movements impede the peace process and target civilians. How these questions are reflected in the expected resolution renewing the mandate of the Sanctions Panel of Experts will be a key issue in October.

Another issue, relevant to the possible Council mission to Sudan, is accountability, and in particular the risks of engaging with ICC indictees.

Underlying Issues
UNAMID continues to operate in an environment where there is no durable peace to monitor and where parties to the conflict (including the host government) continue to engage in active conflict. Despite being nearly fully deployed, UNAMID troop-and police-contributing countries continue to lack the resources to execute their mandate.

Capacity weakness in South Sudanese institutions has emerged as a major issue, regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Communal conflicts persist in the south in the face of weak security institutions and further contribute to instability in South Sudan. The transformation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement from a guerrilla movement to a ruling party remains incomplete.

The most likely action by the Council in October is to renew the mandate of the sanctions panel of experts. Other options for the Council are to use the renewal resolution to send some firm signals of concern, or even more concretely to introduce new measures, and bolster sanctions to strengthen implementation of the arms embargo. Areas which could be considered within the mandate include:

But other wider options are also likely, in particular finding ways to continue high-level engagement on Sudan in the lead up to the referenda.

Another possibility is for the Council to hold an informal interactive dialogue involving the AU High-Level Implementation Panel headed by Thabo Mbeki and a briefing from the Secretary-General’s referenda monitoring panel.

Council Dynamics
The Council seems united in its concern regarding the status of preparations for the upcoming referenda and the associated risks.

Any attempt to strengthen or expand the current sanctions regime is likely to be controversial. Tougher language in the draft resolution will also mean a tough negotiation met with resistance by some members of the Council.

There were for some time considerable divisions within the Council over the possible trip to Sudan and contact with ICC indictees. It seems that some members, including the US, UK and France insisted that their ambassadors are unable to meet any ICC indictee. The UK and the US are leading on negotiations for the visit.

The UK is the lead country on Darfur in the Council. The US is the lead country on north-south issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1935 (30 July 2010) renewed UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1919 (29 April 2010) renewed UNMIS.
  • S/RES/1891 (13 October 2009) renewed the mandate of the Darfur Sanctions Panel of Experts for another year.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

Selected Security Council Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6365 (27 July 2010) was a briefing by Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur Ibrahim Gambari.
  • S/PV.6338 (14 June 2010) was the briefing by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Haile Menkerios, Ibrahim Gambari and Djibril Bassolé.
  • S/PV.6336 (11 June 2010) was the briefing by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.


  • SG/2165 (24 September 2010) was the Communiqué on the Sudan High-Level Meeting.
  • SC/10031 (15 September 2010) was a press statement calling for parties to the CPA to take urgent action to facilitate peaceful and on-time referenda.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

Joint AU-UN Chief Mediator

Djibril Yipènè Bassolé (Burkina Faso)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt.-Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units (total police 6,432)
  • Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt and Ethiopia
  • Military Strength as of 30 August 2010: 22,007 military personnel
  • Police Strength as of 30 June 2010: 4,795 police personnel
  • Cost: 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011: $1.81 billion

UNAMID: Duration

31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2011

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Haile Menkerios (South Africa)

UNMIS: Force Commander

Maj.-Gen. Moses Bisong Obi (Nigeria)

UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military and 715 police personnel
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Military Strength as of 30 June 2010: 9,441 military personnel
  • Police Strength as of 30 June 2010: 676 police personnel
  • Cost: 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011: $938 million

UNMIS: Duration

24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 30 April 2011

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria)

Full forecast

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