April 2011 Monthly Forecast

AFRICA

Sudan/Darfur

Expected Council Action
The Council will consider the quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID, due in mid-April. The Council is also expected to consider a report on the Darfur-based Political Process (DPP), which was due in late February. At press time there were indications that the two reports might be combined. It is expected that the head of UN Peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, will brief the Council.

The mandate of UNAMID expires on 31 July.

Key Recent Developments
On 3 March, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel group, resumed peace negotiations with the government in Doha, joining the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM). On 20 March the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, announced the parties had agreed to four chapters of a peace agreement: human rights and fundamental freedoms; justice and reconciliation; compensation and return of internally displaced persons and refugees; and wealth sharing. Bassolé announced that a Darfur stakeholders’ conference would be held in Doha on 18 April with the goal of establishing broad-based support.

A key unresolved issue in the talks is the administrative status of Darfur. On 2 March the Government of Sudan announced it would hold a referendum within three months on the special status of Darfur in accordance with the terms of the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). The government said it was legally obliged to implement the DPA until it was amended or abrogated by a new agreement. Only the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi signed the DPA. Minnawi has since rejected the agreement and his forces have resumed fighting government forces. Other main rebel groups—the SLA led by Abdul Wahid Nur (SLA-AW) and the JEM—refused to sign the DPA. One of the main reasons they gave was the provision in the agreement for a referendum to decide the status of Darfur. The Government of Sudan wants Darfur’s administrative status to be resolved ahead of the creation of a new Sudanese constitution following the independence of South Sudan. JEM negotiators at Doha said the timing of the referendum announcement undermined Bassolé’s efforts and called it a “reckless and destructive step” and in contravention of framework agreements already signed.

Several days after announcing the referendum, the Government of Sudan declared its intention to create two more states in Darfur—Bahr Al-Arab State in south-east Darfur and Jebel Marra in central Darfur.

In early March fighting continued between the SLA-AW and government forces in the Jebel Marra area.

On 22 March Gambari met Abdul Wahid Nur, in Kampala, Uganda, and discussed ways to improve AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) access to rebel-held areas, enable humanitarian access and improve security for civilians in the Jebel Marra.

On 22 March, two UNAMID peacekeepers were seriously injured in an ambush near El Geneina, Western Darfur.

On 9 February the Council requested in a presidential statement that the Secretary-General report by the end of February on issues related to the DPP, including an assessment of the “enabling environment”. The Secretary-General indicated to the Council that the report would not be available until late March. At press time the report was still not available.

On 7 March the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed war-crime charges against Darfur rebel leaders Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo and ordered them to face trial. The crimes were allegedly committed during an attack on the compound of the AU Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on 29 September 2007 that resulted in the deaths of 12 peacekeepers.

On 8 March the Security Council released the final report of the Panel of Experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee. Some of the Panel’s recommendations to the Council, including clarifying the scope of, and exemptions to, the arms embargo, were addressed when the Council renewed the sanctions in resolution 1945. Other recommendations included:

Human Rights-Related Developments
Following his latest visit to Sudan, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, issued a statement on 14 March deploring the situation of refugees displaced by intensified violence between government and rebel factions in Darfur. He described the continuing impact of those hostilities as “unacceptable.” Based on first-hand experience gained when he visited camps for internally displaced persons in north Darfur, Othman said that the situation of refugees could reach “catastrophic levels” without immediate humanitarian assistance. The UN expert reported that he had raised the issue of impunity and accountability in Darfur with government officials. He said that he feared that violations of human rights would continue to occur in Darfur if the issues of justice and accountability were not addressed effectively.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is to determine whether UNAMID’s more assertive approach to push for access in Darfur, announced in January, has been effective.

A further key issue for the Council is to clarify the role of UNAMID with regard to supporting the DPP. Related to this is the need for the Council to convey to the relevant parties the Council’s preferences for how best to sequence the negotiations and outcomes of the Doha talks and on-the-ground initiatives such as the DPP.

An ongoing issue for the Council is how best to encourage all Darfur rebel groups to participate in the Doha talks.

Underlying Issues
There is limited information available on the security situation in Darfur owing to the lack of NGOs or independent media operating in the area.

Options
The Council could issue a statement further to its presidential statement of 9 February:

The Sudan Sanctions Committee could consider listing leaders of rebel groups refusing to participate in the Doha talks or who are otherwise undermining peace processes in Darfur.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem determined to continue to pay attention to the situation in Darfur, parallel to the heightened focus on implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement over the past months. However, despite ongoing violence, it seems Darfur was not mentioned during Council discussions on Sudan during March. Council members seem to be looking for evidence as to whether UNAMID’s more assertive posture is having any impact on its ability to protect civilians.

Council members want to know more about the progress of the Doha peace negotiations. Many members seem concerned that the recently announced initiatives of the Government of Sudan have the potential to confuse the Doha process. Many Council members seem concerned that some disconnect remains between the negotiations in Doha and the armed elements on the ground in Darfur. While there is support amongst Council members for peace initiatives that include the broadest possible participation of Darfuri society, many members are conscious that there are also risks in dual tracks and emphasise the importance of carefully sequencing the negotiations in Doha and any domestic process, such as the DPP. Most Council members seem to accept that the two processes can overlap if there is an appropriate enabling environment. Some Council members believe that any UNAMID assistance to the DPP should come from the AU side of UNAMID, and not be part of the UN’s mandate.

The UK is the lead country in the Council on Darfur.

UN Documents

 

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1945 (14 October 2010) renewed the mandate of the Darfur Sanctions Panel of Experts.
  • S/RES/1935 (30 July 2010) renewed UNAMID.
  • 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 Report

Selected Security Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6478 (9 February 2011) were briefings to the Council on the occasion of the formal announcement of the results of the Southern Sudan referendum.

Other

  • S/2011/128 (11 March 2011) was a letter from the government of Sudan to the president of the Security Council explaining the referendum on the administrative status of Darfur.
  • S/2011/111 (8 March 2011) was a note by the president of the Council circulating the final report of the panel of experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee dated 20 September 2010.
  • S/2011/96 (24 February 2011) was a letter from the Secretary-General informing the Security Council of the appointment of the final member of the panel of experts.
  • S/PRST/2011/3 (9 February 2011) was the presidential statement on the occasion of the announcement of the formal results of the Southern Sudan referendum.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

  • 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, Ethiopia and Senegal
  • Military strength as of 28 February 2011: 17,711 military personnel
  • Police Strength as of 28 February 2011: 5,109 police personnel
  • Annual Budget: $1.81 billion
  • Duration: 31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2011 

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

Panel of Experts

  • Rajiva Sinha (India): finance and coordinator of the panel
  • Claudio Gramizzi (Italy): arms
  • Michael Lewis (UK): aviation
  • Hesham Nasr (Egypt): international humanitarian law
  • Jérôme Tubiana (France): regional

Joint AU-UN Chief Mediator

Djibril Yipènè Bassolé (Burkina Faso)

Full forecast