September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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Sudan, South Sudan and Darfur

Expected Council Action
In September, the Council is likely to be briefed on the Secretary-General’s second report on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), due on 27 September.

The Council may also be briefed by the chair of the Sudan Sanctions Committee and hold consultations.

The Council might mandate a role for UNISFA in the border-monitoring arrangements agreed to in late June by Sudan and South Sudan.

The fluid situation in the different regions of Sudan may prompt Council members to hold additional meetings during the month. 

The mandate of UNISFA expires on 26 December 2011, while that of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) expires on 8 July 2012.

Key Recent Developments
On 29 July, the Council, in resolution 2003, extended the mandate of the AU/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for another year. The resolution called upon the government of Sudan and the armed movements in Darfur to contribute towards an environment conducive for a Darfur-based political process (DPP) to take hold, noting that respect for the civil and political rights of all participants is lacking. The Council also called upon Sudan to lift the state of emergency declared in Darfur and hold accountable those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Sudan has raised its discontent with the renewal of UNAMID’s mandate, claiming that it modifies the initial mandate and intervenes in its domestic affairs.

On 23 August, a press release by the Chairperson of the Commission of the AU, Jean Ping, referred to the adoption of resolution 2003, recalled the 19 July decision of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on UNAMID’s renewal and stressed the need to fully launch the DPP without preconditions. The press release also recalled the concerns raised by the government of Sudan regarding resolution 2003 and appealed to all parties to commit to the hybrid nature of UNAMID, highlighting the value of enhanced consultation and coordination within the AU‐UN strategic partnership on topical and current peace and security challenges

On 22 August, the ceasefire commission for Darfur held its inaugural meeting. Chaired by the UNAMID force commander, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, and comprising senior government and rebel group Liberation and Justice Movement representatives, the commission will monitor violations of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and foster dialogue among the parties.

On 2 August, four UNISFA peacekeepers in Abyei were killed and seven others were injured after their patrol vehicle hit a landmine. The outgoing Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, stated that three of the soldiers killed were initially injured but subsequently died as Sudanese authorities threatened to shoot down a rescue helicopter, delaying their evacuation. On 5 August, a UNAMID peacekeeper was killed and another was seriously wounded after an ambush by unidentified gunmen. The Council lamented both incidents in press statements issued on 3 and 8 August.

On 8 August, under US initiative, the Council held consultations on Sudan and was briefed by Le Roy on the UNMISS and UNISFA deployments. Regarding the death of UNISFA peacekeepers, Le Roy emphasised the importance of signing a Status Of Forces Agreement with Sudan in order to allow UN flights to take off without prior authorisation. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos briefed the Council on the situation in Southern Kordofan. She reported that 200,000 people have been affected by the conflict, which is double the amount since her last Council briefing on 15 July. Amos added that negotiations with Sudan on establishing humanitarian corridors were ongoing. Both briefers asked the Council to call for a ceasefire and for allowing humanitarian assistance to reach the region. Following the briefing, the Council negotiated a draft press statement on Southern Kordofan, circulated by the US, failing as of press time to reach a consensus.

On 15 August, the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, on violations of human rights and humanitarian law by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in Southern Kordofan from 5 to 30 June, previously leaked to the media in draft form, was officially released. One notable difference between the two versions is that the official report calls for an independent inquiry into the alleged human rights violations whereas the leaked version called on the Security Council to establish a commission of inquiry (for more on the contents of the report see our August Monthly Forecast). Sudan has refuted the report as flawed and biased, and its allegations based on unverified information.

On 17 August, Sudan informed the Council that it had established its own committee to assess the human rights situation in Southern Kordofan.

On 19 August, several western Council members initiated a briefing by Pillay and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet. Mulet informed the Council that both sides have not withdrawn their forces from Abyei. Pillay noted that human rights monitoring in Abyei is difficult as UNISFA lacks a civilian component. She also noted that Sudan has denied access to Southern Kordofan. During the briefing, some countries questioned the appropriateness of the high commissioner’s addressing the Council prior to presenting her report to the Human Rights Council, while other members viewed her appearance before the Council as positive interaction between UN bodies. 

On 30 July, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to establish a border-monitoring support mission in Abyei, pursuant to the 29 June agreement establishing the “Safe Demilitarised Border Zone” and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM). The agreement calls for UNISFA to submit a report to the JPSM on the assessed needs of the monitoring mission and allows for a 300-member support force unless the UNISFA force commander suggests otherwise. On 5 August, the Secretary-General informed the Council of his intent to establish a border reconnaissance mission to assess the needs of the suggested mission.

Since 19 August, fighting between the Murle and the Lou Nuer communities in Jonglei state, South Sudan, has resulted in at least 600 deaths, more than 750 wounded and a large number of displaced persons.

Human Rights-Related Developments in South Sudan
The new government is currently examining a number of recommendations of the Human Rights Council’s working group on the Universal Periodic Review. The review preceded South Sudan’s independence. The recommendations include completing South Sudan’s transition from a militarised society to a democratic system based on the rule of law under civilian rule, adhering to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to its two optional protocols, endorsing the Paris Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and establishing a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. The government will report on the outcome of its analysis of these recommendations at the Human Rights Council’s September session.

Key Issues
Addressing the escalating violence in Southern Kordofan and monitoring developments in Blue Nile state and Abyei, are key issues for the Council.

A related issue is addressing the UN reports of atrocities committed, especially in light of the 19 August briefing by High Commissioner Pillay.

On Darfur, encouraging acceptable conditions for DPP is an important issue.

The possible UN role in a border-monitoring mechanism in Abyei is an immediate issue.

The Council could take any of the following steps:

  • adopt a resolution expanding the role of UNISFA to provide for a border-monitoring mechanism;
  • seek a briefing from Ibrahim Gambari, the joint special representative for Darfur, on the ongoing peace negotiations;
  • seek a briefing from the Special Envoy on Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, on the status of negotiations between the parties in regards to Southern Kordofan and implementation of the remaining aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA);
  • seek follow-up briefings from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and other violence-affected areas;
  • engage with the AU representatives is New York to address concerns included in the 23 August AU statement (either in an informal interactive dialogue or within the framework of the Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa); and
  • issue a formal response to the situation in Southern Kordofan addressing humanitarian access, human rights violations and accountability for such violations.

Council Dynamics
Though budgetary issues are of concern, there seems to be a general agreement among Council members on the need to amend UNISFA’s mandate to allow for the monitoring mission to deploy as agreed between the parties. However, the Council is waiting to receive concrete suggestions from the Secretariat.

The Council continues to be divided on how to address the situation in Southern Kordofan. Several on the Council, particularly Western members, have been pushing for express condemnation of human rights violations and aerial bombings undertaken by SAF. They have also raised the issue of an independent inquiry into, and accountability for, human rights violations. Other members maintain that these allegations lack sufficient evidence and fear that their Western counterparts are singling out Sudan instead of considering all aspects of the conflict. In their opinion, the Council should focus on pushing for a ceasefire at this stage.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2003 (29 July 2011) renewed UNAMID’s mandate until 31 July 2012.
  • S/RES/1997 (11 July 2011) liquidated UNMIS.
  • S/RES/1996 (8 July 2011) established UNMISS.
  • S/RES/1990 (27 June 2011) established UNISFA.


  • S/2011/524 (18 August 2011) was from Sudan on the establishment of an inquiry committee in Southern Kordofan.
  • S/2011/522 (18 August 2011) was from Sudan refuting the report on human rights violations in Southern Kordofan.
  • S/2011/511 (10 August 2011) and S/2011/510 (5 August 2011) were between the President of the Council and the Secretary-General on the UNISFA reconnaissance mission regarding border arrangements in Abyei. 
  • S/2011/466 (28 July 2011) contained the communiqué of the AU PSC on UNAMID’s mandate renewal.

Press Statements

  • SC/10355 (8 August 2011) condemned the attack on UNAMID peacekeepers on 5 August.
  • SC/10353 (3 August 2011) expressed sadness over the death of four UNISFA soldiers on 2 August.

Other Relevant Facts

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

Hilde Frafjord Johnson (Norway)

UNMISS: Size and Duration

Maximum authorised strength: up to 7,000 military and 900 police

Duration: 9 July to present; mandate expires 9 July 2012

UNISFA: Force Commander and Head of Mission

Lt. Gen. Tadesse Werede Tesfay (Ethiopia)

UNISFA: Size, Composition and Duration

Maximum authorised strength: up to 4,200 military and 50 police

Troops deployed as of 4 August: more than 1,500 military personnel

Troop contributor: Ethiopia

Duration: 27 June to present; mandate expires 27 December.

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan

Haile Menkerios (South Africa)

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

Full forecast


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