Expected Council Action
In January, the Council will consider the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). At press time, no outcome was expected.
The mandate of UNAMID expires on 31 July 2013.
Key Recent Developments
On 13 December, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefed the Council on her work in Darfur. She argued that Sudan’s “actions on the ground…show an ongoing commitment to crimes against civilians as a solution to the government’s problems in Darfur.” She said that while the ICC had carried out its mandate in Darfur, the Council had exhibited “fragmentation and indecision”, stating that the victims of crimes in Darfur were still waiting for “decisive, concrete and tangible actions” by the Council. Bensouda also indicated that given continuing allegations of crimes committed in the region—including attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers and civilians and efforts to prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance—she would consider opening new investigations and producing additional arrest warrant applications.
Ambassador Daffa-All Elhag Ali Osman (Sudan) also addressed the Council and claimed that Bensouda made unsubstantiated allegations, falsely accusing Sudan of extensive gender-based violence and mistaking inter-tribal conflict for attacks by militias. He said that since the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), the situation in Darfur has improved and is stable and secure in most areas. (The DDPD is a peace agreement signed by Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in Doha in July 2011 focusing on seven areas: human rights; power-sharing; wealth-sharing; justice and reconciliation; compensation of refugees and internally displaced persons; ceasefire and security arrangements; and internal dialogue and consultation.)
On 5 December, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) attacked militants that it suspected were preparing to launch rockets at El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. Sudan said that two combatants from the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an umbrella group of rebel movements vowing to overthrow the government, were killed in the attack. However, Eltigani Seisi, head of the LJM, said that the SAF attack had been perpetrated against LJM forces, which were not attacking El Fasher.
Seisi expressed concern about comments made by Al-Sawarmi Khaled, a spokesman for the SAF, who alleged that if LJM forces were in the area, they must have been targeting El Fasher. Seisi said that the allegation “undermines trust and weakens the spirit to implement the Doha Document.” He added that the LJM had asked the government to cease its false portrayal of the incident and that it had notified UNAMID about it.
In Addis Ababa, the AU Peace and Security Council adopted a communiqué on Darfur at its 348th meeting on 13 December. The communiqué:
• expressed grave concern at the worsening security environment in some areas of Darfur and urgently called on the government and armed groups to end their military operations;
• strongly condemned attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers;
• expressed serious concern regarding restrictions placed on UNAMID’s movements;
• commended the government and the LJM for efforts to implement the DDPD while urging them to overcome their differences;
• welcomed the 21 October agreement between Sudan and an offshoot of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the so-called JEM-Military Council, to cease hostilities against one another;
• expressed serious concern with delays in issuing visas to UNAMID personnel on the part of the government; and
• requested quarterly reports from the AU Commission on the situation in Darfur.
On 14 December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote a letter to the Council indicating that he and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, president of the AU Commission, intended to appoint Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana as the new AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim. (Chambas previously served as the Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States). The appointment was officially announced on 20 December.
According to the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health of Sudan, 788 people contracted yellow fever and 166 people died from the disease in Darfur from 2 September to 9 December. According to OCHA, 2.2 million vaccinations were performed in Darfur between 21 November and 7 December.
Human Rights-Related Developments
During a press briefing in Geneva on 11 December, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern about recent violent clashes between students and police in Khartoum. Four Darfuri students had been found dead on 7 December after they had taken part in a protest about plans to repeal a tuition fee exemption for Darfuri students. Colville stressed the need for swift investigations into the circumstances surrounding the murders of the students and the importance of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
An ongoing key issue is the fact that the LJM is the only major rebel group in Darfur to sign the DDPD and accede to the related peace process.
A related key issue is whether tensions between the government and the LJM sparked by the 5 December incident outside El Fasher can be allayed.
Another key and related issue is whether the willingness of a branch of the JEM to negotiate with Sudan can generate momentum for the peace process and encourage the participation of other rebel groups.
An important issue is the ongoing attacks on UNAMID personnel and how security can be improved. A related issue is how restrictions on UNAMID’s movements inhibit the mission’s effectiveness.
Another key issue is the upsurge in violence in North Darfur in recent months, particularly related to criminal activities and fighting between the SAF and rebel groups. (According to OCHA, the resulting insecurity has limited the activities of humanitarian organisations in this region.)
Another key issue is how a lack of funding, including the fact that Sudan has not contributed the $200 million it committed to the Darfur Regional Authority, has affected implementation of the DDPD.
The Council may choose to consider the report without taking action at the present time.
Another option would be to invite the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs to brief on the situation in Darfur.
The Council may also consider adopting a resolution that:
• expresses concern with the recent escalation in violence in North Darfur;
• welcomes the decision of the JEM-Military Council to participate in peace talks with the government;
• imposes sanctions on rebel groups that refuse to participate in the peace process;
• demands that the government strengthen efforts to investigate alleged atrocities and to combat impunity in Darfur; and
• demands that the government expedite the issuance of pending visas for UNAMID personnel.
There are ongoing concerns among several Council members about reports of violence against civilians in Darfur, including indiscriminate aerial bombardment, gender-based violence, murder and other serious human rights violations. (Allegations of violence against civilians have been made against both government and non-government forces.)
Some Council members, notably the UK and the US, have expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in implementing the DDPD, pointing to the difficult security situation, weak rule of law and the lack of funding provided for implementation. (A donor conference on Darfur is planned for early 2013 in Doha, although a precise date has not been determined.)
Several Council members also remain alarmed by the lack of access for humanitarian workers and UNAMID peacekeepers, as well as the dangerous environment in which they operate. As was noted in the 13 December Council briefing, 43 UNAMID peacekeepers have been killed since the mission became operational in December 2007.
While some members are encouraged that the Interim Military Council of the JEM has decided to pursue peace talks with the government, several members remain alarmed that there are still many rebel movements that persist in fighting the regime. A recent report in The Sudan Tribune has indicated that the US is playing an active role in engaging with rebel leaders to try to persuade them to join the peace process.
Some Council members are supportive of imposing sanctions on the rebel groups that continue to fight the Sudanese government. For example, in the 13 December briefing, Pakistan argued that sanctions should be imposed on armed groups in Darfur that hinder the peace process and that violate international humanitarian and human rights law, while India likewise said that the Council “should consider targeted measures” against the rebel groups.
The UK is the lead country in the Council on Darfur.
UN Documents on Sudan/Darfur
|Security Council Resolutions|
|31 July 2012 S/RES/2063||Renewed the UNAMID mandate for a year and authorised a reconfiguration of the mission.|
|31 July 2007 S/RES/1769||This resolution created an African Union/UN hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).|
|31 March 2005 S/RES/1593||This resolution referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.|
|16 October 2012 S/2012/771||This was the Secretary-General’s report on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|13 December 2012 S/PV.6887||This was a briefing on the ICC’s work in Sudan.|
|Security Council Letters|
|18 December 2012 S/2012/944||This letter from the president of the Security Council concerned the appointment of Maohamed Ibn Chambas as the new AU-UN Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim.|
|14 December 2012 S/2012/943||This letter from the Secretary-General concerned the appointment of Maohamed Ibn Chambas as the new AU-UN Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim.|
Useful Additional Resources
PSC/PR/COMM.2 (CCCXLVIII) (13 December 2012) was a communiqué of the PSC on Darfur.