Expected Council Action
Ambassador María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, will brief Council members in consultations on the Committee’s work. The Council will also likely renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) of the Committee, which expires on 17 February. (The Panel’s final report was circulated to the Committee on 24 January.)
Key Recent Developments
The security situation in Darfur has remained precarious due to fighting between the government and rebel forces and inter-communal violence. Reports have indicated that the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) killed 20 members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on 24 December 2012 while attempting to seize Golo town in the western Jebel Marra area of Darfur. The SLA-AW said that it had gained control of Golo and Rockero towns, a claim the government disputed. In early January, clashes between the Abbala and Beni Hussein communities in Jabel Amir, North Darfur, led to 100 deaths and 70,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). It appears that the fighting was precipitated by a disagreement over access to a gold mine.
Relations between the government and UN staff have recently been marked by increased tension. On 2 December 2012, upon arriving at the airport in Khartoum, Ghassan Schbley (US), the finance expert on the PoE, was prevented from entering Sudan even though he had a visa. (Sudan explained that it denied him entry because of concerns about his activities when he was a member of the PoE for the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.) On 24 and 25 December, Sudan security officers arrested three national staff from the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in Nyala, South Darfur, for alleged anti-government activities. After UNAMID asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for assistance they were released with all charges dropped on 22 January.
On 20 January, the government and the Justice and Equality Movement-Military Council (JEM-MC), an offshoot of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), began peace talks in Doha, using the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) as the basis for their negotiations. Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar, and Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, acting Joint AU-UN Special Representative, participated as mediators. (The government and the JEM-MC had pledged their commitment to ceasing hostilities and initiating negotiations in October 2012.) From 10-14 January, a joint AU-UN mediation support team trained 36 JEM-MC delegates to build their negotiating capacity and to educate them on the elements of the DDPD. (The DDPD is a peace agreement 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. To date, the Liberation and Justice Movement is the only Darfur rebel group that has signed the document, having done so in July 2011.)
Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council on Darfur and the latest Secretary-General’s UNAMID report, prior to its consultations on the issue on 24 January. Mulet expressed concern at the recent deterioration of the security situation in certain parts of Darfur, particularly western Jebel Marra and North Darfur. He said that the government needed to provide “a holistic settlement of the issues of political and economic marginalisation affecting not only Darfur but Sudan as a whole” to achieve a durable and comprehensive peace in Darfur. Speaking after Mulet, Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman (Sudan) urged the Council to take stronger measures against rebel groups that have not joined the Doha peace process. He also alleged that rebel movements in Darfur received logistical and political support from South Sudan and claimed that they initiated attacks from South Sudan on Darfur.
Human Rights-Related Developments
According to the latest UNAMID report, covering October-December 2012 (S/2013/22), the overall number of documented human rights violations decreased to 94 cases involving 204 victims (as compared to 159 cases involving 321 victims in July-September). Of the 204 victims, 44 were victims of violations of the right of life, 100 of violations of the right of physical integrity, 13 of arbitrary arrests and detention and 47 of sexual and gender-based violence. While the number of attacks on IDPs and arbitrary arrests and detentions recorded by UNAMID declined during the reporting period, the number of incidents of sexual and gender-based violence documented increased.
An immediate key issue is whether the final report of the PoE will be published. (The 2011 final report—which would have been made public in early 2012—has yet to be published, as it seems that one or more Council members expressed concerns about its accuracy.)
A key overarching issue is how the Council can make the sanctions regime more effective so that arms do not enter Darfur illegally.
A related issue is what other steps the Council can take to address the deteriorating security situation in western Jebel Marra and North Darfur and the impact of this violence on civilian populations.
One option is renewing the PoE and making no changes to the sanctions regime.
Another option would be to include in the resolution additional elements such as:
- strengthening the language obliging states supplying arms to Sudan to obtain credible end-user documentation ensuring that these arms do not enter Darfur;
- adding rebel leaders to the sanctions list; and
- demanding full cooperation by Sudan with the work of the PoE.
Other options, although unlikely, would be to expand the arms embargo to the whole of Sudan and to add one or more of those indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in Darfur to the 1591 sanctions list.
Ongoing concerns persist among several Council members about the difficult security environment in Darfur and its impact on civilians, especially in light of the recent violence in North Darfur and western Jebel Marra.
There seem to be different perspectives in the Council regarding Schbley, the finance specialist who was denied access to Sudan. Some Council members believe that he should not have been denied access as he is a member of a PoE authorised by the Council. Others believe that Sudan, as the host country, has the sovereign prerogative to grant or restrict access.
Another matter on which there appears to be a difference of opinion on the Council is whether or not there should be an obligation to publish PoE reports as a matter of principle. Some members seem to believe that publishing the reports is important for the sake of transparency. Others do not believe that there should be an obligation to do so, arguing that sometimes there are inaccuracies in the reports.
The UK is the lead country in the Council on Darfur, while Argentina is the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.
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.|
|10 January 2013 S/2013/22||This was a quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|24 January 2013 S/PV.6910||This was a briefing to the Council on UNAMID.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|8 March 2011 S/2011/111||This was a note from the President of the Council circulating the final report of the Panel of Experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee dated 20 September 2010.|
Useful Additional Resources
PSC/PR/COMM.2 (CCCXLVIII) (13 December 2012) was a communiqué of the AU Peace and Security Council on Darfur.