Expected Council Action
In May, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, will provide the quarterly briefing on the work of the Committee’s work to Council members in consultations. No Council outcome is anticipated in May on Darfur.
Key Recent Developments
On 7-8 April, the International Donor Conference for Reconstruction and Development in Darfur was held in Doha, Qatar. In keeping with article 32 of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, a Darfur Joint Assessment Mission—including various UN entities, the government of Sudan, the Darfur Regional Authority and other international development actors—had been established and produced a Darfur Development Strategy in preparation for the conference. This plan indicated that $7.2 billion would be needed for reconstruction and development of Darfur over the next six years. It also underscored three priority areas in need of support: governance, justice and reconciliation; reconstruction; and economic recovery. Approximately $3.7 billion was pledged during the conference, a figure that includes “renewed commitment and pledges” by Sudan of $2.65 billion, as described in the Doha Document. Qatar, which hosted the conference, pledged $500 million.
The Panel of Experts (PoE) of the Sudan Sanctions Committee, appointed in late March, briefed the Committee on 18 April, requesting an extension of deadline for the submission of their interim report to the Committee. (Subsequently, the Committee agreed and extended the deadline set for 14 May, until 31 July.) The experts noted that they had not received visas and thus had been unable to visit Sudan to conduct their investigation.
The experts received single-entry visas from Sudan on 19 April except for the finance expert, Ghassan Schbley (US), who had yet to receive a visa at press time. (Sudan has objected to Schbley, expressing concerns about his activities when he was a member of the PoE for the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee. Schbley was prevented from entering Sudan when he arrived in Khartoum in December 2012 even though he had a visa at the time.)
The security situation has remained volatile in several parts of Darfur. On 6 April, heavy fighting between Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) broke out in and around the towns of Labado and Muhajeriya in eastern Darfur. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that approximately 40,000 people had been displaced as of 14 April. The SLA-MM seized Labado and Muhajeriya in the initial fighting, but they were forced to retreat in mid-April as Sudan reclaimed the towns. Witnesses alleged that pro-Sudan militia killed 18 civilians after the towns were retaken, while also accusing the militia of kidnapping, raping and torturing civilians. On 19 April, an AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeeper was killed and two additional peacekeepers were injured when they were shot by unidentified assailants near Muhajeriya. (Since its inception in 2007, UNAMID has lost 44 peacekeepers.) The Council issued a press statement that condemned the attack.
On 12 April, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that 50,000 people, mostly women and children, had fled across the border into Chad as a result of inter-communal violence in Um Dukhun, a town in western Darfur. UNHCR said that this was the highest number of refugees from Sudan to enter Chad since 2005.
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)-Bashar faction, which formally made peace with Sudan by acceding to the Doha Document in Qatar on 6 April, and the JEM clashed on 19 April in the Furawiyya area of North Darfur. The JEM-Bashar announced that Saleh Mohamed Jarbo, its deputy general commander, had been killed during an ambush by JEM forces while en route to Furawiyya.
The SLA-MM released 21 Sudanese Armed Forces soldiers—including 14 on 13 April and seven on 21 April—to Sudan. The ICRC served as an intermediary.
On 29 April, the Council held a briefing and consultations on Darfur. During the briefing, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said that he was troubled by the situation in Darfur, referring to inter-communal violence, fighting between government forces and rebel movements, and large numbers of civilians recently displaced by the conflict.
Human Rights-Related Developments
According to the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID, covering January to March, the human rights situation in Darfur deteriorated in a manner commensurate with the intensification of conflict (S/2013/225). The overall number of documented human rights violations increased to 117 cases involving 347 victims (compared with 94 cases involving 204 victims in October-December 2012). Of the 347 victims, 176 were victims of violations of the right to physical integrity, 125 of violations of the right to life, 38 of sexual and gender-based violence and eight of arbitrary arrests and detention. The Secretary-General underlined that accountability remained a challenge. Of the 117 human rights cases documented by UNAMID during the reporting period, 42 had been reported to government authorities, but just eight of these cases are under investigation.
A key issue for the Council is the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, as evidenced by numerous reports of inter-communal violence and fighting between government forces and rebels, as well as by the large numbers of recently internally displaced persons.
Another key issue is the restriction on humanitarian access in areas affected by the conflict. (On April 16, Ali Al-Za’tari, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, released a statement in which he expressed his concern that humanitarian organisations were not being permitted access to Labado and Muhajeriya to help thousands of civilians impacted by fighting there).
An additional key issue is the fact that Sudan has issued only single-entry visas to four of the five PoE members, even though resolution 2091 calls on Sudan to issue “timely multi-entry visas to all members of the Panel of Experts for the duration of its mandate.”
Another important issue for the Council is what can be done to enhance the safety of UNAMID peacekeepers.
One option is for members of the Sudan Sanctions Committee to visit Darfur to gain a better understanding of the current situation on the ground. (It appears that the Committee is planning such a trip in October. It had originally planned to travel to Darfur in the second half of 2012, when Colombia was chair, but the trip did not materialise, apparently due to scheduling challenges.)
The Council may also consider requesting a briefing from the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the impact of the conflict in Darfur on civilians.
An additional option, although unlikely, is for the Sanctions Committee to update its consolidated list, which dates back to 25 April 2006, by targeting indictees of the International Criminal Court for their participation in perpetrating crimes in Darfur as permitted by paragraph 3(c) of resolution 1591.
Several Council members remain concerned about the difficult security environment in Darfur. In particular, they continue to be alarmed by the toll of the conflict on civilians, the limited humanitarian access and the dangers faced by UNAMID peacekeepers.
While supportive of the Doha process, several members have criticised the slow pace of implementation of the Doha Document. However, some members are less critical of Sudan than others, arguing that financial difficulties have constrained its ability to implement the provisions of the Doha Document. (To date, the Liberation and Justice Movement and the JEM-Bashar faction have signed the Doha Document, while the JEM, the SLA-MM, and the SLA-Abdul Wahid have not.)
The UK is the penholder on Darfur.
UN Documents on Sudan/Darfur
|Security Council Resolutions|
|14 February 2013 S/RES/2091||This resolution extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee until 17 February 2014.|
|31 July 2012 S/RES/2063||This resolution 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).|
|10 April 2013 S/2013/225||This was a quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|29 April 2013 S/PV.6956||This was a briefing on Darfur.|
|14 February 2013 S/PV.6920||At this meeting the Council adopted resolution 2091.|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|19 April 2013 SC/10982||This press statement condemned an attack which killed one UNAMID peacekeeper and wounded two others.|