Expected Council Action
In February, the Council will likely renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, which expires on 17 February. The chair of the Committee, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), will brief Council members in consultations on the Committee’s work. She will also brief on her January trip to Sudan either in these consultations or possibly in another session during the month. Furthermore, the Council expects to receive the Secretary-General’s options and recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by the end of the month (as mandated by resolution 2113 of 30 July 2013), although this will likely not be discussed in the Council until March.
Key Recent Developments
The security situation remains volatile in Darfur, with reports of inter-communal violence, fighting between government forces and rebels, banditry and criminality. The insecurity has contributed to large-scale displacement, with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting as of 14 November 2013 that more than 460,000 people had been displaced, more than the number displaced in 2011 and 2012 combined.
A land dispute led to fighting between the Ma’alia and the Hamar groups near Zarga Muhajid in Eastern Darfur on 5-6 December, which resulted in 48 deaths. Local reports have indicated there may be oil in the contested area.
Members of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahhid (SLA-AW) rebel group raided a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) camp near Abata, Central Darfur, on 13 December, killing 10 SAF troops and wounding 18.
On 29 December, two peacekeepers were killed when unidentified assailants fired on a UNAMID patrol near Gereida, South Darfur, bringing to 16 the total number of peacekeepers killed in action in Darfur in 2013. (Fifty-seven have been killed since UNAMID deployed in 2008.)
AU-UN Joint Special Representative, Joint Mediator and head of UNAMID Mohamed Ibn Chambas continued his efforts to engage with rebel movements that have yet to join the peace process. Between 9-11 December, he met with representatives of the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)-Jibril Ibrahim in Addis Ababa. (SLA-AW decided not to take part in the meeting.) During the meeting, SLA-MM and JEM-Jibril Ibrahim representatives reportedly indicated their willingness to negotiate a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes and reiterated their view that the Darfur conflict needs to be resolved through political means.
However, they again noted that they are part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a country-wide coalition of rebel groups that envisions comprehensive political transformation in Sudan that includes regime change. This makes achieving a sound basis for negotiating with Sudan challenging, as Sudan has indicated in the past that it will only negotiate on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), which is limited to addressing the political, economic, human rights and humanitarian grievances of people in Darfur.
The Implementation Follow-Up Commission on the DDPD held its seventh meeting on 16 December in El Fasher. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed bin Abdallah El Mahmoud of Qatar, who chaired the session, said that the prevailing insecurity in Darfur had stalled implementation of the DDPD. Although Chambas noted that 315 reconstruction and development projects had recently been initiated in Darfur, it is unclear how much progress has been made on the implementation of these projects. Participants also expressed concern that none of the approximately $1 billion committed by donors to support Darfur’s reconstruction and development at the Doha Conference on 7-8 April 2013 had yet been delivered.
The Council received a briefing on UNAMID from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on 23 January followed by consultations (S/PV.7100). During the briefing, Ladsous highlighted the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Darfur during the past year, as well as the limited progress that has been made in implementing the DDPD and in bringing tangible benefits to the people of Darfur. Speaking after Ladsous, Ambassador Daffa-Allah Elhag Ali Osman (Sudan) countered by saying that progress had been made in carrying out the DDPD, attributing delays in its implementation to limited funds resulting from lower oil revenue after the secession of South Sudan, unfulfilled pledges made at the 7-8 April Doha Conference, and targeting of signatory parties by rebels.
The Sanctions Committee chair visited Sudan from 20-23 January, traveling to Khartoum and Darfur and meeting with Sudan government officials and UN representatives. The main objective was for the Committee to enhance its understanding of the state of implementation of the Council’s resolutions related to the Sudan sanctions regime. Some other Council members with diplomatic representation in the region also took part in several meetings held in the context of the trip.
A key sanctions-related issue is how the Council can make the sanctions regime more effective, as numerous violations of the arms embargo have been reported by the PoE in recent years.
A related issue for the Council is ensuring that the experts on the PoE have access to Sudan in order to do their work. (In 2013, the finance expert, Ghassan Schbley, continued not to be allowed into the country.)
A key ongoing, overarching issue is what role the Council can play in addressing the widespread violence in Darfur and jumpstarting the peace process, which continues to make limited progress.
One option is to renew the PoE without changes to the sanctions regime.
Another option would be to include in the resolution such additional elements as:
- strengthening language obliging states supplying arms and related equipment to Sudan to obtain credible end-user documentation ensuring that these materials do not enter Darfur;
- adding more rebel leaders on the sanctions list; and
- demanding that Sudan cooperate fully 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 those indicted by the ICC for crimes committed in Darfur to the 1591 sanctions list.
Most Council members are concerned about the difficult security and humanitarian environment in Darfur and the lack of progress in implementing the DDPD. Violence against civilians and peacekeepers, impunity for these actions, and large-scale displacement are frequently mentioned by these members as symptoms of the conflict that need to be addressed. A small number of others believe that the situation, while challenging, is not as dire as some suggest.
Several members are eagerly awaiting the Secretary-General’s options and recommendations for enhancing UNAMID’s effectiveness, with some expressing in consultations that the mission has achieved very little relative to its cost.
While the PoE final report, which was circulated to Council members on 23 January, had yet to be made public at press time, it appears that most Council members, with at least one exception, found the PoE’s work in 2013 to be objective. There also appeared to be some concerns expressed during the year that aircraft and related technical assistance from abroad could be used by Sudan in violation of the arms embargo in Darfur.
The UK is the penholder on Darfur, while Argentina chairs the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.
UN Documents on Darfur
|Security Council Resolutions|
|30 July 2013 S/RES/2113||This resolution extended the mandate of UNAMID for an additional year.|
|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.|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|30 December 2013 SC/11235||This press statement condemned an attack by unidentified armed assailants on a UNAMID convoy in Greida, South Darfur which resulted in the deaths two peacekeepers.|
|15 January 2014 S/2014/26||This was the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|23 January 2014 S/PV.7100||This was a briefing on UNAMID from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations HervÃ© Ladsous.|
|5 February 2013 S/2013/79||This was a report of the panel of experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.|