Expected Council Action
In March, Council members are scheduled to be briefed in consultations on the report of the Secretary-General offering recommendations on improving the effectiveness of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which is due by 28 February. It is unclear if the Council will take action in response to the report.
Key Recent Developments
The Council last addressed Darfur on 13 February with the adoption of resolution 2138, which extended for 13 months the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee (S/PV.7111). Resolution 2138 reduced the reporting requirements of the PoE from three to two reports annually: a midterm briefing due by 31 July and a final report due by 17 January 2015. Resolution 2138 also included new language on the need for Sudan to address the illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in Darfur. During consultations on 11 February, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, briefly discussed her trip to Sudan from 20-23 January.
The final report of the PoE was transmitted to the Council on 7 February (S/2014/87). It highlights violations of the arms embargo and international humanitarian law, including the presence of recently manufactured ammunition in Darfur, aerial attacks on civilian populations and attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers. The report also discusses increasing conflict among ethnic groups in Darfur and the lack of progress in implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
On 29 January, Sudan informed the ICRC that its work in the country would be suspended as of 1 February. The ICRC had more than 700 staff working in Sudan, providing assistance to more than one million people, including medical supplies and food assistance in Darfur. On 3 February, the Permanent Mission of Sudan addressed a letter to the Council, stating that the ICRC had not complied with “humanitarian principles and guidelines that govern the relations with the host country” (S/2014/81).
On 12 February, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, met with three non-signatory rebel groups (i.e., groups outside the DDPD process) in Kampala, Uganda: the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid, Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi and the Justice and Equality Movement-Jibril Ibrahim. Chambas stated he was encouraged regarding their “positive but cautious consideration” of the government’s recent call for reconciliation and national dialogue. At a conference on 17 February organised by the Darfur Regional Authority, Chambas reiterated the need for further dialogue to accommodate the concerns of the people of Darfur.
The principal issue facing the Council is the deteriorating security situation in Darfur. This is closely interrelated with a conspicuous lack of progress in implementing the DDPD and a significantly worsening humanitarian crisis throughout Darfur.
As outlined by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous in his briefing to the Council on 23 January (S/PV.7100), there are several challenges facing UNAMID, which have been identified by the joint strategic review:
- cooperation by the government of Sudan;
- internal management practices;
- coordination with the UN country team; and
- the operational capacity of troop and police contingents.
Another issue Ladsous mentioned is recurring threats to the safety of UN staff as 16 UNAMID peacekeepers were killed by hostile acts in 2013.
In response to the forthcoming joint strategic review on improving UNAMID’s effectiveness called for in resolution 2113, one option would be for the Council to adopt a resolution modifying UNAMID’s mandate significantly well ahead of its expiration date of 31 August 2014. Such a resolution might potentially include measures intended to compel greater cooperation by Sudan, improve management and coordination and increase the safety and impact of peacekeepers at ground level.
In recognition of the complex linkages between the conflicts in Darfur and in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, another option would be for the Council in consultation with the AU Peace and Security Council to modify the mandate of the Joint Chief Mediator (as most recently outlined in resolution 2113) to provide more flexibility regarding the basis for future negotiations regarding Darfur (i.e., only the DDPD or perhaps a national dialogue), the parties to be included in talks (i.e., only Darfur-based groups or the Sudan Revolutionary Front) and modes for more effective coordination with other mediation processes (e.g., the AU High-level Implementation Panel).
Most Council members are concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and agree that there has been a general lack of progress in implementing DDPD. Some members have also expressed concerns regarding the level of UNAMID’s achievements in relation to its cost. As of press time, it is unclear how Council members will react to specific, technical recommendations in the forthcoming report for improving UNAMID’s effectiveness.
With respect to mediation, differences seem to have emerged among Council members during negotiations over resolution 2138. China and Russia apparently objected to language regarding a “national political process” and favoured continued recognition of the DDPD as the basis for mediation. Other members, particularly the US, supported language regarding the need for a national dialogue and implying that the DDPD should not necessarily be the only recognised basis for future mediation.
The UK is the penholder on UNAMID, the US is the penholder on Sudan sanctions and Argentina is chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.
UN Documents on Sudan (Darfur)
|Security Council Resolutions|
|28 February 2014 S/RES/2138||This resolution renewed the mandate of the Panel of Experts for 13 months.|
|30 July 2013 S/RES/2113||This resolution extended the mandate of UNAMID for an additional year.|
|15 January 2014 S/2014/26||This was the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on UNAMID.|
|Security Council Letter|
|28 February 2014 S/2014/87||This letter transmitted the final report of the Panel of Experts.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|28 February 2014 S/PV.7111||This meeting concerned the adoption of resolution 2138, which renewed the Panel of Experts.|
|23 January 2014 S/PV.7100||This was a briefing on UNAMID from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous.|
USEFUL ADDITIONAL RESOURCE
Sudan’s Spreading Conflict (III): The Limits of Darfur’s Peace Process, International Crisis Group, Africa Report No. 211, 27 January 2014.