November 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2014
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AFRICA

Sudan (Darfur)

Expected Council Action

In November, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the Council with the quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work. 

Key Recent Developments

The security situation in Darfur remains unstable, marked by inter-communal violence and fighting between government and rebel groups. In early October, the Rizeigat community clashed with the Zaghawa community in Labado, East Darfur, during a cattle-rustling dispute. Two internally displaced Zaghawa were killed; as retribution, the Zaghawa killed two Rizeigat. Inter-communal violence also occurred on 11 October between members of the Rizeigat and Ma’aliya communities in Abu Dangal, East Darfur, also in an apparent cattle-rustling dispute, leading to the death of one person. Sudan armed forces reportedly clashed with Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) rebels in Western Jebel Marra and Northern Jebel Marra in mid-October and in Rokero, Northern Jebel Marra on 17 October. On 19 October, the Sudanese Air Force bombed the Zaghawa areas of Orschi and Ebeiha in North Darfur, resulting in the death of a farmer. A school in Orschi was levelled in the attack, according to Mohamed Ahmed Minawi, a local politician. 

On 16 October, three Ethiopian peacekeepers with the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) died after they were ambushed and shot by unidentified assailants in Karma, North Darfur, while protecting a water pump that was used by internally displaced persons and students from a nearby school. Council members issued a press statement condemning the attack (SC/11603). A total of 61 UNAMID peacekeepers have been killed since the mission was deployed in December 2007.  

The violence and insecurity in Darfur continues to worsen the humanitarian situation in Darfur, with devastating results for the civilian population. As of 30 September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that approximately 3.86 million people in the region required humanitarian assistance. OCHA has also reported that fighting has displaced more than 428,000 people thus far in 2014. 

On 11 September, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Abdallah Banda, a Justice and Equality Movement rebel leader accused of war crimes for orchestrating the 29 September 2007 attack on a facility run by the AU Mission in Darfur in Haskanita, North Darfur. The attack resulted in the deaths of 12 AU peacekeepers, and several others were wounded.  

Perceval last briefed the Council on the work of the Sanctions Committee on 27 August.  She said that systemic violations of the arms embargo continued and noted that member states needed to honour their obligation to adhere to the sanctions regime. She also noted that there had been a recent reduction in the activities of the Rapid Support Force, a pro-government militia accused of committing atrocities in Darfur earlier in 2014.  

A replacement for Mohammed Ibn Chambas to serve as the Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID has yet to be appointed. Chambas was appointed the Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa on 12 September.  He had been in charge of UNAMID since 20 December 2012. 

Human Rights-Related Developments

During its 27th session, the Human Rights Council (HRC) considered the report of the independent expert on human rights in Sudan (A/HRC/27/69). The report describes legislation adopted to improve human rights, but concludes that implementation remains protracted, with no significant improvements since 2013. It addresses persisting human rights challenges, including human rights violations during the September 2013 demonstrations, the Meriam Ibrahim apostasy case, arrests and detentions of political opponents and youth activists, the curtailment of civil society, press censorship, the escalation of armed conflicts, the increase in civilian displacement, humanitarian access problems and the government’s suspension of the ICRC.

On 26 September, the HRC adopted a resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building in Sudan (A/HRC/RES/27/29). It renewed the mandate of the independent expert for one year and requested a report at the HRC’s 30th session.

Key Issues

The underlying key issue for the Council is how to best address the ongoing security and humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur.

A related issue is ensuring that the Council does not lose its focus on the tragedy in Darfur, amidst all of the other crises in Sudan and South Sudan and elsewhere in the world.

Another key issue is what the Council can do to address violations of the arms embargo, which have been consistently referenced in the reports of the Panel of Experts over the years. 

Another key issue is the safety and security of UNAMID personnel, especially in light of the ongoing attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers. 

Options

The Council may decide to listen to Perceval’s briefing without taking action.

Alternatively, it could adopt a statement or resolution that:

  • condemns violations of the arms embargo and reminds states of their obligations under resolution 1591;
  • strengthens language obliging states supplying arms and related equipment to Sudan to obtain credible end-user documentation, ensuring that these materials do not enter Darfur; and
  • condemns aerial bombardments by Sudan in civilian areas. 
Council Dynamics

There remain strong concerns about the continuing violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. There has also been a perception among some members that UNAMID could be more effective, especially given the resources that have been devoted to the mission.

At press time, Argentina, as chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, was planning to hold November’s meeting on Sudan sanctions in an open briefing, followed by consultations.  This perhaps reflects a desire to enhance the Council’s transparency, building on recent efforts by some of the sanctions committee chairs to hold open briefings.  For example, Lithuania has held open briefings on the work of the sanctions committees that it chairs on the Central African Republic and Yemen in recent months, while Chile briefed the Council on the work of the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions committee in an open session on 29 October. (This represents a departure from the standard practice of holding country-specific sanctions committee briefings in closed consultations.) 

The UK is the penholder on Darfur, and the US is the penholder on Sudan/South Sudan issues.

UN Documents on Darfur

Security Council Resolutions
27 August 2014 S/RES/2173 This was a resolution renewing the mandate of UNAMID for 10 months.
31 March 2005 S/RES/1593 This resolution referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.
29 March 2005 S/RES/1591 This resolution created a committee and panel of experts and additional individually targeting measures.
Security Council Press Statement
16 October 2014 SC/11603 This condemned the killing of three UNAMID peacekeepers.
Secretary-General’s Report
22 July 2014 S/2014/515 This was a Secretary-General’s report on UNAMID.
Sanctions Committee Document
7 February 2014 S/2014/87 This letter transmitted the final report of the Panel of Experts.