What's In Blue

Posted Tue 23 Oct 2012

Darfur Briefing and Consultations

The Council is scheduled to hold a briefing followed by consultations among members tomorrow afternoon (24 October) on the Secretary-General’s most recent report (S/2012/771) on the situation in Darfur. It seems that Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, is set to brief. No outcome is expected from the meetings. (The mandate of the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur [UNAMID] does not expire until 31 July next year.)

One key issue that will likely be raised tomorrow is the deteriorating security situation, especially in Northern Darfur. The Secretary-General’s report outlines several examples of inter-communal violence, including incidents related to land disputes and cattle raiding, fighting between the government and rebel groups, and attacks on UNAMID personnel. The impact of this insecurity on civilian populations is likely to be a focus of the discussion, as is the high number of UNAMID casualties. (Five UNAMID peacekeepers have already been killed this month and 11 injured in two separate incidents.)

Another issue that will be of interest to Council members is progress in implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which was finalised in May last year. (The government of Sudan and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement signed a protocol agreement on 14 July 2011 committing to the Doha Document, which is the framework for the peace process in Darfur.) The Secretary-General’s report highlights the Darfur Land Commission’s potential to play a key role in addressing inter-communal land disputes and the importance of disarming militias, among other issues.

Also of interest may be discussion of candidates for the position of Joint AU-UN Special Representative and Head of UNAMID. This position has been temporarily filled since the end of July by the previous deputy, Aîchatou Mindaoudou (Niger), but a permanent appointment has yet to be made.

There may also be discussion of the benchmarks and indicators for UNAMID, which have been slightly revised since being established in November 2009, to reflect the current situation in Darfur and the status of the peace process. If raised in the meeting, it is unlikely that discussion of these benchmarks will be a source of significant controversy or disagreement.

Some Council members may also wish to discuss the activities of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of major Darfur rebel groups that have not acceded to the peace process, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is fighting against the Sudanese Armed Forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In this context, there may be interest in exploring whether the recent agreements signed by Sudan and South Sudan on 27 September, which include security arrangements, may lead to a decline in South Sudan’s apparent support for the SPLM-N.

Likewise, while not related directly to the situation in Darfur, some members may raise the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the delays in implementation of the AU-UN-Arab League tripartite agreement to deliver aid to civilian populations in these two states. While some members remain sensitive to Sudanese sovereignty and are reluctant for the Council to become too involved in Khartoum’s affairs, others are highly critical of the Sudanese government for not allowing aid to enter these two states, where displacement and food insecurity is widespread.

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