Darfur Briefing and Consultations
Tomorrow morning (24 July) the Security Council is scheduled to hold a briefing and consultations on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) with Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur Mohammed Ibn Chambas expected to brief. Chambas took on his current responsibilities in April, and this will be his first opportunity to brief the Council formally on Darfur, although on 18 July he briefed the Sudan Sanctions Committee and the UNAMID troop contributing countries.
While no outcome is expected following tomorrow’s briefing and consultations, these meetings come in the midst of Council negotiations on the draft resolution renewing UNAMID. (The draft was circulated on 19 July, and the first round of negotiations took place yesterday. The adoption is scheduled for 30 July.)
Several issues relevant to the draft resolution are likely to be raised in tomorrow’s meeting including the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, marked by inter-communal violence in several parts of the region, fighting between Sudanese Armed Forces and rebel groups, and large-scale displacement. In his recent report to the Council (S/2013/420), the Secretary-General noted that he was “deeply concerned about the prevailing security situation,” stating that 300,000 people have been displaced since the start of the year.
Given the recent challenges to protecting civilians in Darfur, it appears that there has been some discussion among Council members of a potential strategic review of the mission. Along these lines, some members have been interested in learning more about the concept of operations and rules of engagement of the mission. A further issue that was highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report is that some contingents are not properly equipped, with most of them “lacking some self-sustainment capabilities and…partially supported by the Mission.”
Council members are also likely to be interested in an update on the factors that continue to hinder implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). (The DDPD is a peace agreement focusing on seven areas: human rights; power-sharing; wealth-sharing; justice and reconciliation; compensation of refugees and internally displaced persons; ceasefire and security arrangements; and internal dialogue and consultation.) As the Secretary-General argues in his report, “Implementation of its provisions continues at an unacceptably slow pace. Tangible improvements in the lives of people in Darfur…are yet to materialise.”
A related issue of interest to Council members that may be discussed is the efforts that Chambas and others have made in recent months to promote the peace process through engagement with rebel groups that have not signed the Doha Document. To date, among the rebel groups, only the Liberation and Justice Movement and the JEM-Bashar faction have acceded to the Doha Document.
Another matter of concern is the safety and security of UN peacekeepers, especially in light of the death of seven peacekeepers and wounding of 17 peacekeepers and police in Nyala, South Darfur, on 13 July during an attack on a UNAMID convoy by unidentified perpetrators. The Council issued a press statement condemning this attack on 14 July (SC/11060), and the AssistantSecretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions Dmitry Titov briefed Council members on the incident under “Any Other Business” on 15 July. (Titov reportedly noted that the attack was carried out by approximately 100 heavily armed individuals. While there was no indication of who was responsible, Sudan has accused the Sudan Liberation Army – Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) of the attack, while the SLA-MM countered that pro-government militias were responsible.) Council members may have further questions about this incident, as well as what measures can be taken to improve the safety of UNAMID personnel.
An additional issue that may be raised is the restricted access for UNAMID staff and humanitarian actors to areas affected by conflict. Such restrictions are an ongoing concern to several Council members, as they hinder the ability to investigate violence against civilians and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.