AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID): Briefing and Consultations
Tomorrow morning (24 April), the Council is scheduled to receive a briefing, followed by consultations, on the most recent quarterly report (S/2014/279) of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Joint AU-UN Special Representative and Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas (via VTC) are expected to brief. At press time, no outcome was anticipated.
The deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur is an ongoing concern for Council members. Violence has accelerated in recent months, displacing roughly 250,000 people since February. The introduction earlier this year into Darfur of the government aligned Rapid Support Force (RSF), a militia numbering 5,000 to 6,000, has exacerbated the security environment and adds a new element to the conflict that several Council members find alarming. The members of the RSF were reportedly recruited from among ethnic groups in Darfur by Sudan and trained in Khartoum. Before arriving in Darfur, they had been deployed to fight the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North rebel group in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
When the Council was briefed by Chambas under “Any Other Business” on 3 April, he discussed the appearance of the RSF in Darfur. Council members may be interested in an update on the activities of the RSF and what can be done to mitigate the influence of this militia, especially given that “attacks attributed to the RSF [have] included the targeting of civilians, the destruction and burning of villages, looting of property, and stealing of livestock”, according to the most recent Secretary-General’s report.
Another issue that may be raised tomorrow is developments with respect to the national dialogue in Sudan. The Council welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s 27 January announcement of the national dialogue process in resolution 2148. Chambas has tried to encourage rebel leaders in Darfur to engage with the process. On 8 March, he and Thabo Mbeki, chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, discussed how to harmonise their mediation efforts with respect to the national dialogue, while meeting with Darfur-based rebel leaders Minni Minawi and Gibril Ibrahim. However, Minawi and Ibrahim have not joined the national dialogue. Their rebel groups-the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi and the Justice and Equality Movement-Gibril Ibrahim—are members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a broad coalition of rebel groups active throughout Sudan, that believe that the regime has no intention to move towards genuine democracy and that it continues to commit war crimes.
With regard to the national dialogue, Council members may be interested in getting Chambas’ perspective on the current position of the Darfur-based rebel groups, whether there is any flexibility in their position, and what strategies can be pursued to narrow the differences between them and the government of Sudan. Likewise, they might have questions about Chambas’ efforts to establish with the AU High-Level Implementation Panel a common structure for political discussions with respect to the national dialogue process.
On a related note, Council members may ask Chambas questions about developments with regard to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). It seems that implementation of the DDPD continues to make limited progress, largely, according to the Secretary-General’s report, because of “insecurity, lack of financial resources, and limited technical capacity.”
Another issue that may be raised tomorrow is the recent streamlining of the police component of the mission. Council members are generally supportive of this effort, so long as it does not compromise the effectiveness of the mission; in this regard, some Council members may be interested in assurances that the reduction in police has had a positive impact on UNAMID’s operations. Likewise, there may be interest in learning about efforts to ensure that police currently serving in the mission are properly trained and equipped, a concern that several Council members have shared for some time.