What's In Blue

Posted Tue 26 Aug 2014

AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow morning (27 August), the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution renewing the mandate of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for an additional ten months. There have been two rounds of negotiations with the full Council, with additional subsequent rounds conducted bilaterally. The draft resolution was put into blue this afternoon.

The resolution is expected to streamline the force structure of the mission, deciding that it will be comprised of up to 15,845 military personnel, 1,583 police personnel, and 13 formed police units. (A formed police unit consists of up to 140 police per unit). The previous figures, as authorised by resolution 2113 on 30 July 2013, were 16,200 military personnel, 2,310 police staff, and 17 formed police units. This reduction is in keeping with the recommendation of the UN Secretariat’s review of uniformed personnel called for in resolution 2003 of 29 July 2011, and reaffirmed by the Secretary-General’s special UNAMID report of 25 February (S/2014/138). This report argued for reducing the number of personnel deployed to more secure areas while still maintaining the overall force footprint. The reconfiguration of the force structure is intended to enhance the efficiency of the mission, although the security situation in Darfur has significantly deteriorated over the last year and a half.

The draft resolution prioritises the protection of civilians and the provision of humanitarian access—two key elements of UNAMID’s Chapter VII mandate from inception. Regarding the protection of civilians, it calls for the mission to move in the direction of a more preventive and preemptive approach, while engaging in effective and active patrolling in high risk areas, including in areas with large numbers of internally displaced people. Regarding humanitarian access, it calls for such access to be unhindered, safe and timely, while also noting the mission’s role in protecting humanitarian workers.

The draft resolution underscores many of the key challenges facing the mission. For example, it deplores delays in implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), it calls for an end to the inter-communal violence that has been especially prevalent since 2013, and it expresses concern with the difficult humanitarian situation in Darfur. Additionally, while welcoming some gains that troop- and police- contributing countries have made in deploying with adequate equipment and the ability to sustain themselves, the draft nonetheless recognises that more needs to be done to address this challenge.

There were some differences that needed to be resolved during the negotiations. The most significant one pertained to the duration of the mandate. The UK, the penholder, circulated the draft authorising an 8 month renewal of the mandate until April 2015. The rationale appears to be that by next April, one year will have passed since the Council endorsed the outcomes of the strategic review of the mission, and the Council at that point will be in a position to assess the implementation of the results of that review.

According to the Secretary-General’s most recent UNAMID report (S/2014/515), the review has prompted the mission to revise its standard operating procedures for physical protection, and enhance its coordination with the UN Country Team, among other things. Additionally, the Secretary-General is expected to suggest additional recommendations regarding the structure of UNAMID in his reporting to the Council in the first quarter of 2015. The draft resolution states that the Council intends to act on the review, which will be finalised a couple of months before the expiration.

While several Council members supported the notion of renewing UNAMID’s mandate for 8 months, the African members of the Council preferred that the mandate be renewed for one year. This is most likely connected to the AU Peace and Security Council’s (PSC) adoption of a communiqué on 9 July (PSC/PR/COMM.[DCXLVI]) in which it decided to extend UNAMID’s mandate for 12 months and requested the UN Security Council “to do the same”. As UNAMID is a hybrid mission, it seems that there was a sense that the two Councils should be aligned regarding the length of the mandate.

Ultimately, the compromise of ten months takes the mission to 30 June 2015, aligning it more closely to the 9 July 2015 end of mission mandate approved by the AU PSC.
Another area where there was a difference of opinion was human rights reporting on the situation in Darfur. The original draft requested UNAMID to provide public reports on human rights violations. It appears that China and Russia believed that requesting that the mission provide this reporting was not necessary, as the Secretary-General could provide such information in his quarterly, public reports to the Council. As a result, the final text calls for the Secretary-General to provide enhanced and detailed reporting on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, but does not call on the mission to provide regular, public reports on this issue.

The diverging viewpoints on the DDPD were also reflected in the negotiations. Some Council members have consistently criticised the lack of progress made in implementing the DDPD and have noted that several rebel groups in Darfur remain unwilling to sign the document. Others have argued that the DDPD should be supported, as it is the only concrete peace process that exists, especially since the “national dialogue” process in Sudan has just started and has not demonstrated any tangible results. In the original version of the resolution, the DDPD was apparently referred to as a “solid basis” for the peace process in Darfur. However, apparently at the request of the US, this language was softened, and it appears that the DDPD is referred to as a “viable framework” for the peace process in the final text.

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