What's In Blue

Posted Wed 16 Jan 2019

Sudan Sanctions Committee Briefing

Tomorrow (17 January), Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the quarterly briefing to the Security Council on the work of the Committee. The briefing will be public, continuing Poland’s practice of having this briefing in the open chamber since taking over as chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee in January 2018. Prior to this, the Committee’s quarterly briefings to the Council had largely taken place in consultations for several years. Wronecka’s last briefing to the Council on the Committee’s work was on 3 October (S/PV.8366).

Wronecka is excepted to update Council members on the recent activities of the Committee and may refer to the Committee’s 2018 annual report (S/2018/1122). She may cover the 24 October 2018 briefing to the Committee during informal consultations by the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, on the situation regarding sexual violence in Sudan and particularly Darfur (SC/13582). The Special Representative provided information on the ongoing patterns of sexual violence in Darfur as well as the progress made by the government of Sudan to address them.

Wronecka may further relay the findings of the Panel of Experts final report, which was submitted in accordance with resolution 2400. On 14 December 2018, the Committee was briefed during informal consultations by the Panel of Experts on this report, and discussed its recommendations (S/2019/34). According to the report, the resumption of significant clashes across Jebel Marra between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid has led to casualties on both sides, new displacement, a humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses. The report notes that conflict-related sexual violence continues in Darfur and the return of internally displaced persons has proved difficult, partly because of land disputes and insufficient basic services. The report also found that challenges in the implementation of the sanctions regime remain. In relation to violations of the arms embargo, the report finds that the government of Sudan continued to transfer military equipment into Darfur without seeking the Committee’s approval, as required by resolution 1591. It also refers to violations of the arms embargo by the Justice and Equality Movement and the government of South Sudan. In relation to the travel ban and assets freeze of the four designated individuals, the report says the government of Sudan has not submitted its implementation report, and in the absence of cooperation from Sudan on the issue, “the implementation of this measure remains difficult.” The report notes that most of the Darfuri armed groups have consolidated their presence in Libya, where they derive income from mercenary activities, smuggling, and other criminal actions.

Recommendations to the Committee made in the report, which could be noted in tomorrow’s briefing, include: to urge the government of the Sudan and member states to implement the travel bans and asset freeze on designated individuals and entities; to advise the government to provide nationwide capacity-building and training in relation to sexual violence and protection for women and girls; and to encourage the government to extend police and judiciary institutions to remote localities to facilitate access to justice. The report also recommends that the Council urge the Libyan warring factions to stop cooperating with Darfuri armed groups.

Although not the focus of tomorrow’s briefing, recent developments on the ground in Sudan over the past month have drawn the attention of the international community. On 19 December 2018, multiple protests took place across the country, including Khartoum, River Nile, Red Sea, North Darfur, White Nile, North Kordofan, Gadarif and Port Sudan, sparked by the government’s announcement that it would end bread subsidies, as well as by food and fuel shortages. The demonstrations have since continued and spread to other parts of the country, with protestors calling for President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for nearly three decades, to step down. Sudanese security forces have reportedly used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas against demonstrators, and arrested a number of protesters and opposition figures. The Sudanese government said on 12 January that 24 people have been killed during the protests, while human rights organisations and opposition groups have indicated that the number is much higher. These events are outlined in the Secretary-General’s most recent 90-day report on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), received by Council members this week (S/2019/44).

Looking ahead, the Council is expected to review and renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts by 12 February. Council members also expect a briefing on the Secretary-General’s 90-day UNAMID report towards the end of next month.

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