The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdel Wahid El Nur (SLM-AW) and Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) on 17 April addressed the UN Security Council (UNSC) with the request to urgently investigate accusations concerning the performance of Joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid).
The three Darfur armed movements today released the text of their appeal to the UNSC, which they have also sent to each of the UNSC 15 members this week, in preparation for the Unamid briefing and consultations at the UNSC scheduled for 24 April.
The Darfur rebel leaders refer to “the serious allegations raised by Aicha Elbasri, Unamid spokeswoman from August 2012-April 2013, regarding false reporting of the Mission on developments in Darfur”. Early April this year, USA based Foreign Policy, and Radio Dabanga published details disclosed by Elbasri about instances of deliberate misreporting by Unamid on incidents and the situation in Darfur to the UN Secretary-General.
The leaders of the three Darfur armed moments call on the UNSC members to immediate decide on an “investigation into the serious allegations raised by Dr Elbasri concerning UN officials in Darfur and the deliberate misinformation that has characterised the reporting of Unamid since 2008. We trust that the investigation will cover all reports of the Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur, including reports presented to the UNSC by Hervé Ladsous, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and theandnbsp;reliability of the sources he had relied on.”
“An investigation should be started of allegations raised against former ######### of Unamid, in particular Rudolph Adada and Ibrahim Gambari who declared on numerous occasions that the war in Darfur was over, or that the conflict there had become of low intensity at a time when reality on the ground proved otherwise.”
The leaders also demand an “immediate investigation of the recent escalation of genocide in Darfur by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), from 28 February this year to date”. “The RSF militia attacks have stripped entire populations of many areas of every means of sustenance, and displaced hundreds of thousands.”
“We urge the UNSC to see into it that Unamid brings its Chapter VII mandate into full force, by protecting civilians, escorting relief convoys, as well as protecting its own forces and personnel. Needless to say, this cannot be achieved without upgrading Unamid capabilities in terms of equipment and logistics. Review of its composition and management is equally long overdue.”
Equally important is “the separation between the conflicting duties of the Head of Unamid and the Darfur Peace Mediator”: “The peacekeeping mandate of Unamid deserves a full-time head of mission.”
Amend Unamid-government agreement
Minni Minawi, leader of the SLM-MM, in an interview with Radio Dabanga today added that “the joint UN-AU mission in Darfur is to be granted clearly outlined competences and powers, with which it will be enabled to protect the civilians in the region, defend its own peacekeepers, and to conduct investigations and write reports in a timely and straight manner.”
Minawi urged the Security Council to “cancel all the clauses in the agreement signed between Unamid and the Sudanese government that protect the interests of the government, so as to enable the Mission to have a real and clearly defined neutral position in Darfur”.
“There is no mechanism monitoring the performance and reporting of Unamid itself,” the rebel leader noted. Therefore he called on the UNSC to allow the rebel movements and other Darfuri stakeholders to be represented at Unamid “just as the Sudanese government has had its representatives at the Mission from the start”.
“The role and performance of Unamid cannot be improved, except by the representation within Unamid of all parties to the conflict”.
According to Minawi, the powers allocated to the Sudanese government in the Unamid-government agreement with regard to the protection of citizens have been exploited by the Khartoum regime. “The Darfuris who were appointed at Unamid at its start, have been dismissed and were replaced by elements of the Sudanese security apparatus.”
The SLM-MM leader said that in his recent meeting with Unamid head Mohamed Ibn Chambas in Addis Ababa, he had told him that “the replacement of Darfuris at the Mission by the regime’s hangmen constitutes a crime on its own”.
Peace-making instead of peacekeeping
The mandate of Unamid under Chapter VII has to be amended. The Unamid troops should be tasked with peace-making instead of peacekeeping, “because there is no peace in Darfur”, Abdul Wahid El Nur told Radio Dabanga. “Instead of protecting civilians in Darfur, Unamid has become a corrupted mission under the command of the ruling National Congress Party.”
El Nur called upon the displaced in Darfur to go to the streets and demonstrate, “not against the presence of Unamid, as protection is more than required, but for its reform. The Darfuri people should raise their voices so that their views are heard by the members of the UNSC.”
A transparent institution
Dr Jibril Ibrahim, the leader of JEM, commented to Radio Dabanga that “the UN needs to clear its good name of the serious charges raised by Dr Elbasri and punish those who have ruined the reputation of the organisation, wasted its resources and delayed appropriate action, which led to the death and suffering of innumerable innocent civilians in Darfur”. “We see this current setback as an opportunity for the UN to take action and regain its profile as a transparent institution that does not cover up for failure and betrayal of its officials.”
File photo: andnbsp;At a meeting in Kampalaandnbsp;in February this yearandnbsp;(l-r) Abdel Wahid El Nur, Jibril Ibrahim, Unamid head Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and Minni Minawi (Luce Remy/Unamid)