Title: Statement from Sudan Revolutionary Front on the Potential Withdraw of UNAMID from Darfur
Author: معتصم أحمد صالح/ نيويورك
Date: 06-02-2020, 10:11 PM
10:11 PM June, 02 2020
معتصم أحمد صالح/ نيويورك-نيويورك
Sudan, and Darfur in particular, is on the cusp of achieving peace and a democratic transition after decades of unspeakable suffering. However, there are not yet sufficient conditions on the ground to ensure safety in the conflict areas of Darfur, where the situation remains particularly fragile and violence against civilians continues. Over the past year alone, Darfur has experienced numerous attacks by armed militias that have resulted in the killings of dozens of civilians, the burning of villages, the occupation and looting of police stations and peacekeeping facilities, and the continued displacement of thousands of civilians.
These enduring security challenges illustrate the continued need for maintaining a strong UNAMID presence, with sufficient authorities under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, necessary to address the specific threats, breaches of peace, and acts of aggression that continue to represent a grave threat to peace and security not only in Darfur, but also for the rest of Sudan and the surrounding region.
While the forthcoming conclusion of a peace agreement will be a significant step towards achieving a durable peace and safety for Darfur civilians, the conclusion of the agreement, in and of itself, will not yield immediate guarantees for the security and protection of civilians. Indeed, the implementation of a peace agreement will require numerous processes and conditions—such as the disarmament and demobilization of combatants, the return of displaced persons, and the recovery of property—that have the potential to create additional tensions, thus, further necessitating a strong and capable UNAMID presence. While it is through these activities and changing conditions that we will meet the interests of the Darfur people and secure a future for Sudan in which we are able to fully provide for our own security, we will require the crucial partnership of UNAMID to successfully carry out these activities.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that UNAMID remain in Darfur to provide critical protections and security guarantees for civilians living in and returning to Darfur, as well as to assist with the successful implementation of a peace agreement, including monitoring and supporting the implementation of ceasefire agreements and other security arrangements. These protections will be critical to preventing an escalation of tensions, serving as a witness to continued compliance with the necessary measures to bring about a durable peace, and to uphold the peace in the immediate term.
UNAMID’s presence in Darfur should not, however, be infinite or indefinite. The gradual and careful drawdown and withdrawal of UNAMID—as well as of any other follow-on mechanisms with commensurate authorities and capabilities—will be an important element of Sudan’s peace process and political transition. As such, the future mandate of UNAMID and any other follow-on mechanisms must be interim in nature, linked to clearly defined benchmarks, and subject to frequent, regular, and transparent reviews.
It is the aspiration of the Movements of the Darfur Track to achieve lasting peace for our home and its people. To do so, UNAMID must remain in Darfur for the initial implementation of the forthcoming peace agreement. There should thus only be a drawdown and removal of UNAMID from Darfur when the conditions are such that its departure will not represent a threat to the peace and security for the people of Darfur—and all of Sudan—that we are presently working so hard to achieve and sustain. If such a departure were to take place now, or even in the near future without guarantees for achieving the necessary conditions of security and civilian protection, then UNAMID’s departure would be such a threat.
After more than a decade of assisting the people of Darfur, UNAMID must not withdraw just as we approach the final stages of realizing our dream of achieving peace and security for Darfur, for Sudan, and for the surrounding region.
*Ahmed Tugod Lissan*
*Chief Negotiator, Darfur Track*
Sudan Revolutionary Front