The United Nations security council is set to vote on renewing the mandate of the United Nations – African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur tomorrow, on July 12th. UNAMID has served in Darfur since it was founded in July of 2007. Most recently, UNAMID’s mandate was extended for two weeks at the UN Security Council on June 30.
The international community must not abandon the people of Darfur, especially not now. The notion that conflict in Darfur, and especially the targeting of civilians by government forces and government-aligned armed groups, has ended is patently false. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project has recorded, 215 violent incidents in Darfur in the first six-months of 2018 alone. Violence has heated up this year, especially during a government military campaign in the Jebel Marra region in the center of Darfur. Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor for the ICC, noted that this government campaign has created about 30,000 newly internally displaced persons. Other sources hold this to be a low estimate. This is not the legacy of crimes a decade ago, but a political and security reality faced by the people of Darfur today.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009, after the case if Darfur was referred to this body in 2005. Bashir is still at large, entirely avoiding being held to account for his crimes of that past 15 years. Tomorrow, July 12th, is the eighth anniversary of the second arrest warrant issued against Bashir by the ICC in 2010. It would be the height of irony if the international community formally abandoned its protection of the Darfuri people through UNAMID on the very anniversary of the day its own legal organ officially declared the conflict genocide.