UNAMID must be effective to protect civilians’ Darfur

By: Katelyn Serpe- Communications and Network Building Intern

On June 14, 2016, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, addressed the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) mandate. He states that the “nature of the conflict in Darfur remains unchanged since the renewal of the mandate of the mission for many reasons.” He gave three main reasons for the continued conflict.

First, Mr. Ladsous said that “little progress has been made in finding a political solution to the conflict.” He then cited the continued “element of intercommunal violence… [which] remains a major source of insecurity in Darfur” and has been exacerbated by the politicization of these disputes. Continuing, he stated that the “fighting with the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid faction in Jebel Marra, which rejects negotiations with the Government, has continued.” Mr. Ladsous also commented that there have been “indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, which UNAMID could not confirm due to lack of access.”

UNAMID continues to face challenges in following its mandate including “denials of access and freedom of movement, particularly… to conflict areas such as Jebel Marra” (Ladsous). The difficulties that UNAMID faces in Sudan limit the amount that it is able to aid civilians as well as to help bring an end to conflict. The Secretary-General suggests that UNAMID focus on protecting displaced populations, especially as the current situation in Darfur is not conducive to a large-scale return of IDPs to their places of origin. It was recommended that the mandate of UNAMID be extended for 12 months.

At the briefing, while Mr. Ladsous expressed legitimate concern about the situation in Darfur and the need for UNAMID, Sudan’s delegate denied the need for UNAMID in “many parts of Darfur,” despite the continued violent situation and the huge number of displaced people still in camps and unable to return to their homes. The Sudanese delegate even dared to claim that UNAMID “has achieved its objective by providing peace and stability” as civilians continue to be attacked and the situation in Darfur remains dire.

Despite the Under-Secretary-General’s statements of the obstacles and lack of freedom that UNAMID faces in Darfur, the delegate from Sudan claimed there is a “determination and readiness of the [Sudanese] Government to cooperate and coordinate with UNAMID and all of its entities to enable the mission to fully undertake and implement its mandate.” The delegate also stated that “if issues remain…it has nothing to do with any premeditated intention.”

Contrary to the claims of cooperation by the delegate from Sudan, UNAMID continues to face challenges with the Sudanese Government in achieving its mandate in Darfur. UNAMID does not have the freedom of movement it needs and is blocked or delayed from obtaining visas and clearance of shipment containers at Port Sudan.

The African Union Peace and Security Council has endorsed the recommendation to extend UNAMID’s mandate for another 12 months and Mr. Ladsous has asked the Security Council to do the same.

While it continues to face challenges in Sudan, the renewal of the mandate would continue to help the situation in Darfur and those who have been displaced by the still-present violence.

Its quite clear that leaders at the UN and AU have come to agree with an urgent concern that Darfur Women Action Group continues to raise which is the fact the situation in Darfur has remain unchanged and is escalating while bombing of civilians continues.

However, we believe in order for UNAMID to be effective they must focus on civilian’s protection as a single priority and they should be given the full mandate to operate under Chapter Seven.

We urge our readers to continue to speak up for the people of Darfur and demand strong support from international community to ensure that UNAMID mandate is not dictated by president al-Bashir.


About the Author

Katelyn Serpe is a junior at Rutgers University studying political science and economics. She is a writer for Her Campus Rutgers and is a member of SCREAM Theater. She enjoys reading, seeing Broadway shows, and meeting new people.