Advance team of new UN mission arrives in Sudan

A planning team of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) has arrived in Khartoum to prepare options at the technical level for the deployment phase of the mission’s unit on the ground.

UN Security Council (UN Photo)

A planning team of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) has arrived in Khartoum to prepare options at the technical level for the deployment phase of the mission’s unit on the ground.

The head of the planning team, Stephen McCoyer, said that the planning team is visiting the country for a short time to consult with the Sudanese government and the executive committee to assess how the mission would execute its mandate.

He indicated that although the mission was established according to the United Nations Security Council resolution 2524 of June 3, 2020, Civid-19 precautions dictated that the planning for this entire period was made on line.

He pointed out that now the mission has arrived in Sudan in the form of a small planning team, and that after the appointment of the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a small team will be deployed in Sudan to implement the recommendations of the current advance planning team.

UNITAMS strategic objectives will be to assist Sudan in its transition towards democratic governance, provide support for peace negotiations and bolster efforts to maintain accountable Rule of Law and security institutions.

The new political mission will provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting implementation of all human rights, equality, accountability, and Rule of Law provisions in Sudan’s Constitutional Charter.

The UN mission is to “support Sudan’s capacity to extend State presence and inclusive civilian governance, in particular by strengthening accountable rule of law and security institutions, and by building trust between State authorities and local communities”.

Another objective concerns assistance in peacebuilding and civilian protection, notably in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.

In addition, UNITAMS will collaborate with international financial institutions to mobilise economic and development assistance, and facilitate full, rapid and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid.

Nature of the mission

At the end of March, a draft resolution to the Security Council suggested that the current Unamid mission, that came into existence in 2007, could be disbanded as early as May 1. Protection of civilians, the primary mandate of Unamid, would be transferred to Sudan’s interim government.

On February 27, the Sudanese government officially requested the UN Secretary General support to Sudan, following a letter sent by Hamdok to Antonio Guterres a month earlier.

António Guterres and Abdallah Hamdok
meet in Addis Ababa, February 9 (RD)

The Sudanese government requested the UN to seek a Security Council mandate to establish, as soon as possible, a Chapter VI peace support operation in the form of a special political mission with a strong peacebuilding component,” Hamdok said.

On May 4, a group of 98 Sudanese civil society activists urged the PM to add ‘physical protection’ to his request for a new UN force to be deployed in the country.

“As you're well aware that Chapter VI of the UN Charter aims to support the maintenance, monitoring, and building of peace, usually in the context of peace agreements, but not a peace enforcement mechanism to prevent violent conflict as it is the case in Chapter VII,” they wrote in their petition to the PM.

The activists doubt if Sudan is able protect its citizens one year after the ousting of the regime headed by Omar Al Bashir.

“It has never been disputed fact that security forces remain part of the problem and have done little to prevent clashes, despite the ouster of the Al Bashir regime,” they stated. “We wonder to what extent your government is aware of such threats that may lead to renewed atrocities and perhaps full fledge civil war in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan,” they stated.

'Marshall Plan'

In response to the UN Security Council resolutions, Hamdok said in a television interview on Thursday that “Sudan has been at the mercy of Chapter VII for more than 15 years.”

The billion and a half Dollars annually spent on Unamid could now better be used for civil development issues.

The PM further explained that the new political mission requested by Sudan in accordance with Chapter VI “is not an occupation by any country”, but rather a full-fledged civilian UN mission “that does not have military forces, as the police issue was cancelled in the previous request”.

Khartoum’s request for such a mission is based on two basic conditions: The ownership of the mission and the sovereignty of Sudan. “Sudan is a genuine member of the United Nations. We asked for a Chapter VI mission according to our vision and we also define the areas in which it will help us,” he said.

“We requested assistance in the form of a mission that helps us in addressing transition issues, chief among which is financing the implementation of the peace agreements that are imminent, for instance the establishment of schools and hospitals, something similar to the Marshall Plan.”

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