A delegation of UK parliamentarians currently visiting Sudan travelled to Darfur today to meet the Governor of North Darfur, internally displaced people, and staff from the African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid).
In a statement following their meetings, they warn of the risks attached to over-hasty cuts to Unamid, and urge that “any further cuts must reflect genuine improvements on the ground”.
The UK parliamentarians representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan*, arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for a five-day visit to Sudan and Darfur.
After meeting with the North Darfur Governor in the morning, the group visited Abu Shouk IDP camp near the capital of El Fasher and spent the afternoon with the senior staff at Unamid. The meetings included Unamid Police Commander Priscilla Makotose and the Force Chief of Staff Brigadier General Denis Rutaha.
“The conflict is Darfur has changed, but instability and insecurity remain” – David Drew MP
The delegation also met with community representatives who are participating in the UN Development Programme reconciliation programmes funded through the Darfur Community Peace and Stability Fund (DCPSF).
In August last year, the UN General Assembly committed to cutting the UN Mission’s funding by 50 per cent and the UN Security Council called for a reduction of troop numbers of 44 per cent by the end of the financial year.
As recently as 28 August 2018, Unamid Joint Special Representative (Jeremiah Mamabolo) said that Unamid forces were blocked by the Government of Sudan from accessing East Jebel Marra.
The UK parliamentary delegation is led by David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, Vice-Chair, APPG Sudan and South Sudan, Liz McInnes, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, Shadow Foreign Minister, responsible for East Africa, James Duddridge, Conservative PM for Rochford and Southend, former Minister for Africa, and Baroness Sheehan, Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords and International Development spokesperson.
“Withdrawing too quickly without a clear plan puts the progress made in Darfur at risk. Any further cuts must reflect genuine improvements on the ground…” – David Drew MP
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan* is a cross-party group of UK parliamentarians raising issues of peace, social justice, and human rights in both countries. The delegation will spend three days in Khartoum and one day in Darfur.
In a press statement today, delegation leader David Drew MP said: “The conflict is Darfur has changed, but instability and insecurity remain.
“It is true to say there is less fighting in Darfur today, but too many internally displaced people feel unable or unwilling to return home due to security concerns.
“Unamid plays a vital role in protecting these internally displaced people, providing security for humanitarian organisations, and strengthening communities in Darfur.
“Withdrawing too quickly without a clear plan puts the progress made in Darfur at risk. Any further cuts must reflect genuine improvements on the ground, as well as assurances that the UN Country Team will have the resources and support necessary to fill the gaps.”
* The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan is a political campaigning group promoting the cause of peace, human rights, justice and development for the people of Sudan and South Sudan across Westminster and Whitehall. The Group was formed in 1998 in response to concerns raised by Sudanese diaspora groups about the political, economic and social situation in their country and as a result of the desire of UK Parliamentarians to highlight this situation. Based in Westminster, the group has established a growing membership of over 100 British MPs and Peers across political parties. Since its inception the Group has acted as the key forum in Parliament for actively debating and highlighting key issues on Sudan and South Sudan.