UN Chief: ‘Situation in Darfur continues to regress’
The situation continues to deteriorate, the implementation of the peace agreement signed two years ago in Doha is at an unacceptably slow pace, while most of it has not even commenced. The government and allied militias have imposed increased restrictions for Unamid peacekeepers to investigate insecurity. Only 25 per cent (11 out of 44 units) of the UN military and police units with armoured cars are usable for the minimum required threshold service level.
These are Ban’s main conclusions in his latest update, signed July 13, 2013, to the Security Council concerning the Unamid peacekeeping operation in Sudan's Darfur.
The Secretary General has a different view than that of the international community with regard to the 12 May killing of breakaway JEM leader, Mohamed Bashar (see related coverage below).
According to Ban, Bashar was killed by the rebel group JEM-Ibrahim he had broken away from in order to sign a peace agreement with Khartoum. In his latest update to the UN Security Council, Ban confirms that Bashar was killed inside Darfur while returning from Chad supplied with heavy arms.
The international community with US, EC and other member states of the UN, condemned the killing assuming it had taken place in Chad.
The two parties say that Bashar was on his way to begin implementation of the Doha Document. According to Article 399 of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (less formally referred to as the Doha peace agreement), the government should disarm the militias before implementation of the peace agreement can start. Apparently several of the people killed held Chadian nationality.
In their 4 June declaration, the international community did not condemn the killing of a Nigerian peacekeeper by a pro-government militia. Neither did they mention the fact that several civilians were killed in government attacks and bombardments within sight of the Unamid team sites in Labado and Muhajeriya.
According the July report by Ban, an estimated 17,100 civilians took refuge around the two Unamid bases in the first two weeks of April. Widespread movement restrictions imposed by government forces and armed movements prevented the peacekeepers form assessing the situation and to help the casualties.
Radio Dabanga had reported that people were dying in front of the team sites, with no aid provided. The UN Secretary General says in his update: “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attack on the Unamid base in Muhajeriya which resulted in the death of one peacekeeper. Such acts are reprehensible and a violation of international law. I call upon the Government to bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice.”
The UN chief also reiterated that that he is deeply disturbed by the killing of Mohamed Bashar and several other members of his faction. Amongst the slain pro-government militia was its leader Saleh Mohamed Jerbo Jamus. A case against him was scheduled at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Jerbo and Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain were the main suspects in the killing of 12 African peacekeepers from Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Botswana in Haskanita in 2007. They were charged for war crimes including pillaging, murder and attacking peacekeepers.
Banda is now one of the main implementing officials of the peace agreement on behalf of the government. The UN does not mention the ICC, but refers instead to the Sudan government’s Special Prosecutor saying that “no further details on the types of crimes or the status of their prosecution were provided”.
Doha peace agreement
The UN chief is concerned about the scant implementation of the Doha peace agreement. Two years after the signing of the DDPD, the ceasefire and security arrangements are still pending, as is the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. The reconciliation process is delayed, a micro-finance system for income-generating activities as well as a compensation fund for victims remain outstanding. He quantified the progress as “an unacceptably slow pace”.
In the past three months Unamid was denied access and freedom of movement by the authorities to investigate insecurity 181 times, against 102 times in the previous months. In the reporting period, more than 300,000 people were displaced, as many as the total for all the previous years together.
The report said that paramilitary government forces, specifically the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira), the Popular Defence Forces (an Islamist militia) and the border guards previously known as Janjaweed were often identified by survivors.
The UN chief hails the results of the Darfur donor conference in April 2013. A pledge of $3.6 billion was made against the $7.2 billion identified as funding needs, the main part coming from Sudan itself ($2,6 billion) and from Qatar.
The secretary general concludes that potential donors have indicated a reluctance to commit funds given the little progress in the implementation of the Doha peace agreement.
File photo: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Mark Garten/UN Photo)
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