UN extends Darfur peacekeeping mission’s mandate for a year
The UN Security Council (UNSC) today decided to extend the mandate of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid), for one year, until 30 June 2017.
In a press statement today, the UNSC said that unanimously adopting resolution 2296 (2016), the Council further decided that Unamid will consist of up to 15,845 military personnel, 1,583 police personnel and 13 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each. This authorised troop and police ceiling remains unchanged from when the Council extended Unamid’s mandate a year ago.
The extension of the mandate comes in spite of calls from Khartoum for Unamid to wind-up its operations.
"Unamid must continue to give priority in decisions regarding the use of available capacity and resources to the protection of civilians across Darfur...''
By the text of the resolution, the Council underlined that Unamid must continue to give priority in decisions regarding the use of available capacity and resources to the protection of civilians across Darfur, including women and children; and ensuring safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access, as well as the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and activities.
Demanding that all parties to the conflict in Darfur immediately cease all acts of violence, the Council also expressed deep concern over the proliferation of arms, in particular small arms and light weapons and the use of such arms against civilians, as well as over the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
As of mid-June, 2.6 million people remain displaced across Darfur and 1.6 million civilians continue to reside in some 60 camps for internally displaced persons across the region, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
‘Unamid no longer needed’
Sudanese envoy to the United Nations Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed told the Council that the security situation in Darfur is improving, adding that there were no rebellions or armed movements in the region.
“Unamid is no longer needed,” he further stressed.
“The resolution adopted today was replete with contradictions and did not reflect facts on the ground. In fact, Darfur had witnessed the return of 800,000 IDPs and an improvement in the humanitarian situation,” he said.
Mohamed recalled that the Sudanese government had requested that Unamid begin its exit strategy in 2014.
“The Joint Working Group had provided proof that the situation in Darfur supported the mission’s drawdown, but some member states refused to accept that recommendation.”
He reaffirmed the importance of allowing the Joint Working Group to continue its work. Citing “procrastination and delays” on the part of the United Nations. Also, he reiterated that Unamid’s exit strategy must be promptly formulated, and called for an end to “delaying tactics”.
The Government is ready to carry out an assessment, or accept an assessment mission that would provide evidence of the facts that some sought to ignore, he said.
In addition to Unamid, the UNSC today also decided to extend the mandates of peacekeeping missions in Mali and the Golan Heights.
Currently, there are 16 peacekeeping operations led by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which have more than 118,000 military, police and civilian personnel.
(Sources: UNSC, Sudan Tribune)
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