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UN Spec Rep pledges to support human rights protection in Darfur

December 21 - 2021 EL FASHER
The Wali of North Darfur, Nimir Mohamed, and the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG), and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, preside of the handover of the UNAMID logistical base testerday (Photo: UN)
The Wali of North Darfur, Nimir Mohamed, and the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG), and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, preside of the handover of the UNAMID logistical base testerday (Photo: UN)

The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG), and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, has paid tribute to the people of Darfur, and affirmed the UN’s commitment to support human rights protection. Concluding a three-day consultative visit to the North Darfur capital of El Fasher yesterday, Deputy Special Representative Lo N’Diaye joined the Wali of North Darfur, Nimir Mohamed, to preside over the handover of the northern part of the logistics base of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)* to state authorities.

The DSRSG paid tribute to the people of Darfur for their sacrifices and expressed condolence, on behalf of the SRSG and the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), to the families of those whose lives were lost during recent inter-communal violence.

In her remarks, the DSRSG commended the authorities for their cooperation and continued support to UNAMID liquidation team; and highlighted the need for the camp and the facilities within it to be used for the benefit of the people of Darfur.

The DSRSG expressed her concern over the safety and security of UNAMID liquidation team and integrity of the assets and emphasised the obligation of the government to protect UNAMID personnel and take robust measures to prevent any form of threats or violence towards the camp and personnel.

“In my earlier engagements, I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Elhadi Idriss, a member of the Sovereignty Council. I reiterated the expectations of the United Nations for the free and safe movement of all UN assets and the return of those that have been unlawfully seized by armed groups. I also met with Nimir Mohamed, the Wali of North Darfur, and discussed various issues of concern, particularly the importance of UN assets in the implementation of protection of civilians’ activities by various UN agencies. I stated that UNITAMS is committed and stands ready to assist the government in fulfilling protection of civilians, human rights and rule of law priorities,” the DSRG said in her remarks.

In response, former rebel leader and member of the Sovereignty Council El Hadi Idris and Governor Nimir Mohamed expressed gratitude to the UN for the support and reaffirmed their commitment to ensure the security and safety of the UNAMID liquidation team and protection of UN assets. They also assured that all efforts will be made to engage with former UNAMID national staff who have, for several days, blocked entry into the UNAMID logistics base in El Fasher.

Updating on ongoing efforts to strengthen protection of civilians in Darfur, Idris informed the DSRSG that his mission to El Fasher was to intensify consultations with state security entities, including signatory parties to the Juba Peace Agreement, to finalise arrangements for the rapid deployment of the joint security protection forces. Idriss emphasised that this was a priority considering the recent violence and protection challenges in Darfur.

UNAMID liquidation phase

A major outcome of the DSRSG’s engagements during her mission to Darfur was a decision taken by El Hadi Idris and Nimir Mohamed, to allocate office space within the UNAMID logistics base for the use of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee and the North Darfur State Protection of Civilians Committee. This will help the two entities with facilities to enhance effective implementation of their respective mandates.

UNAMID completed its drawdown exercise on 30 June 2021, as stipulated by UN Security Council resolution 2559 (2020), which ended the Mission’s mandate at the end of last year. The Mission has now entered a liquidation phase, which is expected to last until the middle of 2022. The drawdown of UNAMID coincided with the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), according to Resolution 2524 (2020).

Looting

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, the ongoing insecurity in Darfur, often partly exacerbated by the vacuum created by the UNAMID drawdown, has meant that the practicalities of the handover of UNAMID sites and facilities have not always gone as planned.

On June 5, two people were killed and eight others sustained injuries when a former UNAMID site in Shangil Tobaya, Dar El Salaam locality, south of El Fasher in North Darfur was looted.

The site was handed over to the Government of Sudan on May 25. It was the last of 14 deep field sites handed over to the Sudanese government. At the time, the North Darfur government and the Sudanese government’s joint task force strongly reconfirmed their commitment to ensure civilian use of the former site.

Since the mission ended its mandate at the end of last year, various former UNAMID sites handed over to local authorities to be used as schools or training centres, have been looted. In February, a site in North Darfur’s Saraf Omra that was earmarked for use as a vocational training centre was looted and ‘levelled’ just weeks after it was handed over to the Sudanese government.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres publicly condemned the looting at the time and said: “at a time when community needs in Sudan are increasingly pressing, the site was intended to serve as a vocational training centre; unknown assailants have dashed that opportunity”.


*UNAMID (Source: UN)

During UNAMID’s 13-year mandate, more than 100,000 military and police peacekeepers were contributed by dozens of countries from around the world. At its peak deployment in 2011, it had nearly 23,000 troops and police.

At the beginning of the drawdown period in January 2021, 7,000 military, police, and civilian personnel remained to be separated and repatriated, with over 6,000 now repatriated.

UNAMID, one of the largest peacekeeping operations in the history of the United Nations, created a security environment in Darfur and will be departing with a history of achievements supporting the protection of civilians, particularly the internally displaced persons, community stabilisation and rule of law support, the provision of humanitarian aid as well as supporting the implementation of the peace process. The Mission also worked to empower women; addressed sexual and gender-based violence; protected and promoted human rights; and helped with the fight against COVID-19.

Facts and Figures

Protection of civilians

- 38,000 peacekeeping patrols conducted annually to protect hundreds of thousands of IDPs.

Programmatic activities

- 120 meetings, dialogue forums and peace campaigns with farmers and nomadic herders to mitigate intercommunal violence, promoting peaceful coexistence and facilitating amicable use of scarce shared natural resources.

- 500+ quick impact projects were implemented in Darfur, including 94 water boreholes and water points were established in hotspots.

Community Stabilisation

- Rehabilitation of classrooms, construction of prosecution offices, community security and small arms control, provision of solar panels and temporary job creation for at-risk youth.

State Liaison Functions (SLF)

- 46 million USD allocated to SLF in 2 years.

- 10 UN Agencies, Funds and Pgrammes participated in SLF programming.

COVID-19

- $1.9 million USD allocated by UNAMID/UNCT for COVID-19 response in FY 2019/20 – SLF 4

- Training of trainers workshops and sensitisation sessions on COVID-19.

- 30+ different types of PPE donated to communities in Darfur (goggles, gloves masks, etc.)

Police and Rule of Law

- 45 Sudan Police Force stations/posts, 15 prosecution offices, 19 District Courts, 14 prisons and 14 rural courts to support policing services, dispensation of justice and addressed intercommunal conflicts and criminality.

Security Sector

- 1,300+ former child soldiers released who were registered by Sudan Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) in Darfur.

- 11,000 ex-combatants were demobilised and benefitted from reinsertion packages.

Gender

- 54 Women’s Protection Networks supported across the five Darfur States which provide real time information as first responders to security threats, including incidents of physical assault, rape, killings and abductions in the field to the security apparatus, for quick response.

- 120 women were brought to Juba peace talks from Darfur.

Drawdown

- 14 team sites handed over in less than 4 months.

- 5 team sites looted, 3 team sites faced criminality.

- 7,000 personnel at start of drawdown. 6,000 separated/repatriated.

- 363 police will remain with Guard Unit during liquidation period.

- 103 SLF activities remained to be implemented in January, 28 core programmatic projects.

- 99 UNAMID staff were embedded with AFPs to support the implementation (during drawdown.

- 5 contingents’ COE has been sent/returned to home country (2 Jordanian FPU, Senegalese FPU, Kenyan military police unit).

- 60 trucks of COE leave the Logistics Base/day en route to Port Sudan.

 


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