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UN will not end 'dysfunctional' peacekeeping mission in Darfur

June 11 - 2015 KHARTOUM / NEW YORK
A Unamid peacekeeper in Tawila, North Darfur, where the presence of Sudanese militia troops has led to a volatile security situation and mass displacement, 10 February 2015 (Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)
A Unamid peacekeeper in Tawila, North Darfur, where the presence of Sudanese militia troops has led to a volatile security situation and mass displacement, 10 February 2015 (Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)

The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, told the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday that there has been negligible progress in the peace efforts for Darfur. Late last year, Sudan ordered the peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) to prepare an exit strategy, but Mulet made it clear that the UN-AU forces will not leave soon.

He noted that the second phase of the government's “Decisive Dry Season” (para)military campaign, that began end December last year, to end the rebellion, has caused a new wave of displacement across the region. Humanitarian organisations estimate the number of newly displaced this year at more than 78,000, while the UN cited unverified reports of more than 130,000 people, whose homes were attacked since January 1.

“When the population of Darfur will have been liberated from fear and violence, then it will be the time for us to disengage”, Mulet stressed.

‘Dysfunctional mission’

A diplomat speaking to Al Jazeera channel has described Unamid as “the most dysfunctional peacekeeping mission in the world”. 

“UN officials will tell you privately that the actions of the Sudanese government constitute one of the reasons why Unamid is not working,” said Al Jazeera's Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York.

Unamid is the most dysfunctional peacekeeping mission in the world.”

“Some will tell you that if Unamid continues to fail, eventually the UN should withdraw. But of course that is exactly what Sudan has made clear it wants to happen,” Bays noted.

‘UN report misleading’

Sudan's Deputy UN Ambassador, Hassan Hamid Hassan, told the Security Council that the violence and displacements in Darfur were caused by tribal clashes and attacks by rebels, not by government forces.

He accused UN chief Ban Ki-moon of misleading the Council. The UN secretary-general, in his latest regular report on 26 May, said that the past three months were marked by an escalation of hostilities between Sudanese government forces and the rebel groups.

Hassan said that the report “inverted the facts and misled the members of the UN Security Council”, Sudan Tribune quoted. He told the Council that only one battle recently took place, on 26 April, when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by the Sudanese security apparatus, ambushed the fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement.

The recent bombings on Jebel Marra, the use of cluster bombs in North Darfur according to UN-reports, and the recently reported mass rape by RSF paramilitaries in Golo in Central Darfur earlier this year, were not denied by the Sudanese deputy ambassador. Yet, he requested the removal of the accusations about the use of cluster bombs, as these claims were not “verifiable”, he said.

Hassan explained the recent mass displacements in the western Darfur region as caused by intertribal fighting between the Ma'alia and the Rizeigat. He reiterated his government’s decision that Unamid should leave, “to make it clear to the residents of these camps that they cannot stay there forever and have to return to their places of origin”. 

(Sources: Al Jazeera/Sudan Tribune/Radio Dabanga)

Report of the UN Secretary-General on Unamid, 26 May 2015.pdf

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