UNITAMS head deplores civilian deaths in West Darfur violence
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sudan, and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, has issued a statement deploring the “heinous killings of civilians in West Darfur”, calling for “an end of violence, and “transparent investigation”.
In a statement yesterday from Khartoum in response to reports of ongoing intertribal clashes in Kereinik in West Darfur, in which members of the Rapid Support Forces are accused of complicity, Perthes “deplores the heinous killings of civilians in Kereinik, as well as the attacks on health facilities. He calls for an immediate end to the violence, extends his deepest condolences to the families of those killed, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
Perthes: “The UN reminds the authorities and armed groups of their international legal obligation to protect all civilians, and civilian infrastructure, including health facilities, schools and water systems.”
He notes the measures taken on Saturday by the Sudanese Armed Forces in this regard, which included a commitment to evacuate injured civilians. Perthes calls for the acceleration of the deployment of the joint security keeping forces as per the Juba Peace Agreement, as well as “an in-depth and transparent investigation,” the results of which should be made public and help to identify the perpetrators of violence and bring them to justice.
“Free, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access is urgently needed. The UN in Sudan stands ready to provide aid to those in need” Perthes’s statement concludes.
On Friday, Acting Undersecretary of the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Nader Youssef El Tayeb, handed over a matrix to members of the UN Security Council in New York, that includes the government’s requirements from UNITAMS to assist with democratic transition in Sudan.
Ambassador El Tayeb, who is currently visiting New York to meet with the leadership of the United Nations and some member states of the UN Security Council, met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, yesterday. According to the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), El Tayeb indicated that all the competent authorities in Sudan have participated in the development of a comprehensive matrix that includes the vision of the government of Sudan for the role that UNITAMS should play in accordance with its mandate.
Relations between the government of Sudan and UNITAMS have been strained over recent weeks, following the March 29 briefing by UNITAMS head, Volker Perthes, to the UN Security Council (UNSC) about Sudan’s deteriorating economic, humanitarian, and security situation. Perthes pleaded with the UNSC, saying: “Time is not on Sudan’s side, and I speak to you today with a sense of urgency which is also increasingly felt by Sudanese stakeholders concerned about the stability and the very existence of their country.”
As retort, the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that UNITAMS “should focus on the other basic aspects of its mandate, instead of focusing most of its activities on only the political side”.
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