A two-day technical consultative meeting is currently under way in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, to take a first step toward operationalising the Permanent Ceasefire Committee for Darfur, which was stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement of October 2020. The meetings began at El Salam Rotana Hotel in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday, convened by the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which chairs the committee.
Addressing the opening session yesterday, the head of UNITAMS, UN Special Representative for Sudan Volker Perthes highlighted: “Just as the 2018 Revolution has brought fundamental, positive change to Sudan and its people, the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement is a significant achievement for those committed to peace, justice and stability in Sudan. For many Sudanese in conflict-affected areas, the agreement has brought hope that their children and grandchildren may be spared the scourge of war as Sudan begins to address the root causes of the conflict in Darfur.”
Perthes pointed out: “There is much distance to be covered for Sudan to truly realise peace, stability, and development. At its core, the Permanent Ceasefire Committee is intended to be the first step in maintaining peace between the signatories to the Juba Agreement. It will serve as the main mechanism for the efforts of monitoring, verification, and implementation of the permanent ceasefire on the ground. It will be accountable to the Joint High Military Committee for Security Arrangements, which supervises its activities.”
‘For many Sudanese in conflict-affected areas, the Juba Agreement has brought hope that their children and grandchildren may be spared the scourge of war…’ – Volker Perthes
Perthes said that in the lead-up to the meeting, UNITAMS has started to hold preparatory consultations with all the stakeholders, including the military, the armed movements signatories, civil society, women’s protection networks, and others to hear their concerns and needs and how they can contribute to making this an effective Ceasefire committee.
“We also heard high expectations of the Committee and also misplaced expectations, namely around protection of civilians. Let me take this opportunity to remind that the Permanent Ceasefire Committee is not and cannot be a substitute for the forces envisioned in the National Plan for Civilian Protection nor the Joint Security Keeping Forces, who has as its core mandate – the protection of civilians.”
An UNITAMS statement details that during the meetings, the committee (fully, the Permanent Ceasefire Committee of the Darfur Permanent Ceasefire and Final Security Arrangement of the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan) will discuss the implementation modalities of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee and its subsidiary mechanisms, and will include participants who are members of these entities (military and security officials, armed movement signatories), as well other stakeholders including representatives from the transitional government of Sudan, and from Darfur including the Regional Governor, Walis of Darfur states and their representatives, women’s protection networks and other civil society representatives.
The statement points out that this support for the peace process is in line with the UNITAMS mandate as per United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2524 (2020)* and 2579 (2021)**.
UNITAMS concludes that further consultations will take place in Darfur.
* In terms of UNSC resolution 2524 (2020), the Council decided on 4 June 2020 that the new United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) will provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting implementation of all human rights, equality, accountability and rule-of-law provisions in the Constitutional Document.
** UNSC resolution 2579 (2021): the Council decided that UNITAMS, as part of an integrated and unified United Nations structure, shall — in full accordance with the principles of national ownership — continue a set of strategic objectives.
Those objectives include, among other things, assisting Sudan’s political transition, providing technical assistance to its constitution drafting process; supporting the implementation of the human rights and rule of law provisions of the Constitutional Document; and supporting the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement between Khartoum and Sudanese armed groups.