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Security Council Statement under Kazakh Presidency Voices Concern and Relief on Darfur

By J Nastranis

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – In a presidential statement on Darfur by Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Security Council President for January, has welcomed improvements in the security situation, as well as the on-going absence of armed clashes between Government forces and the armed opposition, in addition to the extension of unilateral cessations of hostilities by both sides.

The presidential statement (S/PRST/2018/4) issued on January 31 said: "The Security Council also welcomes improvements in the humanitarian situation, including increased humanitarian access throughout Darfur and the return from Chad and the Central African Republic of more than 5,000 refugees in recent months."

The statement under Kazakh Presidency adds that the Council continues to be concerned about the considerable challenges that remain, particularly the challenge of ensuring sustainable solutions for Darfur's 2.7 million internally displaced persons, while taking note that no additional displacements have taken place during the period of assessment in the vicinity of the closed team sites.

The Security Council reiterates its demand that all parties to the conflict in Darfur, a region in western Sudan, create "the conditions conducive to allowing the voluntary, informed, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons."

While recognising the Government of Sudan's "stated desire and plan to sustainably address" the challenge of internally displaced persons, the Council stresses that any returns should be safe, voluntary and in accordance with applicable international law, and "calls for enhanced cooperation between the Government and the international community in search of dignified and durable solutions for the internally displaced persons."

Notwithstanding the significant decrease in inter-communal conflicts, the Council remains concerned that it is one of the sources of violence in Darfur and expresses concern that the improvement in the overall security situation has not translated into a commensurate reduction in the level of human rights violations and abuses, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and serious violations against children, perpetrated with impunity.

The presidential statement under Kazakh Presidency of the Council also notes a gradual increase in the number of investigations initiated by the judicial institutions.

The statement presented by Kazakh Ambassador Umarov notes that six years after the adoption of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur "the people of the region have yet to benefit fully from the political realities and the legislative space that the agreement created, as the implementation of its provisions remains uneven and unsustainable."

The Council reiterates its support for the Doha Document as a viable framework for the peace process in Darfur.

While urging its accelerated implementation, particularly the implementation of the Land Act and provisions related to compensation and the creation of a conducive environment enabling the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, the Council demands that the non-signatory armed movements refrain from impeding the implementation of the Doha Document.

It encourages the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Country Team to continue to engage fully in support of the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.

The Security Council also welcomes the signing of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel Roadmap by the Government of Sudan and the armed movements and urges all parties to make immediate progress on its implementation.

This must include the signing of cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance agreements among the parties consistent with the first phase of the Roadmap. The Council further urges the non-signatory armed groups to sign it without delay.

The presidential statement under Kazakh presidency recalls that the Council authorized in its resolution 2363 (2017) a two-phase reconfiguration of UNAMID in line with the Special Report of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission of May 18, 2017 (document S/2017/437).

It commends UNAMID for the successful conclusion of phase one of the Mission's reconfiguration, in cooperation with the Government of Sudan. While taking note that no adverse effects have been reported so far, the Security Council recognizes that it is still too early to reach conclusions on the full impact of UNAMID’s reconfiguration.

The Council notes the assessment’s findings that the closure of team sites has created a gap in early warning systems designed to prevent human rights violations and abuses, has affected UNAMID's capacity-building work, and has limited UNAMID's capacity to verify allegations of human rights violations and abuses.

"The Security Council therefore requests UNAMID and the United Nations country team to continue to monitor closely the impact of the reconfiguration on the situation on the ground, including the effect on UNAMID’s dialogue with parties to conflict, early warning capacity, human rights monitoring and reporting, and rule of law development and to report any adverse effects to the Security Council in a timely manner."

The Council underscores the importance of building credible institutions and good governance, including through enhancing the capacity of the state authorities and other local actors to effectively protect civilians.

The Council also stresses the importance of fully addressing the root causes of the conflict, including management of land, water and other resources, in the search for a sustainable peace, which should rapidly deliver real benefits for the people of Darfur. It further emphasizes the importance of integrating a gender perspective, into all transition planning.

The Security Council furthermore calls on donors, the regional authorities in Darfur and the Government of Sudan to provide the financial resources necessary to reach those in need.

It stresses that funding for consolidation of peace building efforts in Darfur should be treated by Member States of the United Nations as a political issue of high priority to protect investments in peace and to avoid a relapse into conflict.

The Council, while stressing the importance of adequate resourcing for the United Nations country team, welcomes that UNAMID and the United Nations country team are in the process of developing a joint fundraising strategy for the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Framework (2017-2019) that identifies common priorities for sustainable peace in Darfur.

The Council also urges the Government of Sudan and the local authorities to ensure there is an environment conducive to the provision of such activities, including improving access for development actors.

The Security Council welcomes the Government of Sudan's written consent on January 8 to the opening of a temporary UNAMID base in Golo, Jebel Marra, to support life-saving humanitarian efforts and protection of civilians.

However it regrets that the late consent of the Government of Sudan has caused delays in the implementation of the timetable for the opening of this base as it was outlined in the Special Report of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission of May 18, 2017 (document S/2017/437) and supported by its resolution 2363 (2017). [IDN-InDepthNews – 03 February 2018]

Photo: Escorted team from UNAMID’s Governance and Community Stabilization Section is pictured on its way to Birka area, North Darfur. The purpose of the trip, which took place on 2 February 2018, was to conduct a peace conference for farmers and herders as part of the Mission’s support to peaceful coexistence and stability between the two communities. Credit: Mohamad Almahady, UNAMID.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. -

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