UN concerned over escalating violence in Sudan’s Darfur region

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concerns over the escalating violence in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, saying it has resulted in a growing number of fatalities and significant new forced displacement.

The concerns are contained in a report to the Security Council on the situation in Sudan and activities of the UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

The Secretary General’s report covers political, security, human rights, rule of law and protection, socioeconomic and humanitarian developments in the Sudan from 22 February to 5 May 2022 and provides an update on the implementation of the mandate of UNITAMS, with gender considerations integrated as a cross-cutting issue throughout.

“In this regard, I urge the national authorities to follow through on their commitment to reactivate the National Mechanism for the Protection of Civilians, which was established to help protect civilians following the departure of UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur],” partly reads the Secretary General’s report to the Security Council.

The top UN official urged the country’s national authorities and signatory armed movements to fulfil their commitments under the Juba Peace Agreement and expedite the implementation of the transitional security arrangements.

“In this regard, I welcome efforts by the authorities to stand up the joint security-keeping force in Darfur. The Force’s full establishment, training and deployment must be carried out in a timely and sustainable manner to protect civilians and help restore stability in the region,” he further stressed.

Meanwhile, Guterres said the Permanent Ceasefire Committee has continued to play a pivotal role in de-escalating potential crisis situations between armed movements which could otherwise have turned violent.

The Committee, he said, resolved a disagreement resulting from an alleged ceasefire violation that occurred in February in Kabkabiyah, North Darfur, before it resulted in violent clashes between parties.

“The Committee also set up a team to investigate another alleged ceasefire violation that occurred in March in Kutum, North Darfur, which determined that the incident had not been a ceasefire violation but a criminal act,” said Guterres.

The Committee’s efforts, he noted, led to arrest of the perpetrators who were handed over to the local authorities.

“The Committee’s efforts in this regard continued to underscore the Committee’s role as a conflict resolution mechanism in accordance with its mandate,” said Guterres.

According to the Secretary General, the continued operationalization of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee offers a welcome channel for lowering tensions in Darfur.

He, however, cited shortage of logistical support from the Sudanese authorities as major concern which is constraining the Committee’s ability to fulfil its mandate, including to investigate ceasefire violations and oversee the assembly of forces, in line with the Juba Peace Agreement.

“Adequate logistical support for the operationalization of the assembly areas would be a critical signal of commitment to integrate signatory armed movements into the security services and create the conditions for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. It is therefore essential that the Sudanese authorities reconstitute the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission to prevent operational gaps throughout the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process,” he said.

UNITAMS was established by Security Council resolution 2524 on June 3, 2020. Resolution 2579 (2021) was adopted a year later, extending its mandate till June 2022.

Source: Sudan Tribune