UN to Stop joint UN-AU peacekeeping in Darfur by year’s end

CAIRO — U.N. Security Council members decided to terminate the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s western Darfur area once the mission’s mandate runs out on Dec. 31, following pressure from the nation’s provincial authorities, Russia, and African states.

The council voted unanimously late Tuesday to not expand the mandate of their joint mission, called UNAMID. Back in June, the Security Council unanimously approved substituting it with a considerably smaller and entirely political mission, that is called United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, or UNITAMS.

The UNAMID force, based in 2007, was the first combined U.N.-AU peacekeeping operation. It currently has well over 6,000 army and police employees and over 1,500 civilian staffers.

Many Western countries have advocated more time before UNAMID’s departure, together with Germany’s ambassador to the U.N., Christoph Heusgen, cautioning that Sudan is at”a critical juncture” and”the transition process may still hamper.”

Sudan is on a delicate path to democracy following a popular uprising that directed the army to overthrow President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, after almost 3 years of rule. Ever since that time, the nation was headed by combined military-civilian authorities, that have been unable to finish Sudan’s decades-long civil wars and conquer the nation’s dire financial problems.

The International Criminal Court has billed al-Bashir, who has been imprisoned in Sudan because of his ouster, together with war crimes and genocide within the conflict in Darfur. The nation’s transitional government earlier this year said desired people would confront prosecution before the ICC, without mentioning al-Bashir by title.

The Security Council also called on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to finish the withdrawal of UNAMID from June 30 next year, and also to immediately guarantee a”phased, sequenced and effective” transition into UNITAMS.

It advocated for Sudan’s government to”completely and quickly” execute its strategy to give security to civilians in Darfur. The government has started to set up a 12,000-strong Civilian Protection Force into the area as part of a peace agreement it struck with the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of numerous armed groups.

The Security Council called on the transitional authorities to function to”build confidence of local communities at the capability of the rule of law associations to provide justice, ensure accountability and supply legal security to vulnerable communities”

He explained that although the significant fighting in Darfur has ceased, sporadic intercommunal clashes in the area have improved this season.

In the last several decades, since the effect of a government’s military effort, the insurgency was reduced to some rebel Sudan Liberation Army faction led by Abdul Wahid Elnur at Jebel Marra.

The decision by the Security Council came as tens of thousands of protesters in Darfur, largely displaced children, and women, have prevailed for more than two weeks against the conclusion of UNAMID.

The ICC’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called earlier this month for Sudan to match its dedication to justice in Darfur using actions, beginning with unimpeded access to the tribunal’s researchers to witnesses, crime scenes along with other evidence from the area.