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Sudan (Darfur): Briefing and Consultations on UNAMID and the 1591 Sanctions Committee

Tomorrow morning (14 March), the Security Council is expected to hold a briefing on the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Joint Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID Jeremiah Mamabolo is expected to brief (via VTC) on the Secretary-General’s latest 60-day report on this issue (S/2018/154). Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the quarterly briefing to Council members on the Committee’s work. The briefings will be followed by consultations. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba will brief members in the consultations.

UNAMID Briefing

Mamabolo is expected to say that the overall security situation in Darfur remains stable, as there have been no major clashes between government forces and the Darfur armed groups during the current dry season. While the Secretary-General’s report applauds improvements in the security situation, it expresses concern that the root causes of the conflict and their attendant consequences remain largely unaddressed. Inter-communal conflicts remain a source of violence, although at lower levels than in previous years. In this regard, Mamabolo may brief on his efforts as Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur and UNAMID’s support for mediation and reconciliation activities aimed at preventing and mitigating inter-communal conflicts across Darfur.

Mamabolo may also update Council members on the impact of the mandatory phase of the government’s weapons collection programme on the security situation. The campaign recently moved into areas of the Jebel Marra controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW). While Darfur state officials have noted some progress in the campaign, it has led to increased tensions in some internally displaced persons camps in Central Darfur. Internally displaced persons were reported to have been either physically assaulted or harassed on a number of occasions by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a government militia, during the weapons collection, according to the Secretary-General’s report.

Improvement in the security situation has not led to headway on the political process, including implementation of the 2011 Doha Document for Peace and agreement on a permanent ceasefire. The Darfur peace process led by the AU High-level Implementation Panel remains stalled. Council members may be interested in hearing from Mamabolo what next steps may be planned to move this process forward.

Council members will likely be interested to receive information on the humanitarian and human rights situations. The overall humanitarian situation remains largely unchanged with approximately 2.7 million internally displaced persons. The reporting period saw the new displacement of several hundred persons from eastern Jebel Marra, as a result of fighting between two SLA/AW factions. The overall human rights situation in Darfur remains volatile. Arbitrary arrests, detention, sexual and gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence are among the violations that have been reported by UNAMID. In this regard, Mamabolo may refer to the visit of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, to Sudan from 18 to 25 February.

Mamabolo is also expected to brief on UNAMID’s reconfiguration. In accordance with the timeline set out in resolution 2363, UNAMID concluded phase one of its reconfiguration at the end of 2017 and commenced phase two on 31 January. Scheduled to end on 30 June, phase two will include further reductions of UNAMID’s authorised troop and police ceilings from 11,395 to 8,735 military personnel and from 2,888 to 2,500 police personnel. During this phase, a further three infantry battalions will be repatriated from the mission as they hand over the team sites to formed police units. The last of the three battalions will be repatriated in June, owing to security concerns in Kalma internally displaced persons camp in South Darfur, in accordance with the Council’s presidential statement adopted on 31 January (S/PRST/2018/4). Phase two also includes the establishment of a temporary operating base in Golo, which was not able to become operational as required under phase one as a result of the delay in the government’s consent to transfer the land, which was granted on 28 January. Council members will likely seek an update on the impact of the mission’s reconfiguration on the situation on the ground, in particular any adverse effects, as requested in the 31 January presidential statement.

Gamba’s briefing to Council members in consultations is expected to focus on her visit to Sudan from 25 February to 1 March. At a press conference in Khartoum on 1 March, Gamba expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict signed by the Sudanese government in 2016, but stated that violence still affects children across Sudan and violations against children continue, including recruitment, killing and sexual abuse by armed groups, particularly in Darfur. During her visit, Gamba also encouraged the government to transform its Action Plan into a National Plan for the prevention of violence against children.

Sanctions Briefing

As chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee since January, Poland will continue the practice of briefing in an open format tomorrow, as Ukraine did in its last briefing as chair of the Committee on 7 December. Prior to this, the Committee’s quarterly briefings to the Council had taken place in consultations for several years.

Wronecka will most likely provide details on some of the recent activities of the Sanctions Committee. On 28 December, the Committee met to discuss the recommendations contained in the final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2017/1125). Wronecka may brief on certain aspects of the report, including what follow-up actions have been taken on the three recommendations that were addressed to the Committee in the report, namely to monitor the presence and activities of Darfurian rebel groups in Libya and South Sudan; to consider updating the sanctions list to include the photographs of three designated individuals and the passport details of one designated individual; and to consider encouraging the government of Sudan to instruct its border control agency to monitor the designated individuals’ movement abroad. Wronecka will likely also cover the Committee meeting on 2 February with representatives from Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, South Sudan and Uganda to discuss the implementation of sanctions measures. This was the fifth meeting of the Committee to discuss implementation of the measures with Sudan and regional states. At this meeting, the invited states were also encouraged to share their views on the recently published final report of the Panel of Experts. Meeting participants highlighted the importance of building on the spirt of cooperation through constructive dialogue between the Committee and the invited States, according to a press release of the meeting (SC/13203).