Posted by: APO | 16 April 2008

Save Darfur renews call for ‘decisive Darfur action’ during Security Council special session

Save Darfur renews call for ‘decisive Darfur action’ during Security Council special session
Fowler: ‘The inability of both the U.N. and the AU to bring peace to Sudan is primarily the responsibility of the Government of Sudan, led by President al-Bashir. A meeting designed to address cooperation must therefore address his obstructions and not simply provide another forum for delay and obfuscation’
 

WASHINGTON – As world leaders convene today in New York to discuss the Darfur crisis and other matters of world concern, the Save Darfur Coalition reiterated its call to U.N. Security Council members to impose targeted sanctions on Sudanese officials responsible for obstructing the deployment of UNAMID and crimes against humanity. The alliance of more than 180 faith-based, human rights and civil society organizations also encouraged all parties to renew their commitment to the Darfur peace process, and to  ensure that commitments made by the Sudanese government to advance peace and security in Darfur are verifiable and enforceable.

In a letter to South African Ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani S. Kumalo, Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler called for decisive action by the Security Council – during their special session this week – that will lead to lasting peace for the people of Darfur. Kumalo is serving as the chair of the Security Council for the month of April. A similar letter written by the Darfuri Leaders Network, a broad-based alliance representing Darfuri diaspora organizations across the United States, was also sent to Ambassador Kumalo and the Security Council today.

“The crisis in Darfur remains the essential test of a successful and collaborative relationship between the U.N. and the AU. In that context, this session represents an important chance to focus world attention on the challenges facing UNAMID, the unraveled peace process, and the tenuous Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Fowler wrote in the letter. “The inability of both the U.N. and the AU to bring peace to Sudan is primarily the responsibility of the Government of Sudan, led by President al-Bashir. A meeting designed to address cooperation must therefore address his obstructions and not simply provide another forum for delay and obfuscation.”

Fowler stressed the Sudanese government’s demonstrated contempt for international law, which has consequently exposed the international community’s complacency in ending mass atrocities. In addition to refusing to arrest either Ahmed Haroun, Sudan’s minister of humanitarian affairs, or janjaweed commander Ali Kosheib following International Criminal Court arrest warrants issued last year, the Sudanese government continues to obstruct UNAMID deployment, violate the existing U.N. Security Council arms embargo, and continues to conduct a campaign of violence and destruction in Darfur. As a result, an additional 100,000 Darfuri civilians have been displaced since the beginning of this year.

The full text of the letter follows:

His Excellency Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo
Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations
333 East 38th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016

Your Excellency Ambassador Kumalo:

We are writing to you in advance of the upcoming special session of the Security Council to share our concerns about the ongoing conflict in Darfur.  As you and the Council well know, the crisis in Darfur has now endured for more than five years.  Despite numerous attempts to muster an international response, the security situation on the ground remains dire and prospects for peace remain dim.  As the Security Council prepares to discuss better cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, we urge you also to take strong actions aimed at achieving the deployment of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping force in Darfur, and a reinvigorated peace process through the joint UN-AU mediation process.

The crisis in Darfur remains the essential test of a successful and collaborative relationship between the UN and the AU. In that context, this session represents an important chance to focus world attention on the challenges facing UNAMID, the unraveled peace process, and the tenuous Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  If any progress is to be made, however, it must be clear to the Government of Sudan that the international community as represented by the Security Council has the will to enforce its mandate.  For too long, the Government of Sudan has manipulated and deceived the international community without a commensurate response from the Security Council or concerned member states.  A tougher, more concerted and collaborative international approach is needed. 

For years, President al-Bashir and his government have willfully disregarded and violated Security Council resolutions and international agreements.  The inability of both the UN and the AU to bring peace to Sudan is primarily the responsibility of the Government of Sudan, led by President al-Bashir.  A meeting designed to address cooperation must therefore address his obstructions and not simply provide another forum for delay and obfuscation.

The Government of Sudan has clearly demonstrated its contempt for international law and institutions, and has exposed the international community’s complacency in putting an end to mass atrocities.  The Government of Sudan refuses to arrest or extradite Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kosheib for whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants, it continues to obstruct the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur, it violates with impunity the existing Security Council arms embargo, and most egregiously, it continues to pursue a campaign of destruction and murder in Darfur, resulting in hundreds of deaths and another 100,000 people being displaced just since the start of this year.

It is important to note too that the UNAMID force, composed primarily of African Union soldiers, has come under attack on at least three separate occasions since the start of this year, at least twice by forces under the direct command of the Government of Sudan.  Our concern for Darfuri civilians is matched by our concern for those soldiers sent to protect them.  UNAMID forces must be robust enough to defend themselves as well as the civilians they have been sent to protect, and there must be political consequences from the Security Council against any who dare to challenge its mandate. The force is also suffering from a lack of much needed resources, including helicopters and heavy-transport trucks. The international community must provide UNAMID with the necessary equipment to achieve its mandate. 

To ensure that the special session achieves substantive progress towards resolving the conflict in Darfur, the Council should:

Establish consequences for violations and obstructions.  The Security Council should impose targeted sanctions on Sudanese officials and rebel leaders responsible for crimes against humanity, obstructions to the deployment of UNAMID, and attacks against UNAMID forces.  These targeted sanctions should be tied to specific benchmarks, and should only be removed when the Government of Sudan and/or rebel leaders demonstrates full cooperation with UNAMID deployment and end government military offensives in Darfur.

Encourage a renewed commitment to the peace process.  The Security Council should take an active role in promoting peace in Darfur by insisting on a clear plan for the resumption of peace talks.  The Council should also provide clear benchmarks and incentives to those that participate in good faith in the peace talks, and should establish consequences for any party that acts as a spoiler of legitimate efforts at peace.

Ensure that Government of Sudan commitments are verifiable and enforceable.  In light of the Government of Sudan’s long record of violating its commitments to the international community and willfully ignoring the resolutions of the Security Council, the special session of the Security Council should demand that Khartoum commit to verifiable and enforceable measures to end obstruction of UNAMID and cease all attacks on civilians in Darfur.  More specifically, the Council should demand immediate and unconditional approval of the remaining troop contributing countries and that all transfers of arms into Darfur by Sudan be ceased.  The Council should also demand the immediate arrest of Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kosheib.  Any agreement must include mechanisms to monitor and ensure compliance with these commitments, and Khartoum should understand that failing to honor these commitments will result in additional sanctions and other punitive measures. 

The Security Council has the opportunity to act strongly and decisively at the upcoming special session.  If the Council proactively addresses Sudanese obstructions to UNAMID deployment, creates consequences for violations of past resolutions, and demonstrates a real determination to hold the Government of Sudan to its commitments, then this special session can mark an important step towards resolving the conflict in Darfur.

Sincerely,

Jerry Fowler
President
Save Darfur Coalition

CC: Security Council
 


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