Posted by: APO | 24 April 2008

Darfur / Statement by the AU/UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, to the UN Security Council



Statement by the AU/UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, to the UN Security Council

April 2008

 

Mr. President,

Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to brief the Council. The ninety-day Report of the Secretary General offers comprehensive information on the previous reporting period. Today, I will focus on the current security, humanitarian and political situation in Darfur.

Mr. President,

UNAMID was deployed in accordance with UN Security Council 1769 which provides a mandate under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The central expectation placed upon us by the people of Darfur and the international community, through the solemn decision of this Council, is to provide protection for the civilians of Darfur. The people of Darfur have suffered terribly during the last five years of war and the world has demanded unequivocally that this suffering be brought to an end. UNAMID is the primary instrument chosen by this Council for that task.

As I speak to you today, I must report frankly that there is a long way to go before we can say that we have met these expectations and fulfilled the promise made by this Council. Our Forces are serving under exceptionally difficult conditions, facing daily dangers and hardships. I am obliged to report that the obstacles they surmount and the risks that they run have not reduced over the last three months.

On the Force:

Mr. President,

In spite of all our efforts, it remains the case that three months into UNAMID’s operations, the Force strength has not increased much from the strength of AMIS as it was at the end of December 2007. The Force is at less than forty percent of its mandated level of 19,555 and it is very unlikely to achieve full-operating-capability before 2009. The key challenges are therefore, to ensure that the ex-AMIS and incoming TCCs’ Units are self-sustaining. If this cannot be fully achieved in the short term, measures must be put in place to assist them on the ground. The majority of the ex-AMIS bases that are being retained by UNAMID require expanding and refurbishing. Furthermore, the deteriorating conditions of roads in Darfur and the approaching rainy season will make Main Supply Routes (MSR) impassable in many areas. All these challenges will require exceptional logistics and engineering operations which will dictate the rate of deployment of new and expanded units.

In light of all these complications, the Mission is finalizing a list of emergency measures needed to reposition the deployment back on track. The achievement of the Mission’s new deployment goals and application of these measures will once again depend heavily on the timely and unhindered cooperation of all the stakeholders.

Having said that, I am happy to inform the Council, that a number of TCC deployments are scheduled over the next three months, including the main body of the Chinese Engineering Company, the Egyptian Infantry Battalion, the Signals, Engineering, and Transport Companies, the Bangladeshi multi-role logistics Company and the Nigerian Level II Hospital. The Ethiopian advanced party has arrived in El-Fasher while their deployment is expected to be completed in June. All this deployment is dependent upon the arrival of the COE in Darfur.

During the next 3 months we expect the 4 Nigerian Battalions and the South African Battalion to rotate. The combination of the planned deployments and the rotation will put UNAMID under considerable pressure. Owing to the very long line-of communication from Port Sudan into Darfur, difficult road conditions and lack of capacity among local contractors, the risk of delays remains high.

The Force Commander’s priority is to have the ten existing infantry battalions brought up to the UN COE and self-sustaining standards. This is a considerable challenge since the TCCs can generate the troops but many of them are unable to meet this requirement. I should like to express the Mission’s appreciation to the donors for the initiative taken to increase the operational capability of the TCCs.

Mr. President,    

Since the transfer of authority, UNAMID is still lacking five critical operational capabilities: attack helicopters, surveillance aircraft, medium lift support helicopters, military engineers and logistical support. An offer to meet part of the attack and medium lift helicopter requirement has been made by Ethiopia and an initial reconnaissance has been carried out.

On the Police:

Mr. President,

I am happy to confirm that UNAMID Police and Civilian components are gradually increasing their impact on the ground in Darfur. Patrols are being conducted for substantially longer periods, over greater areas of Darfur, and now on a daily basis. More protection is being provided to vulnerable groups during firewood collection, enhancing security around the IDP camps, and providing better protection especially to the women in the camps.

In addition, Police Advisors have held several public fora with the leadership of the IDPs to create awareness of the UNAMID Police mandate and duties, the concept of community policing and Gender Based violence. The introduction of community policing concept has culminated in the registration and training of 287 IDP volunteers, 30 of whom are women.

On the Humanitarian:

Mr. President

The Mission remains preoccupied with the security situation on the ground and the lack of systematic or sustained protection for vulnerable civilians in Darfur. We are witnessing intensified violence and deeper polarization in the conflict. In this context, the recent Government attacks on villages in the northern corridor of West Darfur left at least one hundred civilians dead and caused tens of thousands to flee their homes. The attacks by the Sudan Armed Forces were in response to an earlier attack by the Justice and Equality Movement at the beginning of the year. These acts constitute grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and need to be strongly condemned.

All the Parties involved in the conflict must respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law and implement their obligations under all relevant Security Council Resolutions and existing Ceasefire Agreements.

Mr. President,

While security is primary concern of the Mission, and the one that most directly impacts the lives of the civilians in Darfur now, UNAMID continues to push for a comprehensive political solution to the conflict. The Mission is fully committed to supporting the work of the Special Envoys and will continue to encourage all stakeholders in the conflict to reach a negotiated solution.

Despite all these relentless efforts, I am afraid that the prospects for THE peace process in Darfur remain very slim. The Senior Staff of UNAMID continue to meet with representatives of the signatories and non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement. Unfortunately, it is commonly understood today in Darfur that peace, is not at all attractive. Neither economically nor politically. Signatories of the DPA have not only lost most of their political credibility and popular backing from the grassroots in Darfur but they also have expressed their deep frustration and disappointment about the lack of financial, political and logistical support they receive from the international community and the Government of Sudan. Non-signatories are however still being armed and enjoy the logistical and financial support which allows them to sustain the political backing in Darfur. All local and international actors need to exert serious efforts to invert this dangerous trend.

Furthermore, the conflicts in Darfur and Chad are now closely intertwined and under current circumstances it will be extremely challenging to secure a solution to one of these conflicts while the other continues to rage. UNAMID will remain in close contact with MINURCAT and with those African and international leaders who are engaged in seeking a solution for the problems between Sudan and Chad.

Mr. President,

The establishment of the Darfur Peace and Stability Fund, recently set up by a number of donors, is in line with emerging realities and is proving an important contribution. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those donors for this timely initiative.

Mr. President,

As the body now mandated by Resolution 1769 with assisting in the implementation of the DPA, it is a Mission priority to revive the Joint Commission and restructure the CFC in order to provide a meaningful mechanism for monitoring and verifying violations of the ceasefire agreement. In the absence of a widely-supported peace agreement, the CFC is a critical tool in the implementation of the Mission’s mandate.

Mr. President,

The challenges facing UNAMID in Darfur are formidable in all aspects. There are high expectations about what the Mission should deliver. The warm welcome which UNAMID has received could very rapidly degenerate into deepening frustrations among the people of Darfur. It is disturbing that even though Darfur is at the top of the international agenda, this attention has not thus far been matched with action to provide UNAMID with the wherewithal to accomplish the tasks assigned to it. In Resolution 1769, this Council has given UNAMID expansive mandate, corresponding to the international community’s level of concern at the unacceptable levels of human suffering in Darfur. Translating that mandate into a reality on the ground in Darfur requires the tools commensurate with the task. It will be tragic if the high aspirations of this mandate, including the responsibility to protect millions of innocent Darfurians civilians who are still living in fear, are disappointed.

 

This Council has consistently stated that it considers Darfur to be one of the most important crises in the world today, and Council members have committed themselves to ensuring that a force capable of addressing the complexities of the conflict is deployed in a timely and efficient manner. Therefore, I appeal again to this Council to redouble its efforts to assist the Mission in overcoming the logistical and political obstacles it currently faces.

I would like to conclude by reminding the Council that the progress of UNAMID is attributable to the close cooperation between the UN and the AU. I would also like to thank the Council on behalf of all of my colleagues for providing this opportunity to speak about the work of UNAMID.

 

 

Thank you for your attention.


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