Posted by: africanpressorganization | 28 July 2010

Statement by the Joint Special Representative of UNAMID, Professor Ibrahim GAMBARI to the UN Security Council on 27 July 2010 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

 

 


 

 

Statement by the Joint Special Representative of UNAMID, Professor Ibrahim GAMBARI to the UN Security Council on 27 July 2010 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

 

NEW YORK, July 28, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Joint Special Representative (JSR) of the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Professor Ibrahim Gambari today addressed the UN Security Council, which he briefed on the progress and challenges of UNAMID’s mandate implementation and in the achievement of the benchmarks laid out in the Secretary-General’s Report of 16 November 2009.

Madame President,
Distinguished Members of the Security Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before starting my formal address to the distinguished Council, I am most happy to be able to report to you the safe release earlier today of the two German INGO staff members who were kidnapped on 22 June in Nyala. They were picked up by UNAMID helicopter in Kabkabiya at 11.30 Sudan time. Unfortunately, one staff member of the INGO Samaritan’s Purse kidnapped South of Nyala on 18 May remains in captivity. It is my hope that ongoing efforts to secure their safe release will soon bear fruit.

Madame President,
Distinguished members of the Council,

I am honored to be present today to brief you on progress and challenges in UNAMID mandate implementation and in the achievement of the benchmarks presented to you in the Secretary-General’s report of 16 November 2009. I would like to recall in this regard that UNAMID’s strategic work plan defined benchmarks for the following four priority areas: 1) comprehensive political solution; 2) secure and stable environment; 3) enhanced rule of law, governance and human rights; and 4) stabilized humanitarian situation.

In regard to the search for a comprehensive political solution, it is gratifying to note that this meeting is taking place in the immediate aftermath and conclusion of two key meetings of international stakeholders engaged on the Sudan, including Darfur. These are the First Meeting of the Sudan Consultative Forum which includes the E-6, all of Sudan’s neighbours, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the African Union and the United Nations, held in Khartoum on 17 July 2010. The second relevant meeting is the just-concluded 237th Session of the AU Peace and Security Council held in Kampala, Uganda in the margins of the on-going African Union Summit. Both meetings reiterated the need to ensure effective coordination of international engagement on the Sudan in a holistic manner, which I believe remains the objective of this esteemed Council.

Madame President,

As we speak here today, negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) are making steady progress in Doha under the facilitation of the AU-UN Mediator and the Government of Qatar. Furthermore, on 12 July, the second civil society forum was launched in Doha, attended by approximately 320 representatives of civil society organizations, IDPs, native administration and experts from all three Darfur states. This has provided an important boost to the peace process.

Although significant progress has been made, the continued absence of two of the major armed movements – Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Abdel Wahid – is deeply unfortunate. Joint Chief Mediator Djibrill Bassole is in contact with the leadership of both movements to urge them to join the process and discuss possible modalities for their participation.

In accordance with its mandate and in line with the requests contained in the communiqués adopted at the first meeting of the Sudan Consultative Forum on 17 July, as well as by the AU Peace and Security Council on 21 July, UNAMID has continued to support the efforts of JCM Bassole including in the on-going negotiations in Doha. Furthermore, UNAMID is currently finalizing its preparations for a process of internal political dialogue in Darfur, to support and complement the Doha peace negotiations. To this end, UNAMID will be engaging in a pro-active manner, with IDPs, refugees and the broader civil society, as well as with the newly elected legislators in the three States of the region, Darfurian members of the National Assembly in Khartoum, and Darfurians who have been appointed as Ministers by President Bashir, including those holding the key Ministries of Finance and Justice. The purpose of the dialogue will be to focus in detail on issues that affect a wide cross-section of Darfurians, and in particular on those issues that are the root causes of the Darfur conflict including political and economic marginalization, land, justice and reconciliation. In this way, the dialogue will both inform and ensure Darfurian ‘buy in’ on the final contents of the peace agreement to be signed between the Government and armed movements.

In a similar positive development, UNAMID is nearing full deployment, with 88% of military personnel, 70% of Police, including 13 out of 19 Formed Police Units, and 75% of civilian personnel in theatre. I would also like to highlight progress in the issuance of visas for UNAMID staff over the past couple of months. Notably, I would like to mention the arrival in the Mission of the new Force Chief of Staff whose visa was granted by the Government recently after a long delay. While this is encouraging, it is important for the Government of Sudan to sustain this progress, such that the rapid processing of visas for all nationalities becomes the norm.

Over time, the deployment of UNAMID has allowed the Mission to shift its focus towards harnessing its assets in pursuit of an effective implementation of UNAMID mandate and an early achievement of the benchmarks identified in November 2009. With a view to contributing to a stable and secure environment throughout Darfur, UNAMID has been able to expand its patrols both in number and range throughout the three Darfur States, currently conducting on average more than 100 patrols per day, and intensify its efforts in community policing. Furthermore, UNAMID Substantive Sections have been providing support in the areas of human rights, rule of law, local reconciliation and in other areas, through capacity building, facilitation and advocacy with local institutions, political office holders, newly elected officials, native administration, civil society, community representatives and other stakeholders in Darfur, so as to advance in the priority area of rule of law, governance and human rights in accordance with UNAMID’s strategic work plan.

Challenges, however, remain on the path to lasting peace and stabilization in Darfur. When I last addressed the Council on 14 June, I drew attention to the dire security situation in Darfur and the serious operational challenges facing UNAMID. It is with greater concern that I must report to you again today that despite considerable efforts on the part of UNAMID, the security situation in Darfur has not improved.  Fighting between Government forces and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) continues to be a major source of insecurity in several parts of Darfur. Government forces have been able to dislodge JEM from their traditional stronghold in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, the Adoula Mountains in South Darfur, as well as disrupt their main supply routes to El Fasher and Nyala. Of late, JEM convoys have been sighted in North Darfur moving northwards, possibly towards the Libyan border.  The resumption in fighting was accompanied by JEM withdrawal from the peace talks in Doha. The movement is yet to re-engage in the talks despite efforts to bring them back to the negotiating table.

In an apparent attempt to take advantage of the Government’s military engagement with JEM, the Abdul Wahid faction of the Sudan Liberation Army attacked Sudanese Armed Forces positions in the Jebel Marra area around 29 May. This led to sporadic fighting between the two parties, civilian casualties and the displacement of several communities.

In addition to these very troubling incidences of military confrontation, intense inter-communal fighting has been occurring between the Misseriya and Nawaiba communities—both semi-nomadic Arab tribes—who have been fighting over fertile land along the border of South and West Darfur. This fighting has resulted in an estimated 126 casualties in May and 133 during the month of June—this compared to a total of 134 fatalities attributable to tribal clashes throughout the whole of 2009. On 29 June a peace agreement was reached between the two tribes, according to which the parties agreed to disarm their militia, pay compensation to the families of the victims and establish a joint security task force to restore law and order.

As I address you today, it is fortunate that this agreement is largely holding and fighting between the groups has largely ceased.

Madame President,
Distinguished members of the Council,

It is with grave concern that I have to report a spike in criminal acts and attacks against UN and humanitarian personnel. As highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report before the Council, during the previous year, UNAMID peacekeepers were attacked on 28 occasions, resulting in 10 dead and 26 injured. We have also seen two instances of kidnapping of UNAMID personnel and 6 cases involving humanitarian colleagues. In the most recent event, on 21 June, armed men in military fatigues attacked UNAMID troops guarding a construction site in Nertiti, West Darfur. In the exchange of fire, three UNAMID military personnel from Rwanda as well as three attackers lost their lives. I would like to use this opportunity to underscore once again that such attacks against peacekeepers constitute a war crime. I call on the Government of Sudan to spare no efforts to arrest and try the perpetrators of such criminal acts.

Madame President,

As we speak here today, my colleagues in Darfur are working to urgently solve yet another incident involving UNAMID-related staff. Yesterday, on 26 July, a UNAMID helicopter went missing while transporting members of the Security Arrangements Committee of the Liberation and Justice Movement to locations in South Darfur. Fortunately, earlier today we have been able to establish contact with three of the four crew members of the helicopter, as well as one international staff who reported to be in safety at a GoS location South of Menawashi. However, the captain of the helicopter remains unaccounted for. UNAMID is working with the Government and the movements in the area to try and locate the missing pilot.

In response to the attacks on UNAMID uniformed personnel, I have met with high-level government officials, including the Vice President, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs and the new State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, to reiterate earlier demands that the Government conduct thorough and timely investigations into the attacks and prosecute those involved.  Following my meetings, on 26 July, UNAMID received a Note Verbale from the Government in which the Government condemned the attacks on UNAMID troops; informed the Mission that it will establish an Emergency Reaction Force and enhance cooperation and exchange of information with UNAMID to mitigate remaining security risks. While this represents a welcome move by the Government in this matter, the support of Member States, including this Council, is kindly sought to impress upon the Government the need to urgently address the continued impunity of such attacks.

It is also in this context that on 5 July, I convened a Retreat of the Special Envoys to Sudan in an attempt to enhance the shared understanding of the achievements and challenges at hand. I was very much encouraged by the high participation, as a total of 19 delegations came to El Fasher, including my esteemed colleagues JCM Bassole and SRSG Menkerios, to review the general situation on the ground and discuss the security situation in Darfur, the peace talks in Doha and facilitation of early recovery. The meeting expressed full support to the work of the Joint Chief Mediator and UNAMID and underscored the need for full humanitarian access and freedom of movement. The participants also observed the link between security and sustainable voluntary returns and highlighted the necessity to achieve lasting peace through a comprehensively negotiated settlement. This was also endorsed in the communiqué of the Consultative Forum on Sudan of 17 July and the communiqué of the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Kampala on 21 July 2010.

Regrettably, progress achieved during the past year towards a stabilized humanitarian situation has been slowed down in the past weeks as access to affected population in the areas of recent fighting, in particular, to large areas of Eastern Jebel Marra and to areas in South Darfur, has remained problematic. I am particularly concerned at the situation in Eastern Jebel Marra where following the onset of the fighting between GoS and SLA/AW in February, all NGOs operating in the area closed down their activities and relocated their international staff. Consequently, provision of humanitarian assistance has ceased, creating gaps in the delivery of vital services and livelihoods. I therefore reiterate my call upon all parties to respect UNAMID’s mandate and to allow full access by UNAMID and the humanitarian community to the affected population. UNAMD continues to engage in negotiations with GoS authorities at all levels and the armed movements to ensure wider access, including humanitarian assessment missions to deep field locations. Recognizing the seeming disconnect in transmission of directives on access and communication between Khartoum and GoS officials on the ground, we have also encouraged the Government to improve information flow across the chain of command. Similarly, during the recent meeting of the High Level Committee on humanitarian issues on 19 July in Khartoum, comprising the Government, the UN Country Team, donors, NGOs and UNAMID, the participants decided to establish a Sub-Committee on Safety and Security which is to meet on a weekly basis to address enhanced security of the humanitarian community and restrictions of movement.

In this context, I also wish to report that UNAMID continues to engage with the Government at all levels to develop a shared understanding of the modalities for the unrestricted use of the UNAMID tactical helicopters in full support of its core mandate activities. As outlined in the Report of the Secretary-General, these assets are yet to be fully operational, beyond training and crew activities, as a result of Government restrictions. Accordingly, practical results on the ground, since the acquisition of these assets, have not yet been registered. It is my firm belief that in order to maximize the added value of the Mission for Darfur and Sudan in general, it is essential that the Sudanese authorities show increased commitment in practical terms towards providing an enabling environment for UNAMID. I ask the Council for its support in this regard.

Madame President,

Economic marginalization and competition over scarce resources are among the major root causes of the Darfur conflict. The UN Country Team and UNAMID have an important role to play in assisting the Government and local authorities take advantage of existing pockets of peace, where these exist, to stimulate livelihood opportunities. To this end, UNAMID will continue in its efforts to provide a secure environment conducive to voluntary and sustainable returns and to support the UN Country Team’s efforts through use of our assets within our capacities. However, our efforts cannot supplant the primary responsibility of the Government for recovery and development. Indeed, the Government could go a long way towards addressing the root causes of the conflict if it committed firmly to increasing public investment in Darfur.

Madame President,
Members of the Security Council,

As I address you today, the Darfur peace process is at a critical juncture. It is perhaps fortunate that at precisely the same time as the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated, prospects for a negotiated settlement appear to have improved slightly. Civil society is now more involved in peace talks than ever, the Government of Sudan is demonstrating renewed commitment to negotiations, and the leaders of most armed opposition movements are either participating in or are expressing an interest in participating in the talks in Doha. A comprehensive agreement, combined with improvements in the security situation, is vitally important for UNAMID to implement its core mandate for the protection of civilians and facilitation of humanitarian assistance. But to be fully effective UNAMID too could benefit from more support: support in the form of utility helicopters, a transport company and an aerial surveillance unit; and the lifting of restrictions that prevent the Mission from carrying out its mandate effectively and responding swiftly to emergencies.

As I hope my briefing was able to convey to you, progress in the achievement of the UNAMID benchmarks has been varied. I would like to highlight that significant progress in this regard is contingent not only on the full deployment and capacities of the Mission, but also on the willingness of all parties in Darfur to facilitate and contribute to UNAMID mandate implementation and to effectively work towards lasting peace and stabilization.

In this vein, let me conclude my remarks by calling on the Council to continue to support dedicated and focused efforts to address the root causes of the Darfur conflict in a holistic manner through activities by UNAMID, my esteemed Colleague Djibrill Bassole, and in collaboration with the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). I also wish to request this distinguished Council to renew its appeal to the Justice and Equality Movement to rejoin, and SLM -Abdul-Wahid to urgently engage in the Doha peace talks in the interest of peace in Darfur, without any pre-conditions, in order to conclude and finalize a peace agreement before the end of the current year. Finally, I urge the Council to lend its weight and appeal to all parties to demonstrate restraint and to refrain from actions that are likely to further complicate the security
situation and the search for durable peace in Darfur.


I thank you for your attention.

 

SOURCE 

United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)


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