The United Nations has announced that it will send a team to investigate allegations that the United Nation African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) covered up crimes committed against both civilians and peacekeepers by Sudanese government and affiliated militia (including the resurgent Janjaweed militia).
The news comes close to this month’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewal process of the UNAMID’s mandate, presenting an opportunity for pressure to be applied towards meaningful reform to the mission in Darfur.
United to End Genocide, with several partner organizations, has called on the UNSC to use this month’s UNAMID mandate renewal process to “ensure that the mission has the focus, resources, capacity, and will to deliver and report on its core mandate to protect civilians.”
The letter to the UNSC specifically calls for reforms that:
- Ensure that UNAMID takes a more proactive approach towards the protection of civilians, and that forces are deployed to areas where protection threats are the highest.
- Strengthen investment in human rights and civil affairs functions of the mission.
- Remove the responsibility to promote the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur from UNAMID’s mandate. Positioning UNAMID to focus on the protection of civilians will allow the mission to prioritize unmet protection needs. It will also prevent the Government of Sudan from using pressure on UNAMID as a bargaining tactic for concessions on peace processes.
- Explore a new comprehensive peace process for all of Sudan. The international community must recognize the failure of the DDPD and look towards new avenues for an inclusive national peace process.
- Focus UNAMID’s efforts on creating a safe environment for independent humanitarian action. UNAMID should no longer assume responsibility to undertake humanitarian access negotiations. Instead, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) should use its expertise to conduct this function, with UNAMID ensuring that humanitarian aid is accessible in the first place.
- Require UNAMID to include specific reporting on progress made towards building trust with communities—particularly around Gender-Based Violence—and on its Protection of Civilians strategy. UNAMID, particularly in the context of allegations of cover-ups, must rebuild its reputation as an impartial actor, including by making public the results of various investigations in Darfur.
- Undertake a joint high-level field mission with the African Union (AU) to better acquaint itself with the situation in Darfur.
In implementing these reforms, the UNSC can send a clear signal to UNAMID, the Government of Sudan, and the people of Darfur, that the international community will not standby as violence, displacement, and political deadlock continues in Darfur.
Read the full letter: