United to End Genocide, a U.S. based human rights advocacy group, demanded that the United Nations Security Council hold the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) fully accountable after renewing its mandate today. While the vote was a necessary step forward, prioritizing the protection of civilians, the group implored the Security Council to take additional steps to stop the worst levels of violence in Darfur since the height of the genocide, including addressing the impunity of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Former U.S. Congressman Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide, stated:
“The need for peacekeepers to protect millions of innocent people in Darfur has never been higher. Last year in Darfur over 3,000 villages were destroyed and 450,000 people were forced from their homes.
Renewing the mandate for peacekeepers in Darfur is therefore a necessary but woefully inadequate step forward. Instead of preparing an action strategy to address the mounting violence, the Security Council has been developing an ‘exit strategy’. It is unconscionable to even consider an exit strategy for peacekeepers under these conditions. The long suffering people of Darfur need a peace strategy, not an exit strategy!
Having failed to act in the face of the massive increase in violence in Darfur, the Council took a modest step by renewing UNAMID’s mandate. Now, the UN Security Council must take the next step by concretely supporting the stated UNAMID mission priorities of civilian protection and humanitarian access while providing the tools and backing necessary to stand up to the impunity of President Omar al-Bashir and his government’s obstruction of a full accounting of the atrocities that continue in Darfur.
300,000 are dead and 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes while the perpetrator of the killing, Omar al-Bashir – wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court – remains free to continue his reign of terror as the President of Sudan.
By ignoring the violence and postponing justice, conditions have gotten much worse for the victims of the genocidal regime of Omar al-Bashir. It is not too late to mitigate the suffering and counter the mounting violence and impunity but only if the Council decides to actively support UNAMID and international justice for those – especially the government of Omar al-Bashir – who threaten or fail to protect the people of Darfur.”