UN Interim Security Force for Abyei


Under the terms of Security Council resolution 1990 (2011) of 27 June 2011, UNISFA would monitor and verify the redeployment of any Sudan Armed Forces, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM) or its successor from the Abyei area; “henceforth, the Abyei area shall be demilitarized from any forces other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service,” it added. The resolution also charged the interim force with facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of relief workers in and around Abyei. When necessary, and in coordination with the Abyei Police Service, UNISFA troops would also provide security for the region’s oil infrastructure.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also authorized UNISFA, within its capabilities and its area of deployment, to take the necessary actions to protect UN personnel, facilities, installations, and equipment; ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, relief workers and members of the Joint Military Observers Committee and Joint Military Observer Teams; and, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the relevant authorities, “to protect civilians in the Abyei area under imminent threat of physical violence”. It also authorized the use of force to protect the area “from incursions by unauthorized elements”, as defined in the agreement between the parties.

The resolution also requested the Secretary-General to “ensure that effective human rights monitoring is carried out” and the results were included in his reports to the Council, within the next 30 days, and every 60 days thereafter.

On 14 December 2011, recognizing the urgent need for Sudan and South Sudan to commence the process of border normalization, the Security Council, by its resolution 2024 (2011), decided to broaden the mandate of the UNISFA to include assistance in that process, including supporting the development of effective bilateral management mechanisms, facilitating liaisons and building mutual trust.

The Council urged Sudan and South Sudan to implement fully their commitments under the agreements of 29 June 2011, which concerned the creation of a safe demilitarized border zone, and 30 July 2011, dealing with establishment of a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, and urged them to cooperate fully with each other and provide full support to UNISFA.

On 29 May 2013, the Security Council, by resolution 2104, increased the authorized military strength of the Force and decided that support for the operational activities of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism would include support to the Ad Hoc Committees.

The operation has been tasked with monitoring the flashpoint border between north and south and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, and is authorized to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Abyei.

UNISFA’s establishment came after the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarize Abyei and let Ethiopian troops to monitor the area.