Armed group calls to maintain Darfur peacekeeping mission

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May 1, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) Friday called to maintain the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur, pointing to the continued attacks on civilians in the region.

The Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has requested the United Nations to establish a special political mission in Sudan to support the peace process and democratic transition as the UNAMID is scheduled to exit by the end of next October.

Also on Thursday, the Sudanese government renewed its demand that the political mission will not include any military forces after calls by a number of Security Council members to include police units to protect civilians and members of the UN political mission.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, the SLM-TC said that the exit strategy from Darfur ignored the security situation in Darfur and the need to protect civilians.

The group which has supporters in the Jebel Marra area further pointed to the continued attacks and human rights violations by armed militias on innocent and defenceless civilians in several areas of Darfur.

The SLM-TC is part of the Juba peace process also its leader Hadi Idriss currently chairs the Sudanese Revolutionary Front.

The statement voiced the movement’s support to Khartoum’s call for UN support to achieve transition and capacity building as well as peace implementation.

"However, we reject converting the UNAMID mandate in Darfur from Chapter Seven to Chapter VI," said the group.

"We believe there is a need for the UNAMID to continue its mission under its current mandate. Or to replace it with a follow-on mission under Chapter VII with additional tasks besides the protection of civilians."

On 24 April, the UN Security Council discussed a joint report by the African Union and the United Nations on the UNAMID and a follow-on joint mission.

The report stressed that a post-UNAMID presence in Sudan would have to support the achievement of the political benchmarks in the Constitutional Declaration including elections, implementation of peace agreements including security arrangement and return of IDPs and refugees as well as mobilization of international economic assistance.

For the protection of civilians, the report said: "This is the responsibility of Sudan, while a post-UNAMID mechanism may provide advisory and capacity-building support for the authorities that would need to fulfil it".

But the U.S. ambassador underscored the continued insecurity in Darfur before to call for for a "robust police mission in Darfur with a mandate that supports Sudan’s efforts to address the remaining security challenges in this volatile region".

Sudan’s penholder and British ambassador to the United Nations said that the new mission should be a partner to the Government of Sudan in responding to the ongoing protection of civilians’ challenges in Darfur, particularly in the IDP camps.

Also, the South African envoy unexpectedly questioned the UNAMID exit from Darfur and tacitly implied to have two sperate missions pointing that the broader political developments in Sudan require that the new mission focus only on political and peacebuilding, with the support of AU and IGAD.