Letter dated 14 January 2020 from the Panel of Experts on the Sudan addressed to the President of the Security Council
The Panel of Experts on the Sudan has the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Council resolution 2455 (2019), the final report on its work.
The report was provided to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan on 27 December 2019 and was considered by the Committee on 10 January 2020.
The Panel would appreciate it if the present letter and the report were brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council and issued as a document of the Council.
(Signed) Thomas Bifwoli Wanjala
Panel of Experts on the Sudan
(Signed) Priscilla Ciesay
(Signed) Vincent Darracq
(Signed) Nikolai Dobronravin
(Signed) Rajeev Yadav
Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan
The present report covers the period from March to December 2019. The Panel has continued to monitor developments in Darfur and in the region in accordance with its mandate.
Following the political changes in the Sudan, the peace process in Darfur has entered a new phase, involving most of the armed movements, with the exception of Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW). Various challenges have been encountered during the peace process, partly because of conflicting external influences on the armed movements and the Government of the Sudan. These influences have delayed the choice of venue, mediator and modalities for the peace process.
The regional situation has mainly remained unchanged, and, to a certain extent, has been conducive to stability and peacebuilding in Darfur. All the neighbouring States have expressed support for the peace process. South Sudan and Chad, in particular, have helped to facilitate talks between the Government of the Sudan and the Darfurian movements.
Although there have not been any large-scale outbreaks of violence, the security situation in Darfur has been characterized by an increase in localized security incidents, including intercommunal skirmishes; militia attacks on civilians; tensions in major camps for internally displaced persons; clashes in Jebel Marra between the security forces, allied militias and SLA/AW, as well as within SLA/AW itself; and several attacks on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and humanitarian agencies. In Jebel Marra, SLA/AW has been able to build capacity as a result of new financing.
The Darfurian armed groups operating in Libya have significantly bolstered their military capability by acquiring new equipment and engaging in recruitment on a large scale. They have participated in various clashes and military operations alongside Libyan warring parties. The presence of Darfurian armed groups in South Sudan is now residual, as the South Sudanese authorities no longer provide them with any meaningful support. In the present report, the Panel has documented a system of extortion and detention that has been put in place by SLA/AW in South Sudan and targets the Darfurian diaspora.
Various human rights violations and abuses continued unabated. Acts of rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence were a common occurrence and were often used as tactics to prevent communities from gaining access to their farms and from engaging in other livelihood activities. Such violations and abuses were compounded by the lack of medical, psychosocial and other support available to survivors. Security forces of the Government of the Sudan continued to perpetrate human rights violations, which points to a lack of professionalism and a culture of impunity. Militias continued to represent a security threat to many communities, including to internally displaced persons. The Panel has documented human rights abuses committed by SLA/AW in Jebel Marra, which have resulted in new and secondary displacement of civilians. Challenges remained with respect to the return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their places of origin.
During the reporting period, the Government of the Sudan has continued to routinely violate the arms embargo by transferring weapons to Darfur, justifying such transfers on the grounds of security imperatives. Armed groups and militias in Darfur have continued to source weapons within the Sudan. The borders between the Sudan and neighbouring countries have remained porous, enabling a range of cross-border criminal activities that have had an impact on security and stability in Darfur and in the region.
On account of a lack of cooperation between the Government of the Sudan and other Governments in the region, the monitoring and implementation of the travel ban and asset freeze have remained a challenge. Mercenary and smuggling activities in Libya have remained the main source of financing for Darfurian armed groups. SLA/AW, the only active rebel group inside Darfur, has suffered a loss of tax revenues because of factional infighting and tensions in the camps for internally displaced persons. However, during the reporting period, it has increased its finances through gold mining activities in south-eastern Jebel Marra.