More can be done to achieve justice, reconciliation: UN Assistant Secretary-General

El Fasher, 30 January 2012 - Reviewing UNAMID’s activities in the area of justice and security, and discussing the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), were among the priorities of the UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Dmitry Titov, who began his six day visit to Sudan on 24 January.

“We are here to understand the current needs and priorities of the Mission, and provide support and guidance,” said Mr. Titov. The ASG encouraged all to continue to work toward implementing UNAMID’s mandate in Darfur, especially in light of the political progress on the ground.

In discussions in Khartoum with the Under-Secretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rahmatalla Mohamad Osman, the head of the newly established Darfur Regional Authority, El Tigani Seisi, and the Director-General of Prisons and Reform, Maj-General Abu Obeida Sulaiman, the ASG stressed that it is a time of change.

He noted that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur represents a new stage for the people of Darfur and the Government of the Sudan (GoS). Moreover, the Document’s legal nature incorporates international humanitarian and human rights standards, providing a strong basis for UNAMID to continue working together with the authorities to strengthen the rule of law.

Mr. Titov said that while important operational steps have been made in the implementation of the DDPD, more remains to be done, particularly in bringing non-signatory parties into the peace process. He indicated that there will need to be a strong political will, adequate financial resources from the Government of Sudan and international partners, together with strengthened UNAMID operations geared towards the normalization of the situation of the vulnerable populations and return of IDPs to their places of origin.

Citing changing attitudes in the Government’s cooperation with UNAMID, Mr. Titov discussed with interlocutors the need for additional advocacy, awareness raising, training, capacity building and other forms of support in the areas of rule of law and security institutions. Regarding the ongoing discussions between UNAMID and the GoS on ordinance disposal activities, it was agreed that those activities will continue while discussions proceed on expanded cooperation in this vital area

ASG Titov met a number of local officials in North Darfur, including the Minister of Urban Planning, the Chief Justice, the Chief Prosecutor, the President of the Bar Association and the State Director of the Police. The ASG emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation between UN Police and local law enforcement agencies; enhance the capacity of the local judiciary and prosecution service to deliver justice, including transitional justice; and, improve prison conditions to be in line with international standards. In this context, the United Nations will be prepared to consider other forms of capacity building assistance, including direct support to those Darfur bodies which are engaged in the implementation of the Doha Document.

He stated that UNAMID requires freedom of access to all areas concerned, as well as the lifting of restrictions on the movement of UN staff. In this context, he stressed that the AU and the UN are here to assist the authorities of Darfur to establish peace.

ASG Titov also held a meeting with the State Director of Prisons of North Darfur, visited KheirKanaga Women’s prison, Shallah Federal Prison, and the juvenile home in El Fasher. He noted the efforts of the prison authorities to improve the system, and the cooperation between UNAMID and the UN Country team.

The ASG also visited Abu Shouk Community Policing Centre and Tawila IPD camps where he met with IDP representatives and registered their concerns for safety and security at their places of origin and the level of humanitarian support. The ASG will conclude today his visit in Khartoum.