Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Sudan and the activities of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (S/2021/199) [EN/AR]

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I. Introduction

1 . The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2524 (2020), in which the Council decided to establish the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS) and requested that the Secretary-General report to the Council every 90 days on the implementation of the UNITAMS mandate. The report covers the situation in the Sudan related to political, security, socioeconomic and humanitarian developments and to the protection of civilians, human rights and the rule of law during the period from 24 November 2020 to 15 February 2021. It also contains an update on the establishment of the Mission. The 90-day report on the drawdown of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is included as an annex to the present report, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2559 (2020).

II. Significant developments

Political situation

2 . On 1 December 2020, the Sovereign Council issued decree No. 511, in which it established the Council of Partners of the Transitional Period (CPTP), which is composed of 29 members, including 6 representatives from the military, the Prime Minister, 13 representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the 7 signatories of the Juba Agreement for Peace in the Sudan and 2 additional seats reserved for unnamed representatives of the eastern track of the Juba peace process. Only one of the 29 members is a woman. The civilian-led transitional Government,
FFC and some of the signatories of the Juba Agreement, namely the Sudan Liberation Army/Transitional Council (SLA/TC) and the Sudan People’s Liberation MovementNorth (SPLM-N) Malik Agar faction, initially rejected the decree on the basis of fears that CPTP would undermine other transitional institutions, referring to a provision of the decree in which CPTP was granted “any additional powers required … to implement its mandate and exercise its authority”. Notwithstanding those initial rejections and following a quadripartite review by the Sovereign Council, the transitional Government, FFC and the armed group signatories of the Agreement, CPTP held its inaugural meeting on 16 December 2020. In the first statement by CPTP, it endorsed regulations on it functioning as a “supporting” entity, in line with the role originally envisioned for it to “coordinate between actors and resolve differences” among the various political components. CPTP is expected to issue internal regulations that would not “violate/breach the authorities and prerogatives of transitional institutions” and would “complement” decree No. 511 of the Sovereign Council.

3 . Negotiations and consultations were held on the formation of an expanded transitional Government incorporating the signatories of the Juba Agreement. On 4 February 2021, the Sovereign Council issued a constitutional decree expanding its membership to 14 members through the addition of three signatories to the Agreement: Chair of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and head of the SLA/TC faction, El Hadi Idris; head of the SPLM-N Malik Agar faction, Malik Agar; and leader of the Sudan Liberation Force Alliance, Al-Taher Abu Bakr Hagar. Prominent women’s groups continued to campaign for the equal and meaningful representation of women in the transitional legislative and executive branches. That would be in accordance with earlier commitments made by the transitional Government and other signatories to the Juba Agreement to improve gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as relevant provisions in the Constitutional Document, including for women to represent a minimum of 40 per cent of the Transitional Legislative Council. Women’s rights activists from the All Our Rights campaign submitted to FFC, SRF and the office of the Prime Minister a list of proposed female candidates for ministerial posts. On 19 January, in a meeting with a delegation from the All Our Rights campaign, the Prime Minister of the Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok, recognized the critical role that women had played in the revolution and reiterated the transitional Government’s support for their inclusion in the political and public life of the Sudan.

4 . On 8 February 2021, the Prime Minister announced the formation of the expanded new Cabinet, which included representatives of FFC, which was allocated 17 ministerial portfolios, and SRF, which was allocated 7 portfolios. The new cabinet comprises 26 Ministries, all of whose Ministers were announced on 8 February, except for the Ministry of Education, the decision on which remains subject to consultations. The Cabinet includes four women, in the positions of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of the Federal Government, Minister of Higher Education and Minister of Labour and Administrative Development. Five Ministers from the previous Cabinet retained their positions, namely, the Ministers of Defence, Justice, Irrigation, Higher Education and Religious Affairs and Endowments. During the announcement of the new Cabinet, the Prime Minister also stated that state governors would be appointed by 15 February and that the Transitional Legislative Council and commissions established as a result of the Juba Agreement would be formed on 25 February. The state governors have yet to be appointed and the Transitional Legislative Council has yet to be formed, despite continued demands from across the Sudanese political spectrum and appeals from the regional and internationa l partners of the Sudan for it to be formed rapidly. The continued postponement is due to ongoing consultations regarding the distribution of seats among Sudanese political forces, including the signatories of the Agreement, leading to a risk of serious de lays in the timeline of the political transition.

5 . On 19 December 2020, on the second anniversary of the December 2018 revolution, thousands of Sudanese people took to the streets to protest in Khartoum, El Fasher, Gedaref, Kassala, Kadugli, Port Sudan, Atbarah, Dongola and Nyala. The protesters’ demands ranged from appeals for the continued commitment to the democratic transition to calls to topple the transitional authorities. The Sudanese Communist Party and the Khartoum-based Resistance Committees denounced the performance of the Sovereign Council and the transitional Government, the formation of CPTP and the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions. In addition to advocating the revolution’s objectives of freedom, peace and justice through a civilian-led democratic State, protesters called for the accountability of governance structures and for the rapid formation of a representative and inclusive Transitional Legislative Council. While FFC supporters took to the streets to celebrate the anniversary, two attempted sit-ins, in front of the Presidential Palace in Khartoum and the parliament building in Omdurman, were dispersed by security forces.

6 . Political alignments continued to shift throughout the reporting period. On 25 December 2020, the SPLM-N Abdelaziz Al-Hilu faction joined 11 Sudanese political parties, women’s groups and movements in a new alliance. The group condemned the encroachment of the Sovereign Council on the prerogatives and mandate of the civilian authorities and reiterated its support for the civilian-led government; the Prime Minister’s prerogative to lead the peace process; the joint agreement on principles signed by Abdelaziz Al-Hilu and the Prime Minister in Addis Ababa on 3 September 2020; the swift formation of the Transitional Legislative Council; and the separation of religion and State. On 12 January 2021, SRF and the National Umma Party also announced the formation of an alliance.