The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations meets potential Troop and Police Contributing Countries for the AU-UN Hybrid Operation
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) met on Friday 29 June with potential troop- and police-contributing countries for the African Union-United Nations hybrid operation for Darfur.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, appealed to the participants for early contributions. He also noted that suitable offers from African contributors will be given priority, but if there are not enough such offers, offers from outside Africa would be accepted.
The potential contributors were briefed on the military and police requirements of the hybrid operation, as outlined in the African Union-United Nations joint report issued earlier this month. They also heard a briefing on the logistical challenges of deploying in Darfur.
DPKO characterized the meeting as a constructive start. It will press ahead with informal discussions with the potential contributors and hold the next meeting after the Security Council officially authorizes the Hybrid Operation and establishes its mandate.
UNMIS Rule of Law continues its capacity-building activities
On June 26 and 27, UNMIS organized a two-day workshop in Khartoum on the administration of juvenile justice for thirty-five participants, mainly judges and prosecutors. The workshop reviewed international standards governing the administration of justice for juveniles as well as the Sudanese legislation and experience of the participants in this field.
UNHCR study examines HIV prevalence in conflict, displacement
A new UNHCR study of seven African countries challenges previous assumptions that conflict, forced displacement and wide-scale rape have increased the prevalence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and that refugees fleeing conflict spread the infection in host communities. A UNHCR team led by Dr. Paul Spiegel of UNHCR s Public Health and HIV Section, studied population data in the Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Burundi.
The study, published last week in the British medical journal The Lancet, says a survey of data on HIV prevalence in 12 refugee camps showed that nine actually had a lower prevalence of infection than surrounding host communities, while two had similar rates and only one a higher prevalence.
The UNHCR study notes there is a common assumption that violence and rape fuel the HIV epidemic in countries affected by conflict, and that consequently refugees fleeing those countries have a high prevalence of HIV infection. However, the authors found no data in the seven countries to show that conflict increased the prevalence of HIV infection, nor was there evidence that refugees fleeing conflict spread the infection in host countries. In fact, the reverse may be the case.
The authors say the dynamics of conflict and forced displacement may alter the pattern of sexual behavior among those affected and actually reduce the transmission of HIV.
Dr. Spiegel says that while conflict in the seven sub-Saharan African countries does not appear to increase HIV infection to the same degree as in surrounding countries not in conflict, this does not mean that conflict in all countries would mean lower HIV infection than non-conflict countries. Each case would need to be examined. Nor should the findings be interpreted to mean we shouldn't worry about HIV or rape in conflict. Individuals are still vulnerable to HIV during conflict and in any incident of rape.
More information is available at www.unhcr.org
Southern Sudan and the Transitional Areas
On 27 June, five armed Lou-Nuer tribesmen reportedly attacked Mandieng village near Nassir, Upper Nile State. Two SPLA soldiers who were on patrol responded and killed two of them, while the other three escaped.
In North Darfur, a UN agency contracted 13 truck convoy carrying food commodities was attacked on 26 June near Om (75km W of El Fasher; between Kabkabiya and Tawila). The attackers hijacked 2 trucks with their drivers. On 27 June, in a separate incident in the same location, a UN agency contracted truck was shot at but no substantial damage was reported.
In West Darfur, two unknown armed men in military uniform attempted on 28 June, to stop an INGO pick up vehicle near the main market area in Zalingei. The driver did not stop and managed to drive through safely to the INGO office.
On 27 June, an explosion occurred in Kereinding IDP camp, El Geneina, when children were playing with a grenade. One child was killed and three children and one elderly man were injured.
* All UNMIS News Bulletins are available at www.unmis.org