UN Mission in Sudan News Bulletin - 14 Jun 2007

The UN and AU welcome Addis Ababa agreement on the Hybrid Operation

Speaking to the press yesterday 13 June in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged by the agreement in Addis Ababa between the AU, UN and Sudanese Government on the joint proposal on a hybrid operation in Darfur . He considered the agreement a "milestone development" that should be should be "encouraged and appreciated by the international community." Expressing concern over skeptical reporting and understanding of the Addis Ababa agreement, the Secretary-General stressed that there was a firm agreement between the United Nations, AU and Sudan and that the international community should focus on this milestone development. On the eve of its mission to Africa, the Security Council today called for the full implementation of the agreement reached to deploy a hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur .

The Security Council President for the month told reporters yesterday that the Security Council members called for the timely and full implementation of the agreement on the hybrid operation after being briefed on the subject by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno. The hybrid force will be among the issues to be discussed when the Council meets with Government officials during their visit to Khartoum.

Calling Sudan's announcement a "significant step forward," Mr. Guéhenno told reporters "any deployment of force always has to be based on a political agreement, where all the key actors are onboard with that deployment. And any deployment of force that doesn't meet those criteria indeed has a tough challenge."

Elaborating on the elements of the agreement, Mr. Guéhenno said there was agreement between the UN and AU on the force's mandate and on the joint appointment of a special representative, who will head of the existing AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and will then be the head of the hybrid mission.

Meanwhile, work is ongoing on the rules of engagement and concept of operations, he noted, adding "we will be applying UN rules and procedures, but in the framework of a joint UN-AU effort."

On the troops to be deployed, Mr. Guéhenno said that the UN will be making every effort to preserve the African character of the mission. At the same time, Mr. Guéhenno added, "our key goal remains helping the people of Darfur, having a force deployed as quickly as possible with the right capacities."

The upcoming rainy season "is not going to make things easy" for the timing of the deployment, he noted. "But we would want to deploy the heavy support package which is a foundation for the hybrid [operation] in the coming months, so that come the end of the year, we'll be in a position to have the deployment of the hybrid operation starting."

In a press statement issued on 13 June, the AU Peace and Security Council welcomed the successful outcome of the Addis Ababa consultations and the acceptance by the Government of Sudan of the joint proposals on the hybrid operation contained in the report of the United Nations Secretary- General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. The PSC commended the constructive spirit that prevailed during the Consultations and, in particular, the cooperation extended by the Government of Sudan. The PSC looked forward to the implementation of the light and heavy support package, as well as to the intensification of the preparations for the early deployment of the hybrid operation, with the full support of the international community.

The PSC underlined the urgent need to reenergize the political process and, in this regard, reiterated its full support to the joint African Union/United Nations efforts, through their respective Special Envoys, Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson. The PSC called for renewed efforts to alleviate the plight of the civilian population, including through increased humanitarian assistance.

The PSC agreed to reconvene shortly to consider the joint report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the United Nations Secretary-General, with a view to taking the appropriate decision.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees to visit Juba to commemorate World Refugee Day 2007

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is scheduled to visit Juba next Tuesday, as part of a three-day mission to Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya. Mr. Guterres arrives in Moyo, Uganda on the morning of 18 June.

The High Commissioner is due to accompany a convoy of returnees to Southern Sudan from Moyo to Kajo Keji. He will visit reintegration projects in Kajo Keji and Yei, and review UNHCR's progress in this operation. Along the way, he will meet members of the returnee communities, as well as government officials.

The High Commissioner will also address the World Refugee Day events to be held on Wednesday 20 June 2007 at 9:00 am at the Juba way station on the Juba-Yei road.

Security and Humanitarian Developments in Southern Sudan and the Transitional Areas

Three rounds of Extended Programme of Immunisation (EPI) campaigns started last week in three Counties of Lakes State, (Rumbek Centre, Rumbek East and Wulu). UNICEF supplied 15 bicycles and two motor-cycles to the Ministry of Health to support the EPI campaign and future routine activities and also contracted vehicles to distribute the vaccines to the respective Counties.

A team of experts from UNFPA headquarters are currently visiting Juba (from 9 to 12 June) as part of the campaign to end fistula in the Sudan. The mission will review the performance of the fistula unit at the Juba Teaching hospital in Central Equatoria established by UNFPA. The mission will also visit Yei to assess whether a similar unit can be established at the Yei hospital and to explore community mechanisms to support fistula programming. A second team is also in Juba (12 to 15 June) to assess the support and requirements for a comprehensive Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) programme in Sudan. Frequent shortages and lack of appropriate supplies have been severely limiting the ability of the MoH GOSS and other partners to make progress towards universal access to reproductive health.

Reports of disease outbreaks across the 10 States of Southern Sudan have decreased. Agencies are now focusing on preparedness and planning.

Three new boreholes have been drilled at Mangar Primary School and Kuajok Catholic Primary School both in Gogriel Country and one in Gogrial town, Warrap State. The boreholes will benefit approximately 1,500 people who will have access to safe water.

The Rural Water Department, Warrap State with support from UNICEF have completed 164 community household latrines in various counties of the State. These households (approximately 2,000 people, mainly women and children) were reached with sanitation and hygiene awareness messages.

An assessment of Akobo town, Jonglei State was conducted and three dangerous areas were identified. Routes between Magwi and Pageri, and from Magwi - Palataka - Labone have been verified and cleared, while the road from Magwi to Sirsin was assessed with no dangerous areas uncovered. A manual mine clearance of the extension to Kapoeta airstrip has been completed. In Gogrial, Warrap State four of the seven UXO stockpiles have been destroyed. Meanwhile an assessment and clearance of a 8Km corridor from Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal to Warrap has been completed and cleared up to Farashika, 50km from Wau. In Central Equatoria, route survey and clearance from Limbe to Kajo Keji is ongoing. Work is complete up to Kaya River and will now continue in the direction of Kajo Keji. Meanwhile clearance of the Juba-Mundri road has been completed.

Security and Humanitarian Developments in Darfur

North Darfur

On 10 and 11 June, an SLM/A (Minni Minawi) representative at the Ceasefire Commission (CFC), armed with a pistol, threatened AMIS military officers as well as civilian personnel at the AU Mission Force Headquarters in El Fasher, while requesting undue payment of allowance. In a statement issued on 13 June, AMIS strongly condemned "these irresponsible acts" and called on the leadership of SLM/A (M) to restrain its representatives from such acts of aggression that could lead to serious consequences. AMIS called upon the leadership of SLM/A (M) to take appropriate measures against the perpetrator of these unprovoked and coward acts against AMIS personnel.

On 11 June, eight unknown armed men stormed an INGO warehouse in Nyala town at gunpoint, tied up the guard and took away one vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser.

On 11 June, IOM organized the relocation of a first group of 468 IDPs from Abu Shouk to Zam Zam camp. These are recent arrivals from the Dobo area. A second group was expected to be relocated on Wednesday, 13 June.

South Darfur

On 12 June, a joint mission including UN, NGOs, HAC and the Director of the Peace Committee, visited Maali (West of Ed Daein) to verify reports about the presence of returnees in the area. In Maali, a group of community leaders and representatives of the Peace Committee said that about 9,000 people have returned over the last four months from different locations. Many shelters looked hastily constructed and there were many women and children. Some of the returnees who arrived in the last 48 hours expressed interest in staying and cultivating the land. They also said that community leaders had decided on the timing of their return.

West Darfur

On 11 June, a shooting incident in and around Dorti resulted in the closure of the camp for the rest of the day. The incident is currently being investigated by UNDSS.

An INGO distributed jerry cans and blankets to 3,332 IDP families in Khamsa Degaig camp in Zalingei.

UNHCR completed a two-week assessment of new and/or seasonal settlements in the Habilla/Foro Baranga/Wadi Azoum area along the border with Chad. Most of the 3,200 households (over 16,000 individuals) assessed are Chadian Arabs who recently settled inside Sudan. UNHCR plans to do similar assessment in Mukjar and Wadi Salih, as well as Mornei and Geneina areas in the coming weeks.

Birth certificates remain an issue for newborns in IDP camps due to high procurement fees (3,500 to 4,000 SD). UNICEF is planning to address this with its legal aid programmes.

A new arrival of 200 IDP households was reported in Um Dukhum from Um Dafog (South Darfur) on the morning of 12 June. Emergency assistance was provided for them.

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