Home | Press Releases    Thursday 25 June 2015

Sudanese, human rights groups and advocates demand renewal of UNAMID

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
New York: Ahmed H.Adam, Tel. +1 347 567 1491 or aha64@cornell.edu
Kampala: Abdelrahman Gasim, Tel. +256 7 51 90 77 77 or gasim202000@gmail.com
Geneva: Abdelbagi Jibril, Tel. +41 78 300 23 53 or abdelbagi@darfurcentre.ch

Darfuris and human rights groups demand renewal of UNAMID

96 Sudanese and Human Rights Groups Urgently Petition the UNSC as UNAMID Mandate Set to Expire

NEW YORK, KAMPALA and GENEVA – Wednesday, June 24, 2015 (revised June 26, 2015) – Ninety-six organisations and activists addressed an open letter to the fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council demanding the renewal of the mandate of the African Union and United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) for one additional year. They described the situation in Darfur as “the genocide of the twenty-first century par excellence.” Listing the most recent data and incidents that represent violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the letter argued that the horrific security and humanitarian crisis that necessitated the deployment of UNAMID in 2007 is still intact. They expressed their fears that the withdrawal of UNAMID meant that the infrastructure and logistics, built by western donors, currently used by UNAMID will be used by the government army and pro-government militia groups to enhance their ability to commit international crimes in Darfur. The letter reminded members of the Security Council that previous regional and international responses to end the genocide in Darfur have failed and it has further stressed that the people of Darfur deserve a robust, strong and independent peacekeeping mission.

The letter calls on the world to unite in its resolve not to abandon the people of Darfur at this time of greatest need or to turn its back on them. It recommended a number of measures to be taken by the UN Security Council:
1. Immediately renew UNAMID’s mandate in Darfur.
2. Stop any plans or negotiations for the reduction of UNAMID’s troops or accept a partial withdrawal or exit strategy.
3. Embark on an evaluation and reform strategy of UNAMID. The mission needs to be further empowered in effectively implement its mandate. UNAMID could and must do more in or-der to be able to regularly and publicly report on human rights violations that are being committed by all parties to the conflict. The UNSC should explicitly instruct UNAMID in this regard. This would indicate a break from the mission’s past culture of non-disclosure or under reporting of the situation on the ground as far as civilian protection is concerned. This is the best way for the mission to re-build trust with the people of Darfur.
4. It is imperative that the mission undertakes a comprehensive threat analysis so it can provide protection to civilians in the most vulnerable areas (such as through the establishment of temporary forward operating bases).
5. The Security Council Committee established by resolution 1591 should add to its consolidated travel ban and assets freeze list the names of Brigadier Hemeti Daglo and any others who “constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities.”
6. UNSC should end its support of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). A new framework for peace across Sudan is needed. The UNSC should be an advocate for lasting peace, stability and genuine political transition in Sudan, rather than supporting the piece-meal approach that serves GoS’s objectives and prolongs the suffering of growing numbers of civilians all over the country.

###

The organizers of the letter to the UNSC are Ahmed H. Adam, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University; Abdelbagi Jibril Vice President, Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre in Geneva; Abderhaman Gasim, External Relations Secretary of the Darfur Bar Association in Sudan; and Hamid E. Ali, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Policy, The American University in Cairo. All four are from Sudan.

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER:

Open Letter to UN Security Council Members on Darfur
June 24, 2015 (revised June 26, 2015)

Excellency,

We, the undersigned 96 representatives of Sudanese and international humanitarian and human rights organizations and advocates, write to you requesting the renewal of UNAMID’s mandate in Darfur. The UN has rightly described the crisis in Darfur as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in the twenty-first century. Last March witnessed the 12th anniversary of the genocide in Darfur. This year also marked the 10th anniversary of two important occasions in this respect: 1) The report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, examined by the UN Security Council in early 2005, and 2) The referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2005.

Darfur is the genocide of the twenty-first century par excellence. It is one of the longest-running tragedies in recent history. The genocide in Darfur so far claimed over 400,000 lives; rendered around 4.4 million dependent on humanitarian assistance, including at least 2.5 internally displaced persons; and forced around 400,000 to cross the borders of Sudan into Chad and the Central African Republic as refugees. The abhorrent crime of rape is endemic in Darfur as thousands of women and girls were sexually assaulted while thousands of homes and livestock were destroyed or looted.

This year alone, the military offensive carried out by the government of Sudan (GoS) and its allied Janjaweed militia resulted in the killings of hundreds of civilians and the displacement of over 150,000 others. GoS’s claim before the UNSC that the conflict is in “isolated pockets” and that it is mostly tribal violence contradicts the reality on the ground. Such claims are not supported by the findings of the UN or UNAMID or any independent media outlets. Darfur is a state lacking functioning judiciary or effective rule of law.

So far, the regional and international responses have failed to end the genocide in Darfur. In 2007, the UNSC took the right decision of deploying UNAMID under chapter 7 of the UN Charter and mandated it to protect civilians in Darfur. Alas, the horrific security and humanitarian crisis that necessitated the deployment of UNAMID in 2007 still remains. We believe that UNAMID’s bases and patrolling of IDP camps offer the last vestige of protection for growing numbers of civilians in Darfur who otherwise have no other respite from the pervasive and unpredictable violence and brutality. According to local sources on the ground, including some leaders of IDP camps to whom we have spoken, Darfur would be worse- off without the presence of UNAMID, flawed as it is. Nevertheless, the people of Darfur deserve a robust, strong and independent peacekeeping mission.

Below are some features of the ongoing armed conflict in Darfur, which clearly urge the UNSC to renew the mandate of UNAMID in Darfur and ensure that it is squarely focused on effectively implementing its protection of civilians’ mandate:

1. The humanitarian and security situations are deteriorating every day. Aerial bombardment against civilian populations and their habitat continues unabated. Harassment and attacks on IDP settlements have increased. The rape of over 200 women and girls in late October 2014 by the government’s soldiers in Tabit village (North Darfur State) is not an isolated case, but rather a systematic policy used by the government armed forces and militias as a weapon of war and terror. It is evident that the current brutal tactics of the security forces seek to dismantle the IDP camps, which are considered by GoS as symbols of the genocide in Darfur.

2. The Janjaweed militia has been reconstituted as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and are incorporated in the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) as a fighting force. RSF has been carrying out a horrific scorched-earth campaign against the civilian populations. The current phase of genocide aims to bring the government’s military campaign in Darfur to avictorious conclusion. Brigadier Hemeti Daglo, RSF’s field commander, is executing a genocidal war aiming at changing the demographic composition of Darfur and controlling more land.

3. The Janjaweed currently has the upper hand in Darfur. The RSF exercises absolute authority conferred upon it by GoS in order to advance the current phase of genocide in Darfur. RSF’s authority supersedes that of the States’ governors. Information we gathered indicates that GoS is planning to provide RSF with the infrastructure and logistics currently used by UNAMID, and which were built by donors’ funds, in a bid to further strengthen their military ability and fill the vacuum upon UNAMID’s departure from Darfur.

4. GoS continues to use food as a weapon of war in Darfur. In 2009, it expelled major international humanitarian organizations that catered for more than 50% of humanitarian assistance in Darfur since 2003. GoS continues to deny aid organizations access to the needy civilians in Darfur. Militia groups allied to GoS are carrying out a deliberate policy of destruction of local food produce and impoverishment of the African ethnic groups of Darfur.

5. The state is shrinking in Darfur, the armed movements are still fighting, UNAMID has been restricted and manipulated by GoS, and consequently, the RSF is being empowered to fill the vacuum in Darfur.

6. The inter-tribal and intra-tribal conflicts among the Arab groups of Darfur are rearing their ugly heads apparently with the blessing and support of GoS.

7. The political deadlock continues to be the main feature of Sudan’s state of affairs and it has been aggravated by the failure of numerous peace agreements. The newly formed government is considered by many observers to be a security and military-minded government that lacks any commitment to a peace and dialogue agenda.

8. The current attacks on the civilian population in Darfur will further exacerbate the violence and push Darfur into more chaos and a new phase of rebellions.

The UNSC and the world should unite in its resolve not to abandon the people of Darfur at this time of greatest need. To do so would be to turn its back on the victims of injustice. The UNSC should not appease GoS or surrender to manipulation and blackmailing. Members of the UNSC should live up to their legal and moral obligations by providing security and protection for the innocent civilians in Darfur.

In order to respond to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, we demand that the UNSC take the following steps:

1. Immediately renew UNAMID’s mandate in Darfur.
2. Stop any plans or negotiations for the reduction of UNAMID’s troops or accept a partial withdrawal or exit strategy.
3. Embark on an evaluation and reform strategy of UNAMID. The mission needs to be further empowered to effectively implement its mandate. UNAMID could and must do more in order to be able to regularly and publicly report on human rights violations that are being committed by all parties to the conflict. The UNSC should explicitly instruct UNAMID in this regard. This would indicate a break from the mission’s past culture of non-disclosure or under reporting of the situation on the ground as far as civilian protection is concerned. This is the best way for the mission to re-build trust with the people of Darfur.
4. It is imperative that the mission undertakes a comprehensive threat analysis so it can provide protection to civilians in the most vulnerable areas (such as through the establishment of temporary forward operating bases.)
5. The Security Council Committee established by resolution 1591 should add to its consolidated travel ban and assets freeze list the names of Brigadier Hemeti Daglo and any others who “constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities.”
6. UNSC should end its support of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD.) A new framework for peace across Sudan is needed. The UNSC should be an advocate for lasting peace, stability and genuine political transition in Sudan, rather than supporting the piecemeal approach that serves GoS’s objectives and prolongs the suffering of growing numbers of civilians all over the country.

Sincerely,

Elijah Brown, Chief of Staff
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative

Martina Knee, Co-Founder
Act for Sudan

Hannah Forster
African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

Al Sutton, M.D., President
African Freedom Coalition

Debra Dawson, President
African Soul, American Heart

Albaqir A. Mukhtar, PhD
Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightment & Human Rights (KACE)

Wadah Tabir, General Coordinator
Arab Coalition for Sudan – ACS

Ramy Rostom
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

Omer Abdelsawi Omer
Blue Nile Association for Peace and Development

Mawia Khatir
The Children of the Sudan and Egypt Society

Dr. Jacky Mamou, President
Collectif Urgence Darfour

Timothy R.W. Kubik, PhD, Chair
Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action

Anita Sanborn, President
Colorado Episcopal Foundation

Cory Williams, Co-Founder
Darfur and Beyond

Abdelazeem Tabag
Darfur Association, Belgium

Salah Alsanosi
Darfur Association, Denmark

Eisa Eltahir
Darfur Association, France

Ibrahim Norain
Darfur Association, Norway

Abdull Hafez Abdelrasool Abdullah
Darfur Association, Sweden

Abderhaman Mohamed Gasim, External Relations Secretary
Darfur Bar Association, Sudan

Martha Boshnick, Co-Chair
Darfur Interfaith Network

Mohamed Haroun Ebead, President
Darfur Peoples’ Association of New York

Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, Geneva

Sabir Abu Saadia, Executive Director
Darfur Solidarity Group, South Africa

Mohamed Elzaki Abubakar
Darfur Union, UK

Khalid Abdella
Darfur Union, The Netherlands

Gerri Miller, Founder
Dear Sudan Love Marin

Nell Okie, Director
The Elsa-Gopa Trust

Abdalmageed S. Haroun, Chairperson
Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)

Dr. Bushra Gamar, Executive Director
Human Rights and Development Organization (HUDO)

Samantha Hudson, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, UK

Marilyn Griep, Co-Founder
Idaho Darfur Coalition

Monica Feltz, Esq., LL.M., Executive Director
International Justice Project

Eric Cohen, Chairperson
Investors Against Genocide

Slater Armstrong, Founder/Director
Joining Our Voices

William Rosenfeld, Director
Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

Lauren Fortgang and Diane Koosed, Co-Chairs
Never Again Coalition

Gogadi Amoga
Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group USA

Nuraddin Abdulmannan
Nubia Project, USA

David Rosenberg, Coordinator
Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition

Biro Diawara
Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO)

Mohamed Suleiman, President
San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition

Amute Francis Lobalu
South Sudan Human Rights Commission, South Sudan

The Reverend Ronald D. Culmer, Rector
St. Clare’s Episcopal Church

Francesca Freeman, Student Direcotr
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

Gabriel Stauring, Director and Founder
Stop Genocide Now

Dr. Eleanor Wright, Moderator
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
Suliman Baldo, Executive Director
Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), Uganda

Adlan Ahmed Abdelaziz, Co-Founder and Treasurer
Sudan Human Rights Network

Tom Prichard, Executive Director
Sudan Sunrise

Esther Sprague, Founder and Director
Sudan Unlimited

Saif Gibril
Sudanese National Democratic Forum of California

Aamir Gabir Alnur Adam, Secretary General
Sudanese Refugee Association in Greece

Lona James Elia, Executive Director
Voice for Change (VFC)

Olivia Warham, Director
Waging Peace

Abdeen Abdelrazig, Filmmaker, Sudan

Abdulmoniem Suleiman Mohamed Ali, Journalist in Exile

Abri Bernstein, Founder, Witness, Inspire, Act at Harrison High School, Darfur Activist, George Washington University

Ahmed Hussain Adam, A Visiting Fellow, Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University

Ahmed M. Musa (Kadak), Lawyer and Human Rights Defender, Melbourne, Australia

Alfadil Mohamed Ahmed Alnor, Human Rights Activist & Defender

Alsadiq Alraddi, Poet and Journalist

Dr. Abakar Adam Ismail, Writer, Sudan

Dr. Gregory Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch, Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention, George Mason University

Dr. M. Jalal Hashim, Author and Civil Society

Dr. Samuel Totten, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Drar Adam Drar, Civil Society Activist, Sudan

Elsadig Adam Ismael Dekhier, Covariance and Administration Agency

Eric Reeves, Sudan Researcher

Fadil Ahmed, Writer and Artist, Sudan

Hamid E. Ali, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Policy, The American University in Cairo
Hamid A. Nur, Executive Director, Governance Bureau / Sudan

Hannibal Travis, Professor of Law, Florida International University – College of Law

Hassan Ishag Ahmed, Journalist, Sudan

Herbert Hirsch, Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International

Hikma Ahmed Rabih, Human Rights Lawyer, Sudan

John Weiss, Associate Professor of History - Cornell University, Senior Steering Committee Member - End Nuba Genocide, Founder and Director - Caceres-Neuffer Genocide Action Group

Khalid Kodi, Adjunct Professor, Boston College and Brown University

Laura Nyantung Beny, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Lord Alton of Liverpool, House of Lords, UK

Misha Alia Awad, Vassar College

Mohamed Alamin Mohamed, Journalist

Mohamed Yassin Khalifa, Language Instructor and TA, Harvard University

Mohammed Hassan Eltaishi, Civil Society Activist, London

Mubarak Gadim Elnur Adam, Human Rights Activist

Muatasim Mahdi, Darfurian in the UK

Mukesh Kapila, Professor of Global Health, Humanitarian & Special Representative, Aegis Trust

Nasredeen Abdulbari, Georgetown University Law Center

Nuraldaim Abdelwahab, Writer and Journalist

Omer Abdalla Omer, Activist

Omer Ismail, Senior Policy Advisor, The Enough Project

Philip Tutu, Activist

Salah Shuaib, Journalist

Tajeldeen Adam, Researcher at Tsamota, Brussels

The Baroness Cox, House of Lords, Westminister, UK

The Baroness Kinnock, House of Lords, UK

Victoria Sanford, PhD, Director and Professor of Anthropology, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies, Lehman College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York

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