June 29, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) will complete its drawdown exercise on June 30 as requested by the UN Security Council resolution 2559 (2020), which ended the mission’s mandate at the end of last year.
Addressing a press conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Tuesday, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, M’Baye Babacar Cissé said over the past four months, UNAMID handed over 14 team sites to the government, who committed to using them for civilian purposes as in line with the Framework Agreement signed on March 4, 2021.
“Good coordination and cooperation with the Government of Sudan has been critical for meeting the tight timeline and benchmarks set by the Security Council for the drawdown period. Similarly, it will be important for the Government to ensure the protection of the Logistics Base and the repatriation of remaining staff to facilitate a seamless liquidation phase,” said Cissé.
He said while it is the responsibility of the Central Government to ensure the safety and protection of the sites, the Darfur state governments should ensure the facilities are being used as intended.
According to Cissé, UNAMID, as an integral part of its drawdown, provided Darfur communities with 193 vehicles, including 27 water and sewage trucks and 196 generators.
He said the mission also donated its clinic in Zalingei as well as medical facilities in Nyala and Kabkabiya for use by the local communities.
While UNAMID completed its mandate on 31 December 2020 and the drawdown by 1 July 2021 and is now in a full-fledged liquidation phase, the United Nations is not leaving Sudan, noted Cissé.
He further said that UNAMID has coordinated regularly with the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), sharing best practices and lessons learned on its work in Darfur to consolidate and scale up the peacebuilding gains that have been made.
“As the Mission transitions into its liquidation phase, which is likely to last another year, significant tasks remain such as the transition and handover of the El Fasher camp to the authorities in Darfur, the disposal of remaining assets, the completion of the environmental clean-up and restoration, the disposal of hazardous materials including expired ammunition, and the repatriation of equipment and uniformed and civilian personnel,” further stated Cissé.
The senior UN official, however, acknowledged that due to its size, both in terms of personnel and assets, as well as its geographical footprint, UNAMID faced challenges during the drawdown period, but was able to undertake it without major incidents.
During UNAMID’s 13-year mandate, more than 100,000 military and police peacekeepers were contributed by dozens of countries from around the world. At its peak deployment in 2011, it had nearly 23,000 troops and police.
UNAMID, one of the largest peacekeeping operations in the history of the UN, created a security environment in Darfur and will be departing with a history of achievements supporting the protection of civilians, particularly the internally displaced persons, community stabilization and rule of law support, the provision of humanitarian aid and supporting the implementation of the peace process.
The mission also worked to empower women, addressed sexual and gender-based violence, protected and promoted human rights and helped in the fight against Coronavirus.