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Amnesty calls to maintain UNAMID for more six months in Darfur

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UNAMID Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) during a routine patrol near Tabit area, North Darfur on 25 November 2018 (UNAMID Photo)December 10, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Amnesty International has called for a six-month extension of the presence of UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur, pointing to the continued violence in the region and failure of the Sudanese authorities to restore order.

On 31 December, the mandate of the hybrid peacekeeping operation in Drfur will expire as it will be replaced by the UNITAMS, a political mission to support the democratic transition and the implementation of a peace agreement with the armed groups.

A joint force formed by the government and the former rebel groups will be deployed in the region to protect civilians in Darfur. UNITAMS would contribute to the training of the joint force.

“The UN Security Council should extend UNAMID’s mandate for at least six to ensure the peacekeepers do not leave before UNITAMS is fully operational, and to enable proper training of national forces to take over the massive responsibility of civilian protection," said Amnesty.

"Otherwise, there will be a security vacuum, with disastrous consequences for the people of Darfur," it further stressed.

The international human rights groups cited the recent inter-communal attacks and the infighting between the different factions of the holdout group SLA-AW in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra which displaced over 27,000 people.

In a speech at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the latest report on the situation in Sudan, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Kelly Craft suggested a smooth transition between the UNAMID and the new mission.

“With the anticipated departure of UNAMID from Sudan, it is vital that its drawdown occurs in a responsible manner and that there is a smooth transition to the new special political mission… including robust training of police, rule of law support, and other issues listed in the Juba Agreement,” she said in her remarks.

For his part, the head of UN peacekeeping department, Jean Pierre Lacroix told the meeting that the tripartite mechanism (AU, UN and Sudan) recommended UNAMID’s termination at the end of its current mandate, 31 December 2020, and a six month period of drawdown and liquidation thereafter.

UNAMID has more than 6,000 military and police personnel, representing 22 contingents. Also, it has over 1,500 remaining civilian staff includes about 700 international staff.

Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, told the meeting that an orderly and safe drawdown will take no less than 6 months, followed by a period of asset disposal and liquidation that will last from 9 to 12 months.

(ST)

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