Khartoum — The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) Jeremiah Mamabolo, today outlined the role that his Mission hopes to play in Sudan and Darfur during the transitional process.
At a press conference in the UN Development Programme's Marawi Hall in Khartoum, Mamabolo told reporters that following the extension of its mandate for a further year, Unamid will maintains the current troop ceilings of 4,050 military and 2,500 police personnel.
Pointing out that these are his first official remarks since the December 2018 popular revolution that saw the overthrow of the Al Bashir Regime and transition from a military junta to the current Sovereign Council.
Mamabolo commended the media "for consistently highlighting events in Darfur and keeping the region on the global agenda, while ensuring the community is kept abreast of developments on Unamid's work".
'Some brave young men and women paid the ultimate price in order for the Sudanese people to achieve their aspirations for freedom, peace, and justice" - Jeremiah Mamabolo
He called for a moment of silence to be observed out of respect for the sacrifice by "some brave young men and women [who] paid the ultimate price in order for the Sudanese people to achieve their aspirations for freedom, peace, and justice."
Unamid mandate extended
Mamabolo explained that the UN Security Council recently adopted resolution 2495, which extends Unamid's mandate until 31 October 2020, in response to a request from Prime Minister Hamdok to the UN Secretary General António Guterres
He said that Unamid will maintain the current troop ceilings of 4,050 military and 2,500 police personnel "until 31 March 2020 when the council would review our mandate".
"This resolution maintains the same concept of operations for Unamid set out in UNSCs 2363 and 2429 based on the two-pronged approach of: peacekeeping in the Jebel Marra area and peace building in the rest of Darfur through a whole-of-system approach where we work closely with the UN Country team in order to avoid gaps resulting from Unamid's eventual exit from Darfur.
"This is achieved through what we call State Liaison Functions (SLFs) which we now have in four out of the five Darfur states. Since January this year, Unamid personnel have been co-located with colleagues from other UN Agencies Funds and Programmes and are conducting peacebuilding projects jointly."
Mamabolo says that the Resolution determined three operational priorities for Unamid, "to support the ongoing peace process; including mediation between the government of Sudan and the Darfuri armed movements, the national peace commission as well as supporting the implementation of any peace agreement resulting from the Juba peace process as reflected in the transitional government's strategic priority to achieve a fair and comprehensive peace.
"Support to peace building activities by strengthening the SLFs and expanding them into the Jebel Marra Area of Operations, thus covering all five Darfur states.
"Protection of Civilians, monitoring and reporting on Human Rights (including the rights of women and children) and facilitation of Humanitarian access as well as protecting humanitarian workers operating in Darfur.
"The Resolution also instructs Unamid to keep all its remaining team sites and not hand them over until a further decision is made by the Council; with the exception of Nyala which is the Mission's Sector South Headquarters."
Mamabolo reminded reporters that "only yesterday Unamid handed over its largest camp in Darfur located in Nyala to Officials from the government of Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The total value of assets handed over in Nyala is $99.4 million. In this context UNSC resolution 2495 acknowledged the commitment of the government of Sudan to use this team site and other team sites previously handed over to the government for exclusively civilian end-user purposes which are in line with UN rules and regulations."
He expressed his hope that "the unfortunate incidents of wanton looting of the Unamid Super Camp in El Geneina, on 14 and 15 May, by the local population and government security apparatus and more recently on 20 June, the vandalisation of the offices of the International NGO World Vision International and WFP in Darfur by protesters have become incidents of the past for us in the UN and our partners operating in Darfur. It is our sincere hope that such incidents will not recur."
'It is extremely important that as the peace process moves forward, we continue providing basic humanitarian support to the people... ' - Jeremiah Mamabolo
Mamabolo called upon the government and armed groups alike "to work with the UN and other international actors to support humanitarian access to all remote areas, in Darfur in particular, to ensure the timely and effective delivery of humanitarian aid. It is extremely important that as the peace process moves forward, we continue providing basic humanitarian support to the people.
"I would also like to assure the people of Darfur that during the rest of its tenure, the Mission shall continue its "stay-and-deliver policy" and shall continue to serve the people of Darfur until the last day. Our approach of delivering our mandate shall be reflecting the UN's Action for Peace Campaign (A4P) which was launched by the Secretary General earlier this year. I therefore seize this opportunity to call upon you to support this campaign through your traditional and digital media in the areas of politics; women, peace and security; protection; safety and security; peacebuilding and sustaining peace; partnerships; conduct of peacekeepers and peacekeeping operations."
In conclusion Mamabolo emphasised "the real opportunity that the December revolution has created for achieving a fair and comprehensive peace in Darfur and the whole of Sudan. I call on all the Sudanese political forces, particularly the armed movements who have not yet joined the peace process, to seize this historic moment and come to the negotiating table.
We hope that negotiations at this juncture will provide a more level-playing field for all views to be heard and for compromises to be made for the sake of the People of Sudan and their aspiration for Freedom, Peace and Justice."