New York — The UN Special Representative for Sudan, and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, has appealed to the international community support efforts to implement the Juba Peace Agreement, and provide security to the Sudanese public.
In his briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday, Perthes highlighted that the ongoing violence in Darfur and the east on Sudan, the absence of justice and accountability, and the difficult economic situation, continues to inflict hardship and suffering on the Sudanese population.
"Humanitarian organisations in Sudan are advocating for timely and flexible funding as humanitarian needs, largely driven by the economic crisis and increased intercommunal conflict, continue to rise," Perthes said. He underlined to the UNSC: "Between January and August 2021, about 418,000 people were newly displaced as a result of conflicts and armed attacks across Sudan, mainly in Darfur, parts of Kordofan and Blue Nile. This is more than six times as many as in the same period last year."
'Between January and August 2021, about 418,000 people were newly displaced as a result of conflicts and armed attacks across Sudan, mainly in Darfur, parts of Kordofan and Blue Nile. This is more than six times as many as in the same period last year'
"In line with the Prime Minister's initiative and the Juba Peace Agreement, I continue to encourage an inclusive dialogue on a roadmap for military and security sector reform. We stand ready to provide technical support at the request of the Sudanese."
"Sudan's continued economic reforms have allowed it to reach the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) decision point on 29 June and thereby become eligible for debt relief. This will unlock critical financial resources to strengthen Sudan's economy, address poverty and improve social conditions. Sudan must continue to ensure the most vulnerable segments of Sudanese society are protected," Perthes says.
He explained that UNITAMS has moved to refocus its efforts on the priority areas identified by the UNSC, including peace talks, ceasefire monitoring, and support to the national plan for the protection of civilians.
"We have consequently begun to operationalise the Permanent Ceasefire Committee, starting with technical consultations on 5 and 6 September in Khartoum, which brought together all members of the Ceasefire Committee from the military, the Armed Groups and other key stakeholders to discuss concrete modalities of implementing a meaningful ceasefire mechanism. Preparatory meetings were also held with the signatories, civil society, women's groups, and the United Nations country team. Women's participation in the implementation of security arrangements remains a key concern and one of the conditions for the legitimacy and effectiveness of any ceasefire arrangement."
'The Ceasefire Committee is not a substitute for the joint forces and their protection mandate'
Perthes says that expectations of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee are high, but also partially misplaced, particularly concerning the protection of civilians. "While the Committee can contribute positively to stability in Darfur, its role and mandate remain distinct: It is about monitoring, reporting, and trying to reconcile, but not about physical protection. The recent resurgence of intercommunal violence in Darfur - specifically in El Geneina, Tawila, Sortony, and Nyala, therefore demonstrates the urgency of supporting the Sudanese police and for deploying the Joint Security Keeping Forces. "The Ceasefire Committee is not a substitute for these forces and their protection mandate", he said.
"If Member States want security to be stabilised in Darfur they should not shy away from making resources available for, among other things, the training and support of the planned Joint Security Keeping Forces, the Police, or the demobilisation and reintegration of fighters".
Perthes said that "by filling critical gaps in what remains a modestly sized mission, I hope we can effectively respond to the evolving needs of the transition in Sudan. Sudan's challenges are immense, and the United Nations remains fully committed to support the authorities in addressing them and realizing the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a peaceful, stable, and democratic Sudan. We count on the robust backing of this Council as we navigate the path forward," he concluded.