Sudan: Darfur ‘Deteriorating,’ Says UN Official

Ending violence in the western Sudanese region of Darfur requires the Sudanese government and a rebel group that signed a peace plan last year to more fully commit to the deal, a senior United Nations official told the UN Security Council today.

“The security situation in Darfur, particularly North Darfur, has deteriorated in recent weeks,” the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, said during his briefing to the 15-member body on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID.

“This has increased the risks to civilians while, at the same time, increasing the threat to the safety and security of Mission personnel,” Mr. Mulet said after highlighting a number of incidents, not least an attack on a UNAMID patrol on 17 October, which left one South African peacekeeper dead and three others wounded, and another on 2 October, which left three Nigerian peacekeepers dead, and eight injured.

Mr. Mulet said the “many causes” of the Darfur conflict can be addressed through implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), a comprehensive peace plan finalized in May 2011 in Doha, Qatar, which has been heavily involved in mediation efforts involving the Sudanese region.

The plan provides a framework for ending fighting that began nine years ago, pitting Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups, and for setting Darfur on a course for recovery. In his remarks, Mr. Mulet noted that implementation by the signatories was “well behind schedule.”

While the Government of Sudan and the rebel Liberation of Justice Movement (LJM) have already committed to the DDPD, it is designed to be open for other Darfur rebel groups to join. “Efforts to bring other armed movements on board have yet to bear fruit,” Mr. Mulet said.

While he acknowledged work had begun, under the agreement, to assess Darfur’s needs for economic recovery, development and poverty eradication, he appealed to both the Sudanese Government and the LJM to “clearly demonstrate their commitment” to the DDPD.

He also said they should “fully support” the work of UNAMID and humanitarian and development agencies, saying that Government restrictions on their operations should be lifted.