UN: UN official says Darfur security situation still serious

New York, US (PANA) - The security situation in Darfur is very serious, marked by
a deeply increase in violent attacks by armed assailants against UN peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel, UN Assistant Secretary-General for UN peacekeeping operations Edmond Mulet told the UN Security Council on Wednesday in New York.

"Most worrisome is the devastating impact that it has had on innocent civilians and the
obstacles it has created for their protection and for humanitarian assistance," Mulet
stated.

He said "there has been very limited progress in Darfur peace process."

According to Mulet, the second phase of the Sudan's government’s military offensive,
"Operation Decisive Summer", has resulted in high numbers of newly displaced
people.

At least 78,000 people have been displaced by conflict in Darfur this year, according to humanitarian organizations

"In addition, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has
received reports of some 130,000 additional internal displaced persons (IDPs), which
it was not yet able to verify," the UN official said.

"Most of these unverified IDPs are said to be in the Jebel Marra area, where the
heaviest fighting has been taking place and which is mostly inaccessible for
humanitarian partners," Mulet stated.

"There is also significant concern about reports of indiscriminate attacks against
civilians, as well as other violations of human rights and international humanitarian
law, and also inter-communal fighting led to periodic outbreaks of violence."

He cited conflicts over resources as an aggravating factor, as well as broader
political tensions and the actions of numerous paramilitary groups and militias,
the proliferation of small arms and criminality, and the handling of insecurity by
local authorities.

Despite the difficult operating environment, including movement restrictions
and other obstructions imposed by the belligerent parties, the UN official assured
Security Council members that the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
remains resolute in its commitment to deliver on its strategic priorities.

"The adequate responses by units when attacked and the proactive approach
shown when protecting IDPs are indicators of continuous improvement as a
result of the change of attitude, robustness and training requested by the
implementation of the strategic review," he stated.

He said that the most significant achievements of UNAMID over the reporting
period were the establishment of "protective areas" and instances in which
peacekeepers repelled or prevented attacks against civilians, conducted robust
patrols to affected villages and escorted humanitarian missions during
inter-communal clashes.

"Protection committees were also formed with IDPs to coordinate relevant
protection activities in collaboration with humanitarian personnel," he added.

As for the formulation of an exit strategy for UNAMID, even though an outcome
has not been produced yet, Mulet said UNAMID team has explored the idea
of a "two-pronged approach" with the Sudanese government.

"First, UNAMID's proposal is based on the achievement of the mission’s
benchmarks and premised on a political solution to the conflict based on
direct talks between the parties, starting with a cessation of hostilities.

"The exit strategy, is also based on the gradual and phased withdrawal of
UNAMID’s force from West Darfur, where there have not been any major
fighting in two years, complemented by a progressive handover of its tasks
to the Sudanese government and the UN Country Team.

"Also, three other team sites in North and South Darfur, in areas that do not
necessitate the mission’s presence, would also be closed," he said.

The UN official, however, said that the prospect of a definitive end to the crisis
seems to be "wishful thinking" in the current environment, noting that the UN
secretariat, in agreement with the AU's Council for Peace and Security has
requested from the UN Security Council the extension of UNAMID’s mandate
for an additional year, until June 2016.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  10June2015

10 june 2015 18:12:33




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