Tag Archives: Darfur

Darfur: HRW for “gradual withdrawal”

‘The proposal by the United Nations and the African Union to limit the UN’s protection role in Sudan threatens the safety and security of civilians in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today. In a new report that the Security Council is expected to discuss on March 17, 2020, the UN secretary-general and the AU commission chairperson proposed excluding “physical protection” of civilians from the mandate for a follow-on political and peacebuilding mission in Sudan.

When authorizing a new countrywide mission for Sudan, the Security Council should include armed police units that could protect civilians, quick reaction peacekeepers to respond to threats as they arise, and mobile human rights monitoring teams based in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said.

“Darfur is not like the rest of Sudan,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The UN Security Council should recognize that Darfur requires a far more gradual withdrawal and keep a UN security presence on the ground to actively protect civilians. Past and ongoing violence there means civilians can’t trust Sudanese security forces alone and still look to peacekeepers for protection.”

Image: illustration

Borrell heads to Darfur

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Ethiopia on February 27 to attend the 10th meeting of the African Union – European Union. His visit will continue with bilateral discussions with Ethiopian authorities on Friday, 28 February. Further he will then travel to Sudan, on Saturday, 29 February and Sunday, 1st March.

On Friday, Feburary 27 Borrell will meet the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed to reiterate the EU’s support to his political and economic reform agenda. He will also visit an EU-funded project that aims at Stemming Irregular Migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia (SINCE), as part of the EU’s concrete support in addressing economic and social challenges in the country.

On Saturday Borrell will travel to Sudan, where he is going to meet Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. There the EU dilomat will bring a message of support to the civilian transition. He will deliver a speech at the University of Khartoum, and meet with Foreign Ministers from member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD). On Sunday Borrell will visit a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur.

Darfur roadmap towards peace

Sudanese government and nine rebel groups signed an agreement on a roadmap towards ending the protracted conflict in the Darfur region.

The deal outlines different issues the parties will need to negotiate during the latest round of talks in Juba.

“We believe this is an important step,” said Ahmed Mohamed, the chief negotiator on Darfur matters from the Sudan Revolutionary Front or SRF, a coalition of nine rebel groups involved in talks with the Sudanese government.

“This step no doubt will help the process to achieve a lasting peace in Darfur and also it will enable the transitional process in Sudan to move smoothly without hindrances,” Mohamed told AFP.

Among the issues they agreed to be discussed are the root causes of the conflict, the return of refugees and internally displaced people, power sharing and the integration of rebel forces into the national army.

The deal also announces that the Sudanese government will address land issues, such as the issues of the destruction of property during the conflict.

Khartoum has been negotiating with different rebel groups in the capital of South Sudan for two weeks, in the latest round of efforts to end conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Rebels in these areas fought violent campaigns against marginalisation by Khartoum under ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

The Darfur fighting broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.

MEPs condemn use of force in Sudan

MEPs strongly condemn the excessive use of force by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) during the ongoing popular protests against price increases and President Omar al-Bashir’s regime. The Sudanese government recently decided to end subsidies on staple goods in response to aggravating inflation, which is now the second highest in the world at around 122 %.

The European Parliament also deplores the ongoing general repression by the authorities in Sudan, which continue to target activists and human rights defenders, as well as lawyers, teachers, students and doctors.

The resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of human rights lawyer and 2007 Sakharov Prize laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman, who was arrested on 8 January, as well as all other political prisoners currently in detention without charge or trial.ep pleanry stb

MEPs reiterate their demand to President al-Bashir  to comply with international law in accordance with the conventions and treaties to which his government is party. The Sudanese President, in power for 29 years, is the only sitting head of stated wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed during his campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Although the Sudanese constitution does not permit him to stand again when his term ends, Mr al-Bashir is currently seeking to amend relevant articles in order to obtain a life mandate.

EU supports Ethiopia ambitious agenda

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Ethiopia. The Council notes that Ethiopia has witnessed momentous change and that political and economic reforms have gained a new impetus under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. His ambitious agenda towards a more democratic and just Ethiopian society is a positive example for the region and beyond.

The Council welcomes the commitment of the government of Ethiopia to multi-party democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and gender equality. The EU encourages the government to continue its efforts in this area and towards developing an inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders, including federal and regional authorities, opposition groups, civil society, youth groups and media, on sustainable solutions towards better governance, justice and accountability, elections, job creation, and security challenges.

There are presently 21 EU Member States represented in Ethiopia, in addition to the EU and like-minded partners, such as Norway and Switzerland, constituting the EU+ group. In recent years, the EU+ group disbursed annually around € 1 billion of ODA, equivalent to roughly a quarter of total external aid to Ethiopia and can reach up to 10% of the country’s annual federal budget in certain years. In this context, joint programming is not only about aid effectiveness, but most importantly, has a strong political dimension and is one of the instruments in support to the implementation of the wider EU-Ethiopia strategic engagement.

EU-Sudan dialogue depends on reforms progress

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Sudan, which remains crucial for the peace and stability of the wider Horn of Africa. The Council reaffirms the EU’s readiness to engage in an evolving dialogue and cooperation with Khartoum, depending on progress shown by Sudan in committing to internal reforms, including human rights and good governance, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, sustainable peace and a constructive role in the region.

The Council urges the Sudanese authorities to fully respect the right to freedom of expression, press, access to information, association and peaceful assembly, in compliance with international human rights law. The Council underlines that the run-up to 2020 elections should be an opportunity for Sudan to demonstrate its commitment to reforms by allowing the full participation of all its citizens in an inclusive political process and without restrictions to individual rights.

In this regard, the Council expresses its deep concern with the shrinking space for the civil society and the persecutions against human rights defenders, students, political activists, journalists, and other media workers, as well as with the situation for women and girls.

Despite Sudan’s non-ratification of the revised Cotonou Agreement, the EU remains committed to the people of Sudan, and since 2010 has made €196 million available from the European Development Fund to address the needs of people living in conflict-affected areas. As part of this overall support, in March 2016 the EU approved a Special Measure of €100 million, which is channelled through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The Special Measure will be implemented in Darfur, the Eastern States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref (and, to the extent that access and security conditions allow, in the Southern border areas). It will focus on the provision of basic needs in education and health, livelihoods and food security, and the strengthening of civil society, local governance and peacebuilding. Major beneficiaries of EU support will be vulnerable populations; in particular refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and the local communities hosting them.