Excellent report by UNA-UK and Waging Peace focusing on the importance of maintaining/ increasing UNAMID presence in Darfur instead of subjecting the force to the planned major cuts in numbers and resources. The reports used testimonies from the ground which overwhelmingly sided with the importance of keeping the force in Darfur from the perspective of security.
When it comes to UNAMID, I saw their deployment in late 2007. The first 2-3 years were alright in terms of protection of some of the big IDP camps such as Abshouk and Zamzam, plus some of the villages. As time passed there were fewer liaison officers; the government of Sudan started to treat them as spies and started to put UNAMID forces under monitoring. This was the start of the deterioration. The reporting from UNAMID started to be infrequent and the protection factor reduced as the force itself was under attack by the government militias.
IM, a teacher from North Darfur
The UN Security Council is making a decision at the end of June to decide the future of the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur: UNAMID. A strategic review of the operation has suggested the phased reduction of troop numbers by 44%, and police numbers by 30%, over the course of a year. The new mission would be largely one of civilian peace-building and institutional support across much of Darfur, with a reduced military force concentrated on the volatile Jebel Marra area at the region’s centre.
UNA-UK and Waging Peace argue that significant care must be taken in drawing down the mission. The political, security, human rights, and humanitarian situations in Darfur are exceptionally precarious, and – given the recalcitrance of the Sudanese government – any reduction in the size or scope of the mission cannot be quickly reversed.
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