ZALINGEI, 1 January 2020 – The Joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s western region of Darfur (UNAMID) officially ended operations Thursday.
The Government of Sudan will take over responsibility for the protection of civilians, UNAMID confirmed in statement released Wednesday.
The last UNAMID patrols and other mandated talks will take place Thursday and from 1 January 2021, UNAMID troops and police personnel will focus on providing security during a phased, six-month drawdown period, the statement said in part.
All UNAMID uniformed and civilian personnel should be withdrawn from Sudan by 30 June 2021, except for a liquidation team that will finalize any outstanding issues.
The end of the mission follows the unanimous adoption last December 22 by the Security Council of a resolution, noting the progress made by the transitional government in Khartoum in addressing the conflict in Darfur.
The mission was deployed 13 years ago to help end what the United States government and congress later concluded was genocide targeting members of non-Arab ethnic groups and communities.
Some of these groups rebelled against the authorities in Khartoum, with some of them reaffirming their right to self-determination, including clamoring for the right to form a separate breakaway republic from Sudan.
The mission was charged with winning the peace, protecting civilians, delivering humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and internally displaced, and mediating intercommunal conflicts.
That mission now falls to the security forces of the transitional government in Khartoum with the United Nations providing support to the country through its resident mission in Khartoum and the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNTAMS).
One of the mission of UNTAMS is to help the joint military-civilian Sovereign Council – that is currently ruling the country until elections can be held – in governance reform and its efforts to tackle deep economic problems.
In September 2004, then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, became the first member of any American administration to apply the label “genocide” to the conflict in Darfur.
The US Congress later concluded in a resolution that it was genocide.
Washington accused Khartoum, its security forces and their mainly Arab allies, called the Janjaweed, of committing war crimes and genocide in the conflict in Darfur.
More than 3,000 people were killed in the genocidal violence.
Khartoum and its Janjjaweed allies have always denied the allegations.
Last October, most of the remaining rebel groups in Darfur signed a new peace agreement with the government in Khartoum.