Darfur Situation Report:
|Aegis Trust, 01 Mai 2006|
"The emptying of the countryside has been a slow process that lasted three years, …[Darfur is] eventually reaching the end of this process, because there is not too much left in the countryside to keep on emptying."
UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Gemmo Londesani, March 2006
The 5 May peace agreement is an important step towards improving security within Darfur but without swift deployment of a robust UN force to protect civilians, it could leave the way clear for militias to complete the ethnic cleansing of Darfur.
While the signing of the peace deal is welcome, we must recall that peace deals do not necessarily stop genocide. We may recall that prior to the genocide in Rwanda, the Arusha Peace Agreement was progressing, but it gave hardliners motivation and time to prepare the genocide. Security and protection of civilians must not be deprioritised after a shaky peace deal is signed.
· Assurances on the disarmament of the Janjaweed was key to persuading the rebels to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement. It’s future rests on civilian security being guaranteed.
· Insecurity threatens to cause an exponential deterioration in the humanitarian crisis and is dramatically increasing the funds required to sustain humanitarian operations.
· Having received only 32% of the funds required to sustain its operations in Darfur through 2006, the World Food Programme has reduced its food rations to 1,050 calories a day. This equates to hunger rations.
· Rapid transfer of AMIS to the UN by 1st October 2006 is critical as is funding to bolster AMIS inthe interim period.
· Whether the UN force is deployed under a Chapter VI or a Chapter VII mandate is dependent upon Sudanese consent. What is important is that the rules of engagement embed protection of civilians as the priority of the force and that deployment is swift.
· The UN force should be led by Africans with troops from African and Muslim countries.
· Western and Middle powers should provide the force with advanced intelligence, communications, logistics and airpower capabilities.
· A plan for a ‘policekeeping’ force operating in urban areas and IDP camps, with a parallel UN military force based in outlying areas, is more likely to secure consent from Khartoum than plans for an out-and-out military force. It will also provide an exit strategy for the UN force.
· Failure to protect civilians in Darfur has allowed the crisis to spread across the border into with subsequent destabilisation of the Chadian Government.
· With attention focussed on Darfur the crisis in East Sudan must not be forgotten.