Inclusive transition to peace in Sudan [fr]
Statement by Ms. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargée d’Affaires a.i.
Security Council - 26 August 2019
First of all, I would like to warmly thank Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, and Mr. Smaїl Chergui, African Union Commissioner
for Peace and Security, for their important briefings. France welcomes the close coordination between the United Nations and the African Union on Darfur. I would like join others in welcoming the turning of an important page in the history of the Sudan. The signing of the constitutional document on 17 August, which the Council welcomed in a press statement (SC/13927) and which defines the transitional framework, was a significant step. We call on the parties to respect the declaration in the same spirit of compromise and reconciliation that prevailed when it was signed.
France extends its wishes for success to the new authorities, in particular the Prime Minister and the Sovereign Council, in the essential tasks they will have to fulfil — concluding a peace agreement with the armed groups, organizing free and democratic elections in 2022, reviving the economy and building the rule of law. France reiterates its readiness to support the Sudanese people in this new chapter of their history.France welcomes the successful mediation conducted by the African Union and the Ethiopian Prime Minister and hopes that this diplomatic investment continues with the ongoing mobilization of the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the United Nations and all friends of the Sudan, which is essential during this transitional phase.
The women and the young people of the Sudan have been remarkable in their mobilization, initiative and courage, sometimes even sacrificing their lives. They have been the driving force behind this revolution. We owe it to them to ensure that they are fully involved in the transition. In that regard, we welcome the constitutional document’s quota of 40 per cent women in the composition of the transitional legislative council.
Lastly, we all recall the victims, particularly those who fell on 3 June. The crimes committed must not go unpunished and their perpetrators must be prosecuted and tried in accordance with the rule of law.
Secondly, in that context, we have an unprecedented opportunity to build lasting peace in Darfur. One of the major challenges of the transition will be to negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur. France welcomes the commitment undertaken by the new Sudanese authorities in the constitutional document to resolving the conflict in Darfur within six months, and we call on all armed groups and the new authorities to commit in good faith to building that lasting peace. We know that Darfur remains a fragile region. Civilians continue to suffer from residual clashes in Jebel Marra. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are regularly subject to abuses, including sexual violence. In addition, the root causes of the conflict, including access to land and the future of the 2 million IDPs, have not been fully addressed.
Beyond that, I would like to recall the importance of combating impunity in Darfur. Grave violations, as well as against children, including sexual violence, have been committed for a long time and continue to be committed. All parties to the conflict have an obligation to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court and its Prosecutor, in accordance with resolution 1593 (2005).
Finally, it is time to engage in a dialogue with the new authorities on the United Nations presence in the Sudan. In June, we decided to suspend the withdrawal process of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for four months (see S/PV.8566) because we had no reliable or internationally recognized interlocutor. We also had real concerns about the use of UNAMID camps, once transferred to the Sudanese authorities.
We now have new legitimate and credible authorities, with whom we can work, pending the formation of a Government at the end of the month. We need to have a frank and constructive dialogue with them on the timetable and conditions for UNAMID’s withdrawal. It is imperative that we have the assurance that transferred sites will be used for civilian purposes, in accordance with the agreements concluded between the United Nations and the Sudan.
The main question we must ask ourselves today pertains to the presence of the United Nations after UNAMID’s departure. The political strategy of the United Nations and the African Union on the follow-up mechanism, which will be submitted to us in a month’s time, will be essential in that regard. As Jean-Pierre Lacroix underscored, we are entering the peacebuilding phase and we all know the challenges that brings. France believes that we must continue to support peace in Darfur after the departure of the peacekeepers, as has been the case in other countries. The country team will not be able to do it all. We therefore support the establishment of a special political mission, whose mandate would be defined by taking fully into account the priorities of the Sudanese people. The political mission could support the implementation of the peace agreement, the return of displaced persons and the resolution of land issues and intercommunity conflicts, as well as the protection of women and children. It could also continue to
strengthen the capacity of the administration and security forces in Darfur.
We also support a substantial presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Darfur following UNAMID’s departure. After a peacekeeping
operation that will have lasted for more than a decade, it is essential to ensure the continued support of the United Nations to assist the country in the area of human rights. We have that moral responsibility to the people who live there.