Sudan: to put an end to hostilities & to address the root causes of the conflict [fr]
Sanction Committee 1591 on Sudan
Statement by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political Coordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 17 January 2019
I should like to begin by thanking Ambassador Joanna Wronecka for her briefing on the activities carried out in 2018 by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), concerning the Sudan, and to commend her work as Chair of that sanctions Committee for the past year. The initiatives and meetings she mentioned, in particular that with Ms. Patten in October, have contributed to the Council’s joint process of reflection aimed at ensuring the proper implementation of the sanctions regime. France supports her fully and commends her personal commitment to peace in Darfur.
France is following very closely the events currently taking place in the Sudan, not only in Khartoum but also in the provinces. In the context of the current social protests, we call on the Sudanese authorities to ensure the freedom of assembly, the freedom of association and the freedom of expression, in accordance with their international commitments. All parties must show restraint and abstain from any further violence in order to ease the situation.
We recognize that overall the security situation in Darfur has improved. However, we deplore the resumption this year of clashes in Jebel Marra, which lead to the displacement of persons, civilian casualties and human rights violations by all parties to the conflict. The Sudanese authorities and armed groups must absolutely move forward with the peace process. This requires not only putting an end to hostilities but also addressing the root causes of the conflict, in particular the issues of land ownership, access to natural resources and the restoration of the rule of law.
In that connection, I welcome the signing on 6 December in Berlin of a pre-negotiation agreement between the Government and certain armed groups. That is a step in the right direction.
We remain deeply concerned, however, by the issue of sexual violence, and, in that connection, I commend the valuable contribution of Ms. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict. The detailed information that she provided to the Committee has allowed us to better understand the scope of sexual violence in Darfur.
I regret in that connection that we did not reach consensus on reflecting in her report the full content of her statement to the sanctions Committee, but we have taken note of all of that information and fully support her recommendations, in particular the recommendation that sexual violence be set up as a standalone listing criterion. Those responsible for such violence must be held accountable. We must encourage victims to file reports, and we must also ensure that investigations and prosecution follow. This is a priority for us.
We are also gravely concerned by the issue of humanitarian access. A robust, lasting ceasefire regime must be put in place in order to allow safe humanitarian access and unimpeded access to those territories and peoples that require it.
Finally, the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a subject on which the Council recently expressed itself, should take place gradually, in keeping with the security situation on the ground, and take into account in particular the situation of displaced persons, respect for human rights and the issue of sexual violence. If those conditions are met, as we hope they will be, it will be important that following the exit of UNAMID, human rights observers have access to the entirety of the country’s territory, in particular the most remote areas.
To conclude, I should like to say that the sanctions regime for the Sudan remains a key instrument, with respect to both the arms embargo and individual sanctions, for providing support during this transitional phase, during which we must remain particularly vigilant.