UNAMID: the main challenge will be the stabilization of Darfur until its closure [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 25 February 2019
I should like to warmly thank Ms. Bintou Keita for her important and enlightening briefing. Her joint mission to Darfur with Assistant Secretaries-General Fernández-Taranco and Wahba is an initiative that I commend. It is a good practice, in conjunction with efforts to ensure genuinely integrated United Nations action, which is particularly essential in the post-conflict transitional phase and in line with the reform of the United Nations system sought by the Secretary-General and supported by Member States in promoting synergies among the various pillars. This good practice could be usefully replicated elsewhere. I would like to focus today on three points.
The first is that the improvement of the situation in Darfur must not eclipse the importance of the remaining challenges. The Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2019/44) shows that the security situation in Darfur is relatively stable. However, we deplore the recent clashes in Jebel Marra starting last year, which have led to the displacement of thousands. France is also alarmed by the high level and seriousness of human rights violations, and in particular the ongoing sexual violence we have witnessed. We call for the perpetrators of that violence to be brought to justice and punished.
The Sudanese authorities and armed groups must necessarily make progress in the peace process. They must put an end to hostilities, but also must address the root causes of the conflict. France welcomed the signing, on 6 December in Berlin, of a pre-negotiation agreement between the Government and certain armed groups to resume the peace process. Unfortunately, negotiations have since been postponed.
That postponement is taking place in the context of social strife, which the Sudan has been experiencing since 19 December, and which France is following very closely. We have taken note of the declaration of a state of emergency and call on the Sudanese authorities to guarantee the right to the freedom of assembly, association and expression, in accordance with their international commitments. All parties should exercise restraint and refrain from any further use of violence, so as to calm the situation.
My second point is that, due to this precarious situation, the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) must be undertaken in a prudent manner and adapted to the situation on the ground. In that context, we must ensure that it is gradual and cautious, as the situation on the ground permits. In its presidential statement S/PRST/2018/19, adopted in December, the Security Council recalled that particular consideration should be given to certain elements, including the situation of internally displaced persons and refugees, respect for human rights and respect for the rule of law. It is also important that UNAMID remain operational and actively participate in the stabilization of Darfur until its closure. In that regard, I welcome the mediation efforts of UNAMID, which have been very useful in resolving and avoiding local conflicts.
Finally, we must now prepare for the post-UNAMID period in order to make a successful transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding. The main challenge for all of us today is to ensure that the situation in Darfur remains stable after the mission’s departure. We must now prepare for the post-UNAMID period. As indicated by the Secretary-General in his report, the issue of funding will be crucial, as the departure of the peacekeeping operation will mean the cessation of mandatory financial contributions and the transition to voluntary contributions for the country team’s activities. We must tackle this issue head-on, in a responsible way. That is also in keeping with our commitments under the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. We have indeed pledged to support United Nations country teams in transition periods to enable them to continue to assist host countries in peacebuilding efforts. We also encourage UNAMID and the country team to work together as much as possible in order to best prepare for that transition.
It is also important that the international community be able to monitor developments in Darfur. The country office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will play an essential role. The Peacebuilding Commission can also be a relevant forum for constructive dialogue with the Sudanese authorities on peacebuilding in Darfur. We must pursue those discussions with the Sudanese authorities, and in close consultation with the African Union, which is, and will continue to be, a key actor in peacebuilding efforts in Darfur.