UNAMID, the joint African Union/United Nations mission in Darfur, is done and dusted with all uniformed and civilian personnel other than those needed for liquidation by 30 June this year withdrawing on 31 December.
This follows a Security Council resolution (2559) which “urges” the government of Sudan to protect civilians in Darfur in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
While South African soldiers and equipment were withdrawn from UNAMID some five years ago the world body’s peacekeeping department has it there were 25 South Africans on UNAMID strength when it ceased activities. Twenty-one police, three staffers and an “expert” are listed. There has been no information from any South African government department or entity, including the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) or the SA Police Service (SAPS) on UNAMID being terminated, in UN-speak.
A UNAMID guard unit comprising mission personnel will remain in Darfur to protect personnel, facilities and assets for the duration of the drawdown and liquidation of the mission.
The termination of UNAMID marks the end of a force that can withdraw, knowing government is now “in the right hands”, according to UN joint special representative, Jeremiah Mamabolo.
A new assistance mission UNITAMS (UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan), will continue supporting peacebuilding efforts, with most of the violence that killed an estimated 300 000 in Darfur and displaced millions now apparently over, a UN statement said.
UNAMID was a hybrid AU/UN mission established in July 2007 with protection of civilians as its core mandate. It was also tasked with contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, assisting an inclusive political process, contributing to promoting human rights and the rule of law and monitoring and reporting on the border situation with Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).
The decision to end the mission was first mooted in June 2017 when, in addition, to renewing UNAMID’s mandate, the Security Council decided to draw down on troop and police strength over a 12 month period in two phases.