UN political mission in Sudan closes doors

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Time is up for the United Nations (UN) political mission – UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) – in Sudan with its mandate terminated by the Security Council (SC).

The closure, according to a UN statement, comes against the backdrop of “the continuing war raging between rival militaries” with Sudan’s military government, battling the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), claiming UNITAMS failed to meet expectations. The world body has the war has, to date, claimed six thousand plus lives, driven millions from their homes, led to abhorrent sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) and “precipitated a severe humanitarian crisis”.

The SC on 4 December “requested” UNITAMS immediately start cessation of operations and transfer tasks – “where appropriate and feasible” – to UN agencies, funds and programmes. This is to be completed by 29 February with mission liquidation set to start a day later.

Following the vote to close the mission, Rosemary diCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the world body stands with the Sudanese people.

DiCarlo is on record saying “the SC just voted to close down UNITAMS, but the UN is not abandoning the Sudanese people”.

“We urge full support for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Ramtane Lamamra, to bolster efforts to bring the devastating conflict to an end.”

UNITAMS was established by the SC in June 2020 as a special political mission to provide support to Sudan for an initial 12-month period during its political transition to democratic rule. Its mandate was subsequently extended in 2021 and 2022.

Headquartered in Khartoum, UNITAMS supported the country through a range of political, peacebuilding and development initiatives. These included assisting the nation to achieve the goals of the Constitutional Declaration of August 2019 and carrying out its National Plan for Civilian Protection (NPCP).