The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution ending the mandate of the African Union and United Nations Peacekeeping Mission (UNAMID) in the Darfur region of western Sudan, starting at the end of this month, more than 13 years after the start of the operation by a decision of the Council.
Tuesday’s decision ends the mission’s mandate at the end of the month, and sets a 6-month timeframe for a gradual drawdown of forces with their withdrawal completed by June 30.
The resolution urges the government of Sudan to fully and quickly implement the national plan to protect civilians, in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in addition to embodying the principle of accountability and providing protection for the vulnerable.
According to the website of the UN peacekeeping missions, there are currently about 4,000 soldiers, 480 police advisors, 1,631 police, 483 international civil servants and 945 local civilian employees.
Conflict has spread to the Darfur region in western Sudan, starting in 2003.
Western countries accuse government and Janjaweed forces supporting them – which moved to quell the rebellion in Darfur – of committing widespread atrocities, killing an estimated 300,000 people and displacing 2.5 million.
The military toppled former Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April 2019, after months of protests over poor economic conditions and Al-Bashir’s three-decade rule.
A transitional government was formed under a 3-year power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian groups with the aim of leading the country toward free and fair elections.
In June the UN Security Council set up a UN political mission to assist with the political transition in Sudan, support peace operations, help build peace, protect civilians, and the rule of law, particularly in Darfur, and help coordinate humanitarian and development aid.
Many Darfuris say that “the peacekeeping mission has not effectively protected them, but they fear its withdrawal would leave them more vulnerable, and have staged protests in the past few weeks.”
In October, the transitional authorities in Sudan finalized a peace agreement with some of the armed movements in Darfur.