Sudan has failed to disarm militias or prevent more attacks in Darfur

Video:• Security Council Meeting – [27mins]• Jan Pronk’s remarks to reporters – [13mins] Briefing the Security Council on a report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Special Representative for Sudan Jan Pronk described a bleak picture of conditions in September: frequent and sometimes “atrocious” attacks by the militias, numerous breaches of the ceasefire by both the Sudanese Government and the rebel groups, and an alarming rise in armed banditry.Mr. Pronk told the Council’s 15 members that, while Khartoum had not reversed the gains it had achieved in August, “there was no systematic improvement of people’s security and no progress on ending impunity.”The envoy said the African Union (AU) must be given the financial, logistical and training support needed so it can rapidly expand the size and mandate of its mission in Darfur, currently limited to monitoring the ceasefire only.The Secretary-General’s report recommends the AU force be given the power to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, including those living in makeshift camps; monitor the activities of the local police; and disarm fighters, including the Janjaweed militias accused of committing most of the attacks against civilians.”Their presence would constitute a buffer between the civilian population and possible attackers. If one or more of these tasks remain unfulfilled, an unstable situation will result, unsustainable peace or even no peace at all,” the report states.Speaking to reporters outside the Council, Mr. Pronk said he was pressing the AU to proceed as soon as possible with their proposal to increase its force size to more than 3,500 troops and monitors from the current level of about 350.Last week in Brussels Mr. Pronk held talks with senior European Union officials, including its foreign policy representative, Javier Solana, on providing support to the AU.”The AU is willing, there is no lack of political will in the AU, but there is a capacity problem and that has to be supported by other countries…[But] we first have to make clear to the international community as a whole that a third force – any third force – has to carry out a broad task. Otherwise you have a lack of balance and an ongoing conflict,” he said.About 1.45 million people in Darfur are IDPs and there are another 200,000 refugees in neighbouring Chad because of the Janjaweed attacks and also fighting between Sudanese Government forces on one side and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on the other.UN human rights reports accuse the Janjaweed of murdering or raping thousands of villagers and destroying their homes, wells and cropland. At the request of the Security Council, Mr. Annan is setting up a commission of inquiry to determine whether the killings constitute genocide.The Government signed a joint communiqué with the UN in early July in which it pledged to disarm the Janjaweed and restore security for the IDPs, but Mr. Annan’s report states that “in a significant proportion of the territory the security conditions have worsened.””Today, still-increasing numbers of the population of Darfur are exposed, without any protection from their Government, to hunger, fear and violence. The numbers affected by the conflict are growing and their suffering is being prolonged by inaction,” it says.Mr. Pronk told the Council that “care for the weak and the poor seems to be a scarce commodity in Khartoum.”But he added that the peace negotiations aimed at solving the separate, long-running civil conflict in Sudan’s south – which are due to resume on Thursday in Naivasha, Kenya – could serve as a template for ending the Darfur crisis.”There won’t be any improvement in Darfur if there is no agreement guaranteeing political inclusion and sustainable development for all,” he said, adding that Sudan’s constitution and national institutions “should reflect the existing diversities within the nation [and] provide for a fair degree of regional autonomy.”Mr. Pronk urged the Sudanese Government to begin a process of reconciliation and consensus-building to ensure that the conflicts are not transformed “into a general antagonism between people with different religions or different ethnic backgrounds.”

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