Proposed UN resolution would support Sudan’s peace efforts

United Nations Mission in Darfur peacekeepers stand guard in Shagra village, North Darfur, October 18, 2012. © 2012 Reuters

A proposed U.N. Security Council resolution would replace the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s restive Darfur region with a U.N. political and peace-building mission whose primary aim would be to support Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy including in drafting a new constitution and preparing for elections.

United Nations Mission in Darfur peacekeepers stand guard in Shagra village, North Darfur, October 18, 2012. ©  Reuters

The draft resolution, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, would basically eliminate the main mission of the U.N.-AU force known as UNAMID — the protection of civilians in Darfur. That responsibility would be handed over to the transitional government formed last August by the military and civilian protesters following the ouster of the country’s longtime autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir.

The proposed resolution would establish “a political, peace support and peace-building mission,” to be known as the United Nations Political and Peace-building Integrated Mission in Sudan or UNPPIMS, starting May 1 for an initial period of one year.

It would authorize the deployment of up to 2,500 international police and one battalion for a quick reaction force — usually between 500 and 800 troops — to protect U.N. personnel, facilities and humanitarian workers. The police and troops would also be authorized “to help create a protective environment by protecting civilians being subjected to or under imminent threat of physical violence, particularly in the hot spot areas of the Darfur states” — but the draft stresses that the government has primary responsibility for protecting its people.

The draft resolution largely follows the recommendations in a report to the council earlier this week by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki.

Human Rights Watch criticized the report, saying withdrawing peacekeepers threatens the safety of civilians in Darfur.

The draft resolution would authorize the new U.N. mission, if asked, to support implementation of any future peace agreements including monitoring cease-fires, and supporting disarmament, demobilization and measures promoting accountability and transitional justice, not only in Darfur but also in conflict-wracked Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.