Statement by Minister of State Niels Annen in the Security Council meeting on the Peacekeeping Mission of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur

17.04.2019 - Speech

Dear colleagues,

Let me start by expressing how honored I feel to take part in the deliberations of this august body. Because for me personally and for my government, the Security Council, this very chamber, is at the heart of the multilateral order.

When assuming a seat at this table, our nations accept a great responsibility – the responsibility for international peace and security.

When Germany presented its candidature for a non-permanent seat, we pledged to be a strong partner in helping to forge sustainable peace.

Germany believes in the value of a long-term engagement by the international community in conflict situations such as the one we are discussing today: Darfur in Sudan.

Before I turn to UNAMID and Darfur, let me underline that we cannot address Darfur in a vacuum.

Over the last weeks, we have witnessed significant developments in Khartoum and Sudan more broadly.

Personally, I am impressed by the will and the determination of the Sudanese people to stand up peacefully for a different future.

Germany believes that these voices of the people need to be heard as Sudan charts a new way forward.

Therefore, Germany welcomes the statement of the African Union, which strongly underlines the imperative of a civilian-led and consensual political transition in Sudan.

We echo this clear political message from the region.  

And we call upon all actors in Sudan to move in this direction – with determination, with urgency, and above all: without violence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As developments unfold in Khartoum, we have to carefully consider their impact on the situation in Darfur. It is fair to say that we do not have a clear and full picture yet. 

But I believe that we as Members of the Council should carefully monitor the interplay between political developments in Khartoum and the situation in Darfur.

Reports about recent clashes in IDP camps in Darfur resulting in a number of IDPs being killed underline this point in a most deplorable way.

Turning to UNAMID, let me underline that we are dedicated to work with the United Kingdom as co-penholders, and with all of you here around the table as well as our partners in the African Union, on the way forward of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur.

For we are convinced: it is a joint responsibility of all of us here in the Council to ensure that the decade-long international engagement in Darfur and for the people of Darfur delivers concrete and lasting results.

It is in this spirit that I would like to thank our briefers today. Because they shed light on the areas of progress, but also showed us where more effort is needed.

I would like to refer in particular to reports of sexual and gender-based violence still being committed in Darfur, including by government personnel. These atrocities need to be stopped, and the perpetrators held to account.

The briefing by Assistant-Secretary Müller also highlighted that we still need to find durable solutions for the almost two-million internally displaced persons in Darfur.

This speaks to a broader point: we as international community need to remain engaged in Darfur – and we need to take a longer-term view.

Despite progress made in the last years, many of the drivers of the conflict in Darfur are yet to be comprehensively addressed.

We remain concerned about a lack of access to justice, a security sector that remains largely unchecked due to weak governance and continued reports about human rights violations.

Additional factors such as climate change potentially exacerbate tensions among the populations in Darfur and impede development and economic opportunities.  Land remains one of the key issues that have not yet been settled.   

Not all of these challenges can be addressed by a peacekeeping mission. Nor should they be.

Therefore, the transition process from peacekeeping to peacebuilding becomes increasingly important. My government is committed to playing an active role in shaping this transition. 

To us, this means focusing on the following two things:

First, we have to do everything so that UNAMID – as long as it is deployed in Darfur – delivers against the mandated tasks in the area of mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

We think that the mission has made progress working together with other UN entities over recent months, including on supporting capacity-building in the areas of rule of law and human rights, as well as in finding durable solutions for IDPs and host communities – we must keep this up.

We welcome the transition concept and commend the UN on progress on this, in particular through establishing State Liaison Functions. We must continue this work and back it up with the appropriate financial support.

Second: Germany is convinced that for the transition to be successful, we need a collaborative relationship between the decision making authorities in Sudan, the international community and the United Nations on Darfur. This must be a partnership built on mutual trust and with the common objective of sustaining peace in Darfur.

Therefore, if we want to develop a way forward for the planning post-UNAMID, it is essential that we have an in-depth conversationwith Sudan.

It needs to include the current obstacles to the functioning of UNAMID, such as access denials.

Forward looking, this conversation also has to do with strengthening capacity of rule of law institutions.

It has to be about revitalizing the political process for Darfur, and about cooperation with the international community, including through a presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or a cooperation with the Peacebuilding Commission.

And eventually, this needs to be a conversation about the government of Sudan assuming responsibility for tasks that currently lie in UNAMID’s hands.

This is not a technical exercise. This needs political engagement. Germany stands ready for this.

But clearly, as things are evolving in Khartoum, we currently do not have a counterpart on the Sudanese side to engage with in this important conversation.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, brings me back to my first remark: we cannot simply de-link the political developments in Khartoum from our joint work on UNAMID. We will have to take a close look at the time plans. Artificial timelines do not help the people in Darfur, and blindly following them might risk our investment as Members of this Council.

Our decisions on the future of UNAMID must be shaped by developments on the ground, not by budget lines. The UN Secretariat will present its thinking on this soon. We look forward to these proposals, carefully charting our way forward on UNAMID as the situation continues to evolve in Khartoum.

Lastly: Given today’s uncertainties, we see it as the responsibility of the international community, and in particular the Security Council, to make sure that once UNAMID leaves, Darfur does not relapse into conflict. We must prevent a cliff in terms of political attention; in terms of diplomatic support for mediation; in terms of practical support on key issues such as the rule-of-law, human rights and peacebuilding. This needs to be avoided. Because, frankly: we cannot afford it. 

We owe it to the people of Darfur to continue our support. This is why Germany believes that we should have a strong UN presence in Darfur once UNAMID is gone. Such a presence, in our mind, would consolidate and further advance the political, peacebuilding and development objectives in Darfur.

Thank you.

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