Status of the African Union Observer Mission in the Darfur Region of Sudan that Addresses the Humanitarian Crisis and Ensures International Assistance in Ending the Crisis

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO 111

STANDING OVER FROM 3 NOVEMBER 2004 [INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 9]

MR DHM GIBSON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

1) Whether the African Union Observer Mission in the Darfur region of Sudan, established under the authority of the African Union, is to be expanded; if not, why not; if so, (a) what is the anticipated date of such deployment, (b) how many troops are likely to be committed and (c) what will the mandate of the expanded force be;
2) Whether the Government has taken specific steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Darfur in relation to the Sudanese government, the African Union and the United Nations respectively; if not why not;
3) Whether the Government accepts the assertion made by the leaders of Chad, Egypt and Libya, Nigeria and Sudan that the crisis is an absolute African issue; if not, why not; if so, what are the implications of this position for ensuring international assistance in ending the crisis in Darfur?
N1326E

REPLY:

1. Yes

The process of expansion of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has started. The mandate of AMIS has not changed. AMIS will comprise between 3000 - 4000 military, police and civilian personnel.

2. Yes

In August 2004, the Gift of the Givers with the assistance of DFA, delivered two planeloads of food and medicine in El-Geneina on the border with Chad, where thousands of displaced persons have congregated. This consignment was followed by the delivery of 30 tons of relief goods in mid-September by the African Muslim Agency, with the financial and logistical support of DFA. The Department contributed an amount of US$115 600 to pay the costs of chartering an aircraft to transport this humanitarian aid consignment. Another consignment is scheduled to depart in the near future to deliver humanitarian aid in Chad where over 220 000 refugees are settled. Furthermore, during the financial year 2003/4, DFA contributed an amount of R222 141 to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for its work with refugees in Darfur.

The delivery of this aid is a response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region and the plea for humanitarian assistance by the UN and the AU.

3. Yes

The EU, the US and the international community at large have reiterated the fact that Africa should take the lead in resolving the Darfur conflict situation, particularly in the deployment of forces in Darfur. For example, the UN Security Council, in both resolution 1 556 (2004) and 1 564 (2004) welcomed "the leadership role and the engagement of the AU in addressing the situation in Darfur." It also urged, "Member States to support the AU in [its] efforts…." South Africa supports the consensus within the international community that the AU takes the lead in the resolution of the conflict situation in Darfur, particularly, the deployment of peacekeeping forces, and that these efforts by the AU should be financially supported by the donor community.

This is also in line with the principles and objectives of the AU and the African Renaissance, as well as the concept of "African Solution to African Challenges", which enjoys the support of the international community.

Annexure A

Following are the tasks to be carried out by AMIS under the expanded mandate:

Quote:

  • Monitor and verify the provision of security for returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and in the vicinity of existing IDP camps;
  • Monitor and verify the cessation of all hostile acts by all the Parties;
  • Monitor and verify hostile militia activities against the population;
  • Monitor and verify efforts of the GoS to disarm Government controlled militias;
  • Investigate and report about allegations of violations of the Humanitarian Cease-fire Agreement;
  • Protect civilians whom it encounters under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity, within resources and capability, it being understood that the protection of the civilian population is the responsibility of the GoS;
  • Protect both static and mobile humanitarian operations under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity, within capabilities;
  • Provide visible military presence by patrolling and by the establishment of temporary outposts in order to deter uncontrolled armed groups from committing hostile acts against the population;
  • Assist in the development of proactive public confidence-building measures;
  • Establish and maintain contact with the Sudanese police authorities;
  • Establish and maintain contact with the Sudanese police authorities;
  • Establish and maintain contact with community leaders to receive complaints or seek advice on the issues of concerns;
  • Observe, monitor and report the effective service delivery of the local police;
  • Investigate and report all matters of police non-compliance with the Humanitarian Cease-fire Agreement.

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