Status on the United Nations - African Union Peacekeeping Force in Darfur, Sudan
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 37
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 1 OF 27 FEBRUARY 2008
MR A J LEON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
(1) Whether the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur is sufficiently strong and equipped to meet and implement its mandate from the United Nations Security Council; if not, which factors led to this conclusion; if so, on what basis was this opinion formed;
(2) Whether the Government has expressed any concerns or taken any action in respect of the attack by Sudanese army troops on a peacekeepers’ convoy in January 2008; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(3) Whether the Government has expressed its concern to the government of Sudan over the appointment of a certain person (name furnished) to a senior position in its government; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(4) Whether, in November 2006, the South African representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council voted against a resolution calling for all parties, including the Sudanese government, to bring to justice those responsible for killing, raping and injuring civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what was the basis for this decision? NO631E
The UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is facing challenges. These include the slow deployment of troops, and the lack of essential logistics and equipment, particularly helicopters. A positive development regarding the deployment of UNAMID is that on 09 February 2008, the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Deng Alor and the United Nations African Union Joint Special Representative, Mr Rudolphe Adada, signed the Status of the African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur Agreement which will govern the day-to-day operations of UNAMID. The signing of the agreement is considered an important step towards the full deployment of UNAMID.
Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad in his media briefing of 16 January 2008 expressed concern regarding the attack of the UNAMID convoy. In this regard he stated, “It is also a matter of concern that a UNAMID convoy of more than 20 marked vehicles was attacked by the Sudanese Army, as the convoy moved from Un Baru to Tine in West Darfur” (see page 2 0f Annex B).
Furthermore, South Africa fully subscribes to the condemnation of the attack by the UN Security Council in its presidential statement S/PRST/2008/1 (see page 3 of Annex B).
The appointment of a person to a government of a State is a sovereign decision by the government of the State concerned. South Africa cannot interfere in who the Sudan appoints in its government.
At the resumed second session of the UN Human Rights Council in November 2006, both the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) simultaneously introduced two separate resolutions addressing the situation of human rights in Darfur. The key difference between the two resolutions was largely on the use of language addressing the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war by the pro-Government militia and the armed groups in Darfur.
As a result, the UN Human Rights Council encouraged both the AU and the EU to hold negotiations with a view to merge their resolutions into one. After lengthy negotiations, the two groups reached a deadlock. The deadlock was precipitated by disagreements on reference to UN Security Council Resolutions on the question of impunity for human rights violations in Darfur and bringing of perpetrators to justice.
Subsequently, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the AU sponsored resolution addressing grave violations of human rights in Darfur. This resolution was adopted on 28 November 2006. The EU and its allies voted against the resolution while the African countries and other countries in Asia and Latin America voted in favour of the resolution. The resolution is attached for ease of reference.
Human Rights Council
Decision 2/115. Darfur
The Human Rights Council decides to adopt the following text:
“1. The Human Rights Council welcomes the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in Abuja as well as the measures already taken towards its implementation. It calls on all parties that have not yet done so to sign the Agreement, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;
“2. The Council notes with concern the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur and calls on all parties to put an immediate end to the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, with a special focus on vulnerable groups, including women and children, while not hindering the return of all internally displaced persons to their homes;
“3. The Council notes that the Darfur Peace Agreement stipulates the principles of enhancing accountability and preventing impunity. It calls on all parties to uphold the principles which are equally applicable to States and non-State actors and to cooperate fully in the implementation of the Agreement;
“4. The Council calls on all parties, whether they have signed the Darfur Peace Agreement or failed to do so, to ensure full and unfettered access by monitors of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights deployed in the Sudan to all places where they have duties to discharge and to ensure the full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need in Darfur;
“5. The Council welcomes the cooperation established by the Government of the Sudan with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, and calls upon the Government to continue and intensify its cooperation with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms;
“6. The Council calls upon the international community at large and donor countries and peace partners in particular to honour their pledges of support and to provide urgent and adequate financial and technical assistance to the Government of Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights.”
Adopted by a recorded vote of 25 to 11,
with 10 abstentions
28 November 2006
[In favour: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia.
Against: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Abstaining: Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Mauritius, Peru, Republic of Korea, Uruguay, Zambia.]