Security Council briefing on the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS) – Sudan
Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
I am grateful for the opportunity to inform you again about the situation in Sudan.
Over the past six weeks, Sudan’s political transition has gone through its biggest crisis to date. This crisis is not yet over, but discussions on the way forward have started.
The October 25 military takeover and the arrest of Prime Minister Hamdok, senior officials and political activists sparked numerous protests and condemnations. At least 44 people have been killed and hundreds injured as a result of excessive use of force by security forces. This aggravated the crisis and mobilized the so-called “street” which continues to organize regular mass protests.
In this context, I cautiously welcomed the political agreement of 21 November between Prime Minister Hamdok and Lieutenant General Burhan – which was reached after weeks of national and international efforts to find a way out of the crisis. The agreement is far from perfect, but it can help prevent further bloodshed and be a step towards a comprehensive dialogue and a return to constitutional order.
The Accord faces significant opposition from a large segment of Sudanese stakeholders, including parties and associations within the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), resistance committees, civil society organizations. civil society and women’s groups. I have met these stakeholders and others. Many feel betrayed by the coup and now reject any negotiation or partnership with the army.
The resistance committees in particular are determined to continue their protests to demand revolution and push for civilian rule. While the overwhelming majority of protesters remain peaceful, small groups that resort to violence have recently emerged.
The military takeover revealed and deepened the mistrust between the military and civilian components and within the civilian component itself. And the November 21 Agreement failed to restore the lost confidence. The decisions to come on government formation, high-level appointments and the establishment of transitional institutions will test the willingness and ability of stakeholders to seek a common way out of the crisis. In my recent meetings with General Burhan and Prime Minister Hamdok, I urged that unilateral decisions taken following the coup that violate the Constitutional Declaration be overturned or dealt with in such a way as to restore confidence among the Sudanese. This includes unilateral appointments by the military leadership.
Among other things, the Agreement of November 21 provides for the formulation of a political declaration which would presumably entail constitutional amendments. Attempts are underway within and around some political parties and movements to reach an inclusive agreement. Others, other political forces, are open to dialogue but not on the basis of the Agreement of 21 November. A lack of inclusiveness and consensus could lead to further fragmentation. Likewise, while the proposed formation of a technocratic cabinet could be a step towards advancing the transition, it can also create a constitutional challenge if it is not based on consultations with the Forces for Freedom and Freedom. change. These and other decisions are being discussed in the context of the ongoing state of emergency that General Burhan declared on October 25.
Addressing these and other fundamental questions will require dialogue and possibly consensus. We have made it clear that UNITAMS is ready to facilitate an inclusive dialogue, both to address unresolved issues for the transitional period and to address broader constitutional issues as part of the constitution-making process. I consulted widely to determine the scope and terms of our engagement.
Above all, Sudan’s military and political leaders will need to rebuild trust with their own national audiences, especially with the younger generation. Immediate confidence-building measures and a visible commitment to put the country back on the path to democratic transition will be essential. Likewise, the Sudanese authorities will have to take concrete measures to regain the financial, economic and political support of the international community.
Progress in this regard can be measured against a small number of clear and generally acceptable indicators in the short to medium term.
In the immediate term, the main indicator has been the release of all political detainees, the cessation of arbitrary arrests and the guarantee of the right to demonstrate and to assemble peacefully. Almost all of the civilians arrested since the coup have now been released, which is a welcome step. Temporary arbitrary arrests are said to continue, particularly during ongoing protests.
Military and civilian leaders have pledged to investigate the use of deadly violence against protesters. Responsibility for the human rights violations perpetrated since 25 October will therefore be seen as an essential indicator of progress and could help restore confidence.
Three important short-term indicators will be the Prime Minister’s ability to freely form his technocratic cabinet according to the provisions of the Constitutional Document, the lifting of the state of emergency and the restoration of press freedom.
Over the next few months, the main indicator of a return to a democratic transition path will be the restoration of political space. This is especially important in light of the stated goal of political and military leaders to hold free and fair elections, perhaps even sooner than originally planned. The authorities will need to ensure an atmosphere conducive to credible elections that the United Nations and other international actors can then support. Indicators of such a favorable atmosphere will include an independent electoral commission, an inclusive law on political parties, the freedom of political parties and movements to organize, campaign and have access to the media, and the guarantee of rights. humans.
Recent events have also highlighted the lack of functioning justice institutions and the vacuum they leave in dealing with and preventing serious human rights violations. In addition, the Transitional Legislative Council with 40% women, as stipulated in the Constitutional Declaration, has not yet been formed.
I continue to call on the Sudanese authorities to ensure the meaningful participation of women in the political process, in the government that has not yet been formed, and in all efforts to end the current crisis. My team and I meet regularly with women’s groups from all over Sudan to hear their political and security concerns. Their message is clear: it is impossible to reverse hard-won gains in women’s rights, and they ask for the support of the international community in this regard.
We, UNITAMS, will closely monitor and report on all of these critical indicators.
The security situation remains fragile outside Khartoum. I am deeply concerned by the resurgence of inter-community conflicts and armed banditry in Darfur, Blue Nile and Kordofan. The United Nations has received reports of a significant increase in the killings of civilians, destruction of property and displacement, as well as sexual violence against women and girls. In Darfur this year, around eight times more people have been displaced than last year. The continuing insecurity in Darfur underscores the need to prioritize the protection of civilians and swiftly implement the provisions of the Juba Peace Agreement. The training and deployment of joint security maintenance forces and the operationalization of the national plan for the protection of civilians must be undertaken without delay. The situation in the East will also remain unstable if a political solution is not found quickly.
It is important that the Sudanese authorities fulfill their primary responsibility to protect civilians in their territories, regardless of the political crisis.
In the aftermath of the coup, the donors’ decision to withhold international development assistance has a significant impact on the livelihoods of the Sudanese people and risks undermining the hard-won achievements of the past two years. Humanitarian activities continue, although some humanitarian services provided through government mechanisms, such as health-related services, have been discontinued. United Nations development activities remain strongly impacted, thus exacerbating vulnerability and humanitarian needs. One of the main programs affected is the Family Support Program, which was supposed to provide cash transfers to more than 11 million vulnerable Sudanese.
The Sudanese authorities must of course demonstrate their commitment to return to a credible constitutional order in order to regain the confidence of the international community to resume international financial assistance.
But at the same time, I would like to urge you and the entire international community to take a balanced approach and not to suspend aid for too long and to consider the rapid resumption of funding in certain areas, in particular the support for health services and livelihoods, to ensure that the Sudanese people do not continue to bear the brunt of the political crisis.
I thank the Council for its continued support to UNITAMS, which continues to fulfill its mandate in the context of the challenges facing the Sudan. The main areas of action of the Mission remain relevant and, in some cases, have been accelerated. In addition to redoubling our good offices efforts, the work of UNITAMS on human rights and support for the protection of civilians is even more critical in this volatile time and will be strengthened. The Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Mechanism, chaired by UNITAMS, has been active throughout this period with the support of both the military component and the armed groups that signed the Peace Agreement. Juba.
The UN in Sudan is also ready to support a credible and inclusive constitutional process and elections once a roadmap for these processes has been agreed. Organizing elections in Sudan will be a complex undertaking, and the United Nations looks forward to cooperation and collaboration with international partners. I would like to stress the importance of continued support for the Mission and the full realization of its network on the ground to enable our efforts in the conflict zones of the country.
The unwavering commitment of Sudanese men and women to achieve democratic governance led by civilians cannot be ignored. They made immense sacrifices to realize their aspirations for freedom, peace and justice enshrined in a democratic state ruled by civilians. They have stayed and seem to be steadfast in their resolve.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the continued commitment of UNITAMS to help the Sudanese people achieve these aspirations and to thank this Council for its support of our efforts.
Thank you very much, thank you very much.