Sudan wants the exit of the UN Peacekeepers in Darfur and they want it now.
The United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission with the aim of stabilizing the war torn Darfur region in western Sudan.
The peace-keeping mission consists of over 20,000 personnel from over 30 countries. UNAMID was deployed in 2007 and are seeking to renew its mission for another year to the reluctance of the Sudanese government.
In 2003 the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began warring with the Sudanese government. The reason being that they felt the Sudanese government ruled by president Omar al-Bashir were oppressing Darfur’s non-Arab population.
The Sudanese government in turn retaliated against the rebel groups by performing an ethnic cleansing ritual that resulted in the deaths and expulsion of millions of civilians from their homes.
For these acts of atrocities, the International Criminal Court charged long time president of Sudan Omar al-Bashir for perpetrating crimes against humanity.
The Sudanese government are now rejecting the extension of UNAMID stating that Darfur is no longer in chaos.
“It’s time to say goodbye to the UNAMID mission,” Sudan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kamal Ismail said last week.
“This mission came to protect civilians, but now there is no danger to civilians, there is no conflict in Darfur.”
The Sudanese government also insists that a referendum which was held in Darfur in April testifies to the end of violence in the region. The referendum was to decide on the permanent administrative status of Darfur, either as a unified region– the way it was before 1994– or as a region divided into five states. It resulted in the maintenance of the status quo in the region.
UNAMID Still Needed In Darfur?
UNAMID officials however insist that the situation in Darfur is still a cause for concern although violence has decreased in recent years.
“There is massive displacement still happening in Darfur,” a foreign diplomat monitoring the situation told AFP, on condition of anonymity. The foreign diplomat also added that UNAMID cannot leave until the UN approves that the rehabilitation benchmark of the peace-keeping mission has been achieved.
Minister Ismail however reiterates that the Sudanese government can maintain peace in Darfur when UNAMID leaves. He also added that the peace-keeping mission in Darfur is a waste of money which could be used to fund other projects.