Remarks at the UN Security Council Briefing on the UN-AU Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Deputy U.S. Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 17, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President.

And thank you, Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, for your briefing.

Mr. President, we commend the people of Sudan for their continued efforts to seek political solutions to their governance challenges, and for putting in place a civilian-led transitional government. This is not easy work, but it’s the right work.

We also recognize the important role that the UN, the AU, Ethiopia, and other international partners have played in supporting a stable transition in Sudan. The recent transitional agreement provides a foundation for civilian and democratic rule, and a clear path to timely elections. These commitments are all to the good, and we hope they will be fully honored.

Additionally, we welcome Prime Minister Hamdok’s focus on including women in all structures of power in the new government. We encourage the prime minister to ensure the full, effective, and meaningful participation of women during all stages of Sudan’s political transition. We are also encouraged by the establishment of an independent national committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the violent June 3rd crackdown on peaceful protesters in Khartoum.

However, Mr. President, despite the hope that the international community has for the transitional government, we are deeply concerned by accounts in the Secretary General’s report of increased criminality, internal displacement, and kidnapping—including of NGO workers—in Darfur. These incidents disrupt progress toward peace and diminish hope among the Sudanese people that they might go about their daily lives without fear. Mr. President, we were especially disheartened to read in the report of continued violations against children. The report mentions 84 children who were affected by “grave violations” in just four months, of whom 35 were killed and/or maimed. This is deplorable.

Mr. President, as we all know, UNAMID plays a critical role in verifying these kinds of human-rights abuses in Darfur. So, if these atrocities occur with UNAMID present, what will happen when it is gone? That is why—given UNAMID’s impending mandate expiration at the end of October—it is of such great importance that the transitional government quickly inform the Secretary General of its priorities for the mandate’s extension.

It’s also of great importance that the government forces stop using UNAMID team sites. We strongly urge the Rapid Support Forces to turn over all previous UNAMID team sites to community-based institutions. Furthermore, after reading the report, my government even more strongly urges the incorporation of gender-sensitive conflict analysis and conflict-mitigation approaches in the peace process, the UNAMID mission, and any potential follow-on mechanism.

Finally, Mr. President, we call on all parties to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to vulnerable populations as well as respect for international humanitarian law. We encourage the transitional government to work with UN partners, humanitarian actors, and affected communities to devise durable solutions for displaced Sudanese.

Mr. President, though we are concerned that it has not been strictly adhered to, there is a viable path to lasting peace in Sudan. So long as all parties remain committed to doing the right thing, we are hopeful that they can arrive at this safer, better destination.

Thank you.