Political Reports

Why Darfur Deserves a Special Attention? (2-2)

Amani Africa- Sudan Events

Other parts of Darfur are also experiencing increasing levels of violence. It is reported that the RSF has stepped up attacks elsewhere in Darfur in attempt to ascertain its dominance in Darfur. The outbreak of clashes in North Darfur, in Tawila town on 16 June, led to killing and injury of civilians, including internally displaced people and widespread displacement.
While much of the diplomatic attention is focused on the fighting between SAF and RSF generally, this should not lead to overlooking the specificities of the conflict dynamics in Darfur that warrant its own attention and intervention.
The nature and the scale of the violence as well as its impact on civilians of the targeted communities raises risks of a repeat of the genocidal violence of the previous Darfur war. What makes the situation particularly dangerous is that those being attacked are not receiving any protection from the SAF, which reportedly withdrew from El Geneina. On 13 June, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, released a statement warning that the violence in El Geneina could amount to crimes against humanity. He indicated an ‘emerging pattern of large-scale targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnic identities, allegedly committed by Arab militias and some armed men in Rapid Support Force (RSF)’s uniform.’
The PSC has both a legal and historical responsibility. The situation in Sudan, involving the war in Darfur and the north-South conflict, has attracted the most attention from the PSC. Since 2004, the PSC dedicated the largest number of sessions to Sudan pursuant to Amani Africa’s database.
Nearly 2/3 of PSC sessions on Sudan were tied to Darfur. Darfur was the first of conflict situations that featured on the agenda of the PSC when the PSC became operational in March 2004. It is also here with respect to the conflict in Darfur that PSC deployed various conflict management and resolution tools.
The first peace support operation that the PSC deployed was the AU Mission to Sudan (AMIS) that provided the first international presence in Darfur, contributing to reduction of violence against civilians. It is also here that the PSC for the first time established a high-level panel, the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD) which later became AU High-level Panel on Sudan (AUHIP), setting an example for the high-level panel as a model of AU’s diplomatic action for mediation and peace-making.
The nature of the violence in Darfur involving mass atrocities including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing legally implicate PSC’s action. Additionally, the role the PSC played with respect to the Darfur war also places historical responsibility for it to pay special attention to Darfur. Urgent action by the PSC can contribute towards averting the situation in Darfur from spiralling completely out of control. This the PSC can accomplish at the very least through convening a dedicated session for mobilizing diplomatic and humanitarian attention and action the situation in Darfur demands.

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