UN needs to monitor violence-hit Darfur, watchdog says


A new wave of tribal clashes in Darfur since mid-November 2021 highlights the urgent need for the United Nations to enhance its scrutiny of the restive region of Sudan, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

The human rights watchdog said the UN should deploy a robust human rights monitoring presence to the area, including expertise in gender-based crimes.

A year after the withdrawal of the United Nations/African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), violence between armed groups, in some cases implicating state security forces, has been on the rise, with a devastating impact on civilians.

The violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in the war-wrecked region came as Sudan plunged into upheaval after an October military coup that removed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government.

Though Hamdok was reinstated last month in a deal with the military, Sudan’s pro-democracy movement has rejected the settlement and insists on a transition led by a purely civilian government.

Mohamed Osman, HRW’s Sudan researcher, said tribal clashes over the past year in Darfur have left “a trail of devastation” in the region.

At least 183 people were killed, and dozens wounded since October, with thousands displaced and some crossing into neighbouring Chad.

Osman called the latest violence a “stark wake-up call” for the international community to act.

“The UN’s priority should now be to ramp up human rights monitoring and ensure rigorous scrutiny of Sudan’s efforts to protect millions of Darfuris,” he said.

The Security Council terminated the UNAMID on Dec. 31, 2020 and replaced it with a much smaller and solely political mission, whose mandate will be ended in June next year. HRW said the departure of UNAMID has caused a “gap in monitoring the abuses” fueled by impunity for atrocities committed in Darfur. (Source: Arab News)