Russia blocked U.S. and U.K. efforts to address conflict-affected natural resources—especially gold—earlier this week at the U.N. Security Council. On Wednesday, the Sudan Sanctions Committee met to review the final report of its Panel of Experts. The Panel’s report included overwhelming evidence of the link between the illicit gold trade and continued conflict and instability in Darfur. Despite these findings and the Panel’s recommendation to add sanctions designations for individuals and entities engaged in the illegal exploitation or trafficking of gold and other minerals, Russia refused to acknowledge these findings and has blocked the public release of this report.
“It is deeply disappointing that Russia, China, and other elected members of the Security Council refuse to recognize the findings of the Panel of Experts that clearly link the illicit gold trade to continued violence and instability in Darfur. By doing so, these Security Council members undermine important efforts to bring peace and stability to Darfur and allow those profiting from this illicit trade to continue doing so with impunity.”
– John Prendergast, Enough Project Founding Director
Following the Council’s vote, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power expressed her disappointment with this outcome and urged the Security Council and “those who value the integrity and transparency of the work of the Security Council and its committees, to allow for this report to be published as soon as possible.”
In Khartoum, the Government of Sudan summoned U.S. Charge d’Affaires Jerry Lanier over U.S. support for including conflicted-affected gold language to the sanctions resolution. Despite Russian-led inaction at the Security Council, violence and conflict continues in Darfur, as the U.N. estimates that fighting has displaced nearly 45,000 people in Darfur in January and February 2016. In total, an estimated 2.6 million people remain displaced in Darfur due to conflict.
For more information on gold and Darfur, read our 2015 policy report, Fool's Gold: The Case for Scrutinizing Sudan's Conflict Gold Trade, and Sudan Gold Brief.