(Washington, D.C.) October 4, 2007: Beyond the horrific attack on the African Union military base in Haskanita, a number of significant obstacles threaten to derail the rapid deployment of the joint UN/AU protection force (UNAMID) to Darfur, according to an ENOUGH Project strategy briefing released today.
To prevent UNAMID from failing before it launches, authors John Prendergast, Colin Thomas-Jensen and Julia Spiegel argue that the international community must accompany the push for a peace agreement with more support for, and closer monitoring of, its deployment – including targeted sanctions against persons or parties intentionally impeding the operation.
The UN, in consultation with the AU, is moving quickly to amass and deploy the 26,000 military personnel and civilian police, attain sophisticated military hardware and assemble facilities and infrastructure, yet the force joint force, or UNAMID, faces three immediate impediments:
- Roadblocks thrown up by the Government of Sudan which collectively demonstrate the regime’s policy of deliberate obstruction;
- Insufficient support from the most important donors, including the U.S., which threatens to delay the deployment and hinder the force’s ability to protect civilians; and
- Uneven UN-AU collaboration because of differing capacities and disagreements over the composition of the force, which has been a source of tension since UNAMID’s authorization, could push back deployment further and could possibly complicate the force’s subsequent operation.
ENOUGH co-chair John Prendergast says, “The silver lining in this devastating attack on the AU base is that it demonstrates in dramatic fashion the urgent need for the U.S. and other donors to provide the necessary equipment and firepower which will enable the hybrid force to protect itself and Darfurian civilians.”
The paper underscores that the U.S., as a leading member of the UN Security Council and a vocal supporter of the hybrid force, has a particularly important role in ensuring these obstacles are overcome. Specifically, ENOUGH calls on the U.S. to bolster the mission now by: working with NATO and the European Union to provide the necessary equipment and logistics; pressing other nations to contribute essential hardware; and funding the U.S. share of the mission.
”A swift and fully-supported deployment is critical to providing protection for vulnerable civilians and bolstering the peace process,” says ENOUGH Policy Advisor Colin Thomas-Jensen. “The failure to muster an adequate response will fall on the shoulders of key UN member states that could and should have done much more.”
To read “How to Get the UN/AU Hybrid Force Deployed to Darfur,” go to www.enoughproject.org.