Forty Six NGOs, including our member United to End Genocide, urge Ambassador Power to Act on UNAMID
United to End Genocide
Tom Andrews, President
25 April 2014
Dear Ambassador Power:
A recent series of articles in Foreign Policy magazine on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has brought to light many disturbing allegations about the nature of interference by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the honesty with which UNAMID officials are reporting events on the ground from Darfur. In light of these allegations, we write to urge you to lead the UN Security Council in demanding a full investigation and to take steps to address the identified problems.
The information recently made available indicates that UNAMID has collected extensive evidence of the Government of Sudan’s involvement in serious crimes, including aerial attacks and the continued use of Janjaweed proxy militias to target civilians, in violation of UNSC Resolutions 1591 (2005) and 1556 (2004). UNAMID officials have allegedly withheld much of this evidence from the public and from other United Nations entities, including the Security Council.
Furthermore, despite systematic GoS attacks on UNAMID’s own troops, UNAMID officials have repeatedly suppressed evidence of government involvement in these incidents. Even where there is clear evidence implicating GoS in deliberate attacks against civilians—often through the use of proxy Janjaweed militias—the United Nations has publicly assigned responsibility to “unidentified assailants” or used other misnomers to create a false distance between the Bashir regime and the Janjaweed it controls.
When you wrote about Darfur as a journalist for The New Yorker in 2004, you criticized President Bush and Kofi Annan for remaining silent as the genocide unfolded. At that time, you also appealed for an international peacekeeping and protection presence. You wrote of survivors in Kalma Camp who feared that African troops were susceptible to bribes and would side with Khartoum, instead of offering meaningful protection from Bashir and his Janjaweed.
A decade later, displaced Darfurians are still calling for meaningful protection from these same actors—and as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, you have the power to answer this call. Millions of civilians displaced by genocide in Darfur have lost confidence in UNAMID and are seeking action from the Security Council.
The most recent claims against UNAMID undermine the United Nations’ credibility and present important foreign policy implications for the United States, which has been a major proponent of the UNAMID mission and provides a significant proportion of its budget.
We welcomed the spirit of UNSC Resolution 2148 in “encouraging UNAMID to move to a more preventive and pre-emptive posture in pursuit of its priorities,” including the protection of civilians, but we are deeply concerned about the ability and willingness of UNAMID to carry out those priorities—particularly in light of the recent reports.
Read the full letter here.