On May 5, the Government of Khartoum reached a peace agreement with the largest faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement to settle dispute in Darfur. Different views appeared about this agreement, and on how far it can establish peace and Justice to the people of Darfur. The Agreement, as a matter of fact, came out as a result of tremendous pressure put on the government and the armed opposition, satisfying an international community’s desire to stop the bloodshed in this region and the grave humanitarian repercussions of war. The agreement, however, could not defuse tension in Darfur; rather, both Darfurians and the Sudanese political opposition expressed objection to the agreement, accusing it of being fragile and unable to get to the roots of the conflict in the region. The opposition, moreover, blamed the mechanisms of monitoring implementation of the agreement for being both vague and weak. Besides, humanitarian situations are still worsening as civilians still suffer from intermittent attacks of the government-backed militias – more than a million and a half Sudanese are now either asylum seekers or internally displaced suffering from very deplorable humanitarian conditions. The Security Council’s resolution 1706, stipulating deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur, after approval of the Sudanese government, has opened extensive discussions on the motivations behind it, and the adamant stand of the government on its implementation. Is this resolution – widely supported by the International Community – meant to menace the Sudanese sovereignty or to put an end to the ulcerated humanitarian crisis in Darfur? What benefit is there for the government of Sudan to refuse to implement the resolution? What role do the League of Arab States and the Arab governments play in solving the crisis? What are the other options available to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur? And finally, how do the Darfurians see the deployment of multinational forces on their land? Within this context, and in celebration of the Darfur World Day, CIHRS held a seminar on “Human Rights Crisis in Darfur and Repercussions of Security Council’s Resolution 1706”.
Participants included Mr. Ahmed Dahiya, Sudanese researcher; Dr. Iglal Raafat, Professor of Political Science, Cairo University; and Dr Gamal Abdelgawwad, expert in al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS). The seminar was moderated by Moataz El fegiery, CIHRS Programs Director.
Starting the debates, Ahmed Dahiya argued that the unclear powers assigned to the international forces that the UN plans to deploy in Darfur, under Resolution 1706, item 7 of the UN Charter, is taken by the government of Sudan as a pretext to justify disapproval of the resolution.
The government now, he added, chooses among unfavorable options; the best of which is to accept implementing Resolution 1706 providing the deployment of the international forces in Darfur. Dahiya, at the same time, affirmed that this is the only solution available to preserve the Darfurians’ right to life, which is, by all measures, more important than the right to national sovereignty. This, however, does not mean that international forces are welcomed, but, this is the conventional way of settling disputes all over the world. The crisis would worsen if the option armed confrontation with the international forces was taken, he added.
Dahiya pointed out that the Sudanese regime is trying to adopt the Iranian regime’s technique in dealing with the international community, unaware that it, actually, does not have any vested power to maneuver the international community.
Analyzing the attitudes of the different political powers in Sudan towards the Resolution, Dr Iglal Raafat pointed out that stands vary between approval and disapproval, and an in-between attitude taken by some in a bid to compromise those in favor and those not in favor.
It is only the ruling National Conference Party that disapproves the resolution, Rafaat argued. The Head of the South Government and vice-president of the Sudan, Salva Kiir, on the contrary, find the resolution favorable, she explained.
In a scathing remark explaining the motivations of the Sudanese government behind disapproving the resolution, Iglal contended that the list of the 51 criminals of war, which is said to include a number of Sudanese government members, might be the real reason behind the concerns about deploying, under item 7, international forces which are allowed to use force, and which might be ordered to arrest a number of those people and bring them to the International Criminal Court.
Pointing out that Khalil Ibrahim, Chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement, does not approve of the international forces intervention, Iglal explained that Ibrahim sees that such forces will have to implement the Abuja Agreement which the Justice and Equality does not recognize. The reasons tribes of Arab origins in Darfur refuse international intervention are mostly sociocultural – they believe that these forces will be in favor of the tribes of African origins against their best interests.
Iglal added that the Sudan Liberation Army’s commander does not refuse the resolution, while he has some remarks that he sent to the UN Secretary-General, the purport of which is that the UN is addressing the Darfur Crisis as a security issue, while it is primarily political. He also objects to disarming the Sudan Liberation Army, and to likening it to the Janjaweed Militias, which committed scores of war crimes in Darfur. On the other hand, Minawy, Assistant to the President, declared that he approves of the resolution, which he finds as a marked success to the struggle of the Darfurians.
Referring to the changed Egyptian government’s stand – which used to be in favor of the Sudanese government along the line – Iglal argued that Egypt should have taken a specific regional stance; it could have mediated between the government of Sudan and the international community so that intervention of the international forces could have been coordinated with the Sudanese government to avoiding clashes.
Even though Item 7 entitles international forces to access a said country without prior permission of its authorities, Raafat added, that’s because the international community’s approach of addressing the crisis stems from deep recognition of the risk behind intervention against the will of the Sudanese government. With the steady mobilization of individuals and soldiers, a confrontation with the Sudanese government will definitely wreak massacres. The solution, then, is implementing the Security Council’s Resolution to inject blood in Darfur.
Taking the floor, Dr Gamal Abdel-Gawwad, affirmed, first and foremost, that what is happening in Sudan is like paying off overdue bills – the government failed to remedy several problems or settle numerous dossiers, among which is the problem of the minorities; what could have been economically remedied earlier has become costly now! The approach into solving the problem of the South constituted a message to the opposition in Darfur; the purport of the message is that the Darfurian opposition will not obtain their wasted rights to power and wealth except if they take up the hatchet.
If violence was a means to building a state in the past, it is different now. There are new more humanitarian concepts that the Sudanese government could not absorb nor develop taking into account the developments in the world around, the matter which led to its failure to build the state.
The Sudanese government, however, committed itself to certain options that are too hard to back out, especially after massively mobilizing and agitating the Sudanese people, the matter which bodes great danger to the Darfurians.
Abdelgawwad pinpointed that the government failed to implement the Abuja Agreement for lack of necessary resources and misinterpretation of the provisions. However, the government still has an opportunity to rely on this agreement as a viable issue, and an effective way to ease tensions.
Addressing the allegation that Egypt may be endangered if resolution 1706 is implemented, Abdelgawwad explained that developments over the last years show that the real danger against Egypt comes from the failed neighbors exporting their failure to us, rather than from cooperation with the international community. In this context, he stressed that fears inherited from the erstwhile radical epochs should be cast away from the international community.
This post is also available in: العربية