UNITAMS On Operationalizing Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee

UNITAMS On Operationalizing Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee

Volker Perthes

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Volker Perthes, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) on Sunday addressed the opening session of the 2-day UN sponsored meetings of the Technical committee on operationalizing the Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee of Juba peace agreement for peace in Sudan. 

Following is the full text of the statement:

SRSG’s remarks for Technical Consultative Meeting
For Operationalizing the Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee of the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan

5-6 September 2021

Al Salam Rotana Hotel, Khartoum

Excellencies Minister of Defence, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to have you here today in this Technical Consultative Meeting.

Our aim is to take a first step toward operationalizing the Permanent Ceasefire Committee for Darfur, which was stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement of October 2020.
Just as the 2018 Revolution has brought fundamental, positive change to Sudan and its people, the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement is a significant achievement for those committed to peace, justice and stability in Sudan. For many Sudanese in conflict-affected areas, the Agreement has brought hope that their children and grandchildren may be spared the scourge of war as Sudan begins to address the root causes of the conflict in Darfur.

It is in this spirit that the United Nations welcomed the decrees issued by the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which set in motion the Permanent Ceasefire Committee for Darfur and designated UNITAMS to serve as the Chair of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee and related five sectoral committees. The United Nations Security Council in resolution 2579 (2021) also has emphasized ceasefire monitoring in Darfur as a priority area for UNITAMS’ support to Sudan, in line with the role envisaged for the UN in the Juba Peace Agreement.

UNITAMS is fully committed to fulfill this role as Chair of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee. Our team here today is composed of UNITAMS and UN colleagues in NY who have been working to support UNITAMS since the decree was issued. I am also happy that we have with us here Major General (ret.) Sandeep Bajaj, whom we recruited to serve as our chair of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is much distance to be covered for Sudan to truly realize peace, stability and development. At its core, the Permanent Ceasefire Committee is intended to be the first step in maintaining peace between the signatories to the Juba Agreement. It will serve as the main mechanism for the efforts of monitoring, verification, and implementation of the permanent ceasefire on the ground. It will be accountable to the Joint High Military Committee for Security Arrangements, which supervises its activities.

In the lead up to today, UNITAMS has started to hold preparatory consultations with all the stakeholders, including the military, the Armed movements signatories, civil society, women’s protection networks and others to hear their concerns and needs and how they can contribute to making this an effective Ceasefire committee.

We also heard high expectations of the Committee and also misplaced expectations, namely around protection of civilians. 

Let me take this opportunity to remind that the Permanent Ceasefire Committee is not and cannot be a substitute for the forces envisioned in the National Plan for Civilian Protection nor the Joint Security Keeping Forces, who has as its core mandate – the protection of civilians.
Needless to say, the Permanent Ceasefire Committee will need to coordinate with these entities, as well as the state security committees, to help promote security and peace and ensure smooth and effective operations that can contribute to overall stability and an environment conducive to utmost protection for civilians in Darfur.

Let us also be clear too - the success of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee is tied to the other security arrangements in the JPA and no matter how effective the PCC strives to be, it cannot alone bring peace and security to Darfur. It is absolutely critical that all security arrangements provided for in the Juba Peace Agreement are implemented.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Indeed, in recent months, we have witnessed a worrying resurgence of violence in Darfur with significant loss of life - in El Geneina, Tawila and Sortony just a few weeks ago and more recently violence in Nyala, all sad reminders that the situation is extremely fragile and needs urgent attention.

The recent violence is also a stark reminder of the need for the standing up and deployment of the joint Security Keeping Forces as soon as possible. I welcome the establishment of the Joint High Military Committee for Security Arrangements and look forward to participating in its deliberations as we operationalize the Permanent Ceasefire Committee.

Other elements of the Juba Peace Agreement should also be implemented in a timely fashion including the provisions related to women’s participation in the security sector and in decision-making, establishment of critical Commissions, and the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms. UNITAMS will continue with its efforts to urge all non-signatories to join the peace process.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is true that Sudan’s challenges are immense, but it is also true that you, its people are highly capable and filled with hope and possibility, the same possibility envisioned in the 2018 Revolution and as envisioned in the Juba Peace agreement for Darfur and for Sudan. UNITAMS stands ready to support the realization of these Sudanese visions.

Thank you.

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