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WEST DARFUR - 18 Sep 2013

Darfuris criticise Unamid’s ‘weak mandate’

The Unamid department in West Darfur has announced that it closed its offices in the locality of Kulbus and has handed it over to the Sudanese government, as agreed within the current arrangements to reduce the peacekeeping forces in Darfur. The Association of Displaced Persons and Refugees of Darfur, however, criticises the “weak mandate” given to Unamid.

The head of the Unamid department in West Darfur state confirmed in a statement quoted by Sudanese newspapers on Tuesday, that the closure of the offices came after the full confirmation that the security situation in Kulbus locality is completely stable.

Yet, the Association of Displaced Persons and Refugees of Darfur criticised the step, considering the reduction of Unamid forces in Darfur and the closure of its office in Kulbus a matter pertaining to the UN and the AU. At the same time it criticised Unamid itself, for lacking a strong mandate to fully protect civilians.

The spokesman for the Association, Hussein Abu Sharati, told Radio Dabanga that the reduction of Unamid forces is not the issue. “The issue is the mandate the mission has to protect the civilians.” He stressed that Unamid, since its arrival has not been able to protect the citizens and the displaced, due to the weakness of the mandate given. This has led to the weakest role possible in peace keeping and protection of citizens.

Abu Sharati is requesting the UN to give full powers to the mission in order to enable it to fulfil its tasks. “Currently and in the presence of Unamid, all kinds of violations continue to happen. Crimes such as rapes, killing, and theft are rampant. The UN/AU Mission in Darfur is even unable to protect itself.”

The minister of Education of West Darfur state, Adam Yahya Bishr, has received the former Unamid offices in Kulbus during an official ceremony. He confirmed that the government of west Darfur will set up two vocational technical schools, for boys and for girls, as well as a health centre, on the spot of the closed Unamid offices, in order to “promote and develop health and educational services in Kulbus locality, West Darfur.”

File photo: Chinese Unamid peacekeepers on parade in Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)