Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

Six Months Since 1769

January 2008

Africa Policy Information Center


Since 2003, the United Nations have passed nineteen Resolutions on Darfur, including Security Council Resolution 1706, the only instance in history of a UN peacekeeping mission that was authorized and failed to deploy. On July 31, 2007, Security Council Resolution 1769 again authorized a multinational UN-led peacekeeping force for Darfur - the "hybrid" African Union/United Nations operation termed UNAMID. UNAMID officially assumed control of peacekeeping operations in Darfur on December 31, 2007, however, its deployment is well behind the timetable laid out by the Security Council. Force Commander General Martin Agwai and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno have continued to warn that unless 2008 sees a substantial change in international action, UNAMID risks succumbing to Khartoum's obstructionism and facing a similar aborted fate as its predecessor mission authorized by Resolution 1706 .

UN blue helmets now mark the several thousand peacekeepers stationed in Darfur, but over the past six months the humanitarian situation there has gotten substantially worse than in early 2007. Levels of malnutrition have reached UN-defined emergency levels for the first time since 2004, the Sudanese government has pursued out a brutal campaign to dismantle some of the region's largest internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, and there international aid workers have been forced to dramatically scale back operations.

Since Resolution 1769 was passed, the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated. Peacekeepers wearing the green uniforms of the African Union were attacked and killed by Darfuri rebels. In another incident, peacekeepers driving in clearly marked UN vehicles were attacked with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). Ordinary Darfuris have been assaulted and murdered by Janjaweed militia, bombarded by Khartoum's helicopter gunships, shot to death by government soldiers, and brutalized by rebels and opportunistic criminals within the camps where they reside.

Since July 31, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon visited Darfur and President Bush appointed a new U.S. special envoy for Sudan. Both these leaders and many others in the international community have made sweeping statements about the urgency of deploying the hybrid UNAMID force. Expectations in IDP camps about the promise of stability UN troops bring have risen only to be continually disappointed by the glacial pace of the mission's deployment.

In the broader context of the whole country of Sudan, the six months since UNAMID was authorized have seen a series of critical political challenges. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the 20-year civil war between North and South Sudan almost collapsed during this period, with South Sudanese ministers temporarily withdrawing from their seats in government. While Sudan's power-sharing Government of National Unity (GNU) appears shored up for the moment, the dominant National Congress Party (NCP) in the Khartoum regime continues to refuse to honor its commitments to implement essential measures of the CPA.

The following report offers a month-by-month account of the status of UN Security Council Resolution 1769 since its passage on July 31 2007 and the failure of the international community to protect the people of Darfur. In keeping with Africa Action's emphasis on understanding and responding to the genocide in Darfur within the broader context of Sudan's multiple conflicts, this timeline also includes critical events in Sudan outside of the western province of Darfur