At the end of January 2016, the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations updated the UN Security Council on the work of UNAMID. In essence, the report unveils further instances of clashes between armed groups and non-cooperation by the Sudanese government.

The Under-Secretary General presents the Secretary General’s last report on UNAMID (S/2015/1027). In the time of reporting, clashes had not been numerous. This is supposed to be due to the rain season. Nevertheless, the situation is far from resolved and clashes still happen. Most importantly, several rebel fractions engage in attacks against Sudanese armed forces while the government had declared an unilateral ceasefire. Noteworthy is the fact that the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) did not engage in attacks. The reasons for this remain uncertain.

With regard to the peace process, no substantial progress has been made. Too many opposition groups refrain from the dialogue or are boycotting it for political reasons.

The Under-Secretary General reports also on the humanitarian situation. He highlights that several thousand persons have been displaced during the last weeks. This adds up to an already existing challenge: In April 2016 a referendum is scheduled to take place. Voters will be asked on the administrative status of Darfur. The challenge is, however, to register voters and to let them actually vote. With a very large number of internally displaced persons, this task becomes rather impossible.

The operation of UNAMID itself is not running smoothly. For one, UNAMID convoys and personnel are attacked regularly. Moreover, access to specific areas is still limited by the Sudanese Government. This does not only hold true for actual access on the ground but also into Sudan itself: Visa requests by the UN for UN staff are denied on a regular basis. As consequence, UNAMID suffers from a “high vacancy rate in key substance sections”, as the Under-Secretary General reports.

To summarize, UNAMID is still confronted with old obstacles. A solution is not in sight.

Update 4 February 2016: According to a recent press release, Sudan’s national dialogue conference calls to postpone the referendum (see here).

Update 9 February 2016: Yesterday began voter registration for the referendum. However, Sudan’s IDP association calls to boycott the referendum (here).

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