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«Annex XIII: UN Security Council Resolutions Concerning Darfur and Sudan Eric Reeves Madeline Zehnder, research and editing Preface There is of course ...»

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An Archival History of Greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012

Annex XIII:

UN Security Council Resolutions

Concerning Darfur and Sudan

Eric Reeves

Madeline Zehnder, research and editing


There is of course a great deal to be said about the degree to which the UN Security Council, and the UN more generally, has become hopelessly dysfunctional as

a diplomatic and political body. The absurdity of having five veto-wielding Permanent Members—all by virtue of their status immediately following World War II—is continually put on shameful display, whether in Syria, Rwanda, Burma, Tibet, the former Yugoslavia, or Sudan. The failures are in fact more numerous than suggested by votes on actual resolutions: all too often Permanent Members don’t force votes on issues—even key issues of conscience—in order not to provoke vetoes by others, since vetoes are generally perceived as harmful to the status of the Security Council as a whole. More broadly, the idea that the United Kingdom, for example, should retain its Permanent Member status (by virtue of a shared military victory in 1945) and India be relegated to an occasional rotating position, without veto-power, is absurd by any geopolitical standard.

It would be difficult to argue that in the wake of Rwanda the UN has failed more badly than in greater Sudan. And as always, the Security Council leaves a paper trail in the form of resolutions that are typically meaningless, often hypocritical, but they have nonetheless been approved—typically after expedient compromises—in sanctimonious style. Given the penchant of the major powers to select as SecretaryGeneral a pliant, indeed spineless candidate—as the one least likely to offend Russia, China, or the U.S.—there is little hope that the Secretariat as a whole can become an effective counter-weight to the Security Council. Ban Ki-moon, who came into office promising to make Darfur a “signature issue,” would seem the extreme example of such selection tendencies.

The UN is a broken mechanism, most conspicuously in taking on the responsibilities of “international peace and security”—certainly insofar as we are speaking about the “responsibility to protect” civilians who are not protected by or are actually attacked by their own government. “R2P,” as it has come to be abbreviated, was cynically—and unanimously—approved by the UN General Assembly at the UN World Summit in September 2005 (“Outcome Document,” paragraphs 138 and 139, September 2005). The Security Council would confirm the “responsibility to protect” in Resolution 1674 (April 2006).

The roster of UN Security Council resolutions in this Annex bearing directly on Darfur and Sudan is far from complete—only a couple of the renewal resolutions appear. But the failure revealed is comprehensive. The full texts of the resolutions, here presented in edited form, are largely and often perfunctorily hortatory, rehearsing “findings,” “condemnings,” and various other expressions of “dismay,” “urgency,” “concern,” or the“recallings,” “reiteratings,” “reaffirmings,” “expressings.” The concluding sentence—in which the Council declares that it “remains seized of the matter”—contains a particularly grim irony, given the more usual meaning of this verb.

The resolutions here have been selected in particular because of what is “demanded” or “decided” under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter (which speaks of UN Security Council responsibility “to maintain or restore international peace and security”). Everything else is glorified throat-clearing, and little of it has been included.

A few examples here should make clear the principle of selection and editing in

Annex as a whole:

Resolution 1556, July 30, 2004 (passed 13-0-2, with abstentions from China

and Pakistan):

6. Demands that the Government of Sudan fulfill its commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates who have incited and carried out human rights and international humanitarian law violations and other atrocities;

Khartoum has done nothing to comply with this “demand” of more than eight

years ago, even as Resolution 1591, March 29, 2005 (passed 12-0-3, with abstentions from Algeria, China, and Russia):

6. Demands that the Government of Sudan, in accordance with its commitments under the 8 April 2004 Ndjamena Ceasefire Agreement and the 9 November 2004 Abuja Security Protocol, immediately cease conducting offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region, and invites the African Union Ceasefire Commission to share pertinent information as appropriate in this regard with the Secretary-General, the Committee, or the Panel of Experts established under paragraph 3(b).

Here it should be noted that since passage of Resolution 1591 in March 2005, Khartoum has conducted more than 500 confirmed aerial attacks on civilian targets in Darfur, and countless other offensive aerial attacks on supposed rebel targets.

Resolution 1706: although invoking the Security Council’s key mandate (“Determining that the situation in the Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security”) Resolution 1706 passed only because China agreed to abstain from, rather than veto, the resolution vote—and this only because language was included that “invites the consent of the Government of National Unity for this deployment.” The Government of National Unity was never any such thing, and it was the NIF/NCP that of course peremptorily declined this Security Council “invitation,” delaying the deployment of any substantial civilian protection force for almost a year. And even when Khartoum’s demands concerning the make-up of the force had been fully met (Resolution 1769, July 31, 2007), the result was the peacekeeping and civilian protection disaster that is UNAMID.

Khartoum’s obdurate rejection of Resolution 1706 shows the Security Council at its most impotent, and the chief representative of the Secretariat in Sudan—Jan Pronk—seemed eager to capitulate before the regime’s refusal to abide by a Security Council resolution. The resolution authorized a robust force, designed by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations earlier in summer 2006 (it is described in details in paragraphs 8, 9, and 12 of the resolution). It was likely the last moment at which the tide of civilian destruction and displacement might have been turned before the violence became the“chaos by design” described by Human Rights Watch in a report with that title (2007).

Resolution 2003, July 29, 2011 (passed unanimously 15-0-0):

6. Demands that all parties to the conflict, including all armed movements engage immediately and without preconditions to make every effort to reach a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), in order to bring a stable and durable peace to the region

14. Demands that all parties to the conflict in Darfur immediately end violence, attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel, and comply with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law;

In each case the “demand” articulated meant nothing to Khartoum and did nothing to change conditions on the ground in fundamental ways. To be sure a full assessment of the performance of UNAMID (Resolution 1769) will have to wait; but this will only be a more precise measure of its failure to fulfill the Security Council


Protect[ing] its personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its own personnel and humanitarian workers;

Resolution 2003, invoking the “Doha Document for Peace in Darfur” (July 2011), is yet another example of Security Council expediency, given the radical shortcomings of the agreement and the dangers that it ignores. Signatories to the “Document” included none of the major rebel groups, and the agreement has been roundly, indeed unanimously rejected by Darfuri civil society, which Khartoum has consistently prevented from participating meaningfully in peace negotiations. Even so, the Security Council, as well as other international actors of consequence, including the U.S. and the AU, has welcomed the Doha accord. This reflects nothing so much as a desire to be done with the challenging political, military, and humanitarian crises that continue to define this brutalized region.

Security Council resolutions concerning Darfur and Sudan have become little more than very expensive fig-leaves and do little to confront the fundamental problem driving crises throughout greater Sudan: the brutal, ultimately genocidal tyranny that has had a monopoly on power and wealth in Sudan for 23 years. For Darfur in particular it is simply too shameful to contemplate how these feeble diplomatic exercises will be regarded in the years following the demise of the current Khartoum regime; for once true forensic and demographic investigations can take place in Darfur, and we will gain an even clearer sense of just how devastating the genocidal counter-insurgency war has been, and what violent chaos has been loosed by the evil of these men. As it is, the Security Council failure to respond meaningfully in Darfur has already sounded the death knell for any meaningful commitment to the “responsibility to protect.”

UN Security Council Resolutions ConcerningDarfur and Sudan

Resolution 1547, July 11, 2004 Passed unanimously, 15-0-0 First Security Council Resolution to mention Darfur.

“The Security Council today welcomed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal to establish, for an initial period of three months and under the authority of a Special Representative, an advance team in the Sudan to prepare for a future United Nations peace-support operation following the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement.”1 Resolution 1556, July 30, 2004 Passed 13-0-2, with abstentions from China and Pakistan2

6. Demands that the Government of Sudan fulfil its commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates who have incited and carried out human rights and international humanitarian law violations and other atrocities, and further requests the Secretary- General to report in 30 days, and monthly thereafter, to the Council on the progress or lack thereof by the Government of Sudan on this matter and expresses its intention to consider further actions, including measures as provided for in Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations on the Government of Sudan, in the event of non-compliance.3 Resolution 1564, September 18, 2004 Passed 11-0-4, with abstentions from Algeria, China, Pakistan, and Russia4

9. Demands that the Government of Sudan submit to the African Union Mission for verification documentation, particularly the names of Janjaweed militiamen disarmed and names of those arrested for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, with regard to its performance relative to resolution 1556 (2004) and the 8 April 2004 N’djamena ceasefire agreement;

10. Demands all armed groups, including rebel forces, cease all violence, cooperate with international humanitarian relief and monitoring efforts and ensure that their members comply with international humanitarian law, and facilitate the safety and security of humanitarian staff.5 Resolution 1574, November 19, 2004 Passed unanimously, 15-0-06

11. Demands that Government and rebel forces and all other armed groups immediately cease all violence and attacks, including abduction, refrain from forcible relocation of civilians, cooperate with international humanitarian relief and monitoring efforts, ensure that their members comply with international humanitarian law, facilitate the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and reinforce throughout their ranks their agreements to allow unhindered access and passage by humanitarian agencies and those in their employ, in accordance with its resolution 1502 (2003) of 26 August 2003 on the access of humanitarian workers to populations in need and with the Abuja Protocols of 9 November 2004.7 Resolution 1590, March 24, 2005 Passed unanimously, 15-0-0 “The Security Council today established, for an initial period of six months, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which will consist of up to 10,000 military personnel and an appropriate civilian component, including up to 715 civilian police personnel...the Council decided that the mandate of UNMIS will be to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed by the Government and rebel forces in January ending their 21-year civil war. The Mission is also tasked with facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons; providing demining assistance; and contributing towards international efforts to protect and promote human rights in the Sudan.”8 Resolution 1591, March 29, 2005 Passed 12-0-3, with abstentions from Algeria, China, and Russia9

6. Demands that the Government of Sudan, in accordance with its commitments under the 8 April 2004 N’djamena Ceasefire Agreement and the 9 November 2004 Abuja Security Protocol, immediately cease conducting offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region, and invites the African Union Ceasefire Commission to share pertinent information as appropriate in this regard with the Secretary-General, the Committee, or the Panel of Experts established under paragraph 3 (b).10

Resolution 1593, March 31, 2005

Passed 11-0-4,with abstentions from Algeria, Brazil, China, and the US “Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council decided this evening to refer the situation prevailing in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,”11

Resolution 1627, September 23, 2005

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