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New UN Mission in Sudan Includes Unarmed Civilian Protection

Date: June 10, 2020

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution establishing a new mission in Sudan to "assist the country in its transition towards democratic governance, provide support for peace negotiations, and bolster efforts to maintain accountable rule of law and security institutions. The new mission was formed through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2524 (2020)," which explicitly includes references to unarmed civilian protection (UCP).


People gather as they celebrate first anniversary of their protest movement in Khartoum [ AP Photo]Photo: AP


In 2003, the Darfur conflict broke out into a civil war and widespread atrocities. By 2007, the African Union - UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was formally established and deployed in Sudan. In 2019, the UN started pivoting towards a downsizing and transition out of Darfur, which has led the UN Security Council to establish a new transition mission this month. 

The new mission, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), will "provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting implementation of all human rights, equality, accountability and rule-of-law provisions in the Constitutional Document.”

One of the strategic objectives of the resolution is to "Assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law, in particular in Darfur and the Two Areas," which includes the following language:

Assist, advise and support the Government of Sudan’s capacity to extend state presence and inclusive civilian governance, in particular through …methods of unarmed civilian protection

The report continues, and:

Underscores that the modalities and timeline for the transition of responsibility to UNITAMS from UNAMID of responsibility for unarmed civilian protection activities, such as those outlined in strategic objective 2(iii), to UNITAMS from UNAMID will be determined by the UNITAMS-UNAMID transition coordination mechanism, as appropriate and in line with paragraph 14 of this resolution

This resolution was passed just as Nonviolent Peaceforce, in coordination with UNAMID, is conducting an online course on unarmed civilian protection for youth peacebuilders of Darfuri origin. Nonviolent Peaceforce has partnered with the UN previously to offer this online course to African youth peacebuilders in honor of the African Union’s 2020 Silencing the Guns initiative. References in UN resolutions and reports help advance the concept and support for unarmed approaches--and will hopefully provide new opportunities for unarmed civilian protection to be more widely implemented, both as a complement to peacekeeping missions and as an important approach after peacekeepers have left. This recognition continues to build on our advocacy work calling for unarmed civilian protection in policy and practice at the UN and around the world. 

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