Joint Security Keeping Forces in Darfur receive training on Human Rights, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Principles

5 Jun 2022

Joint Security Keeping Forces in Darfur receive training on Human Rights, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Principles

Between 26 to 30 May 2022, UNITAMS and the United Nations Country Team conducted a workshop for 56 military commanders and cadres, representing the Government security forces and signatory armed movements of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA). Objective of the workshop is to train the Joint Security Keeping Forces (JSKF) personnel in Darfur on Human Rights, Protection of Civilians (POC) and Humanitarian principles’ standards.

Held in Elfasher, North Darfur, the workshop introduced the application of international standards on human rights, international humanitarian law and protection principles, including child and women’s rights protection, as well as the implementation of the applicable national policies and laws, such as the Criminal Procedures Code, the National Plan on Protection of Civilians, the JPA and the 2019 Constitutional Declaration.

The workshop is part of the facilitation of the implementation of the security arrangements stipulated in the JPA and aimed at equipping the participants with knowledge and skills as well as enable them to effectively contribute to recognize human rights, protection of civilians, respect of humanitarian principles, and raise awareness among the forces’ elements to protect the civilian population, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region.

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Madam. Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, reiterated UNITAMS’ support for the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, including the security arrangements. “Today marks a significant milestone in the efforts of the Government of Sudan with the support of its partners to address protection of civilians’ challenges. I have no doubt that through our joint and collective efforts, this activity will contribute to paving the way for a stable and peaceful Darfur,” said Madam. Lo N’Diaye at the opening ceremony.

“Civilians, particularly women and children had to bear the most negatively impactful consequences of the violence. The Joint Forces, as a protection force, must primarily protect civilians, prevent violence, and offer safety, security, and dignity for all, irrespective of tribal, political, or religious differences,” she added.

For his part, the Director of the Office of Support to Civilian Protection, Mr. Innocent Zahinda, underlined the urgency of the positioning of the force in Darfur. “The recent violence in several parts of Darfur has led to the killing of civilians, displacement, burning of villages and has had negative impact over the safety and security of Darfuri men, women, and children. This makes the deployment of the Joint Security Keeping Forces even more critical,” said Mr. Zahinda.

Major General Sandeep Bajaj, Chair to the Permanent Ceasefire Committee (PCC)- the entity in charge of overseeing the implementation of the security arrangements stipulated in the JPA and which is charied by UNITAMS, thanked the representatives of the PCC for participating in the forum and urged them to make utmost use of the workshop and transfer what they learned to soldiers under their command.  “This day is a historic moment in the course of peace in Darfur. Don’t forget that all of you are Sudanese and the entire world is watching you realize stability in your country. Protection of civilians is a great responsibility that lays on your shoulder,” said General Bajaj.

Speaking at the closing ceremony and prior to handing out attendance certificates to the participants, UNITAMS Head of Regional Office in Darfur, Ms. Abimbola Aina, congratulated and commended the participants for completing the five-day- training and urged them to exhibit full respect for human rights and provide protection for civilians as well as to replicate the knowledge they gained to the rest of the force’s personnel in the training camp in Jadeed al- Sail in North Darfur. “The communities in Darfur have been waiting for this Joint Security Keeping Forces since the inception of the JPA in 2020. “The communities, the Government of Sudan, the United Nations, and every one of us look up to you as the first major mechanism that will implement the security arrangements under the Juba Peace Agreement. This training represents the beginning of the mutual collaboration between the UN and the Government as well as yourselves- representing the Joint Security Keeping Forces, towards achieving peace, social cohesion, and reconciliation among the citizens of Darfur. It will be important that, in the implementation of your mandate, you will be setting aside any tribal, ethnic, and racial affiliation to be able to support and reconcile the people of Darfur,” said Ms. Aina.

Part of the recommendations made by the participants were the provision of technical, logistical, and financial support for the force by the UN, the international community, and partners; launching awareness and sensitization campaigns on the protection of civilians among the native administration leaders, women, and youth in Darfur,  dissemination of message on peace and peaceful coexistence among local communities; enactment of a unified legal framework that governs the force’s operations and engagement; coordination between the force and justice and law enforcement institutions; conduction of additional workshops on protection of civilians subjects; as well as the importance of commitment by the force in implementing its tasks properly.

Prior to this workshop, UNITAMS and the Permanent Ceasefire Committee (PCC), in collaboration with the UN Country Team, conducted on 31 March 2022 a dialogue with Government security forces and signatory armed movements of the JPA to assess training needs for the Joint Security Keeping Forces on key human rights concepts, international humanitarian law and protection principles.