UNITAMS Engages Darfur Civil Society Organizations on Human Rights and Protection of Civilians in Support of Juba Peace Agreement
From 28- 29 March 2022, UNITAMS partnered with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to hold a workshop on human rights, protection of civilians, assessment of needs, and protection landscape in Darfur, as well as other protection-related issues. The workshop was attended by around 27 participants representing civil society organizations, including women network groups in North Darfur State.
The workshop links directly to UNITAMS’s mandate on the protection of civilians, particularly in Darfur; and explores other interrelated areas such as child and women protection; enhancing human rights and the rule of law in the region; early warning monitoring tracking mechanisms; engagement and advocacy role of civil society in the implementation of key human rights and protection aspects stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement, as well as Sudan’s National plan for Civilian Protection.
The forum aimed at building the capacity of civil society actors in Darfur as well as providing them with skill-enhancement, and knowledge, to engage with human rights and protection of civilians mechanisms, including coordination and cooperation; information sharing; mitigatory and preventive measures; supporting accountability for human rights abuses, and violations; supporting victims and survivors; in addition to exploring most effective ways to strengthening CSOs operational capacity on the ground, at regional and grassroots levels, in the Darfur region. The event was held at the Human Rights Resource Center, Faculty of Law of El Fasher University in North Darfur.
Head of the UNITAMS Regional Office in North Darfur, Ms. Abimbola Aina, underlined the importance of compliance with human rights standards to ensure justice and equality for every human being. “Human rights and protection of civilians is a very important pillar of UNITAMS’ mandate. This joint effort among UN United Nations family in Sudan also aims to understand how we can support civil society role and assess concerns and risks CSOs may be facing- and in particular, what are the mitigation measures that we should have in place,” she said. “What we hope to accomplish by the end of this workshop is that civil society groups will be able to have a clear understanding of how to continue to implement their role regarding accountability for human rights violations and/or abuses,” she concluded.
“The human rights situation in the Darfur region is deteriorating. There are many kinds of violations and abuses, including rape, theft, the spread of narcotics, and life threats due to infiltration and spread of arms. To put an end to human rights violations and abuses, impunity must be stopped, the rule of law must be upheld, all citizens be treated equally and have access to justice,” said Ms. Nesrin Mohamed, a participant from one of the civil society organizations represented in the workshop.
Mr. Abdalla Adam, a participant, said that human rights violations and abuses in Darfur generally, and in North Darfur in particular, are escalating, noting that in remote areas of North Darfur State, and due to inaccessibility and lack of legal institutions in those areas, victims and survivors are not able to receive the required service.
Workshop Participants recommended the formation of independent justice- enforcement institutions; denouncement of hate speech and communal violence; reformation of current legal bodies; provision of basic services such as education and maternity healthcare; disarmament; extra training workshops for civil society actors in the areas of advocacy and arbitration, the establishment of a democratic community; implementation of the security arrangements of the Juba Peace Agreement in addition to other recommendations.