Sudan and South Sudan [fr]



France is actively supporting the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union to resolve the Darfur crisis, which broke out in early 2003. This conflict in Darfur has claimed at least 200,000 civilian victims and caused over two million people to flee, as either displaced persons or refugees.

In 2014, there was a dramatic escalation of violence and the number of internally displaced persons rose significantly. UNAMID continues to operate despite government hostility towards it. The political process of national reconciliation has so far been unsuccessful.

UNAMID African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur

France and the United Kingdom co-sponsored resolution 1769 of the United Nations Security Council (31 July 2007), which established the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), with the aim of putting an end to the conflict between the rebel movements and the Sudanese army and the militias supported by the Sudanese government. UNAMID currently consists of 12,800 soldiers and 3000 police officers, making it the second largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

Mr Abiodun Oluremi Bashua has been the Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur ad interim since 17 September 2014.
Following a strategic review conducted in early 2014 by the Secretary-General (S/2014/138), UNAMID’s mandate was adjusted, by resolution 2148, to focus on three priorities: protection of civilians, support for the political process (based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur - DDPD) and mediation of inter-community conflicts.

Resolution 2173 of 2014 extended its mandate until 30 June 2015.

A tripartite working group involving the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudanese government was established to draw up a UNAMID exit strategy. A report is expected in April 2015.

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UNAMID troops close to El Sereif, northern Darfour
13 May 2013
UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Arms embargo and individual sanctions

Since 2004, there has been an arms embargo on Darfur, established by the Security Council (resolution 1556).

Resolution 1591 (2005) established a Sanctions Committee (known as the 1591 Committee) which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo on Darfur and designating the individuals and entities subject to individual sanctions (assets freeze, travel ban, etc.). The Committee is assisted by a Panel of Experts. Since 2006, individual sanctions (see have been imposed on those who have committed abuses in Darfur. The Chair of the Sanctions Committee submits a quarterly report to the Security Council on the sanctions in place and their observance.

Resolution 2200 (2015) extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 12 March 2016.

The embargo requires that states inform the Sanctions Committee of all transfers of arms to Darfur under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and that end-user documentation be provided for all deliveries of arms to Sudan to ensure they are not misappropriated and sent to Darfur.

The European Union, meanwhile, established an arms embargo on Sudan in 1994, then extended it to include South Sudan in 2011. Its scope is broader than that of the UN embargo: the EU prohibits its nationals from selling, providing, transferring or exporting arms to Sudan or South Sudan, without distinguishing between regions or actors. Exemptions are provided for, including the transfer of arms for protection or humanitarian purposes, etc.

Action taken by the International Criminal Court

In 2005, the Security Council requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the mass human rights violations committed in Darfur. Resolution 1593, which referred the situation to the ICC, was supported by France as well as by the other Security Council members that were parties to the statute of the ICC (Rome Statute). This resolution was the first instance of the Security Council referring an issue to the ICC under the Rome Statute (1998).

On 2 May 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants for the Sudanese Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, and a regional leader of the Janjaweed militia, Ali Kushayb. On 4 March 2009, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. A second arrest warrant was issued for President al-Bashir on 12 July 2010, for genocide. This was the first arrest warrant issued by the ICC for genocide.

During the Security Council’s biannual debate on 3 June 2013 on the monitoring of resolution 1593, the ICC Prosecutor, Ms Fatou-Bensouda, condemned Sudan’s failure to cooperate with the ICC.

In December 2014, the ICC decided to suspend its investigation into war crimes in Darfur on the grounds that it had not received enough support from the UN to be able to handle the Sudanese government’s lack of cooperation with the Court.

South Sudan


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The Republic of South Sudan declared its independence on 9 July 2011 and became the 193rd member of the United Nations on 14 July 2011 after a resolution was adopted by the General Assembly.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 provided for a self-determination referendum in South Sudan, which was held in January 2011, with over 98% of people voting in favour of independence.

In July 2013, President Salva Kiir Mayardit dismissed Vice-President Riek Machar for political rivalry. The political situation deterioriated and fighting broke out in December 2013 between the two camps, leading to a surge in ethnic rivalry between the Dinka (Salva Kiir Mayardit’s ethnic group) and the Nuer (Riek Machar’s ethnic group). The situation led to a full-blown civil war with catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit decided to postpone the general elections from 2015 to 2017, thus granting himself a further two years in power.

Political mediation by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), aiming to reach a comprehensive peace agreement that would enable an interim government to be set up, ended in failure in March 2015. A second attempt at mediation, involving additional mediators and known as “IGAD+”, may be launched.

United Nations mission

The United Nations were present on the territory of what is now South Sudan from 2005, in the form of UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan), which was set up by resolution 1590 (24 March 2005) to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the northern and southern parts of Sudan, signed on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. The Mission consisted of nearly 10,000 peacekeepers and was brought to end on 11 July 2011 by resolution 1997.

On 8 July 2011, the Security Council established the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for an initial period of one year, by resolution 1996, which was adopted unanimously. UNMISS is currently made up of 11,500 soldiers and police officers. The Mission carried out nation-building tasks from 2011 to 2014, before its mandate was redefined in May 2014 (resolution 2155) to focus on three priorities, in view of the current crisis: protection of civilians, monitoring respect for human rights and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid. Today, much of its time is devoted to managing internally displaced persons.

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One unit of the UN Mission in Sudan, during a peacekeeping operation in Abyei, Sudan - 27 May 2011
UN Photo/Stuart Price


To support the political process, the UNSC adopted resolution 2206 on 3 March 2015, establishing an individual sanctions framework. It threatens to impose sanctions on the leaders of the two parties and establish an arms embargo if no progress is made with regard to the political process.

Inter-Sudanese relations


Abyei is one of the most problematic issues for inter-Sudanese relations. It is handled, along with the other disputes between the two countries, by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), which is chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The Panel is assisted in its mediation work by the Head of UNAMID and by the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was set up in 2011 by resolution 1990 to promote the implementation of the agreements on the status of this region, under which a joint government is to be set up and a self-determination referendum is to be held. UNISFA’s mandate is based on two main objectives: support for the political process, especially by monitoring the implementation of the demilitarization agreements between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM); and providing security in the region, especially by protecting civilians, combating “incursions by unauthorized elements”, and ensuring the security of UN personnel and humanitarian workers. All UNISFA troops - a total of more than 4000 men - are provided by Ethiopia. The Secretariat recently designated a civilian Head of Mission, to strengthen UNISFA’s ability to persuade both parties to move forward with the political process.

Since UNISFA’s creation, its mandate has been renewed every six months. Under resolution 2205, its mandate was extended to 15 July 2015 and the Council explicitly authorized it to confiscate and destroy weapons, in accordance with Sudan and South Sudan’s joint decision to make Abyei a weapons-free area.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile

Another major subject of dispute between Sudan and South Sudan which is also being tackled by the mediators is the status of two other border regions: South Kordofan (or the Nuba Mountains) and the state of Blue Nile. These regions officially belong to Sudan but opposition movements and armed rebel movements in these areas do not accept Sudan’s sovereignty.

The conflict has partly arisen due to the concentration of power and resources in the centre of Sudan, to the detriment of outer regions such as these two. These latent conflicts were not addressed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 (which, conversely, did take into account South Sudan’s desire for independence).

Dernière modification : 29/05/2015

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