UNAMID organizes Peace conference in El Sereif, North Darfur
From 13 to 14 March 2017, UNAMID’s Civil Affairs Section, in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Oxfam America, local authorities and native Administrations, jointly organized a two- day peace conference in El Sereif Locality to create a platform to discuss intercommunal conflict issues between the Beni Hussein, Northern Rezeigat and other minority tribes in the area and other areas of North Darfur state. The conference was also aimed at rebuilding social cohesion and maintenance of peaceful coexistence in the area.
The two-day event, which is part of the Mission’s continued mediation efforts to promote peaceful coexistence among local communities in Darfur, brought together more than 1000 participants including prominent tribal leaders from neighboring localities, West, South and Central Darfur states and Khartoum, civil society organization as well as government officials including the Deputy Wali of North Darfur, Mr. Mohammed Breraima Hassab Alnabei, UNAMID and UNDP representatives.
In their discussions, participants called for the establishment of joint mechanisms between Beni Hussein, northern Rezeigat, Zaghawa, and Bediat tribes to manage pastoralists’ movement and shared natural resources in Abo-Jidad Area, and the need to establish early warning systems to prevent inter-communal conflicts. The restoration of state authority, rule of law and public order through empowerment of law enforcement institutions such as police and judiciary in a manner that will facilitate control of outlaws, were also discussed.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Hassan Gibril, UNAMID Head of office, Sector North, indicated that the peace conference was organized in line with the Mission’s mandate and priorities. He also encouraged all participants to continue to embrace mutual dialogue and to share limited resources in the area.
Mike Dzakuma, Acting Head of Civil Affairs Section, reiterated UNAMID’s readiness to continue the good collaboration with the state government, local authorities, the native administrations and communities to promote peaceful coexistence in the locality and across Darfur. He encouraged participants to actively contribute to the discussions and make recommendations for durable solutions to curb inter-communal conflicts and enhance social peace in the locality. “Recurrent tensions over access to shared limited natural resources including land, water, pasture and minerals is a major trigger for inter-communal violence, especially in localities west of El Fasher, North Darfur”, added Mr. Dzakuma.
Representing UNDP, Mr. Osman Abdulkareim, explained that his organization is currently implementing a project to promote reconciliation and coexistence for sustainable peace in Darfur. He added that the UNDP will contribute to all efforts aimed at resolving conflicts through peaceful mechanisms of reconciliation and mediation across Darfur.
Ahmed Ali, a representative of the organizing committee called on participants to discuss the establishment of Ajaweed committees to resolve tensions between the tribes and address issues related to land (Hakorat) and encouraged use of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms to achieve positive results.
The representative of the native administrations, Mr. Ismail Suleiman touched on the critical need to empower native administrations and the Ajaweed Councils to build social cohesion in Darfur. He also urged the government to collect arms from civilians and to form follow-up mechanisms for the effective implementation of reconciliations outcomes.
At the end of the Conference, Traditional leaders` signed an agreement on co-existence and rebuilding the social structures including denunciation of conflicts and all types of violence and culture of war and working towards disseminating the culture of peace. The agreement further commits all concerned to take all measures available to them to prevent the eruption of conflicts, denounce tribalism and embrace the spirit of acceptance of the other people’s concerns in order to regain trust and mutual coexistence to attain and achieve common shared benefits and interests.
The agreement also addressed the need to encourage collective efforts towards fighting criminals, outlaws and spoilers by not providing them with collective tribe’s protection so as to avoid impunity and encourage the dissemination of all good values, ethics and morals.