UNAMID, UN Country Team, Sudan DDR Commission lead joint demobilisation exercise in Central Darfur

Photo by Karma Phuntsho, UNAMID

9 Nov 2016

UNAMID, UN Country Team, Sudan DDR Commission lead joint demobilisation exercise in Central Darfur

On 30 August 2016, UNAMID’s Community Stabilisation Section—Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (CSS-DDR) officially launched, in collaboration with the Sudan DDR Commission (SDDRC), a demobilisation exercise for adult ex-combatants who belonged to signatory movements to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) or the Deed of Commitment to the earlier Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in Zalingei, Central Darfur.

The launch was attended by senior UNAMID and UNCT personnel as well as Government of Sudan representatives from Khartoum.

Participating former combatants came from the Liberation & Justice Movement (LJM); Justice & Equality Movement—Peace Wing (JEM-PW); Sudan Liberation Army—Mustafa Terab (SLA-MT); Sudan Liberation Army—Mother Wing (SLA-MW); Sudan Liberation Army—Free Will (SLA-FW); Sudan Liberation Army—Historical Leadership (SLA-HL); and Popular Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (PFRD).

In a bid to tailor the generic concept of demobilisation to suit the local context, the SDDRC located the process in a special-purpose camp located close to the UNAMID base in the area. The SDDRC with support from UNAMID and the UN Country Team (UNCT) processed 50 individuals per day at the site. Participating ex-combatants were briefed on HIV/AIDS and then provided with cash and food assistance as part of the reintegration and reinsertion package. 

Additionally, UNAMID integrated its ongoing campaign against the use of child soldiers, led by the Mission’s Child Protection Unit (CPU), within the demobilisation process.

As a result of this collaborative demobilisation effort, 780 adult participants (101 women and 679 men) were demobilized between 29 August and 4 October; of these 123 were disabled people.

Within the same period, 75 Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and 71 Popular Defence Forces were demobilised in a separate exercise aimed at government forces using the same facilities.

Furthermore, a child formerly associated with one of the armed movements benefited from the counselling and referral provided by Child Protection Officers from UNAMID and UNICEF; the child in question was identified during a Ceasefire Commission (CFC) verification procedure.

Demobilisation, the formal and controlled discharge of active combatants from armed forces or other armed groups, is one of the three major elements of UNAMID’s DDR programme in Darfur. The next step is reinsertion or the transitional assistance offered to ex-combatants during demobilisation to help fulfil their basic needs such as safety allowances, food, clothes, shelter, medical services, short-term education, training, employment and tools, prior to the third element—the longer-term process of reintegration.

Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1796 (2007), UNAMID has been mandated to support the implementation of peace agreements in Darfur--the DPA and then the DDPD—and both agreements refer to DDR. As per the current UNSCR 2296 (2016), DDR is a primary indicator for the achievement of one of the Mission’s core mandated aims, the protection of civilians and unhindered humanitarian access; and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.

It is hoped that this demobilisation exercise in Central Darfur will help strengthen commitments from armed movements to the ongoing peace process across Darfur; generate greater, positive awareness of the Mission’s mandate in remote areas; and ensure livelihood skills obtained by participants benefit members of their larger communities through a trickle-down effect which would enable vulnerable youth to avoid acts of criminality or political violence.