Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Peacekeeping Launch in Sudan sparks Hope and Concern

The United Nations African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation for Darfur (UNAMID) today began operations at its El Fasher Headquarters in the conflict-ridden Sudanese region. The UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada proclaimed, “It is a great day for the United Nations and the African Union, the day of UNAMID's launch, which was only an idea three months ago but now it is a profound reality.” This launch arrives as UN-AU mediated talks aimed at achieving a lasting political solution to the fighting are underway in Sirte, Libya.

The UN and AU are currently conducting pre-deployment visits to some of the troop contributing countries to inspect the uniformed personnel and their equipment. And though the launch of this operation seems to be a step toward achieving the peacekeeping mandate in Sudan, Adada fears that there is not enough support of the operation. He warns that UNAMID is “facing a lack of pledges for specialized units in areas such as aviation and land transport that should be arriving in Darfur as part of the heavy support package” to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which has been on the ground in Darfur since 2004.

With a conflict that has already claimed the lives of 200,000 people, and displaced another 2.5 million, serious support of a long-lasting solution is greatly needed.