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Darfur

UNMAS celebrated the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in April 2015. The day was marked with songs, drama and quiz competition among secondary school students. Photo: UNAMID

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ABOUT UNMAS IN DARFUR

Darfur, a region of Western Sudan, has been mired in conflict since 2003, when two Darfur-based armed rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against the Sudanese government. Up to 300,000 people are thought to have died and at least 2.6 million displaced from their homes in Darfur since the fighting broke out. The ongoing armed conflict has left a legacy of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and other explosive hazards.

UNMAS began its operations in Darfur in 2005, initially under the name of Western Regional Mine Action Office. On 1 January 2008, UNMAS became an integral component of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) called Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO). ODO has its main office in El Fasher and five sector offices: Darfur Sector North, South, and West, Zallingei and El Daein. 

IMPACT OF MINE ACTION IN DARFUR

Explosive ordinance continue to pose a serious threat to civilians, UNAMID Peacekeepers, and the delivery of humanitarian aid. ERW encountered in Darfur include air delivered bombs, rockets, artillery and rifle projectiles, mortars, and grenades. Since 2005, over 211 ERW incidents resulted in death or severe injury of 437 civilians; children have been particularly affected. ODO interventions to date have been focusing at supporting the Mission protection of civilians’ mandate, by locating and destroying unexploded ordnance or providing ERW mine risk education to local and nomadic population and internally displaced. 

SUPPORT TO UNAMID 

In line with Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) with further amendamnets, ODO is mandated to support Mission tasks such as: protection of civilians, facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safety and security of UNAMID and humanitarian personnel. This support is provided through four broad activities:

  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD): Such aactivities have provided a safer environment and improved freedom of movement among the local population.
  • ERW Risk Education: Through risk education activities, communities are informed on the threats of ERW in their areas and on how to stay safe. The ERW risk education aims at achieving behavioral change among the communities at risk.
  • Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM): Weapon and ammunition safety management initiatives with national security actors help reduce potential theft of small arms and ammunition and mitigate the risk of unplanned explosions. Technical support to UNAMID Peacekeeping Force and Formed Police Units supports compliance with International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG).
  • Victim Assistance: ODO had been providing assistance to survivors of ERW accidents in their income-generation efforts, through construction of vocational centers and training them to acquire useful vocational skills in carpentry, wielding, sewing etc. However, for the current financial year, funding for e victim assistance activities is not available through the Peacekeeping Budget.

In its effort to develop the capacity of the national elements, ODO works with the National Mine Action Center, the Darfur Security Arrangement and Implementation Commission (DSAIC) and the Sudan DDR Commission to strengthen national capacity in all aspects of planning, coordination of operations and data management. 

CHALLENGES

Operations are hampered by restricted access to task sites, particularly in government-controlled areas. ODO mitigates access challenges through continuous coordination with the National Mine Action Center and its Darfur offices as well as through redeployment of clearance and risk education teams to accessible sites. Ongoing fighting in Darfur increases ERW contamination and leads to the recontamination of some areas that had previously been cleared.

FUNDING IN 2016/2017

ODO activities are fully funded from the UNAMID Assessed Budget. However, additional funding in 2017/18 financial year would be required for ODO to support victim assistance initiatives and expand its interventions aimed at achieving a Darfur free of ERW.

Updated: January 2017

Programme of:

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LINKS

UNAMID Website


 

QUICK FIGURES

Achievements from 2005 to date:
  • 11,316 UXOs,  4 AP and 4 AT mines destroyed
  • 2,196,584 small arms ammunition destroyed
  • 3,871 Sqkm of general mine action assessment
  • 24,980 Km of route assessment
  • 4,424,475 Sqm battle area clearance surface & sub-surface
  • 2,216 villages assessed
  • 961,661 risk education beneficiaries
  • 14,149 UN & INGO personnel received ERW awareness training