The United Nations (UN) Security Council has voted unanimously to authorize a hybrid African Union (AU)-UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.
This vote comes more than a month after Sudan stated its agreement for this deployment, nearly nine months after a hybrid force was first proposed, and almost three years since the U.S. acknowledged that the crisis in Darfur constitutes genocide.
Today, Africa Action emphasized that Khartoum must be held accountable to its commitments, that the process of deployment must begin immediately, and that the U.S. must demonstrate leadership in working towards a peacekeeping deployment.
Following objections from Khartoum, the text of the initial draft resolution had been watered down, notably to remove reference to new sanctions on Sudan should the peacekeeping force be obstructed. However, the resolution retains language authorizing the force with a Chapter 7 mandate, allowing the peacekeepers to use force to protect civilians.
The UN resolution authorizes a deployment of 26,000, creating the world's largest peacekeeping mission, and will boost the current AU peacekeeping force of 7,000.
Reports indicate that Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda will be major troop contributors, and significant financial support will be required from the international community.
Current UN projections state that the first troops will arrive in October, with the expectation to achieve full strength by the end of 2007.
In recent weeks, reports have increasingly emerged of attacks on humanitarian operations and food convoys, severely hampering the ability of aid workers to deliver life-sustaining support to displaced people.
Africa Action stressed that the deployment of a peacekeeping mission is urgently needed to stabilize these conditions and create a secure environment favorable to successful peace negotiations.