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Cablegate: Darfur - Protection Recommendations for an Enhanced African

VZCZCXRO7542
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2602/01 3061334
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021334Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5113
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 002602

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC/AFRICA FOR TSHORTLEY
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SU AU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - PROTECTION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AN ENHANCED AFRICAN
UNION MISSION

REF: A) KHARTOUM 2489, B) KHARTOUM 1912, C) KHARTOUM 2165, D) ADDIS

ABABA 2775, E) KHARTOUM 0539, F) KHARTOUM 2367

KHARTOUM 00002602 001.2 OF 003


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Summary
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1. (SBU) In anticipation of the transition in peacekeeping forces in
Darfur either from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a
United Nations (UN) force or to an AMIS mission augmented by a
package of assistance from the UN, USAID assessed AMIS's performance
last year in the protection of civilians. Conclusions drawn from
this review point to the need for technical assistance and the
provision of personnel that have the capacity to assist AMIS with
maximizing the use of its mandate and rules of engagement for
protection of civilians; developing rapid-response capacity to
address threats to civilian safety in a quick and efficient manner;
providing Arabic language capacity to facilitate communication with
Sudanese government police, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and
other civilian populations; and assisting AMIS with delineating a
more limited role in investigating and reporting allegations of
violations of human rights and those of International Humanitarian
Law, including cases of sexual and gender-based violence. End
Summary.

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AMIS' Protection Mandate
------------------------

2. (U) AMIS' mandate for the protection of civilians is to
investigate and report allegations of violations of the April 2004
Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement between the Sudanese government and
opposition groups in Darfur. In addition, AMIS's mandate is to
"contribute to a secure environment" and "protect civilians whom it
encounters under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity,
within resources and capability, it being understood that the
protection of the civilian population is the responsibility of the
Government of Sudan."

3. (SBU) The determining factor in how flexibly AMIS carries out
this mandate is leadership. According to the UN Mission in Sudan
Protection Unit (UNMIS-Protection), AMIS's mandate for protection of
civilians has expanded or retracted according to the motivation of
its commanders. Such examples include that of recent attacks on IDP
camps in Tawila, literally in the backyard of AMIS' group site, in
which AMIS found itself unable to respond due to a "command problem"
(Ref A). Conversely, where AMIS leadership has been active and
willing to engage communities and explore options to fulfill its
mandate, it has been markedly more successful in protecting
civilians than in instances where leaders have been less active.

4. (SBU) AMIS' three main activities for protection of civilians are
patrols, firewood escorts, and investigation of human rights
violations. In each of these three activities, AMIS has had a mixed
record of success and failure, dependent on the willingness of its
leadership to engage and the number of troops on the ground.

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Patrols
-------

5. (SBU) In the insecure environment of Darfur, AMIS patrols are a
core function to provide protection for civilians. Where present,
AMIS patrols in and around IDP camps have contributed to the
security of the civilian population in the camps. In particular,
strong AMIS linkages with the international humanitarian community
and service providers, as well as with the civilian population in
IDP camps and communities, have significantly increased protection
of civilian populations in the camps.

6. (SBU) A USAID-funded non-governmental organization (NGO) stated
that women's meetings, such as those established in Al Salaam camp
in North Darfur around safety and general issues of interest to
women, were ways that AMIS established relationships with and gained
the trust of individual women and the larger community. These
meetings were also an effective means by which AMIS could
communicate key safety information to the women regarding firewood
escorts and specific areas of insecurity surrounding the camp.

7. (SBU) Regrettably, frequent and effective AMIS patrols, as well

KHARTOUM 00002602 002.2 OF 003


as good community relations, are the exception rather than the rule.
One NGO camp coordinator reported that a major constraint is AMIS'
fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding of the conflict, the
political and humanitarian context in Darfur, and the basic
principles of standard humanitarian operating procedures. Other
significant constraints include insufficient numbers of protection
forces available to escort Civilian Police (CIVPOL) deployments and
limited Arabic language capacity (Ref B). Also, due to its own
security rules, as well as those imposed by the Sudanese government,
AMIS personnel are confined to their camps during the night, which
is arguably the most insecure time for civilians, and the time when
patrols are most needed. (Comment: In the Darfur Peace Agreement
(DPA), the Sudanese government agreed to AMIS 24/7 operations, but
AMIS rarely conducts night operations. End comment.) AMIS is also
limited by significant resource constraints, such as a lack of night
vision equipment, which would reduce the effectiveness of night
patrols, if AMIS were to choose to conduct them (Ref A).

----------------
Firewood Escorts
----------------

8. (SBU) AMIS Protection Force and CIVPOL deployments as escorts for
civilians gathering firewood was a significant breakthrough in
providing tangible physical protection for civilians. According to
UN agencies and NGOs, when firewood escorts were regularly and
reliably planned with the participation of camp coordinators and the
IDPs, particularly women who are the primary collectors of firewood,
they were extremely successful and well-received by the IDPs.

9. (SBU) However, in recent months, and in particular since the
signing of the DPA, firewood escorts that were previously somewhat
regular, such as those in Kalma camp in South Darfur, have stopped
altogether (Ref C). According to U.S. Military Observers with AMIS,
even when they did take place, there were instances where the
protection force escort was itself attacked and disarmed by both
IDPs and other armed groups. In other cases, due to insufficient
consultation with the local IDP community, IDP communities rejected
firewood escorts.

-----------------------------------------
Investigations of Human Rights Violations
-----------------------------------------

10. (SBU) AMIS's mandate includes the investigation of acts of
violence or any other abuse on civilian populations committed by
parties to the ceasefire agreement. Despite its acknowledgement
that heinous crimes have taken place in Darfur (Ref D) and some
earnest attempts to address them, AMIS has experienced numerous
challenges. AMIS personnel are often confused by the lack of
clarity between its role and that of the UNMIS Human Rights Unit
(UNMIS-HR) in investigating abuses, in particular those focusing on
acts of sexual and gender-based violence. When AMIS does get
involved in investigating human rights violations, it often responds
inappropriately.

11. (SBU) For instance, when conducting investigations, AMIS
investigators have frequently breached rules of confidentiality
during their investigations by interviewing victims at their homes
or in health clinics openly and without the victim's consent.
According to UNMIS-HR, AMIS has also published names of victims in
their reports and taken photos of victims and then presented them to
Sudanese government police, thus further jeopardizing the safety of
the victims. Similarly, a USAID NGO partner reported that AMIS has
investigated cases of sexual and gender-based violence by pressing
national staff, instead of international staff that are less
vulnerable to harassment by government authorities, for information
on specific cases. Lack of discretion and sensitivity to the
victim's need for confidentiality has often led NGO service
providers to avoid sharing information with AMIS.

12. (SBU) The UN Development Program (UNDP) has developed training
programs to build the capacity of AMIS to conduct more effective
investigations (Ref E and Ref F). In theory, the training is an
excellent idea; however, in practice, there have been significant
challenges with its execution. For example, one AMIS CIVPOL trainer
in South Darfur noted that many CIVPOL personnel are not even
familiar with international policing standards. Another challenge
with the training is AMIS's lack of language ability; the training
is in English, and one trainer noted that five out of every 20

KHARTOUM 00002602 003.2 OF 003


trainees do not understand English well enough to comprehend any of
the training content, and yet they receive the completion
certificate anyway. Ongoing training support is needed; trainers
trained through the UNDP program will rotate out within the coming
months, and currently there are no plans in place to prepare a new
set of trainers.

13. (SBU) These challenges, as well as significant resource and
personnel constraints, point towards the need for AMIS to limit its
role in investigating the details of human rights violations and to
focus instead on employing a proactive approach to basic
fact-finding and referrals. It also indicates the need for
international actors to assist AMIS with formalizing some of its
current informal arrangements for referring cases to UNMIS-HR and
other organizations conducting human rights investigations.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Recommendations for an Enhanced UN Peacekeeping Force
--------------------------------------------- --------

14. (SBU) In advocating for a package of assistance to AMIS, or an
enhanced UN peacekeeping force, the U.S. Government (USG) should
advocate certain practical measures to strengthen AMIS' performance
in the protection of civilians. In particular, an assistance
package should:

A) Assist AMIS with clarifying the mandate and rules of engagement
to ensure it is capable of maximizing the protection of civilians,
including regular patrols and firewood escorts and other means;

B) Encourage stronger AMIS leadership and rapid-response capacity to
address threats to civilian safety in a quick and efficient fashion,
including a greater quantity of troops, night vision equipment, and
protection forces;

C) Provide basic training to AMIS troops in appropriate languages on
the basics of the conflict, humanitarian operating procedures,
protection, codes of conduct, and principles of neutrality and
impartiality that guide humanitarian action;

D) Develop effective civilian-military coordination between AMIS and
humanitarian organizations and also IDP and non-IDP communities
through Civil Military Coordination training (CMCoord) led by the UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); regular
AMIS meetings with the community; and more prominent AMIS
humanitarian liaison officers in each of the three Darfur states;

E) Provide Arabic language capacity to facilitate communication with
Sudanese government police, IDPs, and other civilian populations to
reduce misunderstandings and suspicions and increase AMIS's ability
to understand civilian protection needs;

F) Assist AMIS with delineating a more defined role in investigating
and reporting allegations of violations of human rights, including
cases of sexual and gender-based violence, that constitute ceasefire
violations, and with understanding if and when to refer cases to
UNMIS-HR for additional follow up; and

G) Standardize procedures for AMIS to augment its role in referring
these allegations to specialized national and international
organizations with the capacity and resources to protect the safety
of the civilian population.

WHITAKER

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