Let me first thank the briefers for their broad and very useful insights. And congratulations to you, SRSG Perthes, on your appointment. We wish you every success in your new and important assignment. Let me also congratulate the Government of Sudan on recent achievements in the transitional process towards a truly civilian rule. Notably: the formation of the expanded new cabinet, the exchange rate reform, and the launch of the cash support programme.
I would also like to commend Sudan for their recent ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture. And hope that the ratification of CEDAW comes next. We also welcome the finalisation of the first draft law on the National Human Rights Commission. Moreover, Sudan deserves credit for keeping its borders open to refugees. We encourage Sudan and Ethiopia to resolve border issues peacefully.
Despite bold reforms, Sudan continues to face a deep economic crisis that puts the Sudanese people under severe stress. We support the government’s continued work on the structural reforms needed for growth that will benefit everyone. International aid provides important support, but cannot replace domestic resource mobilization.
Norway remains deeply concerned by the security situation in Darfur. Scores of civilians have been killed or injured, and thousands have fled their homes. There are reports of sexual violence against women and girls, as well as mass recruitment and killing of children, in some areas. All Sudanese people deserve to live in peace in dignity.
I would like to highlight the four key priorities we see for action going forward:
First, Sudan’s transition is about changing the way the Sudan has been governed.
De-centralization is the key word. The challenge is to promote more inclusive and locally representative governance structures. In this respect, the Constitutional Declaration, and the Juba Peace Agreement lays down principles for the way forward. Pressing tasks such as the appointment of the Transitional Legislative Assembly cannot wait.
Second, the peace process is not complete until all armed groups have signed peace agreements with the Government. Groups in Eastern Sudan also need to be brought on board through inclusive consultations.
Third, it is urgent to fully implement the Ceasefire and Security Agreement for Darfur and the National Plan for Civilian Protection. Women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in these processes - in line with the National Action Plan for WPS - is essential. Including women in police and security forces will build trust in local communities, and strengthen mechanisms for the protection of women and girls in conflict-affected areas.
Fourth, authorities in Sudan and the international community need to continue to work together to ensure that UNITAMS is able to effectively fulfil its mandate throughout the country. We urge the transitional Government to finalise the Status of Mission Agreement as soon as possible.
We would like to add our voice of support to Nesreen Elsaim’s statement to this Council on February 23. The deployment of UNITAMS is “an historic opportunity to speak to the root causes of the conflict”. Climate change impacts livelihoods, it increases displacement, and can fuel tensions. This is why climate change related challenges are rightly mentioned in the Mission’s mandate and included in the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement.
We see Sudan as a prime example of the relevance of the UN missions helping countries in conflict or post-conflict situations address so-called “non-traditional security threats”. And the necessity of engagement with a broad range of actors.