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UNAMID completes closure of 11 sites in Darfur

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UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo

October 22, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has handed over the Sudanese government 11 team sites as part of phase 1 of the reconfiguration process.

“We have closed 11 team sites across Darfur according to the timelines provided by United Nations Headquarters in New York and the Security Council. Of these, ZamZam, North Darfur, was the last to be closed yesterday, 21 October.

The deadline we at UNAMID initially set for ourselves was the end of this month, but we managed to close the sites well before this” Ashraf Eissa, spokesperson of UNAMID’s Joint Special Representative (JSR), said at a press conference in Khartoum Sunday.

He asked the Sudanese government “to transform team sites handed to them into facilities that contribute to the overall development of local communities and take into account the wishes of the local population, whenever possible”.

On the other hand, Eissa expected that phase 1 of the reconfiguration process would be completed by January 2018, saying “at the end of Phase 1, we will be reducing our authorized ceiling for uniformed personnel to 11, 395 military and 2,888 police”.

According to Eissa, phase two of the reconfiguration process would involve “a further reduction of military personnel to 8, 735 and police personnel to 2,500 by 30 June 2018”.

“By end of January 2018, there will be a review of Phase 1, following which Phase 2 shall commence,” he said.

He pointed out that “the reduction in military and police components will inevitably lead to a reduction in civilian staffing, in accordance with general DPKO uniformed personnel-to-civilian staff guidelines”.

“Therefore, a detailed Civilian Staffing Review, as mandated by Resolution 2363, was conducted by representatives of UN Headquarters,” he said.

“Upon completion of the Review, it has been decided that civilian post reductions will take place in two phases. The first phase will be completed by 31 December 2017 and will lead to the abolishment of 426 posts. The second phase will witness the reduction of 147 posts, by 30 June 2018,” added Essa.

Last June, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another seven team sites in the second phase.

But at the same time, the Council decided the opening of a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.

It is the world’s second-largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

Recently, the United States which pays over 28% of the $7.8 billion peacekeeping budget, announced that it would cut nearly $1.3 billion of its contribution from October 2017 and urged the United Nations to take it into account.

(ST)

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