US-based Human Rights Watch says Sudanese soldiers sexually assaulted more than 200 women and girls in Tabit town.
The UN has warned that violent attacks on international peacekeepers and civilians in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region have been increasing, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Edmond Mulet, UN peacekeeping deputy chief, told the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday that there has been negligible progress in peace efforts for Darfur.
He blamed the second phase of the Sudanese government’s Decisive Summer military campaign to end armed uprisings for causing the new wave of displacement across the region.
We can leave Darfur in a year if the government creates the necessary conditions to make that possible.
Humanitarian organisations have estimated at least 78,000 newly displaced this year, while the UN has unverified reports of 130,000 more, Mulet said.
“There is also significant concern about reports of indiscriminate attacks against civilians” and other human rights violations, he said.
One diplomat speaking to Al Jazeera described UNAMID, a joint mission by the UN and the African Union, as “the most dysfunctional peacekeeping mission in the world”.
“UN officials will tell you privately that the actions of the government of Sudan are one of the reasons why UNAMID is not working,” Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays reported from the UN headquarters in New York.
“Some will tell you that if UNAMID continues to fail, then eventually the UN should withdraw. But of course that’s exactly what Sudan has made it clear it wants to happen.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s latest progress report on UNAMID said there were 60 “incidents and hostile attacks against UNAMID” in the three months to May 15, compared with 46 in the previous quarter.
The new surge of violence in Darfur comes as the UN holds talks with the government of President Omar al-Bashir on an exit strategy for UNAMID, which has at least 15,000 peacekeepers on the ground.
Sudan ordered UNAMID out of Darfur late last year.
Constraints on force
Abiodun Oluremi Bashua, the acting head of UNAMID, said constraints placed on the peacekeepers by the Sudanese government is one of the reasons they cannot do their job properly.
“We can leave Darfur in a year if the government creates the necessary conditions to make that possible,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Those conditions have to do with the security, the protection of civilians, the guarantees for their protection and their security, their ability to go back home without fearing that they might be attacked or something.
“We also need to have engaged and encouraged governments to address the root causes of the major inter-tribal conflicts.”
The Security Council is due to decide on June 24 on renewing the mandate of UNAMID until next year.
Darfur has been in turmoil since 2003, when ethnic Africans revolted, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination.
Rights groups accused the government of retaliating by unleashing Arab armed groups on civilians, a claim the authorities deny.
Hassan Hamid Hassan, Sudan’s deputy UN ambassador, told the Security Council that the violence and displacements were mainly due to tribal clashes and attacks by rebels, not government forces.