UNAMID promotes civil society engagement in Darfur peace process

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, June 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Civil Society representatives from Darfur's five states came together for the first annual conference of the Darfur Civil Society Follow-up Mechanism on strategic planning. The two-day session, which began on 10 June, in El Fasher, North Darfur, provides a platform for Darfuris to define their support to the peace process, particularly in regards to the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

The event, organized by the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), brought together traditional leaders, civil society organizations, internally displaced persons, youth and women's groups and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives from the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNAMID.

In his opening remarks, DRA Chairperson El Tijani Seisi highlighted the progress made and the challenges in the implementation of the DDPD. “Civil society organizations have played a significant role in the Darfur peace process, particularly, in terms of reconciliation and delivery of services to victims. However, when it comes to engaging these groups in the peace process we are faced with difficulties in dealing with a unified body. Therefore, I call on you to come to together under one umbrella.”

Addressing the participants, UNAMID Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas noted the important role civil society and the DRA play in improving the lives of Darfur's people. “I hope this meeting will be the first of many exchanges of ideas leading to a reinvigorated engagement of Darfurian civil society in the process of building durable peace,” he said, noting that the Mission will continue to provide support to the DRA and civil society.

The Darfur Civil Society Follow-up Mechanism was established in Doha, during the launch of the civil society track of the Doha peace process on Darfur in November 2009. The Mechanism was instrumental in bringing in civil society representation and the needs and aspiration of communities to the negotiation table and re-energized the peace process.

The Mission is mandated to facilitate dialogue between interest groups and stakeholders, undertake direct outreach to the population, and support efforts of government, native administration and civil society groups seeking peace and reconciliation to strengthening conditions and structures conducive to sustainable peace in Darfur.