The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) began its deploy- ment to Sudan in 2007 in the midst of widespread violence. UNAMID was the largest peace- keeping operation in the world at the time. Its drawdown and transition began a decade later, and today less than one-quarter of that force remains, concentrated in a small area in central Darfur.
The intervening years witnessed a moribund peace process and a scorched-earth govern- ment military campaign against Darfuri rebels that killed thousands of civilians. A popu- lar uprising against the ruling system erupted in December 2018, and in April 2019, Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since 1989, was deposed. The new transitional government and military-civilian Sovereign Council are now seeking to rescue a struggling economy and make peace with the people on Sudan’s peripheries. While the recently endorsed Juba Agreement brings new hopes for peace in Darfur, the way forward remains far from certain. With nearly two million IDPs, a deep humanitarian crisis, and rising levels of violence, Darfur in 2020 is far from being a stable place as UNAMID—the African Union and United Nations’ most important tool for security and stability—appears set to depart.
This report assesses UNAMID’s impact over a ten-year period (2007-2017) and across its three strategic priorities: mediating between the government and non-signatory armed movements; protecting civilians, monitoring human rights, and facilitating humanitarian assistance; and supporting the mediation of community conflict.
The report also makes observations and draws lessons from UNAMID’s transition (2017- 2020), a process still underway and for which it is too early to assess the definitive impact. Reflecting upon UNAMID’s unique features, the report includes lessons from the hybrid nature of the operation, as well as from the challenges posed by fragile host-nation cooper- ation. It draws on existing analyses and data as well as more than 140 interviews and focus group consultations with 700 community members in Darfur.