The existing mandate of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is to be extended until 31 March 2021. It provides for the deployment of up to 50 German soldiers and covers the entire territory of South Sudan. A total of 14 Bundeswehr soldiers are currently deployed in South Sudan.
German soldiers are helping refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their villages. Humanitarian aid organisations and United Nations staff are once again able to travel safely within the country. The Bundeswehr is also investigating human rights violations and contraventions of international law. And German soldiers are helping other troop-providing nations in the fields of technical equipment and training.
After years of civil war, many tribes continue to see one another as enemies. It is still extremely dangerous to travel through some parts of the country. The situation also remains tense along the borders to neighbouring states. Many people are still fleeing the fighting, and the humanitarian situation is disastrous. The situation in South Sudan is one of the greatest humanitarian crises anywhere in the world at present.
Not only is the mission putting in place better living conditions for the suffering population, it is also supporting the peace process in South Sudan. UNMISS (the United Nations Mission in South Sudan) is thus helping stabilise a region that is extremely important in terms of foreign policy and security policy. The mission is supporting the efforts of the African Union and the United Nations.
German involvement in the mission is still urgently needed. Wednesday’s Cabinet decision to extend the Bundeswehr mandate means that the German government will continue to help stabilise South Sudan and the region. In this it is translating into practice its Africa strategy and the Federal Government Africa Policy Guidelines. The German Bundestag still needs to approve the extension of the mandate.
UNAMID (United Nations African Hybrid Mission in Darfur) is a peace mission in Sudan, jointly organised by the United Nations and the African Union. The Bundeswehr mandate is now to be extended until 31 December 2020. The German contingent of around 20 is deployed in the region of Darfur.
Most soldiers are deployed as military observers and liaison officers. They accompany aid and supply convoys and the patrols planned by the United Nations. They maintain contacts with all security forces on the ground, and with other armed groups, office holders in the region and the local population. In this way tensions can be reduced before the situation becomes explosive, and United Nations commissions can be better implemented.
The situation in Darfur remains tense and extremely volatile. The risk of terrorism has not yet been eradicated. There is still fighting between government troops, rebels and certain ethnic groups. The entire country is suffering from a high crime rate and rampant inflation. Many everyday commodities are scarce, including petrol.
Progress can now be seen in the democratic development of the country, and the security situation too has improved tangibly. The most important achievement is that the government of Sudan has repeatedly extended the 2017 ceasefire. In addition, the government in Khartoum and the various armed groups have released prisoners of war. The focus of UNAMID (United Nations African Hybrid Mission in Darfur) is thus shifting increasingly from a peace making to a peace keeping mission.
Germany is the only European nation militarily involved in UNAMID (United Nations African Hybrid Mission in Darfur). It is in Germany’s own best interests to continue to support the new Sudanese government to resolve the conflict in Darfur, in order to foster the democratic development of the country. Germany is thus contributing to stabilising the Sudan-Sahel Region, which is extremely important in terms of foreign policy and security policy. The decision taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday to extend the Bundeswehr mandate, must also still be approved by the German Bundestag.