Viewing cable 06KHARTOUM308
Title: Darfur: Overview of Protection Trends in 2005 -

06KHARTOUM3082006-02-09 09:00:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Khartoum
DE RUEHKH #0308/01 0400900
P 090900Z FEB 06
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
SUBJECT:   Darfur: Overview of Protection Trends in 2005 - 
International Response and Coordination, Part II 
REF:  Khartoum 0272 
¶1.  This cable represents the second in a series of three to 
review the protection situation and humanitarian response in 
¶2005.  Over the course of the year, it became increasingly 
evident that the problems in Darfur could be characterized 
as a complex political and human rights crisis.  The 
situation remained dominated by human rights violations of 
the civilian population, particularly woman, and the near 
complete absence of human security and rule of law. 
Criminal impunity was pervasive in Darfur during 2005, with 
only three prosecutions relating to sexual violence out of 
hundreds of reported cases.  Responding to such a situation 
called for both humanitarian action and coordinated human 
rights and protection programming.  The international 
community continued to meet basic humanitarian needs while 
making progress in the protection-related fields of skills 
training, income-generation, psychological, and rights 
awareness programming.  Additionally, human rights actors 
advanced legal aid programming for victims of human rights 
violations in 2005, despite government intimidation and 
arrest of local legal aid lawyers. 
¶2.  Coordination between protection and human rights actors 
in Darfur remained a challenge throughout the year.  Key non- 
governmental organizations (NGOs) and the U.N. Office for 
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launched the 
interagency protection database early in 2005 to collect 
incident reports; however, the database failed to present a 
picture of protection trends and patterns of violations.  By 
the end of the year, few NGOs continued to contribute 
incident reports.  Specific initiatives and programs such as 
better organization of African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) 
firewood patrols for female internally displaced persons 
(IDPs), "Form 8" reforms, and referral pathways for victims 
expanded and improved the protection of civilians and 
victims of violence.  For the upcoming year, much hope is 
placed in the new U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) protection 
department to finally consolidate protection information 
from Darfur into timely reports for donors and other 
humanitarian actors.  End summary. 
Protection Actors in Darfur 
¶3.  Protection and human rights actors currently in Darfur 
include:  UNMIS human rights officers (previously deploying 
human rights monitors under the auspices of the Office of 
the High Commissioner for Human Rights and in 2005 subsumed 
into the greater UNMIS structure), UNMIS protection officers 
(a newly established office of UNMIS currently staffing for 
Sudan-wide posts, including Darfur), U.N. Development 
Program (UNDP) rule of law officers, U.N. Family Planning 
Association (UNFPA) sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) 
focal points and technical specialists, OCHA humanitarian 
affairs officers, NGO protection officers, NGO women's 
health officers, and NGO rule of law officers. 
¶4.  Despite confusion on its mandate, AMIS, and in 
particular the AU Civilian Police (CIVPOL), has played a 
critical protection role in Darfur, which continued to 
develop and improve during the course of 2005. 
¶5.  USAID employed one full-time Darfur protection officer 
beginning in March and an additional USAID protection 
officer in September.  These two USAID staff monitored the 
protection situation, the response of the humanitarian 
community, the efforts of USAID-funded local and 
international NGOs, and the development of local groups and 
initiatives to respond to and prevent further abuses.  USAID 
was directly engaged in monitoring the protection situation 
through the deployment of dedicated personnel and engagement 
in policy advocacy at senior levels.  The USAID 
Administrator and the other USAID officials called for the 
creation of senior-level U.N. posts in late 2004 and early 
2005 to lead the protection response in Darfur, in addition 
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to a more focused, larger U.N. programmatic response.  USAID 
also contributed to the initial deployment of human rights 
observers and funded the largest portion of humanitarian 
assistance programs, including protection interventions. 
¶6.  The Sudanese government is the key protection actor in 
Darfur, although it is routinely disregarded and often part 
of the problem.  All of the actors mentioned work to fill 
the gap that the government leaves in failing to protect its 
citizens in Darfur.  In 2005, government authorities in 
Darfur and Khartoum evolved from denying nearly all reports 
of widespread rape and killing in Darfur to publicly 
recognizing the problem in the latter half of the year and 
responding through various committees and action plans.  In 
effect, the government has placed a marker by which the 
humanitarian community can measure government action and 
response to SGBV in Darfur in 2006.  During 2005, 
humanitarian actors on the ground were focused on filling 
the gaps in civilian protection via their own programming or 
AMIS operations.  In 2006, emphasis must again be placed on 
the entity that has the first and primary role for 
protecting the people of Darfur - the Sudanese government. 
¶7.  By and large, the U.N. continued to have difficulty 
communicating timely protection information and trends to 
the donor community.  The only U.N. agency consistently 
reporting on human rights violations and the situation of 
sexual violence was UNMIS Human Rights, who began limited 
circulation bi-weekly reports in the second quarter of 2005 
and released two six-month reports on the general human 
rights situation and sexual violence.  Additionally, the 
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) started 
producing a Sudan-wide monthly report that includes brief 
paragraphs on protection issues in Darfur.  Neither UNFPA, 
the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), OCHA, nor the NGOs were 
able to produce a monthly or bi-weekly account of the 
protection situation in Darfur, even for limited 
¶8.  UNMIS ultimately hired a senior-level protection staff 
member, based on a 2004 recommendation from USAID, but this 
person was tasked with covering protection issues in all of 
Sudan and hiring a small staff to cover regions.  This 
section of UNMIS is still hiring key staff and hopes to 
produce a regular protection report for donors and the 
greater humanitarian community by March 2006.  As of 
December 2005, UNMIS assumed responsibility for coordination 
of protection activities within Darfur from OCHA.  When 
assuming this role, UNMIS also assumed management of the 
fledging protection database.  NGOs have seemingly forsaken 
this project, forgetting that they were the key founders and 
producers of the database.  OCHA, too, bares responsibility 
for its failure because it failed to convince NGOs 
operational in Darfur of its confidentiality, usefulness in 
identifying trends, and value in informing policy makers. 
No information that went into the OCHA-managed database in 
2005 ever came out in any form. 
¶9.  Coordination continued to be a challenge for agencies 
throughout the year, although protection working groups 
(PWG) met weekly.  The four regional PWGs (Geneina, Nyala, 
Zalengei, and El Fasher) varied in structure and format, but 
generally served as a useful venue to share information and 
coordinate response, training, and advocacy.  The groups 
also came together on a quarterly basis to share experiences 
and discuss concerns and future strategies.  The missing 
element from this process was taking the main field issues 
to the Khartoum level and to the wider donor community. 
This remains a key concern for donors in Khartoum who began 
an initiative to develop a regular donor briefing on 
protection.  Absent this structure, it has been by intensive 
networking and follow-up that USAID has been able to stay on 
top of the protection situation in Darfur.  Reliance on 
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Khartoum-based protection actors and U.N. agencies would 
have yielded little to no information to inform the USAID 
protection strategy and resource programming. 
¶10.  The primary topics discussed by protection actors in 
Darfur in 2005 included:  sharing information on incident 
reports; Form 8 issues and reforms; improving the 
coordination and relationship with AMIS; prioritizing 
training needs for humanitarian actors and government 
authorities on the ground; land occupation, land tenure, and 
return issues (this eventually turned into a call for 
returns workings groups that began in the latter half of 
2005); information-sharing on local and national laws, legal 
aid activities, and government actions affecting protection; 
effective data collection; and participation of donors and 
other state actors in local PWGs. 
Response to Rape and Sexual Violence in 2005 
¶11.  In 2005, humanitarian actors continued to push for 
greater clarification of the Form 8 criminal procedures 
regarding access to medical treatment and justice for 
victims of sexual violence.  In a process that began in 
2004, Form 8 procedures were seemingly clarified in the 
latter half of 2005.  Victims, in theory, are no longer 
required to file a Form 8 before receiving medical 
treatment; however, application and dissemination of those 
reforms throughout police ranks and to public prosecutors, 
public health workers, and medical practitioners are 
inconsistent and often misunderstood.  Furthermore, the 
government must work to ensure compliance.  Police 
investigations will not occur without a Form 8 and many 
police stations continue not to have the form, not complete 
it correctly, or insist that victims fill out the form prior 
to medical treatment in order to launch an investigation. 
Additionally, a public campaign to restore civilians' trust 
in the police is necessary.  Police continue to be 
implicated in attacks, and women refuse to report incidents 
of rape out of fear of harassment or the belief that it will 
be useless. Furthermore, NGOs that provide medical and 
psychological response to victims and who are also 
authorized to offer Form 8 to the victim, do not value or 
trust the criminal justice system and do not encourage women 
to file cases after being attacked.  Thus, at the close of 
2005, victims of violence in Darfur still struggle to obtain 
timely medical treatment and justice for the crimes 
committed against them.  The topic of Form 8 remains a 
regular agenda item in the sub-Joint Implementation 
Mechanism (JIM) meeting on human rights that was established 
in 2004 to, inter alia, monitor the government's compliance 
with promises to stop gender-based violence in Darfur. 
¶12.  Throughout the year, the medical and psychological 
response to victims of sexual violence remained under the 
direct scrutiny, interference, and sometimes obstruction of 
local government authorities in Darfur.  Interference and 
obstruction seemed to occur more frequently during the first 
half of 2005.  Toward the latter half of the year, NGOs 
noted that harassment had eased, perhaps in response to 
diplomatic and U.N. advocacy and protests related to rape 
and violence against civilians.  Regarding victim's access 
to treatment, NGOs continued to expand and improve services 
in constrained humanitarian space.  In combination with 
their own efforts to expand the referral pathways and train 
community leaders and humanitarian workers on what to do if 
a rape or attack occurs, NGOs were able to observe a trend 
of more victims seeking help while also noting that their 
operations were receiving less government harassment. 
¶13.  A key programmatic response to SGBV, in addition to 
medical and psychological treatment, has been women's 
empowerment, skills-building, and income-generation 
programs.  These programs all aim to provide women safer 
livelihood options, when compared to collecting firewood and 
fodder to sell, and more control over their lives.  This 
programming, usually located in women's centers, also 
provides venues for group discussion and general counseling 
for SGBV survivors.  In 2006, agencies will have to expand 
and diversify these programs and ensure that women who have 
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learned new skills are able to market their products, have 
access to raw materials and truly turn these initiatives in 
alternatives to selling firewood and fodder.  More in-depth 
analysis of the NGO programming responses to protection in 
Darfur will be provided in an upcoming cable in this year- 
end review series. 
The Role of AMIS in Protection 
¶14.  Through state-level protection working groups and 
individual efforts by some agencies in particular camps, the 
AU firewood patrols have become more organized and effective 
during the last quarter of 2005.  This has had a notable 
improvement on the security for women in some of the most 
problematic camps such as Kalma in South Darfur, which is 
home to an estimated 87,000 IDPs.  Cooperation between AMIS 
and the humanitarian community has improved the security 
environment for IDPs in some camps.  For example, AMIS 
established a full-time presence to monitor the situation 
and mentor the police in Kassab camp, North Darfur, in 
response to pressures from the humanitarian community.  The 
CIVPOL will hopefully expand firewood patrols to other 
locations based on the successful models established in 
Looking Ahead 
¶15.  Looking forward to 2006, protection in Darfur will 
continue to be problematic and difficult to address. 
Security will continue to hamper efforts to expand 
monitoring in rural areas where human rights abuses are the 
most underreported.  Little prospect appears to exist in 
ending criminal impunity due to the government's approach of 
delivering positive rhetoric to the international community 
and little tangible action on the ground.  A notable trend 
of forming committees in response to problems will hopefully 
run its course in 2006 and must be followed with more action 
by the humanitarian community.  Some key issues to monitor 
and advocate on will be: 
-- UNMIS Protection:  what will it do, what will it produce, 
how will it improve coordination among U.N. and NGO 
protection actors; 
-- How the Sudanese government will operationalize state and 
national 6-month plans to combat violence against women, and 
how the government will turn rhetoric into action and 
improvement for victims of SGBV; 
-- Ensuring security, safety, and dignity in all areas of 
return and/or new displacement; 
-- Expansion of effective AMIS responses such as firewood 
patrols, community liaison officers, and female CIVPOL 
-- Efforts by local government entities to offer options to 
IDPs who live in camps such as plots of land and/or 
assistance to return to their areas of origin; 
-- Increased child protection needs due to lack of options 
after primary education in the camps; 
-- UNDP to take the lead on strengthening the legal aid 
network and its response to SGBV with USAID new resources; 
-- UNMIS Human Rights to expand its monitoring and 
effectiveness with USAID new resources; and 
-- The number of rape cases that the Darfur criminal justice 
system investigates and prosecutes verses incidents reported 
and cases filed.