Previous campaigns 

 

Dream for Darfur Campaign 

As the Beijing Olympics have finally wrapped up, the Dream for Darfur campaign is now over. However, China is still playing a major role in Sudan. To find out more about China's involvement in Sudan, please see our China Briefing Paper.

For more information about the Dream for Darfur campaign please go to www.dreamfordarfur.org.

 

Australian Contribution to UNAMID  

Why Australia Should Contribute to a Peacekeeping Force in Darfur

On 31st July 2007, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1769 authorising the deployment of the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). This 26,000 strong force was expected to be deployed in Darfur on 1st January 2008. As of 31st August 2009, however, there are still only 18,810 troops on the ground, and the UN has stated that it hopes to have 95% of the full force deployed by December 2009. The mission has been delayed by obstacles imposed by the Sudanese government, as well as insufficient contributions of troops and essential equipment including helicopters.

The majority of the 20,000 peacekeepers that make up UNAMID have been pledged by African states. The UN has repeatedly announced that the force lacks key military capabilities such as air assets vital for the delivery of aid and medical supplies.

After specific requests from the United Nations, the Government of Australia has finally committed nine military officers, a commitment itself admits is "modest".  While this is a signal that the Government is taking the situation in Darfur seriously, Australia can do more.  Australia is in an ideal position to provide air assets vital to the timely and successful deployment of the urgently needed peacekeeping force. A recent paper by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute concluded that while the Australian Defence Force is busy, it is not overstretched. Of their 34 Black Hawk, 41 Kiowa, 25 Iroquois, 6 Chinook and 6 Tiger helicopters, only 8 Black Hawk and 4 Kiowa are currently deployed offshore.

Once deployed, Australian assets would assist with critically important tasks in Darfur. By significantly improving the ability of African infantry units to protect civilians and facilitating the delivery of urgent humanitarian relief, an Australian contribution of air assets could make a positive impact well beyond the size of the contribution itself. 

Assisting the peacekeeping effort in Darfur is in the national interest and is consistent with the Australian government’s championing of the internationally accepted principle of the Responsibility to Protect. This principle states that where a sovereign government does not have the will or capacity to protect its own citizens, the international community has the responsibility to do so. 

Certainly, the long-term solution to peace and rehabilitation in Sudan relies not only upon a strong peacekeeping presence, but also upon a sound political settlement between the various militia groups and the government in Khartoum. But Australian peacekeepers can play an important role in creating stable conditions in which peace talks can take place and peace becomes a viable and attractive option to all parties. What is needed now is a substantial and significant Australian contribution to a peaceful future for Darfur.

What you can do!
Visit or write to you local MP asking them to support an Australian contribution to the UNAMID peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop (copy it to the Shadow Minister, Tanya Plibersek). Please include a contact name, address and phone number.

Send letters to:  
The Hon Julie Bishop, MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au     

The Hon Tanya Plibersek, MP
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tanya.Plibersek.mp@aph.gov.au

For more information please visit the UNAMID website.