Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has suffered a number of conflicts that have contaminated the country with landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) used by all parties in the conflict. Today, South Kordofan, West Kordofan and Blue Nile states continue to be affected by landmines and ERW. Five Darfur states are affected by ERWs only. As of 31 August 2020, mine action efforts undertaken in the region were as follows:
133 km2 of dangerous areas have been released for productive use;
38,271 km of roads have been verified or cleared;
10,348 anti-personnel mines, 3,275 anti-tank mines, and 121,269 unexploded ordnances have been found and destroyed;
4 million people received mine risk education (MRE);
975 mine victims received assistance.
UNMAS supports the Sudan National Mine Action Center (NMAC) in building institutional capacity to meet obligations under Article 5 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (‘Ottawa Treaty’) by April 2023 and provide humanitarian mine action services. UNMAS mobilizes resources and directly manages land release, mine risk education (MRE) and victim assistance (VA) activities in coordination with NMAC and ensure mine action activities are coordinated to support humanitarian, development and peacebuilding needs. UNMAS also provides technical advice and training for NMAC and national mine action NGOs.
UNMAS first engaged in Sudan in 2002. It handed over its lead role to NMAC in 2013. In 2015, the UNMAS Programme was re-established at the invitation of the Government of Sudan with an advisory and support role.
The Security Council is expected to liquidate the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2021. In accordance with the joint UNCT-UNAMID transition concept, State Liaison Function (SLF), UNMAS Sudan assumed its response to deal with ERW hazards in Darfur states as of 1st January 2019 with UNAMID support. Until that point, ERW contamination in Darfur states had solely been responded to by the UNAMID Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO).
In June 2020, the United Nations Integrated Transition Missions in Sudan (UNITAMS) was established with the mandate to support Sudan’s democratic transition and help effect a comprehensive peace. Mine action was stipulated in support of the strategic objective (iii) peacebuilding. UNMAS Sudan is closely coordinating with UNITAMS to provide mine action service in support of the mission’s activities.
UNMAS supports the Government of Sudan in its efforts to achieve Ottawa treaty compliance and the disposal of other explosive hazards. UNMAS works in support of NMAC to release land through survey and clearance operations in local communities and to assure safe access to the humanitarian community to enable the delivery of life-saving aid. As of 31 August 2020, 133 km2 (83%) out of the recorded 162 km2 of contaminated land was cleared.
Risk Education and Victim Assistance
Explosive accidents often take place due to a lack of knowledge. UNMAS provides risk education to populations living with the threat of explosives, and to humanitarian workers. UNMAS also supports victims of landmines / ERW through provision of socio-economic and psychological assistance. As of 31 August 2020, 2,196 mine/ERW victims were registered in the Information Management System for Mine Action.
National Capacity Building
UNMAS Sudan strengthens national capacity through provision of technical advice and training to NMAC and national NGOs on land release operations, leadership, quality assurance, and project management. The Government of Sudan ratified the Ottawa treaty on 13 October 2003 and became a State Party (MSP) in April 2004. Sudan met its obligation under Article 4 of the treaty in March 2008, by completing the destruction of all AP stockpiles; however, an extension request was approved at the 17th Member States Parties meeting for the country to complete the Article 5 obligations by April 2023. In November 2020, Sudan is the President of the 18th MSP of the Ottawa Treaty in 2020.
In 2020, UNMAS has secured a total of $5.2 million to undertake mine action activities in Sudan. In addition, the Government of Sudan allocated $2 million to the mine action sector. In 2020, a total of $15.8 million will be required to meet mine action needs in the country, including humanitarian mine action activities in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and ERW response in Darfur as UNAMID drawdown.
(Data updated: October 2020)