FPUs in Darfur

Even if I reported some not-so-bad signs for UN deployment in Darfur a bit prematurely, it seems that the beleaguered peacekeepers there are finally getting some reinforcement.

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For months, one of the most desperate needs of the Darfur force (UNAMID) has been what are called “Formed Police Units,” or FPUs. These units are basically entire contingents of 100-plus police officers, all from the same country and all having trained and operated together. In UN missions that draw from a multitude of countries, with varying levels of training and equipment, being able to deploy these unified FPUs — around displaced persons camps, villages, and humanitarian supply lines — is a major asset.

The Security Council resolution outlining UNAMID envisioned 19 FPUs, and until last week, only one had deployed. In quick succession, though, 130 Indonesian officers and then 147 Nepalis have arrived in Darfur, tripling the crucial FPU presence in just a week.

In the meantime, however, a report released by the Secretary-General today underscores the prevailing insecurity in Darfur. According to the S-G, the situation is so bad that effective UNAMID operation remains impossible unless all parties renounce a military solution and commit to a peace process. And this is something that, unfortunately, all the FPUs in the world could not achieve.

(Image of a UN police advisor at an IDP camp in Darfur, from the Genocide Intervention Network)