In 2004 I was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as his Special Representative in Sudan, residing in Khartoum. In that capacity I led the UN peace keeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS), until the end of 2006. (See: https://unmis.unmissions.org) Early 2005 a peace agreement was signed in Nairobi between North and South Sudan, which brought an end to a civil war that had lasted more than two decades, at the time the longest civil war in Africa with the highest number of casualties. Monitoring this Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was the main part of the mandate of the mission.
One year earlier in Darfur, West Sudan, another civil war had started between the Government of Sudan and a number of rebel movements, including the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). People in Sudan fell victim to a genocide, orchestrated by Arab militia, called Janjaweed. Part of our mandate was the coordination of humanitarian assistance to the people of Darfur, many of which were living in camps for refugees and displaced persons, and the facilitation of a peace agreement for Darfur.
The mission did consist of 10.000 military (in addition to 7.000 military sent by the African Union to Darfur) and 4.000 civilians. I worked together with two deputies, Taye Zerihoun (Ethiopia) and Manuel Aranda da Silva (Mozambique) and with Force Commanders General Fazle Elahi Akbar (Bangladesh) and Jasbir Lidder (India). Beyond monitoring peace and security, the mandate of UNMIS included return of refugees and displaced persons, disarmament and demobilization of combatants, reintegrating them into society, demining, reconstruction and economic development, capacity building, monitoring of human rights, preparing elections and a referendum six years after independence.
In 2006 negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria, resulted in a provisional peace agreement on Darfur. However, the Sudanese army continued attacking villages in Darfur, killing civilians. When I criticized this violation of the peace agreement, the Government of Sudan declared me persona non grata. I had to leave the country end 2006 and stepped down as UN Special Representative. During my stay in Sudan, I have kept a weblog. (See this website: Weblog/English)