30. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the high casualty rates among UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18543/14 asked on 30 Apr 2014)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): UNAMID, the African Union-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur, was established on 31 July 2007 through the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769. The core mandate of UNAMID is the protection of civilians and is also responsible for contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, assisting an inclusive political process, contributing to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law. Last year the mandate of UNAMID was extended until August 2014. Ireland does not contribute personnel to UNAMID. UNAMID is one of the largest UN missions currently deployed with over 19,000 peacekeepers. Since its deployment, 191 mission personnel have been killed, with the last recorded casualty in December 2013. Earlier this month the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2148 which expressed deep concern at the considerable deterioration of the security situation in Darfur during 2013. I share these concerns and I strongly condemn the attacks against UNAMID. I fully support the Security Council’s call on the Government of Sudan to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The situation in Sudan and Darfur is monitored on an ongoing basis by the EU, the UN and other international partners. Ireland is working closely with our EU partners and others to ensure that, in addition to a focus on the political and security situation, priority is given by the international community to the vital issues of human rights and humanitarian access to people and communities affected by the conflict and the tension in the region.

I commend the work of the African Union and United Nations in Darfur and reiterate Ireland’s full support for the UNAMID mission.