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Challenges and Opportunities for Local Mediation: The experience of the elders and mediation committee in El Fasher

In early November 2023, El Fasher, the historical capital of the Greater Darfur region and the capital of the current North Darfur State, stood on the brink of a major battle for control by the warring parties. This possibility raised international concern about significant human casualties and new waves of displacement both of the city’s residents and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons who had sought refuge in the city since the 2003 genocide.

Fortunately, the attack did not occur. This was due primarily thanks to the efforts of a local mediation committee formed by the dignitaries of El Fasher, including leaders of civil administration, professionals, civil society organizations, and associations of women and youth. The committee successfully brokered a ceasefire between the warring parties, providing the city with relative calm, despite numerous violations of the ceasefire by both sides. El Fasher now appears as the only stage amidst Sudan’s destructive war where three armed parties, i.e., Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the signatories of Juba Peace Agreement 2020, now known as the Joint Forces of Darfur Movements (JFDMs), coexist.

Local mediation efforts like that in El Fasher have presented a glimmer of hope for peace in Sudan even as national efforts with regional support founder. This paper documents the unique experience of the Elders and Mediation Committee (EMC) in El Fasher and North Darfur State, exploring what has, and has not, worked. This offers lessons both for similar local mediation initiatives that have proliferated to encompass all other states of Darfur as well as West and North Kordofan and more broadly.

Read the full paper.

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