As fighting picks up in Sudan, the United Nations is cutting back its peacekeeping force in Darfur.
The U.N. has already withdrawn nearly 4,000 troops under pressure from the Sudanese government, even though more people have been rendered homeless there in 2014 than during any other year in the past decade. More troops will be withdrawn in coming months.
The plans also come right after Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, decided to suspend the genocide case against the country’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, because world powers have not helped in his arrest, according to the New York Times.
Darfur continues to be overshadowed by newer crises, such as the Syrian civil war and Ebola epidemic.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission has always faced harsh criticism for failing to help in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises — especially this year, as renewed clashes pushed roughly 457,000 people from their homes.
But without Sudan’s support, U.N. officials say their efforts — one of the world’s most expensive with annual costs of $1.4 billion — remain futile.
“The heart of the matter for us remains the protection of civilians affected by the conflict and ensuring that any drawdown does not have a negative impact on this critical task,” the U.N’s under secretary general for peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous, said. “My sense is that while we have by no means been perfect in this regard, without us many, many more would have been killed, displaced, put in harm’s way.”