The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) said on Saturday that the United Nations launched a training program to train a 7,300-strong African peacekeeping force in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur.
Addressing a ceremony in al-Fasher, a senior official of the African Union (AU) Commission, said that the program is aimed at training the forces with international standards and norms in their mission in Darfur.
"I'm personally delighted to be associated with this capacity building package," said Hassan Gibril, acting special representative of the chairperson of the AU Commission.
Gibril said that the training program "obviously will broaden the professional outlook of the Military Observers, the Civilian Police Monitors and the Protection Forces who are being jointly relied upon for the restoration of peace and security in Darfur."
The AU peacekeepers have been deployed in three Darfur states to monitor the implementation of the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement, which was signed by the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel movements in the Chadian capital N'Djamena in April 2004.
All the UN agencies operating in Sudan will take part in the program, which contains training courses on international human rights and humanitarian law, measures on building confidence between local communities and guiding principles to treat internally displaced persons.
At the moment, UN agencies, including UN Population Fund, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as well as the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), have operations in Sudan.
"This is the first time that all the UN agencies in Sudan are brought together to carry out a single task," an official of the UN Development Program (UNDP), which is responsible for organizing and coordinating the training program, told Xinhua.
She said that the one-year training program will be cut short in case that the AU does not agree on an extension of African forces' mandate which expires on Sept. 30.
As part of the training program, Sudanese experts will be invited to give lectures on Sudanese legal and customary frameworks and cultural values.
Henri Morand, deputy resident representative of the UNDP in Sudan, said that the UN family in the largest country in Africa "are proud to be offered a training package through a coordinated and integrated approach."
He added that UN training teams will travel to AMIS forces sites around the three states in Darfur and provide the training within the environment in which the forces are operating.
(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2006)