Operation SOPRANO

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Operation SOPRANO is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) participation in the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), the military component of a “whole-of-government” engagement in South Sudan.

Task Force South Sudan

Task Force South Sudan consists of 10 CAF personnel who work as staff officers and military liaison officers at UNMISS Force Headquarters in Juba and at various locations throughout the Republic of South Sudan. Task Force South Sudan members contribute technical planning and operational expertise.

Mission context

UNMISS and its mandate

UNMISS was established on July 9, 2011 by the authority of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1996 (2011) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, and ran for an initial period of one year. The mission mandate is reviewed on a yearly basis, and is extended as required.

The primary elements of the UNMISS mandate are to:

  • protect civilians;
  • monitor and investigate human rights violations;
  • create the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and
  • support the implementation of a cessation of hostilities agreement.

UNMISS personnel

UNMISS has an authorized personnel strength of up to 17,000 military personnel, including liaison officers and staff officers; up to 2,001 civilian police, and an appropriate civilian component. At present, the mission includes military personnel and police from 62 nations.

Independence in South Sudan

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became an independent republic with its capital at Juba on the White Nile. Its separation from the Republic of Sudan was accomplished through a referendum, held over the week of January 9 to 15, 2011, in which 98.83 percent of participants voted for independence.

The 2011 independence referendum was the climax of a six-year process of reconciliation and negotiation that began in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, which ended more than 20 years of civil war.

Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was supported and monitored by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) during the six-year interim period leading up to the independence referendum. In authorizing the new mission — UNMISS — the U.N. Security Council determined that the situation in South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region.

Other Canadian Armed Forces operations in the Sudans

The CAF has been active in Sudan and South Sudan since the beginning of Operation SAFARI on June 15, 2004, when the initial rotation of CAF members deployed to serve with the United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS), the forerunner of UNMIS. Under Operation SAFARI, 12 rotations of CAF members served with UNMIS; most were forward-deployed around the country as United Nations Military Observers, and a few served as specialized staff advisors at UNMIS Headquarters in Juba and Khartoum.

In 2005, when the African Union deployed a peace mission to Sudan’s western province of Darfur, the CAF mounted Operation AUGURAL to support the effort by providing armoured vehicles to three of the African Union contingents. In 2008, when the African Union mission gave way to the United Nations-African Union hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the CAF participation changed to Operation SATURN.

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