June 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – North and South Sudan could degenerate into a state of all-out war unless the international community clenches its fist, a clutch of NGOs warned on Friday.
- A huge explosion near a United Nations compound in South Kordofan state, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 (AP PHOTOS)
In a new report entitled “Beyond the Pledge: International Engagement After Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” 22 civil society organisations called on the international community to urgently adopt a more robust strategy towards the east African country in order to stop escalating insecurity along border areas.
“Unless the international community acts fast to stop conflict along the border, we could be plunged into all-out war again. We have come so far since the bloodiest days of the civil war but could lose it all. International support helped us find peace, now we need urgent help to keep it” said David De Dau, Director of Agency for Independent Media, a Sudanese member of the coalition.
Tom Andrews, president of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition, said that the international community “must recalibrate their relationship with North and South Sudan. For the North, this means sustaining pressure on the government to enact genuine political reform and bring an end to the conflict in Darfur. For the South, this means increasing international criticism of corruption and harassment of human rights activists.”
The report highlights the alarming escalation of violence along Sudan’s border areas, citing military attacks in South Kordofan and Abyei as well as Darfur region.
The report goes on to urge the international community to increase the robustness of their engagement on Sudan in response to military aggression by “enforcing a demilitarised zone and deploying peace-keepers along the border, increasing targeted sanctions by the European Union and others, including travel bans and asset freezes on those most responsible for the violence, withholding debt relief, withholding the normalisation of US diplomatic relations, withholding benefits of full diplomatic relation.”
“Democratic reform must not be allowed to slip from the agenda in Sudan. As the Arab world fights for its freedom, oppression and human rights abuses in North Sudan continue unchecked. And in the South, misgovernance and authoritarian rule are increasing. The opportunity to help the people of Sudan will slip through the fingers of the international community unless this is dealt with now” said Osman Hummaida, Sudanese human rights activist and Director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies.
Intermittent civil wars between North and South Sudan characterised the best part of the country’s history since it gained independence in 1956. It is estimated that two million people have died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict.
The war ended in 2005 when the two sides signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which provided for the conduct of South Sudan referendum on independence in January. Southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede from the North and form an independent state on 9 July.