Home | News    Friday 25 January 2013

AU action urged on S. Kordofan, Blue Nile crisis

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January 23, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - A coalition of over 350 African civil society organisations issued a joint statement on Wednesday urging their leaders to press Sudan and South Sudan to urgently address the worsening humanitarian crisis in border states Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The statement comes ahead of an African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in which the issue will be discussed by the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir at a side meeting on Friday.

The statement was presented to all members of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), as well as former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is leading the AU’s efforts on Sudan and South Sudan.

The strongly-worded statement described the conflict as a “scar on Africa”, saying the humanitarian situation on the ground was “verging on catastrophic”.

The coalition have called on African leaders to take decisive action on the issue to break the deadlock between the warring parties, which it says is in danger of destabilising the entire region and jeopardising chances for lasting peace.

“It is a cycle of violence that only our African leaders can, and must, now break,” the statement said. “Only unified, sustained, high-level political pressure will break the deadlock in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. Failure of our African leaders to rise to this challenge will jeopardise our shared dream of Sudan and South Sudan living as two viable states side by side in peace,” it continued.

Conflict flared in 2011 between Khartoum and rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), who are active in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile and fought alongside the South during a protracted civil war with the north.

The Sudanese government last September reluctantly accepted a tripartite proposal for humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile, but so far no aid relief has been delivered and fighting continues.

In a bitter tit-for-tat, Khartoum accuses the South of harbouring and supporting its former allies, while Juba has accused the neighbouring government of undermining a cooperation agreement signed by the two parties last September.

Efforts to end the stalemate received a further setback this week after talks between the neighbouring states were adjourned until mid-February after the two sides failed to forge an agreement on a wide range of security and border issues, with South Kordofan and Blue Nile among the unresolved disputes.

The coalition statement paints a grim picture of life on the ground in SPLM-N-controlled areas, where it says an estimated 700,000 people have little or no access to food, water, sanitation or healthcare - the majority of these being women, children and the elderly.

It said the situation was now “too critical” for further “political intransigence” on the matter.

“Intense and indiscriminate aerial bombing” and ground attacks in civilian areas by Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has meant local people have been forced to flee their homes and take shelter in mountains and caves, it said.

Unable to cultivate or harvest their crops, many are surviving on just one meal every five days or the meagre sustenance from wild fruits and leaves, the statement continues.

It said the “serious health and developmental implications for the many children subjected to this level of deprivation and violence are deeply disturbing” and warns of a looming “man-made famine”.

The coalition wants the AU to press for an immediate cessation to hostilities and to allow humanitarian aid into the region. It is also calling for direct political talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N, saying at a minimum “both parties must be required to meet time-bound milestones and be held accountable for non-compliance”.

“Given the lives that are at stake, the AU PSC must ensure that Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile are accorded a similarly determined response that provides no leeway for further delays, prevarication or inaction,” the statement said.

In a separate statement released earlier this week, UK-based aid agency Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) called for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated by the Sudanese government in the conflict-torn states.

(ST)

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  • 25 January 2013 06:56, by Dinkawarrior

    "To press Sudan and South Sudan to urgently address the worsening humanitarian crisis in border"
    South Sudan has nothing to with such issues,unles you talk to those of National Criminals Party(NCP)who have no ears except their anuses. It will be good idea for African brothers to be involue on this case, because there is nobody helping them. The so called Arab-sisters are causes of problems!

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    • 25 January 2013 07:05, by Dinkawarrior

      The so called Arab-sisters are causes of problems in whole Sudan and they’re continue to play this kind of dangerious game against our African brother. I warn you to be watchful on those women of the Middle-East!! Specially Egypt, Iran, and Saudia Arabia. As we always saw Iran stockpiling Sudan with weapons of mass destruction(WMD)? The world is watching anyway!!!

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  • 25 January 2013 06:59, by zulu

    Yep. That’s it. Sudan is now facing the world’s ire. The NCP thugs thought they were impervious to the world body, but I guess, they are facing a disco of mamoth proporhtion. Russia wants not to normalize relations with US and where will Sudan be? Viva Darfur, Viva Nuba People long live the struggle against human evil

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    • 25 January 2013 10:50, by Paul Ongee

      AU needs restructuring to take strong position on troubled spot in the continent. The new Chairperson of AU Commission needs to take decisive action because it speaks louder than words when it comes to dealing with Sudan where assumption of power through coupe d’état is the order of the day as terrorists do in Mali, Somali, Kenya, Algeria now in Benghazi/Libya.

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      • 25 January 2013 10:51, by Paul Ongee

        Africa is still struggling to form or strengthen its existent regional institutions such as ECOWAS, EAC, IGAD, and so forth in order to be able to deal with specific country inclined to destabilize the continent politically, economically or militarily. Regional integration is still far from being seen on the horizon.

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        • 25 January 2013 10:52, by Paul Ongee

          The questions are, when will Africa become capable of resolving its own problem politically, economically, culturally, religiously and socially without western/eastern intervention? Is it because of East-West ideological, cultural, linguistic and social differences or because of colonial, religious or economic influence on specific African countries?

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          • 25 January 2013 10:53, by Paul Ongee

            When will Africans learn how to be on the same page? If we cannot and will never be one for whatever reasons, then the notorious Sudan and other African country will choose when should it become peaceful, democratic or remain autocratic in the African continent at its disposal with/out western/eastern, UN/AU pressure or intervention.

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            • 25 January 2013 10:53, by Paul Ongee

              However, this will bring us to avoid using the word “intervention” in any context. Someone somewhere has to be strong economically, militarily, technologically, politically, culturally, linguistically and socially like USA, Russia, China and other European countries. It is gonna be like the pre-EU or OAU era since Union never strengthens their economic, financial and political unity.

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              • 25 January 2013 10:54, by Paul Ongee

                Obviously, the difference between changing names works but not in all cases. What is the difference between OAU and AU or United States of Africa (USA)? What matters most, name, action or performance? Now some EU leaders want to change EU to United States of Europe (USE).

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                • 25 January 2013 10:55, by Paul Ongee

                  USA is a world superpower not because of synonym but federation, based on technical experience, language, culture, technological advancement and strong democratic and financial institutions. Do you know the reasons why the bond among the States of USA is stronger than the one among the EU countries?

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                  • 25 January 2013 10:56, by Paul Ongee

                    One of the best questions we should ask is, will AU fulfill its obligations under any circumstances regardless of differences in colonial, religious, economic, cultural, linguistic and social influence on individual countries? If it will not or cannot, then let the Western countries always intervene to rescue the continent from all kinds of man-made ills or natural phenomenon without preconditions

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                    • 25 January 2013 10:57, by Paul Ongee

                      AU needs realistic unification on all fronts without backtracking. Otherwise the perceived unity/Union will never be materialized on the ground. And we will remain, regardless of our economic potentials, on the recipient instead of the donor list whether on economic, technological, political, educational, military or humanitarian grounds for generations to come.

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