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Civil society groups call on AUPSC to support holistic peace in Sudan

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An Open Letter from Sudanese Civil Society Addressing the Meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the Humanitarian and Political Crises in Sudan

H.E. President Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel
H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Members of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) Members of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)

P.O. Box 3243
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia

10 March 2014

Your Excellencies,

We the undersigned represent Sudanese independent civil society, non-governmental and grass- roots societies, networks and forums, displaced persons, refugees as well as independent figures, with broad influence and presence in Sudanese civic life.

We note the statement made by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on 28
February 2014 declaring the suspension of the negotiation process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N). That statement referred the peace process to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to make recommendations on resolving the humanitarian crisis and bringing peace in the regions of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains.

The convening of your meeting today comes in the wake of the collapse of the peace talks in Addis Ababa and the declaration of the AUHIP Chairperson of the failure of mediation to bridge the gap between the two parties to the conflict. This announcement creates a huge challenge and opportunity for all concerned bodies and mechanisms of the African Union working on Sudan to assert their influence and act skilfully to resolve the multiple and intersected crises of Sudan.

We in Sudanese civil society urge the African Union Commission, the AUPSC and the AUHIP to assert their responsibilities and take urgent measures that address the humanitarian tragedy of millions of Sudanese citizens who are living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, in addition to citizens who have been suffering for about quarter a century. We urge you to exercise maximum levels of pressure that will enable a just and last comprehensive political settlement, stop the wars and the continuing violence, and address the deep-rooted crises of governance in Sudan. We believe that any hesitation in the adoption of decisive measures, including enforcing your previous resolutions, to address the worsening situation, would only accelerate Sudan’s slide towards the abyss and further fragmentation and instability, as well increasing the threat to African and international security and stability.

Your Excellencies, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the AU Commission, Thabo Mbeki, President of the AUHIP, and Members of the AUPSC,

We in Sudanese civil society urge you to pay close attention to, and take a number of tough decisions, including in terms of implementation mechanisms, two key areas:

(1) The deteriorating humanitarian situation:

As result of Sudan’s multiple conflicts the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The humanitarian crisis for the people of Darfur has reached its eleventh year. The suffering of the people of Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, is in its third year, alongside that of the people of North Kordofan and central Sudan who are also affected. These civilian victims of war include millions of IDPs in areas outside the control of the government and the invisible citizens in the war zones that are controlled by Sudanese army. They also include those in numbers of refugee camps in the neighboring countries of South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia, in addition to hundreds of thousands of refugees scattered elsewhere around the world. Millions of these Sudanese victims have experienced displacement and uprooting and the destruction of their homes and basic services (medical, schools, water, markets, mosques, churches and farms). Yet many still suffer lack of food, medicine, shelter, and clean water due to continuous attacks and aerial bombardment by government forces and the obstruction and restrictions on access of independent international humanitarian organizations and United Nations specialized agencies which could provide urgent humanitarian aid.

We, the undersigned civil society actors urge the AUPSC and the AUHIP, and other African and UN- related bodies, to take measures which priorities tackling the humanitarian crisis, and ensure that these decisions are implemented. In particular we urge you to issue a resolution exclusively dealing with the humanitarian situation, including a direction on agreement of a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes that to start with stopping aerial bombardment and to apply to all conflict and post conflict zones in Sudan.

Such a resolution from the Council on humanitarian action and operations would set a new agenda for the humanitarian actions and for the alleviation of the pain of the victims of Sudan’s wars. This decision would help to pave the road for the conditions enable reaching a comprehensive political solution, which may take time. Such an exclusive resolution could be inspired by good practices used in the past in the management of humanitarian crises in Sudan, such as Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) which lasted for sixteen years and provided relief and saved the lives of millions of victims of the war since 1989, before the signing of the peace agreement in 2005. This new agenda for humanitarian operation would be based on full compliance with the principles and standards of international human rights and international humanitarian law.

(2) Stability and Political Solutions

Your Excellencies, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the AU Commission, Thabo Mbeki, President of the AUHIP, and Members of the AUPSC,

At its meeting of February 13, 2013 the AUPSC adopted the report and recommendations of the former South African President, Chairman of the AUHIP, Thabo Mbeki , who stated that: "ending the war in the ‘ Two Areas’ cannot be achieved without putting in place inclusive political arrangements, which will remove grievances that fuel Sudan’s crises”.

As the negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N have reached a dead end you meet now to decide on the way forward. There is growing consensuses about the inevitable necessity of a comprehensive solution for Sudan’s crises. Dozens of piecemeal solutions and partial agreements have been largely futile, simply consolidating the roots of Sudan’s structural crisis of governance, economic failure and humanitarian tragedy. This consensus about the need for a comprehensive solution is now held by the majority of Sudanese political parties and civil society groups, in addition to regional and international agencies working on Sudan.

We the undersigned civil society actors therefore see in today’s meeting a golden opportunity to focus on the essentials of your previous decisions and on your support for UN Security Council Resolution 2046. We urge that you act on the spirit of the conclusion on the way forward of the AUHIP Chairperson, President Mbeki, quoted above, and based on previous decisions and commitments, take resolutions that:

• Emphasize the centrality of the Framework Agreement of June 28, 2011 between the GOS and the SPLM-N, in particular its provisions relating to the arrangements and the achievement of a just and lasting comprehensive solution, under the auspices of AUHIP and the endorsement of international bodies. This agreement is the cornerstone of, and the right platform to launch, a process which can unify other initiatives and mechanisms seeking lasting political solutions and stability in Sudan. This will bring together, and on equal basis, all Sudanese political actors under a single umbrella reliable, credible and efficient.

• The AUPSC has the jurisdiction, responsibility and the support of previous resolutions dealing with the Sudanese crisis, to propose the creation of one reliable, credible and efficient mechanism to supervise and facilitate attaining stability and a comprehensive solution. This mechanism would combine AUHIP, the Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur, head of UNAMID, the Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to the Republic of Sudan and the Republic South Sudan, and other concerned regional and international entities. This joint mechanism would coordinate and bring together in one place the international and regional support that is required to create a confidence-building atmosphere, including the cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purpose, for all Sudanese forces to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement.

We, the undersigned, are hopeful that you and the other relevant AU and UN related bodies to make the tough decisions necessary—and ensure their implementation—to address the humanitarian tragedies of millions of Sudanese. We urge you to assist all Sudanese actors to reach a comprehensive settlement that will stop the wars and the continuing violence and will resolve the deep crises of the country.

We declare our readiness to participate in any way you might invite in order to clarify and communicate our message, or present the detailed findings and analysis which support the contents of this letter.

Yours Faithfully,

List of Individual and institution signatories to the Letter

1. Abdelaziz Barak Saken, Novelist and lecture on humanitarian law
2. Abdelbagi Jibril, Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre ( DRDC)
3. Adam Tutu Atron, Islamic Council for the New Sudan

4. Abdulallah Al Safe ( Hella), JESSR ( Bridge) organization
5. Abdulgadir Mushraf, Traditional leader, Bambasi Refugee Camp, Ethiopia
6. Alfadil Alnour, Human Rights Activist and Community Development Trust
7. Alhaj Ali Warrag, Editor of Hurriyat online news center
8. Ali Abdelalla Kiytan, Nuba Mountains Youth Alliance
9. Ali Khalifa Askouri, Researcher on Impacts of Dams on citizens of Far North citizens
10. Al Sadig Hassan, Darfur Bar Association
11. Awad Basha Omar, Nuba Bar Association
12. Azza Mustafa, Civil society activist and youth leader
13. Bishop Andudu Adam Al Niel
14. Chief Alaim Moun, Traditional leadership of Ingassna, Blue Nile
15. Dr. Abdel Mutal Girshab, Director of Regional Centre for Training and Development
16. Dr. Albaqir Afif, Al Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development
17. Dr. Asha Khalil Al Karib, Sudan Organization for Research and Development
18. Dr. Bushra Gamar, Human Rights and Development Organization ( HUDO)
19. Dr. Khalid Kodi, Fine Art Lecturer
20. Dr. Magda Mohamed Ali, Civil Society Activist
21. Dr. Samia Al Hadi Al Nagar, Lecturer of Sociology
22. Dr. Suliman Baldo, Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG)
23. Faisal Albagir, Journalist and Director of Journalists for Human Rights ( JHR)
24. Faiz Alshaikh Alselaik, Director of Tasami organization and journalist
25. Fawatih Alnour, Humanitarian Worker, refugees camps
26. Hamid Idress Suliman, Member of Parliamentarian, Red Sea, East Sudan
27. Hussain Allkori Kubi, Traditional leadership, South Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains
28. Ibrahim Yasin, Humanitarin Consortium, Yabous, Blue Nile
29. Kamilia Kuku, Nuba Women Rights Activist
30. Khogali Bashir, Funj Youth Association for Development
31. Magdi El Naiem, Sudan Human Rights Monitor
32. Majid Maali, Trainer at East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
33. Mohamed Ishag Quscandy, Youth leader, Darfur Students Association
34. Mohayed Siddig, Political activist and leader of new social movements
35. Monim El Jak, Political Activist and co-founder of SDFG
36. Montasir Nasir Waran, Human Rights Monitor, South Kordfan area
37. Mustafa Siri Suliman, Journalist
38. Mulouk Royia Abugeranat, Eradication of Landmines Organization
39. Nagwa Musa Konda, Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization
40. Nasereldin Abdelbari, Lecture on International Law
41. Rabah Al Sadeg Al Mahdi, Confederation of Civil Society Organizations
42. Rasha Awad, Journalist and Women Rights Leader
43. Rasheed Saeed Yagoub, Journalist and Analyst
44. Sabir Abu Sadeeia, Sudan Solidarity Network
45. Salih Amar, Journalist and Co-founder of East Sudan Front
46. Seddig Ali, Human Rights Monitor, Blue Nile area
47. Shamseldin Alamin Dawelbiet, Democratic Thought and Reading for Change Project
48. Suliman Osman Hamid, Blue Nile Centre for Peace and Development
49. Waiel Taha Mohyeldin, Researcher and journalist
50. Yagoub Kalouka, Humanitarian Consortium, refugee camps

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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