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’We can run away from bombs, but not from hunger’ Sudan’s Refugees In South Sudan

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT

’We can run away from bombs, but not from hunger’ Sudan’s Refugees In South Sudan

7 June 2012

INTRODUCTION

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’We can run away from bombs, but not from hunger’ Sudan’a Refugees In South Sudan, Amnesty International, 7 June 2012

“Their bombs have killed us and destroyed schools. There is nothing to eat. I did not want to leave. I want to be with my family. But I had no other choice. Even here things are very difficult but I have to stay here for now.”

Abil Adbdalla, 15 year old refugee boy from Southern Kordofan, living in Yida refugee camp, South Sudan

Civilians in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states continue to bear the brunt of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army- North (SPLA-N).1 Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced since conflict broke out in the two states last year, both internally and as refugees into neighbouring countries. Between June 2011 and April 2012, over 114,000 Sudanese fled to South Sudan, and 30,000 fled to Ethiopia.2 This is largely due to ongoing indiscriminate aerial bombardments by the SAF and severe food shortages, which have been exacerbated by the Sudanese government’s prevention of independent humanitarian assistance to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, in particular to areas controlled by the SPLA-N.

In 2012, the number of people fleeing from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile has increased to an alarming rate in advance of the rainy season between May and October. Movement - both between and within the two countries - is severely crippled by the rains, as large parts of South Sudan are prone to flooding, and roads become impassable. During this period, the UN and international NGOs are faced with numerous challenges in adequately providing for the increasing numbers of refugees, compounded by the lack of basic infrastructure in the remote areas to which they flee.

This report focuses on the situation of Sudan’s refugees in South Sudan; it documents the human rights violations they have faced due to ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the human rights abuses and humanitarian challenges that confront them in the refugee camps to which they are fleeing. The latter include severe water shortages and insufficient food rations, lack of access to education, inadequate protection from the risk of sexual and gender based violence, and the presence of armed elements in the camps, further compromising their relative safety.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This report is based on research carried out by Amnesty International during missions to eight refugee camps and settlements in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan in December 2011, and March to April 2012; and to SPLA-N controlled areas of Southern Kordofan in August 2011. Amnesty International was unable to carry out research in Blue Nile, or in government-controlled areas of Southern Kordofan, due to the denial of access to international organizations by the government of Sudan since the conflict began. Amnesty International has been denied access to Sudan since 2006.

Amnesty International conducted interviews with scores of refugees and internally displaced people, and had meetings in South Sudan with UNHCR, international NGOs, South Sudan government officials, national human rights monitors and members of the SPLM-N.

In April 2012, Amnesty International’s research in Unity State was carried out at a time of escalating tension between Sudan and South Sudan, unprecedented since the conclusion of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Intense ground fighting between the SAF and South Sudan’s Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) and their respective proxies in late March and throughout April, broke out in the disputed oil-producing town of Heglig. This led to heightened levels of insecurity on the border between Sudan and South Sudan and the SAF responded to the ground fighting with aerial bombardments in and around Bentiu, the capital of Unity State. Increased insecurity led the UN and many international NGOs to pull out all non-essential staff from potential flashpoints in South Sudan, impacting considerably on efforts to pre-position food and other essential items for Sudan’s refugees and other vulnerable groups, such as South Sudanese nationals returning to South Sudan after years of residing in Sudan, before the rainy season.

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’We can run away from bombs, but not from hunger’ Sudan’a Refugees In South Sudan, Amnesty International, 7 June 2012