Category Archives: Sudan

SUDAN: Help promote new legislation on Sudan

by Joe Maddens, United to End Genocide

Last month, the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act (H.R. 4169) was introduced to the House of Representatives. Please help us make sure this important legislation passes by asking your members and networks to urge their representatives to co-sponsor.

Last summer, the Government of Sudan attacked the Sudanese regions of Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, bombing schools and congregations and driving half a million civilians from their homes. Since then, the government has blocked relief organizations from reaching the displaced. Out of food, driven from their homes and unable to farm, these 500,000 civilians are now at serious risk of starvation.

The Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act asks the U.S. government for a plan addressing all related regions of Sudan, increases U.S. engagement with other influential stakeholders, and establishes new, stronger sanctions on anyone in Sudan violating human rights or blocking humanitarian aid.

Please urge your members to contact their Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation. We have several tools available to help you or others spread the word and rally support:

For more information on the legislation and related initiatives, please be in touch or visit our blog.

Thank you for supporting this important piece of legislation.

SUDAN: Statement by NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor

(On Tuesday, April 3), the President authorized the use of up to $26 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to respond to the unexpected and urgent needs resulting from the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states of Sudan.  The emergency funds will be used to support the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide lifesaving protection and assistance to the over 140,000 refugees who have fled the two states.

The United States is gravely concerned by the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, especially as the violent clashes continue along the shared border with South Sudan.  We continue to call upon the Government of Sudan to allow full and unfettered access for international humanitarian agencies to South Kordofan and Blue Nile to provide emergency assistance to those in need.

The United States continues to call upon Sudan and South Sudan to exercise maximum restraint and to reach a negotiated settlement to the outstanding issues between them.  In particular, the United States urges Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit to proceed with plans to meet in a summit to sign agreements on nationality and border issues, and to reach an agreement on oil.

SUDAN: He’s getting away with murder

From Tom Andrews, President, Save Darfur Coalition

The following video was recommended to us by our friends at the Save Darfur coalition. Their message is below the video.

Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir is slaughtering people in South Kordofan and doing everything he can to keep the outside world from finding out. So far, his strategy is working. Why? Because the U.S. government and the United Nations are quite literally choosing to ignore his brutal attacks.

report released yesterday by our friends at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International related this disturbing news: “The relentless bombing campaign is killing and maiming civilian men, women, and children, displacing tens of thousands, putting them in desperate need of aid.”

We can’t let history repeat itself and wait until the government, the media, or the international community decide it’s time to intervene. By that time thousands more will be dead or displaced. It’s time to sound the alarm: Watch the video, read the report and share this with everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter.

GENOCIDE: President releases statement regarding prevention of genocide, mass atrocities

From Save Darfur Coalition

This morning, the White House released a statement announcing a Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities. The directive details efforts to ensure the United States Government is better able to prevent and respond to mass atrocities and genocide.

Recognizing that ending genocide is a core national security interest–in addition to a core moral responsibility–the directive includes the creation a standing interagency Atrocities Prevention Board “with the authority to develop prevention strategies and to ensure that concerns are elevated for senior decision-making.”

Save Darfur Coalition/Genocide Intervention Network welcomes this important step by the Administration. Download our press release.

View the related Presidential Proclamation that suspends entry into the United States of certain persons who have engaged in serious human rights and other humanitarian law violations and other abuses.

SUDAN: Take action by contacting your Member of Congress

From Save Darfur

Over the last couple of months in Sudan, violence in the border state of South Kordofan has escalated to levels we haven’t seen in years. Civilians have been targeted and according to sources on the ground, over 150,000 have already been forced from their homes.

The Chairs of the Sudan Caucus in the House of Representatives are currently circulating a letter calling on President Obama to become more personally involved in the situation in South Kordofan. Through the letter and the president’s subsequent engagement they hope to raise the profile of the issue.

Your members can help bring attention to violence in South Kordofan by asking their representatives to sign the letter to President Obama. Activists can find their representive here and we recommend that they contact their representative by Wednesday, August 3 at 12:00 noon (ET) or sooner.

Please be in touch with any questions and feel free to forward this email or ask us for draft language. Thank you for your continued commitment to Sudan.

SUDAN: Independence Day in South Sudan

by Tony Magliano

The new independence day for the nation is July 9 – the nation of the Republic of South Sudan that is.

Both celebration and sorrow are in order. Celebration – because after more than two decades of brutal fighting with the Republic of Sudan, the independent Republic of South Sudan is being born as the world’s newest nation. Sorrow – because much of the oppression heaped upon it from the Republic of Sudan continues in the form of an economic blockade and its support to Southern Sudanese militias who raise great havoc.

Additionally, according to the Genocide Project, the Republic of Sudan has attacked the disputed border areas of Abyei and South Kordofan – killing many innocent civilians and displacing over 70,000 very poor human beings.

A Maryknoll priest, Father Tom Tiscornia, ministering in Southern Sudan, e-mailed me saying that the northern Republic of Sudan is also bombing the Nuba mountain region. He wrote, “Things are BAD in the Nuba Mountains. One of my former students was taken from his house and murdered by the northern soldiers because he was Nuba.  He had just gotten married.”

Furthermore, the chaotic situation launched by the northern Republic of Sudan, has created a thick enough smoke-screen for it to also attack its war-torn western section of Darfur.

While all these atrocities committed by the government of Sudan are reprehensible in themselves, they also seriously threaten the survival of the government of South Sudan. As one of the world’s poorest regions, the newly emerging Republic of South Sudan has enough growing pains to contend with. It certainly doesn’t need more armed aggression on its borders.

In the midst of all this suffering, there are life-saving ways you and I can make a difference. Go to The Project to End Genocide and Crimes against Humanity at www.enoughproject.org and click “Sudan now”, and then click “take action.” There you will find five easy ways to politically advocate on behalf of the multitudes suffering grave injustice in both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

Then please make a donation to Catholic Relief Services, Donor Services, P.O. box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21203. And kindly earmark your check “For South Sudan.” Or you can make an online donation to Solidarity with South Sudan – a consortium of 170 religious congregations dedicated to training teachers, nurses and pastoral personnel throughout South Sudan.   Simply go to www.solidarityssudan.org and click “how you can help” then click “make a donation.”

In their pastoral statement “A Call to Solidarity with Africa” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote, “… The United States has a clear moral duty to adopt policies and support programs that encourage integral development and long-term economic growth for the poorest countries, with particular attention to sub-Saharan Africa. This is not just a policy option; it is a moral obligation. …

“Our voices can join with others to encourage a sustained, just, and comprehensive engagement of the world’s vast resources to generate lasting solutions that respect the full, human dignity of our brother s and sisters in the poorest countries of Africa.”

Near the end of her life, former slave and native of Sudan, Saint Josephine Bakhita, experiencing the terrible memories of her slavery, said to her nurse, “Please, loosen the chains … they are heavy!” Through the powerful intercession of Saint Bakhita, may we be inspired to tirelessly work to “loosen the chains” of all the suffering people of both Sudans.

Tony Magliano is a columnist whose work appears in diocesan papers throughout the United States. If your diocesan paper does not carry his column, we encourage you to call them and request that they do.

SUDAN: South Kordofan – reports of mass atrocities

From Solidarity with Southern Sudan

Escalating violence against civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state is a major humanitarian catastrophe in the making, with an estimated 300,000 people besieged, cut off from relief aid, and unable to escape fighting.

The United Nations estimates that up to 40,000 people have fled fighting between Sudanese government troops, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), and members of the former southern rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), in Kadugli, the capital of Sudan’s oil-producing border state of South Kordofan. Shelling was heard in the town ofKaudathis morning and Antonov planes have been seen carrying out aerial bombardment in areas with a significant civilian population, in the Heiban and Um Dorain areas among others. Furthermore, low-flying MIG fighter planes have been used to terrify the displaced people seeking shelter around the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) compound just north of Kadugli.

For the last five days, people have locked themselves in their homes without food or water, for fear of being killed.

Others have fled to the Nuba mountains, where they are being hunted down like animals by helicopter gunships, says the Sudan Council of Churches, an umbrella organisation representing all Sudanese churches.

Humanitarian efforts in and around Kadugli have been severely hampered by the fighting and the presence of large number of Sudan Armed Forces troops. Several eye-witness accounts indicate that SAF troops are carrying out “house-to-house” searches in the towns, pulling out suspected opposition sympathisers and in some cases killing them on the spot. Meanwhile, the SPLA has been accused of committing atrocities and failing to protect civilians.

A peace network of Christian churches that has worked in Sudan for nearly two decades, the Sudan Ecumenical Forum, says the international community should pressurise both warring parties to fulfil their obligation to protect civilians. SEF co-chair Eberhard Hitzler says that unless an immediate no-fly zone over the state is created, emergency workers are allowed to deliver relief, and the United Nations Mission in Sudan protects civilians, killing will continue on an unprecedented scale. Both the SPLA and the government forces have a responsibility to protect civilians.

Since 1994, the Sudan Ecumenical Forum has played a major role in raising awareness in the international arena about conflicts in Sudan and contributed to peace-building, with the voice of the Sudanese churches at the centre.

SEF co-chair Eberhard Hitzler says urgent action is needed. “A humanitarian crisis on an enormous scale is unfolding in South Kordofan state. We appeal to the world leaders and governments to pay attention to this situation and urgently protect people.”

The SEF has already received many reports by independent witnesses claiming violence and atrocities against civilians. Two eyewitnesses saw people, perceived to be SPLA sympathisers, dragged out of the UNMIS compound in Kadugli and executed in front of UNMIS personnel, who did not intervene.

Meanwhile, UNMIS in Kauda – which was besieged by shelling earlier today – has apparently lost credibility with locals. This is affecting the quality of UN information, as many people are unwilling to speak to UN staff.

The eyewitness claims have been backed up by evidence from individual churches in the region, which have contacted SEF pleading for urgent assistance in bringing the world’s attention to the killings.

In addition to killings, looting, the burning of property and threats that have caused tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, the violence is a serious threat to stability between northern and southernSudanand could affect the whole region, says Hitzler.

“The international community, led by the UN Security Council, with the explicit and unwavering support from particularly China, USA, the African Union, the Arab League and the European Union, must urgently take all measures to stop hostilities, protect civilians and allow humanitarian access to all parts of South Kordofan, as a first step to re-engaging the opposing political and military parties in the search for a negotiated solution”.

Only such urgent international efforts can halt what is threatening to become a repeat of the mass atrocities, war crimes and protracted humanitarian crisis the world witnessed in neighboring Darfur over the past decade, in Abyei in recent weeks and during the previous war in theNubaMountainsin the early 1990s.

The Sudan Council of Churches is calling on the UN mission in the country to rescue survivors and on the international community to prevent a return to war in Sudan.