Tag Archives: African Union

An Urgent Plea from the Nuba Mountains

November 5, 2012

Dear Leaders of the International Community,

We write to you from inside the Nuba Mountains and on behalf of the men, women and children who have waited in vain for your help. Since June 2011, we have been under constant attack by the Bashir regime. Hundreds of bombs have dropped on us, and missiles as well as attacks by soldiers and militia are a constant threat. In the last two weeks, bombardment by the Khartoum regime has increased intensively. Since Friday, October the 26th, the bombardment has become more brutal and covered more than a dozen of our villages.

Many people have been killed, and livestock and several houses and fields of crops have been burned and destroyed. The intense bombing has begun again this week and it is a daily activity in the area. As it is well known to you, we do not have access to food, medicine, healthcare and other basic necessities. We look around at what is left of our homes and see our family and friends weak from hunger and disease. Everywhere we look, we see children, the elderly and other vulnerable people lying on the ground helpless. The number of people dying from starvation and disease is disturbing and increasing. It is very hard for us to explain to our children what is happening when they ask us, “Does anyone in the world know what we are going through?

Why is it that no one cares about us?”

For 17 months, we have been hearing you talk about us. We’ve heard you say that our situation is critical and that you are gravely
concerned; however, we have almost given up hope that your words mean anything. We are aware of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and the work done by the UN in coordination with the African Union and League of Arab States to secure a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for our area (Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile. We have heard about the latest AUPSC Communiqué dated October 24, 2012 that we understand will inform your actions on our behalf, and we want you to understand what we have heard and how it makes us feel. Less than 10% of the communiqué addresses what has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. The communiqué spells out the priorities of the AU (and therefore the UN), and we are sad to learn that saving our lives – urgently addressing a critical humanitarian crisis – is clearly not a priority.

While UNSC Resolution 2046 demands an end to aerial bombardments and all hostilities, the AUPSC Communiqué fails to acknowledge the conditions we are forced to endure on a daily basis and it fails to acknowledge who is responsible for imposing those conditions on us. The Communiqué does, however, recognize the “difficult circumstances” faced by Bashir and commends him for his courage and statesmanship in reaching agreements with South Sudan and regarding Abyei. This is very difficult for us to understand. We do not understand why a leader who fails to implement existing agreements and therefore requires additional intervention by the international community in order to avoid a war that he would start should be commended. If Bashir is facing difficult circumstances, they are the result of his own making and frankly, we would like him to be in our situation and just test what we are going through for 17 months in the Nuba Mountains. If Bashir lived in the Nuba Mountains, he would understand the meaning of “difficult circumstances.”
We also do not understand why Bashir should be rewarded with financial assistance, debt relief and the lifting of sanctions as outlined in the Communiqué. As stated earlier, Bashir bombed our villages as he was signing agreements. Unlike UNSC Resolution 2046, the Communiqué fails to provide deadlines or outline consequences if Bashir continues to attack us and continues to block humanitarian access. The Communiqué does urge the AUHIP to “undertake a lessons-learnt exercise” and so we respectfully submit the observation based on our own experience and based on Bashir’s behavior since UNSC Resolution 2046 was put into place on May 2, 2012, that Bashir does not comply with agreements. The Communiqué does include a November 10, 2012 deadline for convening negotiations
regarding political negotiations between Bashir and the SPLM-North based on the June 28, 2011 Framework Agreement, but given the
complexity of political negotiations that should encompass the entire country, this deadline will have no impact on our desperate situation.

Deadlines and conditions related to access for humanitarian aid must be separate from the political process and must be prioritized above all else.

While we appreciate your commitment to remain “actively seized on the matter”, we are worried – based on our experience – that your commitment will not save our lives and the lives of our children who have suffered long enough. Our question remains unanswered, why doesn’t anyone care about us? We have a right to be protected from a brutal government and to be rescued from genocide. We have a right to have access to food and medicine like everyone else in the world.

Innocent lives are being taken day and night including children, women, and the elderly right before our eyes and the world’s silence
is unbelievable.

We have much to offer our country, the continent and the world. The Nuba Mountains are beautiful and we are remarkable people. We enjoyed six years of peace after the signing of the CPA, an agreement that was the result of strong Sudanese, African and international leadership. That same combined level of leadership is required today. We welcome the appointment of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and we urge her to visit us this month with a shipment of food and medicine.

Thank you for considering our concerns and we hope you will stand on our behalf and do everything possible – even if Bashir does not allow it – to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to our areas for our people.

Best regards,

1- Stephevanos Jaralnabi Angalo, Omdorain Locality
2- Alamin Kharif Bari, Delami Locality
3- Jibreel Ismail, Alboram Locality
4- Zaki Khalifa Tawor, Kadugli Locality
5- Ahamed Abaala, Haiban Locality
6- Khamis Soba, Deleng Locality
7- Salieh Alias dalum, Lagawa Locality
8- Nur Aldeen Jumma Almahadi, Abujabiha Locality
9- Adam Alnugra Ahamed, Talodi Locality

Fiddling While Sudan Burns

Furious is the word that best describes the reaction to efforts made by the United Nations, African Union, United States and Europe to improve the economic state of Sudan even as it continues to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of people in the Nuba Mountains. The international community is so focused on prevention of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan that it has chosen to wholly abandon the demand of requiring Sudan to allow humanitarian access into rebel held areas of South Kordofan and is actively counteracting its own sanctions regimes against the genocidal government of Sudan by promoting investment. This insanity must cease!

How is it reasonable to claim to maintain sanctions on the government of Sudan while holding a conference in Vienna that seeks to promote investment in that very nation? How is it reasonable to demand that South Sudan transport oil through Sudan’s pipeline to the tune of billions of dollars worth of income for Sudan, while claiming to maintain sanctions as the United States is currently doing? The answer is that it is not reasonable at all. By doing these actions, the United States, European nations, the United Nations and African Union are all enabling the government of Omar Bashir to continue functioning, to continue to abuse, oppress, and murder the citizens of the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and Blue Nile.

Whether or not Nero fiddled while Rome burned as the statement goes, concern about Sudan should not be for propping up a faltering genocidal dictator facing a very appropriate rebellion in his nation, but for aiding those who are being harmed by Bashir’s government. The United States and its allies in Europe need to change the tune they are playing on Sudan and play something that uplifts not just the mood of the people but lifts their very lives from the brink of oblivion. We cannot afford to fiddle around. Let’s Help Nuba, the people of Blue Nile, and the people are Darfur put the fire out and let us do it now.

They Cry “Peace!” But There is No Peace.

Over the past couple of weeks, several developments have occurred, all of which are troubling. There is great fanfare in some parts of the world for the peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan signed on September 27th. The Obama Administration welcomed the agreement, issuing a statement in which it declared:

The Sudanese and South Sudanese people who have suffered greatly through decades of conflict deserve the benefits of a lasting peace – a peace that can only be achieved through continued dialogue and negotiation, sustained implementation of the agreements reached to date, and steadfast work to resolve remaining issues…

The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have chosen to take another important step on the path away from conflict toward a future in which their citizens can live in dignity, security, and prosperity.

I find myself incredulous. This is a Sudan led by a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing genocide. In what possible reality can citizens of a nation led by such a man “live in dignity, security, and prosperity???” The Obama Administration is hoping for a time brough about by a peace agreement that is far too far off in the future for citizens of Sudan who are battling for their very survival in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur and Beja.

Recently, Abdul Azziz Hilu, Malik Agar, and Yassir Arman, the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces SRF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, were in Washington DC. To some extent, they were in the United States seeking help, most importantly humanitarian aid for the peoples of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, but to a greater extent, they were here in America seeking to promote the idea that democracy is possible in Sudan and that working to squash those advocating for it is not a good thing.

American policy, along with that of the UN and AU, right now could be described as “Peace between the Sudans, but not for all of the people of Sudan.” Dignity for Bashir, but not for the Nuba, not for Darfuris, not for the people of Blue Nile. Security for the National Congress Party, but not for people living in the refugee camps in Darfur or villages in South Kordofan, both of which were attacked by government forces or government backed forces within the past week.

I had the opportunity to speak with Commander Abdul Azziz Hilu, the leader of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces, this week. He phoned in to speak with some of our Help Nuba leaders to thank us for our efforts in speaking out against the genocidal regime in Khartoum and our efforts to bring the pro-Democracy people of Sudan together. He also told me that he had spoken with many leaders in Washington from all walks of life, diplomats, elected officials, along with intelligence and security officials and said that he did not feel like anyone really listened.

I believe that no little part of the problem is that the American diplomatic establishment believes that the pro-Democracy forces, the people from Darfur, Nuba, Blue Nile and Beja are incapable of working together with people from North and Central Sudan to create a nation in which the people truly are free. Instead there seems to be a belief  that the rebel movements who shout “Democracy and Freedom!” from bombed out villages are incapable of handling it, that the Darfuris, Nuba, and the others cannot cooperate off of the battle field.

Over the past few months, working with a wonderful group of people as part of Help Nuba and then in the creation of the United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association USASSCA, I know that people from all across Sudan can work together, that the vast majority of the people want to see liberal values and freedoms put in place. The Sudanese in America cannot be that different from those in Sudan and they want to see Democracy as the basis of their government and want religious freedoms and rights for minorities and women. Why are we not working with those who want Democracy and share our values??? Let us give them a chance!

Instead, we demand that oil flow through Port Sudan that will support the oppressive regime of the dictator and we demand that support for the pro-Democracy movement in Sudan, the “Rebels”, cease, all  in the vain hope that appeasement of the dictator will stay his murderous hand, that a man who has orchestrated the slaughter of millions of innocents and is in the process of starving millions more will honor a peace agreement.

Explain this: We have imposed sanctions upon Sudan because of the genocide, but have demanded that South Sudan transport oil through Sudan providing Sudan will billions upon billions of Dollars worth of income which the regime will use to support oppression and murder. Sanctions? What sanctions?

I noted in an article published on this site in April that Samantha Power, a leading advisor to President Obama, described all too closely exactly what was going on then and what is going on today. I need to share the words of warning which I shared in April and which seem to be coming true.

The Center on Law and Globalization in discussing Samantha Power’s argument about “Why the United States has Failed to Stop Genocide” notes that:

Once the killing starts, Americans tend to believe that if the civilians who are in danger just keep their heads down they will be left alone. After all, a “rational” regime would only be a threat to groups that threaten the government. Why waste time, effort and resources killing innocent people who pose no threat?

In other words, if the rebels stop fighting, the regime will stop attacking the civilians. Of course, in Sudan we have evidence that the Sudanese government deliberately targets civilians. The article goes on to cite the Armenian Genocide. This paragraph is frighteningly similar to what is happening in South Kordofan and the genocide against the Nuba people:

Henry Morgenthau Sr., U.S. ambassador to Turkey at the time, provided detailed and gruesome accounts of Turk atrocities against the Armenians to the U.S. government. However, the official line from Mehmed Talaat, Turkey’s interior minister, was that Turkish forces were merely responding to the threats of Armenian groups against the Turkish government. Civilians were not the targets.

They cry “Peace!” But there is no peace. There will be no peace. There can be no peace until the oppression ceases. By promoting the financial well-being of Sudan and acting to discourage and impede pro-Democracy forces there, we may be saving lives on the battlefield in the short term only to sentence another generation to oppression and even genocide. It must stop. Sudan’s murderous oppression of the Nuba, the people of Blue Nile, and the people of Darfur is not a response to the rebellion.

The rebellion exists because of the oppression and the genocide. It is an attempt to combat both.

Those who are students of history know well that appeasing murderous dictators never works. “Never again!” means not repeating the mistakes of the past, ones which the world seems all too eager to repeat.

Referendum for Abyei Possible in October 2013

According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, the African Union (AU) is proposing that a referendum take place in October of 2013 in which the people of Abyei will decide to link themselves to South Sudan or to Sudan. The proposal includes provisions for the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka who cross the borders between the nations. The AU suggests a “soft border” which would allow relatively free travel across the national boundaries regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

The proposal includes a provision in which 20% of oil revenues produced in Abyei will be shared with South Kordofan. This makes sense solely with the anticipation that Abyei will become part of South Sudan causing a further loss of oil revenue for Sudan. This all said, it is unlikely that any agreement on Abyei can be achieved until the situation with rebel groups along the border is settled because the agreement on Abyei seems to be dependent upon an ability to allow a soft border to exist.