Arab NGOs call on the Arab Summit to grasp the opportunity to stop the escalating conflict and suffering in Sudan and South Sudan, especially South Kordofan and Blue Nile – in particular a cessation of hostilities and sustained unconditonal humanitarian access
On the eve of the Arab Summit to be held in Baghdad on March 29, the Arab Coalition for Darfur (ACD) is extremely worried about the escalating conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile which have all the hallmarks of another Darfur.
According to international reports, since the start of the conflict in South Kordofan last June 2011 and Blue Nile in September 2011, the estimated number of displaced people is over 350,000, in addition 78,000 refugees who have crossed the border to the State of South Sudan. Furthermore, 35,000 people from the Blue Nile state crossed the borders into the neighboring Ethiopia. This indicates an explosion of new hotbeds of conflict and escalating humanitarian needs on top of the ongoing crisis in the Darfur region, which led to the displacement of about 3 million civilians during the war and which lasted for a almost a decade without resolution.
As Haggag Nayel Secretary General of the ACD says ‘South Kordofan shows many of the signs of Darfur when the Arab world looked away – despite the huge numbers of people affected, and where civilians are subjected to aerial bombardment, displacement and forced refugee status. Will Arab leaders be too late again – it has already been eight months of watching?’
We call on Arab leaders to move rapidly and to press on all parties, including the governments of states of Sudan and South Sudan to stop widening the circle of violence, and urge them to use their distinct role in resolving conflicts in the region including issues of Sudan.
As Najib Alnauimi, Former Minister of Justice of Qatar, human rights defender and member of the ACD says: ‘The LAS cannot standby with the usual refrain of not interfering in internal affairs – Libya, Syria and elsewhere shows the need for action to protect civilians and ensure access to humanitarian assistance according to international law’.
We therefore demand the Arab leaders at their Summit to activate their role resolving the crisis which once again threatens the region by the following:
- Recognize that the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile has all the hallmarks of another Darfur.
- Call on the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N (South Popular Liberation Movement – North) to return to talks and to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities, in all areas of conflict especially South Kordofan and Blue Nile, including the cessation of indiscriminate aerial bombing by Sudan’s Air Force on unarmed civilians including women and children.
- Ensure meaningful unimpeded sustained humanitarian access without conditions from any party to support the majority of the population needing assistance but so far denied access to assistance by independent humanitarian actors.
- Send a fact-finding mission in the conflict hotbeds via the League of Arab States perhaps in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Conference to further inform the LAS of the context and required action
- Press on the states of Sudan and South Sudan not to get back to war under any circumstances and for the two parties to reach a political agreement to resolve the post-independence issues of the State of South Sudan, which include oil and the demarcation of borders, citizenship and nationality and security issues. This includes full development and implementation of the accords reached in Addis on citizenship and demarcation in March 2012.
For interviews please contact:
Secretary General of the Arab Coalition Darfur, Egypt
Former Minister of Justice of Qatar,
human rights defender and member of the ACD, Qatar
ACD Deputy Secretary General, Sudan
Moniem El Jak
Member of ACD, Sudan