Darfur and Southern Kordofan…HART describes Nuba genocide


Questions on Sudan raised in Parliament this week…(July 11th – July 15th 2011)


Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the role of the United Nations Mission in Sudan during recent violence. HL11024

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that violence in Sudan has driven tens of thousands of civilians into hiding in the Nuba Mountains; and what steps they are taking to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to them.
HL11025

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government in what ways United Nations Security Council Resolution 1590, requiring “particular attention” to be given to the “protection of vulnerable groups including internally displaced persons” and to “take necessary action to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence” has been put into effect in South Kordofan. HL11026

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they raised concerns about the military build-up of Sudanese government troops and vehicles in a camp at Kadugli, immediately adjacent to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) camp; whether they queried the relationship between the two forces; and what was their response to reports that UNMIS officials prevented civilians with links to opposition groups from being given refuge there. HL11027

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have sought a witness statement from the Bishop of Kadugli regarding allegations concerning the role of United Nations peacekeepers in the killing of civilians by Sudanese armed forces; and whether they intend to ask for a referral of these killings and violence against civilians seeking refuge in the Nuba Mountains, to the International Criminal Court. HL11028

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government how the United Nations peacekeepers in Sudan were selected; what role the government of Sudan played in selecting those United Nations peacekeepers; and whether the suitability of Egyptian soldiers for this mission was queried by other members of the United Nations. HL11029

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian and security implications of the United Nations’ estimate that 70,000 people were displaced in Darfur between January and April of this year; of the claim by local sources that the number may be twice as many; and of the calculation that the security situation in Darfur is worse than at any time in the past five years.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Eric Reeves analysis that bombing raids on Darfur by Sudanese Government Antonov aircraft occur almost daily with 182 bombing raids during 2010 and a further 84 by the end of April 2011

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government whether they have sought a discussion in the United Nations Security Council about the almost daily infringements of Resolution 1591 (2005), prohibiting bombing raids on Darfur; and of reports that chemicals from the bombs have become so widespread that soil has been poisoned leading to death following the ingestion of toxins.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent reports they have received about the humanitarian crisis facing displaced people in Darfur and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of UNAMID in adequately protecting civilians.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government whether they will press UNAMID to demand unfettered humanitarian access to all areas of Darfur in which civilians are in need of protection; and for all UN agencies to regularly publish comprehensive data on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about the aerial bombardment of civilians, including children, in bombing attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces in the Nuba Mountains?

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will refer to the International Criminal Court the bomb attack in Southern Kodofan on the hospital north of Kauda Valley for investigation and prosecution.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place the situation in Southern Kordofan before the United Nations Security Council and call for a discussion of the implications of the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force from the Republic of Sudan’s border areas by the end of next month.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian and security implications of the United Nations’ estimate that 70,000 people were displaced in Darfur between January and April of this year; of the claim by local sources that the number may be twice as many; and of the calculation that the security situation in Darfur is worse than at any time in the past five years.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Eric Reeves analysis that bombing raids on Darfur by Sudanese Government Antonov aircraft occur almost daily with 182 bombing raids during 2010 and a further 84 by the end of April 2011

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government whether they have sought a discussion in the United Nations Security Council about the almost daily infringements of Resolution 1591 (2005), prohibiting bombing raids on Darfur; and of reports that chemicals from the bombs have become so widespread that soil has been poisoned leading to death following the ingestion of toxins.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent reports they have received about the humanitarian crisis facing displaced people in Darfur and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of UNAMID in adequately protecting civilians.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government whether they will press UNAMID to demand unfettered humanitarian access to all areas of Darfur in which civilians are in need of protection; and for all UN agencies to regularly publish comprehensive data on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about the aerial bombardment of civilians, including children, in bombing attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces in the Nuba Mountains?

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will refer to the International Criminal Court the bomb attack in Southern Kodofan on the hospital north of Kauda Valley for investigation and prosecution.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place the situation in Southern Kordofan before the United Nations Security Council and call for a discussion of the implications of the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force from the Republic of Sudan’s border areas by the end of next month.
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Baroness (Caroline) Cox has just returned from Southern Sudan and her charity, HART, has today (July 14th 2011)released this report…

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

‘Genocide’ underway in Nuba Mountains, Sudan reports NGO

14 July 2011, Nairobi, Kenya and Juba, South Sudan.

Above: Trying to survive in caves, sheltering from aerial bombardment. As well as lacking basic food, water and sanitation, the people are also at risk from snakes – but as one said, ‘We fear the bombs more than the deadly snakes’

Release time: immediate
Sudanese government aircraft are continuing to systematically bomb civilians in the Nuba Mountains in the south of the Republic of Sudan. 70,000 civilians are believed to have fled from their homes to seek shelter, many living in caves, without food or water.
“It is impossible to obtain figures of dead and wounded,” reports (Baroness) Caroline Cox, Executive President of HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust), “but first hand reports describe the murder of civilians deemed to be supporters of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), who are dragged from their homes, driven away in trucks, killed and thrown into mass graves.”
“Hospitals are trying to care for the injured but access for humanitarian aid has been cut off by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), creating an acute shortage of medical supplies and food.”
The SAF has been reported as systematically destroying the homes of SPLM supporters and churches. Civilians were also dragged from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) compound, and killed in full view of UNMIS personnel, who did not intervene. NGO workers have reported SAF soldiers going door-to-door and murdering anyone whom they consider ‘too black’.
“This policy is directed against all those who fall outside Khartoum’s narrow ethno-religious definition of acceptability,” said Baroness Cox. “HART has received credible reports of a military build-up intended for a military assault on Blue Nile region, similar to that in South Kordofan. The offices of independent political parties have been closed in El Fashir and Kassala, in the east of Sudan, and the only independent Khartoum-based newspaper has been closed down.”
“When HART last visited its partners in the Nuba Mountains, the people told us that they dreaded being left to the mercy of Khartoum when the South gained Independence. They feared that they would be subject to ruthless destruction of their African identity, traditional culture and religious freedom. Those fears are becoming a horrific reality today.”
El Bashir has ordered all UN personnel to withdraw from the newly reconfigured nation of Sudan – resulting in the withdrawal of UNMIS forces from Southern Kordofan and any protection they might have provided.
Local leaders are pleading for an immediate response from the international community to save their people from what they describe as genocide. They are specifically calling for:
• A No Fly Zone to protect them from constant aerial bombardment
• An opening up of access for humanitarian aid
• An independent international Committee of Enquiry to investigate and report on recent events.
‘After Rwanda, world leaders said ‘Never Again’. But ‘Again’ is happening today. We cannot use the excuse that we do not know. The international community needs to respond immediately if it is not to be guilty of complicity in another genocide, already occurring in Southern Kordofan.’ (Caroline Cox)

ENDS

Notes for Editors

A briefing paper on the situation in the Nuba Mountains including details of the offences being carried out against civilians and the resulting humanitarian crisis is attached.

For further information on HART’s involvement in Sudan, additional photos and videos (including high resolution images) please contact HART’s Advocacy and Communications Manager, Dr Lydia Tanner, on +44 7809 700897 or Caroline Cox on +44 208 204 7336.
All photos © Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. Photos may be used provided HART is clearly identified as the source and referenced in narrative text.

The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) is an international charity, registered in Britain, the United States and Australia, that works to provide aid and advocacy for those who are, or who have been, suffering oppression and persecution.

Founded in 2003 by UK Parliamentarian and human right activist Baroness Caroline HART seeks to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’ for those who are often not adequately supported served by other major aid organizations.

HART relies on first-hand evidence of human rights violations, using this as a basis for a powerful twin-track programme of international advocacy and targeted aid-work focusing on sustainable community development, local partnership and regional networks of support.

HART believes that in order to truly meet the needs and requirements of the persecuted, oppressed and overlooked; the direction and management of aid must primarily involve the local people it wishes to help. The projects funded by HART are always seen as belonging to those benefiting. Accordingly, HART works with local partners, in Armenia, Burma, East Timor, India, Nigeria, Sudan and Uganda, in the spheres of education, environment, health and human rights.

HART differs from other aid and advocacy organizations in that it combines both aid and advocacy in the work it undertakes. HART believes that only through a twin-track programme of international advocacy and aid can sustainable community development and local ownership and empowerment, be achieved.

More information on HART’s work can be found at http://www.hart-uk.org

Dr Lydia Tanner
Advocacy and Communications Manager
Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust
email: lydia.tanner@hart-uk.org
tel: +44 (0) 208 204 7336
fax: +44 (0) 208 204 5661
web: http://www.hart-uk.org

HART Briefing: Attempted ethnic cleansing of civilians in the Nuba Mountains
Bashir talks peace in Juba while bombing the Nuba Mountains
Juba, 11 July 2011
On 9 July 2011, Al Bashir, president of Sudan, made a speech at the Independence celebrations in South Sudan. Only a few hundred kilometres north of the border which now divides South Sudan from Sudan, Bashir’s forces were carrying out aerial assaults on the town of Dalami in the Nuba Mountains.
Since 5 June 2011, Khartoum has carried out daily aerial attacks on the Nuba Mountains, terrorising civilians, 70,000 of whom have had to flee from their homes. Many are hiding in caves in the mountains where they are hunted down with helicopter gunships and try to survive with little access to food or water.
SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) tanks, heavy weapons and further troops have been sent to the area from Khartoum. In the urban areas, supporters of the SPLM/A (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army) are being executed; many civilians have been thrown into mass graves and killed. According to a local man:
“The atrocities currently going on in Kadugli and Dilling are horrific. The SAF has been undertaking door-to-door forced entries: anyone even suspected of being pro SPLM is being executed on the spot – shot, or normally, their throats cut. There have also been executions of those whose skin is considered too black. Such murders were conducted directly in front of the UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan) compound; there are dead bodies lying in the streets everywhere.”
Trade and aid routes have been blocked and there are critical shortages of essential medicines, food and water. HART is concerned that the humanitarian crisis will escalate. There is very little humanitarian relief; the threat of mass starvation and disease is significant, particularly now that the rainy season has arrived.
Crimes against civilians in the Nuba Mountains (Southern Kordofan)
– In Kadugli, uniformed National Congress Party (NCP) security forces and intelligence broke into the SPLM office and accessed the party member list. Eyewitness accounts report that the soldiers then went door-to-door executing those who voted for the SPLM by cutting their throats. Often any women and children present were killed in the same way.
– Members of the NCP in the region were asked to inform on SPLM members. The informants themselves were then shot.
Escorted from UNMIS and shot
– CP soldiers went into the UNMIS compound, identified those on a list of names, took them out of the compound and shot them in front of the gates.
– Several thousand people fled to UNMIS and were camping outside the compound, many walking for six days through the surrounding forests and hills. Soldiers took men thought to support the SPLM, or those with dark skin, and shot or slaughtered them in front of the compound. The Egyptian forces at UNMIS failed to protect the civilians.
Pushed into mass graves and shot
– Eyewitnesses have reported three mass graves in Kadugli. People had their hands tied, were transported in trucks, moved into the mass graves and then shot.
– HART has received personal accounts and photographs of attacks on civilians. As well as attacks on the towns, villages are also being targeted including Fama, Buram, Rieka, Shat, Kurungo, Katcha, Kurchi, Seraf Jamous, Tangal, Dalami, Umserchiba and Ties. For example, 20,000 had been living in the area of Buram, yet a local leader who visited last week told us that he found less than 10 people still living there – the entire population has fled into the mountains.
– There are reports of villages being burnt and of churches and houses being destroyed, including all houses belonging to leadership of the SPLM-North, as well as the Ministry of Finance and the SPLM offices.
– A lady who fled north reported seeing lists in the Khartoum airport and bus stations of Nuba people to be stopped and handed over to the authorities. She said that her name was on that list and fearing for her life has fled to Juba, South Sudan.
This evidence and many accompanying photographs were collected from eye-witnesses accounts, community leaders and local NGOs. All witnesses have asked to remain anonymous due to the security situation.
In northern Sudan
– The SPLM newspaper ‘Ajrass Alhruya’ in Khartoum has been shut down.
– SPLM offices in Al Fashir and Kassala were forced to close.
– Fighting has also broken out in the state of Blue Nile, amid threats of an attack from Khartoum on 18th July.
Humanitarian Crisis
An estimated 70,000 civilians have been displaced, often hiding in the forests or in caves in the hills where they risk attack from wild animals and snakes. Many have been injured by bomb blasts and women have been giving birth prematurely while fleeing. With no direct access to water, children are left in hiding while women walk to collect supplies.
Governor Ahmed M. Haroun has refused to allow a displacement camp for those who have fled the violence, saying that he doesn’t want the international attention created by ‘another Darfur’. Instead, civilians are being trapped in Kadugli and other urban centres, being used as ‘human shields’. Khartoum has refused any international access to Kadugli for journalists or humanitarian organisations.
NGOs have evacuated almost all foreign staff. In Kauda, where many of the displaced have fled, there is only one doctor and two nurses still at the hospital. National NGO staff formed a consortium and were able to respond to the initial flood of refugees with food stored by the WFP (World Food Programme) in preparation for the rainy season. A local assessment team is taking limited food supplies and plastic sheeting into the hills and forests.
Bombing of International aid
The humanitarian situation is deteriorating – NGOs have been unable to get enough flights into the region and there are fears of serious food shortages leading to mass starvation. All access to Kadugli is blocked and the airstrip in Kauda has been bombed three times. Eye-witnesses state that on the few occasions when humanitarian flights have come, Antonovs have started to bomb the airstrip within 15 minutes. Humanitarian assistance delivered via Sudan is only able to reach government controlled areas, so access from South Sudan is vital but more difficult now that an international border must be crossed.
Background to the conflict
Nuba Mountains, renamed Southern Kordofan by Khartoum, is an ethnically and religiously diverse area lying just north of the border town of Abyei. The Nuba peoples were badly affected by the long war fought between the North and South, which culminated in independence being won by South Sudan on 9 July 2011. Under the conditions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005, the peoples in the Nuba Mountains were offered a ‘Popular Consultation’, which has yet to be realised.
Tensions have been escalating since elections for South Kordofan’s Governor in May 2011, when there was widespread evidence of vote rigging. This has contributed to a growing belief that the current Government in Khartoum is not intent on finding a peaceful solution through the political process. The NCP candidate Ahmed M. Haroun, who claimed victory in the elections, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur. He has perpetrated previous crimes within the Nuba Mountains.
Attacks on the Nuba Mountains began on 5 June 2011 when the Chief of Staff in Khartoum attempted to disband the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), set up during the CPA to combine Khartoum’s army with soldiers aligned with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Despite calls for a new security arrangement to be negotiated, the National Congress Party (NCP) demanded disarmament of the 40,000 soldiers from the SPLM-North within one week. When local SPLA soldiers did not disarm or move to South Sudan, the 14th Division SAF (Sudan Armed Forces), stationed in the regional capital of Kadugli, started to fight. By the following day fighting had spread to other JIUs including Umgeaine.
The NCP governor further provoked the violence by sending tanks into Kadugli to fight the SPLM-North soldiers. Within days, Khartoum had begun indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians by Antanovs – which has continued daily ever since. With many of the men joining the resistance, most victims are women and children.
At present, six of the districts in the Nuba Mountains are under SPLM-North control. A peace agreement between the SPLM-North and the National Congress Party (NCP), led by Mbeke in Addis Ababa, has been rejected by the NCP, who are refusing to acknowledge any SPLM party activities.
International involvement
With the eyes of the world concentrated on the joyful celebrations of South Sudan’s independence after over half a century of repression and resistance, and on Khartoum’s occupation of the border town of Abyei, news of the Nuba Mountains has been scarce.
During the Independence ceremony, the new President of the Republic of South Sudan spoke of his commitment to peace in the regions of Sudan that do not yet have peace or freedom. Yet for South Sudan to engage in the struggle for freedom in these regions, they will need peace within their own borders. Salva Kiir has announced an amnesty for rebel groups still fighting within South Sudan, funded and armed by Khartoum.
With the independence of South Sudan and the ending of the CPA, Khartoum has announced that all UN forces north of the border will be removed.
The peoples of the Nuba Mountains desperately need the support of international NGOs, institutions and governments to provide emergency relief and to apply political pressure on Khartoum. Demonstration in Kadugli in June 2011
Responding to the Crisis
The Nuba people are fighting to be part of a new Sudan which respects diversity.
The people in the Nuba Mountains are calling for help from the International Community. HART was told: ‘Unless the International Community engages with the situation in the Nuba Mountains, there will be no peace here.’
1. The Nuba people are requesting a No Fly Zone to be set up in the region.
2. They are asking international governments to pressure Khartoum to allow humanitarian access without delay or hindrance to all in need.
3. They are asking for an international independent committee of enquiry to be sent to the Nuba Mountains to investigate and report on recent events.
“Let us remember that key aspects of the peace process have not been completed. The referendum in Abyei has yet to take place. The voices of the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have not yet been heard in popular consultations. And in recent weeks we have seen new violence and human suffering, inflamed by potentially dangerous rhetoric. So, today, let this be a moment for North and South to declare, unequivocally, that they remain committed to addressing the unfinished business of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.”
Ban Ki-moon, 9 July 2011
“I want to assure the people of Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan that we have not forgotten you. When you cry, we cry; when you bleed, we bleed. I pledge you today that we will find a just peace for all.”
President Salva Kiir, 9 July 2011