South Kordofan and Blue Nile – the Killing Continues – Questions in Parliament – New Report By Amnesty International


June 2013 New Report By Amnesty international:

New satellite imagery and eyewitness testimonies from rebel-held areas in Sudan’s Blue Nile State show that Sudanese military forces have resorted to brutal scorched earth tactics to drive out the civilian population.

“We had no time to bury them”: War crimes in Sudan’s Blue Nile State documents how bombings and ground attacks by Sudanese military forces have destroyed entire villages, left many dead and injured, and forced tens of thousands to flee — with many now facing starvation, disease and exhaustion.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR54/011/2013/en/96b0c8a7-55aa-4f04-8ab7-cf85ce3e4c8f/afr540112013en.pdf

Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

See Also:

https://davidalton.net/2013/03/01/darfur-10-years-on-and-genocide-in-south-kordofan-and-blue-nile-debate-in-the-british-parliament/

June 13th 2013
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 11 June (WA 234–5), at which point the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs called for an independent investigation into serious crimes against humanity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; what they have done to expedite the establishment of an investigation; and why evidence cannot be gathered from those in refugee camps in the absence of a ceasefire and access to the region. HL845

Sudan
Question
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 21 May (WA 71), whether they will approach the appropriate experts to whom she refers and ask them to archive the accounts of refugees in the Yida refugee camp who have fled the aerial bombardment of Blue Nile and South Kordofan; and what assessment they have made of the role of the international community in instigating the collection of evidence where it is alleged that crimes against humanity or genocide has occurred.[HL520]
11 Jun 2013 : Column WA235
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Any gathering of evidence would likely be part of a wider international investigation into reports of genocide into Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. We have made it clear all along that the situation deserves a full and credible independent investigation, something the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), called for at the start of the conflict, and that those responsible for serious crimes of concern to the international community should be held to account. We will continue to discuss this issue with our international partners, as well as encouraging the Government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to negotiate towards an immediate ceasefire that will allow full access.
Sudan
Questions
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish their assessment of the outcomes and effectiveness of the United Kingdom Government-funded training programme for the Government of Sudan National Human Rights Commission, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in their assessment.[HL220]
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Our embassy in Khartoum, through its bilateral programme fund, funded a joint
22 May 2013 : Column WA94
project by the Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights and the Palestinian Human Rights Commission to provide training and supporting literature on international human rights law to the Sudanese National Human Rights Commission. Establishing a national Human Rights Commission was a key recommendation from the consideration of Sudan under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in September 2011.
This project took place during the 2012-13 financial year, which has only just closed. Therefore the final evaluation of the project is still under way. Our early assessment is that the project was effective in assisting the commission to define its role and begin its work, and helped to build links with other more established human rights bodies in the region. The full evaluation will assess the project’s impact, effectiveness and efficiency in achieving the project goals. Once this has been completed, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will share the results of the assessment with the noble Lord.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish their assessment of the outcomes and effectiveness of the United Kingdom Government-funded programme for training members of the Sudanese Armed Forces managing defence in the wider security context, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in assessing progress made in reducing the incidence of human rights abuses and atrocities in that country.[HL221]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Managing defence in the wider security context (MDWSC) is a seven week course aimed at middle-ranking officers and officials. It examines approaches to the governance and management of defence in developed and transitional democracies and addresses issues such as policy development, leadership, governance, international law, and change management.
Like all UK military education and training for overseas nations, it presents the same foundations of rule of law, democratic control of armed forces, and respect for human rights as underpin training to our own Armed Forces. Since 2010, three Sudanese officers have attended the MDWSC in the UK. Three short courses providing a condensed version of the MDWSC have also been delivered at the Higher Military Academy in Khartoum, attended by approximately 75 Sudanese officers.
The MDWSC has provided a platform for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Sudan country team to present, for the first time, to the Sudanese military on the role of the ICRC within Sudan, thereby supporting wider international efforts to encourage respect for international humanitarian law.
Defence education in Sudan targets potential future leaders within the Sudanese military and is intended to inculcate a mind set of change, encouraging acceptance of the need for greater accountability, improved respect for human rights, and a longer term process of reform.
22 May 2013 : Column WA95
The Sudanese military recognises the need for such education and appreciates its delivery. Since we have begun delivering education in Khartoum, Sudan has introduced a junior staff course, taught in English and open to an international audience, that reflects some of the principles taught on courses such as MDWSC and should contribute to the longer term process of reform of the Sudanese armed forces.
Sudan
Questions
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of displaced Sudanese people resident in Yida refugee camp; whether the camp is refusing to register new occupants; what happens to those who are not registered; and whether they have access to food, clean water and health treatment.[HL144]
Baroness Northover: The UK monitors the refugee situation in South Sudan closely. UK officials visited both the Yida settlement and the new Adjoung Thok camp in April. At the last count by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there were approximately 71,000 registered refugees in the Yida settlement. Around 1,000 new arrivals were recorded in April 2013. Yida is currently stable with rates of acute malnutrition reported to be in decline. The location of the Yida settlement, very close to the border between Sudan and South Sudan, continues to raise serious protection concerns.
In order to reduce congestion and encourage refugees to settle in a safer location, registration modalities have been modified in Yida and a new settlement, Adjoung Thok, has been established. It is in a safer location, 70 kilometres by road from the disputed border zone of Jaw, and fully operational. All new arrivals to Yida are registered and screened. In line with Government of South Sudan policy, newly arrived refugees are not receiving assistance in Yida. Following initial registration they are offered voluntary relocation to Adjoung Thok where they are given a full ration card, with access to food, water and healthcare. However, those who qualify for family reunion or who are severely malnourished do receive assistance and protection services in Yida, before voluntarily relocating to Adjoung Thok. There are currently 938 refugees, who were initially registered in Yida but have not relocated to Adjoung Thok. We are encouraging UNHCR and partners to strengthen nutrition screening and monitoring to capture any deterioration resulting from sharing of food.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have collected evidence from refugees in Yida refugee camp about the aerial bombardment of civilians living in Blue Nile and South Kordofan; and, if so, whether they intend to make such evidence available to the International Criminal Court.[HL145]
21 May 2013 : Column WA71
Baroness Warsi: We have not collected any evidence from refugees. As we made clear to the noble Lord in our previous response by the then Minister of State, the noble Lord Howell of Guildford, on 23 July 2012, Official Report, col. WAl22, any gathering of evidence should be carefully carried out by appropriate experts, ensuring the safety of those providing evidence and meeting the criteria for admissible evidence of relevance and reliability.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the World Health Organisation and UNICEF were last able to deliver vaccines and medicines, under the auspices of the Government of Sudan, to combat and treat leprosy and tuberculosis in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region of Sudan; and what are the implications of a failure to continue immunisation programmes in those areas.[HL146]
Baroness Northover: Vaccines and drugs continue to be delivered through government programmes in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. However, vaccines and drugs are not being delivered in parts of these states that are outside government control. A large number of children particularly will not have been vaccinated in the past two years, and this increases the risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about aerial bombardment of Blue Nile region and South Kordofan by the Government of Sudan, including any attempts to bomb trucks taking food into the areas.[HL147]
Baroness Warsi: We are deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (North) and the Government of Sudan, which includes reporting of bombardments and shelling of towns by both sides, and by the impact this has on civilians. We are not aware of food trucks being specifically targeted. We continue to urge both sides to negotiate in good faith at the talks in Addis Ababa, which are due to resume under African Union auspices in coming weeks. The ongoing violence, as well as restrictions by both sides, prevents access to conflict-affected areas.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the numbers of people (1) killed, (2) paralysed, or (3) in need of prosthesis as a result of losing limbs, following aerial bombardment of villages in South Kordofan and Blue Nile region; and what assistance is being provided to those people.[HL148]
Baroness Warsi: Without full access to both states, it is not possible to assess the full scale of those killed, paralysed or in need of prosthetics. The UK has consistently made it clear to the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North that they should negotiate a full ceasefire that leads to full humanitarian access. This will allow us to better
21 May 2013 : Column WA72
understand what help is needed, and to ensure that independent humanitarian agencies can start to provide the assistance required to all those in need.
The UK will provide approximately £1.3 million to the World Food Programme to support about 5,700 people in Blue Nile State with food assistance until December 2013. We are planning to undertake a monitoring visit by officials soon. Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish their assessment of the outcomes and effectiveness of the United Kingdom Government-funded programme for the Sudanese National Police force aimed at developing a concept of community policing, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in their assessment. [HL222]
Baroness Northover: DfID publishes annual reviews, project completion reports and evaluation reports.
An annual review for DfID support to community policing interventions under the Safety and Access to Justice Programme is available on DfID’s website. This includes information on how the review was carried out and the indicators used. We are continuing to assess the effectiveness of our support to community policing in Sudan through independent reviews.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Amnesty International report Sudan: Civilians Caught in Unending Crisis In Southern Khordofan, and in particular its criticism of conditions at the Yida refugee camp; and what assessment they have made of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommendation that refugees should relocate from Yida to other camps at Jam Jang. [HL224]
Baroness Northover: We are aware of theAmnesty International report and the recommendations made concerning UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) management of the Yida settlement. We are
21 May 2013 : Column WA73
concerned about the proximity of the Yida settlement to the Sudan-South Sudan border and the risk that it will become increasingly overcrowded. We support the decision of the Government of South Sudan and UNHCR to encourage relocation away from Yida and to open a new camp at Adjoung Thok, which UNHCR sees as a safer location, given its increased distance, particularly by road, from the insecure border region. We support UNHCR’s focus on the provision of life-saving assistance and protection at Yida, but welcome the fact that the full package of refugee services will be available at Adjoung Thok.


Questions Tabled about Blue Nile and South Kordofan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of displaced Sudanese people resident in Yida refugee camp; whether the camp is refusing to register new occupants; what happens to those who are not registered; and whether they have access to food, clean water and health treatment.[HL144]

Baroness Northover: The UK monitors the refugee situation in South Sudan closely. UK officials visited both the Yida settlement and the new Adjoung Thok camp in April. At the last count by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there were approximately 71,000 registered refugees in the Yida settlement. Around 1,000 new arrivals were recorded in April 2013. Yida is currently stable with rates of acute malnutrition reported to be in decline. The location of the Yida settlement, very close to the border between Sudan and South Sudan, continues to raise serious protection concerns.

In order to reduce congestion and encourage refugees to settle in a safer location, registration modalities have been modified in Yida and a new settlement, Adjoung Thok, has been established. It is in a safer location, 70 kilometres by road from the disputed border zone of Jaw, and fully operational. All new arrivals to Yida are registered and screened. In line with Government of South Sudan policy, newly arrived refugees are not receiving assistance in Yida. Following initial registration they are offered voluntary relocation to Adjoung Thok where they are given a full ration card, with access to food, water and healthcare. However, those who qualify for family reunion or who are severely malnourished do receive assistance and protection services in Yida, before voluntarily relocating to Adjoung Thok. There are currently 938 refugees, who were initially registered in Yida but have not relocated to Adjoung Thok. We are encouraging UNHCR and partners to strengthen nutrition screening and monitoring to capture any deterioration resulting from sharing of food.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have collected evidence from refugees in Yida refugee camp about the aerial bombardment of civilians living in Blue Nile and South Kordofan; and, if so, whether they intend to make such evidence available to the International Criminal Court.[HL145]

21 May 2013 : Column WA71

Baroness Warsi: We have not collected any evidence from refugees. As we made clear to the noble Lord in our previous response by the then Minister of State, the noble Lord Howell of Guildford, on 23 July 2012, Official Report, col. WAl22, any gathering of evidence should be carefully carried out by appropriate experts, ensuring the safety of those providing evidence and meeting the criteria for admissible evidence of relevance and reliability.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the World Health Organisation and UNICEF were last able to deliver vaccines and medicines, under the auspices of the Government of Sudan, to combat and treat leprosy and tuberculosis in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region of Sudan; and what are the implications of a failure to continue immunisation programmes in those areas.[HL146]

Baroness Northover: Vaccines and drugs continue to be delivered through government programmes in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. However, vaccines and drugs are not being delivered in parts of these states that are outside government control.  A large number of children particularly will not have been vaccinated in the past two years, and this increases the risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about aerial bombardment of Blue Nile region and South Kordofan by the Government of Sudan, including any attempts to bomb trucks taking food into the areas.[HL147]

Baroness Warsi: We are deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (North) and the Government of Sudan, which includes reporting of bombardments and shelling of towns by both sides, and by the impact this has on civilians. We are not aware of food trucks being specifically targeted. We continue to urge both sides to negotiate in good faith at the talks in Addis Ababa, which are due to resume under African Union auspices in coming weeks. The ongoing violence, as well as restrictions by both sides, prevents access to conflict-affected areas.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the numbers of people (1) killed, (2) paralysed, or (3) in need of prosthesis as a result of losing limbs, following aerial bombardment of villages in South Kordofan and Blue Nile region; and what assistance is being provided to those people.[HL148]

Baroness Warsi: Without full access to both states, it is not possible to assess the full scale of those killed, paralysed or in need of prosthetics. The UK has consistently made it clear to the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North that they should negotiate a full ceasefire that leads to full humanitarian access. This will allow us to better

21 May 2013 : Column WA72

understand what help is needed, and to ensure that independent humanitarian agencies can start to provide the assistance required to all those in need.

The UK will provide approximately £1.3 million to the World Food Programme to support about 5,700 people in Blue Nile State with food assistance until December 2013. We are planning to undertake a monitoring visit by officials soon.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what sources they use when making their assessment of the situation in Darfur.[HL160]

Baroness Warsi: The UK uses a wide range of sources to assess the situation in Darfur. This includes reporting from the African Union UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), UN development and humanitarian agencies, the UN Panel of Experts and non-governmental organisations working in Darfur. We also discuss the situation directly with the Government of Sudan, the Darfur Regional Authority, opposition political parties, representatives of the rebel armed groups, diaspora with contacts in Darfur, academics and civil society. We exchange information with the African Union, the US, the EU and other international partners. Our officials regularly visit Darfur to meet a range of contacts including ordinary Darfuris, and carry out our own assessment of the situation.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish their assessment of the outcomes and effectiveness of the United Kingdom Government-funded programme for the Sudanese National Police force aimed at developing a concept of community policing, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in their assessment. [HL222]

Baroness Northover: DfID publishes annual reviews, project completion reports and evaluation reports.

An annual review for DfID support to community policing interventions under the Safety and Access to Justice Programme is available on DfID’s website. This includes information on how the review was carried out and the indicators used. We are continuing to assess the effectiveness of our support to community policing in Sudan through independent reviews.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Amnesty International report Sudan: Civilians Caught in Unending Crisis In Southern Khordofan, and in particular its criticism of conditions at the Yida refugee camp; and what assessment they have made of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommendation that refugees should relocate from Yida to other camps at Jam Jang. [HL224]

Baroness Northover: We are aware of the Amnesty International report and the recommendations made concerning UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) management of the Yida settlement. We are

21 May 2013 : Column WA73

concerned about the proximity of the Yida settlement to the Sudan-South Sudan border and the risk that it will become increasingly overcrowded.  We support the decision of the Government of South Sudan and UNHCR to encourage relocation away from Yida and to open a new camp at Adjoung Thok, which UNHCR sees as a safer location, given its increased distance, particularly by road, from the insecure border region. We support UNHCR’s focus on the provision of life-saving assistance and protection at Yida, but welcome the fact that the full package of refugee services will be available at Adjoung Thok.