Conflict displaces 900,000 in Sudan border areas

KHARTOUM Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:44pm EDT

A woman holds her child in a cave in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A woman holds her child in a cave in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, April 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) - More than 900,000 people have been displaced or severely affected by fighting in two Sudanese border states, the United Nations said on Friday, sharply increasing its estimates and urging Sudan and rebels to let in badly needed aid.

Fighting between Sudan's army and SPLM-North rebels broke out in the oil-producing state of South Kordofan in June 2011, shortly before South Sudan became independent.

The violence spread in September 2011 to nearby Blue Nile state which also borders the new African republic.

Sudan accuses South Sudan of backing the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North), charges diplomats find credible despite denials by South Sudan.

Altogether 908,000 people have been displaced or severely affected in both states, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, revising upward its previous count of 655,000.

Around 350,000 people were affected in rebel-held areas in South Kordofan and 70,000 in Blue Nile, the U.N. report said.

"In SPLM-N areas, no humanitarian staff have been able to enter from within Sudan and no food aid has been delivered, despite intensive negotiations that have been going on now for more than 16 months," the United Nations said.

In August, Sudan agreed to let aid pass through its territory into rebel-held areas under an agreement brokered by the United Nations, the African Union and Arab League.

But the U.N. has been unable to win approval from Sudan to distribute aid during almost three months of talks. Sudan has blamed the rebels for the delay and state media has criticized the U.N. for failing to attend some meetings to discuss technical details, charges denied by U.N. officials in Sudan.

SPLM-North, which accuses the government of marginalizing large parts of South Kordofan and other border areas, has formed an alliance with other rebel groups to try and topple Sudan's veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in July last year, under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended their civil war.

They agreed to set up a buffer zone along their shared boundary last month after coming close to war in April. But there has been scant progress in parallel indirect talks between Khartoum and SPLM-North, which fought as part of the southern rebel army during the civil war.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (1)
Dr.DABASHY wrote:
Dr.DABASHY; (21-10-2012); ++249 918076906
Grey-cover reports of UN agencies on Sudan are dependable; ‘official’ reports by Sudan government are not. However, both suffer from structural deficiency: while grey reports are formalistic and lenient, to avoid being branded by government as false, and while they lack a relational depth to depict the substantive aspects of the sufferings of people the borderlands; government reports are made/concocted to serve political biases and security concerns of both the government and the armed forces who have been doing war on honorable citizens, seeking justice.
Structural segmentation: Both UN grey reports and Government official reports tend to accept the sanctity of failed agreements signed on borderlands, taking them as separate for parts of the same country. They should know better and do better: Internal Wars in Sudan arise from lack of socioeconomic injustice for the people of the borderlands, non-recognition of human rights, economic inequity and social inequality pervading Blue Nile, Kordofan and Darfur. Thus the absence of a holistic approach to address peoples claims lies at the heart of persistent failures of partial/ geocentric/piecemeal agreements, added to mistrust, ill-will and non-faithful to implementation.
The solution rests on adopting a transformational planning perspective to lay the basis for a new spirit for national unity, not only to making unity attractive for the peoples in the borderlands but also with a determination to end unequal development of remote parts of the country relative to the center. To this end, comprehensive agreement must be reached through the negotiations in Addis Ababa under the AUHIP for restructuring and eventual substantive transformation of the Sudanese State along the following lines. The instruments and mechanisms to chart a new road to non-violent and durable settlement, reform and change seem much clearer and easier to comprehend than the governing coalition would like us to believe: Redefine the nature of the State and Society relationship in a consensual federal national constitution that shall not espouse a religious state or uphold state religion; that the conditions to realize peace and unity shall prevail over any other religious or geocentric prejudices; restructure the state as federal entity where defence, foreign policy and foreign trade constitute the preserve and qualification of the sovereign. The constitution shall premise national unity on equitable power-sharing and wealth-sharing through strengthened regional autonomy system of self-government; espouse rotational election to the presidency, per region, every six years; and that the federal senate and each regional parliament shall be elected, concurrently, every four years. Every regional constitution shall embody the “Bill of Rights”, for faithful protection of the dignity and civil rights of individuals and groups, observing mutual trust and goodwill for ‘making national unity attractive’. Equitable resource-sharing of natural endowments shall allow 50percent equal shares between national level and each region, separately, as basis for governance of national resource endowments. There shall be affirmative action assigning 20percent, of the value of resources accruing to each region, to be allocated to the locality level endowed with the particular resource. Cross-cutting issues forming the constellation of factors and indicators comprising the weak human development situation, aggravated by declining production of staple food cereals and multiple internal wars, shall be gauged on the basis of the MDG 8-goals, 18-targets and 48-indicators to measure and monitor improvement in human well-being, economic equity, socioeconomic equality, human rights and social integration.

Oct 21, 2012 2:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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