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January 11, 2011
• The people of Sudan have endured some of the world’s most horrendous violence, including the genocide in Darfur that has claimed more than 300,000 lives and forced millions from their homes, and a 22-year civil war between the north and south that caused an estimated 2 million deaths, mostly in the south. Southern Sudanese are voting from January 9-15 in a referendum that is part of an historic 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Sudan’s civil war. The referendum began on time, and without widespread violence. This is something that advocates in the United States and around the world have worked very hard for, and we appreciate the stepped diplomacy conducted by the Obama Administration and other world leaders. However, there is much work to be done before the world should take the spotlight off of Sudan -- negotiations between north and south will continue on key flashpoint issues that could spark renewed conflict, including wealth sharing, border delineation, citizenship and the status of contested areas like the Abyei region. We are urging U.S. leaders to make clear that the United States will maintain its high level of engagement pursuing peace in all of Sudan.
• As world leaders understandably focus attention on the referendum, we remain concerned about ongoing violence in Darfur, particularly the recent fighting in south Darfur’s town of Khor Abeche that displaced thousands of civilians in December. An estimated 2.7 million Darfuri civilians are living in IDP camps and an additional 300,000 were displaced in 2010 alone. There are also ongoing reports of blocked humanitarian aid and ongoing human rights abuses in Darfur, where more than 300,000 people have died in that region’s ongoing genocide. We urge the United States to devote the time and attention necessary to move toward peace and stability in Darfur. Specifically: o The United States should make sure that any improvements in its bilateral relationship with the Government of Sudan is tied not only to progress on North/South issues, but also the Government of Sudan’s support and implementation of a non-violent solution to the Darfur crisis;
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The international community—led by the United States—should push for the Government of Sudan to provide unimpeded access for peacekeepers and humanitarian workers to areas where fighting has taken place and where internally displaced persons have fled; The United States and other parties should push for effective implementation of the Darfur arms embargo that could include the embargo’s expansion; UNAMID should collect and publish information on violence and access issues in its area of operation; and The U.S. should lead international efforts to support the Doha Peace process, reinvigorate the peace process in a neutral location, encourage all the parties to negotiate in good faith and make sure a cessation of hostilities agreement is signed and implemented.
A peaceful resolution to the unacceptable situation in Darfur is integral to the longterm stability of the entire region and should continue to be an integral component of U.S. and international efforts in Sudan
What can the U.S. Government Do to Support Peace in Sudan?
The United States must be prepared to take stronger actions if diplomatic efforts are not sufficient to prevent and/or halt violence. These should be determined and prepared for in advance, and the United States should publically spell out consequences for negative action by Sudanese parties. Support the renewal and expansion on UNMIS’ mandate: The U.S. should support the renewal of the UNMIS mandate beyond July 9th and redefine the mandate so that a peacekeeping force will be more effective in post-CPA Sudan. Sustain engagement throughout the process: The U.S. should support critical negotiations on post- referendum issues and remain highly engaged throughout the postreferendum and post-separation process. Ongoing Comprehensive Contingency Planning to respond to violence if/as it occurs: This planning should be done in coordination with our allies wherever possible and must be kept up-to-date as the situation on the ground changes. Ensuring flexible funds are available for emergency support: The United States should also encourage key players in the international community including UN Security Council and European Union member states to make funds available for contingencies. This includes responding quickly to any major displacement within Sudan or refugee spillover into neighboring states. Enhance Peacekeeping Forces Capacity to Respond: Support deployment of additional UNMIS peacekeepers to flashpoint areas, and/or if needed provide more direct assistance to peacekeeping forces to quell violence. Monitoring and intelligence gathering: Any information on the organization or perpetration of violence should be shared as appropriate with peacekeeping forces and allies. The U.S. should be prepared to shut down military-related communication if necessary to prevent violence. The U.S. should also encourage OHCHR, OCHA, and
UNAMID to increase public reporting of human rights and access reporting at least to past levels.
WHAT ARE THE THREATS TO THE PEOPLE OF SUDAN?
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Sudan a “ticking time bomb” 1. Formal Declaration of War or Intentional Widespread Fighting: Although avoiding war would seem to be in the interest of both parties, various scenarios could increase the possibility of this disastrous outcome. 2. Localized Clashes between Northern and Southern Armies: Build-up of troops from both sides along the north-south border signals a strong possibility of localized fighting. There are already reports of the northern Sudanese Armed Forces bombing border areas, and the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan has stated that it cannot effectively secure the border. The Abyei region could also become a flashpoint for violence between northern and southern military forces. With tensions running high, a localized incident could spark wider conflict.
3. Violent Crackdown on Southerners in the North and/or Northerners in the South: There are more than 1.5 million southerners living in the North and a significant number of northerners living in the south, and these populations could be targets of human rights abuses and possibly violence. Direct threats against the rights of southerners living in the north have already been reported. 4. Violent Clashes between Different Political and/or Ethnic Groups: Localized violence between ethnic and political groups within the south and/or the Abyei region is a real possibility. Violence could erupt on its own or be supported by the Government of Sudan. 5. Polling Irregularities that Serve to Increase North-South Tensions: Given various logistical challenges—and the competing interests of both parties—the likelihood of polling irregularities during the referendum is high. Depending upon how extensive the irregularities are and how they impact the results of the referenda, tensions between parties could increase even further. The biggest point of contention is likely to be around meeting the threshold requiring 60% of those registered to vote in South Sudan’s referendum to turn out in order for the results to be valid. 6. Refugee Crises in Border States: Direct north-south violence or localized clashes that seriously endanger civilians may drive many people from their homes to bordering states. 7. Lord’s Resistance Army Involved in Attacks: The LRA resumes either localized attacks or a widespread campaign to terrorize civilians in southern Sudan or Darfur, including by abducting children to replenish its ranks. There have been numerous indications that the LRA has recently sought safe haven in South Darfur and has sought support from the Khartoum government, who previously supported the LRA. 8. Intensified Violence in Darfur: With international attention focused on north/south issues, the Government of Sudan could ramp up violent activities in Darfur. Recent reports indicate that the Government has accelerated violence against civilians and obstructed or manipulated access for aid groups and peacekeepers in numerous areas.