Child at a nutrition distribution center in South Sudan (Daniel Sullivan/United to End Genocide)

A letter from 124 organizations has been sent to all members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council expressing alarm about the dire humanitarian situation continuing in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Despite a UN Security Council Resolution (2046) passed in May, which strongly urged Sudan to sign an access agreement and a belated and unfulfilled memorandum of understanding signed by the government of Sudan on August 5, an estimated 665,000 people remain displaced or severely affected by violence and a lack of aid.

The letter states:

If Sudan continues to ignore its obligations to allow humanitarian access to the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, we urge that the UN Security Council move swiftly to impose consequences for this failure and to consider alternative means for delivering aid.

Organizations signing on to the letter include Human Rights Watch, NAACP, National Association of Evangelicals, American Jewish World Service, Enough Project, Act for Sudan, American Islamic Congress and United to End Genocide. U.S.-based organizations were joined by others from France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, South Sudan and Sudan, including South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

A similar letter has been sent by the Sudan Caucus in the U.S. Congress, co-chaired by Representatives Michael Capuano (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Frank Wolf (R-VA), urging U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, to lead in ensuring accountability for Sudan.

The timing of the letters is significant as an African Union (AU) deadline for resolving remaining issues between Sudan and South Sudan looms on September 22. The latest report from the AU High-Implementation Panel on Sudan-South Sudan negotiations with recommendations for next steps is expected in the next week. This report will greatly influence the next steps taken by the Security Council which has threatened possible sanctions if outstanding issues are not resolved.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir are expected to meet this weekend. While progress is reported to have been made on oil sharing and border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, the humanitarian issue remains stalled. It is imperative that the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile remain at the forefront and that any attempt to delay the distribution of humanitarian aid be met with consequences.

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