Government of Sudan Continues to Block Humanitarian Aid
September 21, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) — A letter demanding action to put an end to the Sudanese military’s aerial bombardment of Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, and its blockade of food aid to hundreds of thousands of people at risk of starvation in those areas was sent today to the members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council by over 100 human rights, civil rights and faith-based organizations.
“If Sudan continues to ignore its obligations to allow humanitarian access to the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, we urge that the United States and the UN Security Council move swiftly to impose consequences for this failure and to consider alternative means for delivering aid,” the groups wrote.
Leaders of the Congressional Sudan Caucus are circulating a letter among their House colleagues that urges U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, to push for Security Council action that will hold the government of Sudan fully accountable for its failure to allow humanitarian aid into South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to give remarks on the House floor tomorrow to demand action to address the crisis.
United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews urged swift action: “It’s outrageous that the international community has continued to permit a wanted war criminal, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, to bomb, starve and kill his own people without any consequences. It’s time for action. More talk and delays only serve to further enable Bashir, putting countless lives at even greater risk.”
According to the UN, the attacks by the government of Sudan could constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. It is estimated that 665,000 people within Sudan have been displaced or severely affected since fighting began in border areas in May 2011. 205,000 people have fled to neighboring South Sudan and Ethiopia where the international community has struggled to address alarming malnutrition rates. For those still trapped in Sudan without access to humanitarian assistance, the situation remains at emergency levels.
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.
Background: On May 2, 2012, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2046, which, among other things, emphasized the importance of humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The Resolution made reference to the imposition of measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter, including sanctions, if its terms were not fulfilled.
On August 5, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, outlining what could form the foundation of a future agreement on access for the UN and humanitarian aid agencies. However, deadlines set out in the memorandum of understanding have not been met, a final agreement has not been signed and aid groups have not been permitted to enter the region.
The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network are now United to End Genocide. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities. The merger creates the world’s largest anti-genocide activist organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management.