A powerful new video by Nuba Reports captures the lives of refugees in the caves of the Nuba mountains, famished and in a constant state of fear that they will be found by the pro-government militias that drove them from their homes. Indeed, the violence in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile has continued to uptick over the past few weeks, a continuation of a struggle that has gone on for nearly 10 years now. In a call last Wednesday, US Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said that he was concerned over the lack of progress in Darfur, as well as a serious lack of humanitarian access to Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Outside of Darfur, the Sudanese and Southern Sudanese governments have yet to reach an agreement on how to allocate land along the border in Abyei, which is very rich in oil. Last week the UN Security Council renewed its mandate for the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for six months – until May of 2013. While in the short term this was probably necessary it demonstrates that the region is still far from achieving any form of peace or stability. In fact last week a local UN staff member was accidentally killed as communities from around the area engaged in a dangerous standoff.
In theory, a solution to Abyei is expected to come by December 5th, which was a deadline the African Union called on after initial peace dealings between President Bashir and Kiir on September 27th of this year. The UN Security Council has also demanded that the two governments come to a solution. But as of yet there is little evidence that the two regimes are any closer to an agreement.
While we can look to the December 5th as a potential source for hope, it is frustrating that the international community has opted to sit back and wait to see if some sort of agreement can be reached. Our calls have remained the same, and are simple: Civilians must be better protected, humanitarian aid must have complete access to those in need, and those responsible for committing these atrocities against civilians must be held responsible.
But our demands require support from governments and civil society alike for a successful solution to end violence to be reached. With the most important players sitting on the sidelines while the situation in Darfur, Abyei, and elsewhere in Sudan and South Sudan continues to deteriorate, the people on the ground have very little to be thankful for.