Another civil war risks erupting in Sudan. In recent weeks, both the Northern and Southern Sudanese governments amassed troops in the border state of Abyei. Clashes have already broken out, prompting about 60,000 people to flee their homes. International troops have been fired upon, and the United Nations warns that ethnic cleansing maybe taking place.
Violence in Abyei is rising as both the North and South want to control the oil-rich region. The Northern government has repeatedly postponed a referendum on whether Abyei will stay with Northern Sudan or separate and join a newly-independent Southern Sudan.
On May 23, John Baird, Canada’s new foreign affairs minister, condemned the escalating violence in the region, and called upon both sides to withdraw their troops from Abyei. However, Canada needs to go beyond making statements, and instead play an active role in keeping a large scale civil war from breaking-out in Abyei.
We need you to help make this happen. Directly contact Parliament Hill today – send an email to our leaders and let them know that Canada has the opportunity to make a difference. Use our email writing tool or contact your MP to suggest that:
· Canada should speak out at the UN against the escalating conflict and talk to its international partners to apply pressure on both parties to begin a troop withdrawal.
· Canada’s Foreign Minister should create a bilateral dialogue with his international counterparts to direct their attention to the seriousness of the situation.
· Canadian personnel participating in the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), in Southern Sudan, should influence UN Mission commanders to take a more assertive role in protecting civilians.
Given that Canada’s Members of Parliament are back in Ottawa this week, they are in a position to help make this happen. Let them know that you want Canada to give meaning to words.
Scott Fenwick is Advocacy Director of STAND Canada