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Archive for December, 2011
December 21st, 2011
A summary of the news from the Sudans and the DRC the past two weeks. Click on the title for the full article.
Sudan & South Sudan
Around 2.7 million people in Africa’s newest nation will need aid in the New Year due to crop failures and violence. Although South Sudan won independence in July, the new nation has been struggling to end tribal and rebel violence, overcome an economic crisis, and build up state institutions. The country imports food from Sudan but border trade has been hard due to armed clashes. There has been an influx in the population due to people fleeing from northern border states where Khartoum’s army has been fighting with insurgents and South Sudanese returning home due to the independence. Erratic rains have caused food prices to shoot upwards and have made it even harder for the young nation to feed the country of 8.3 million.
Round table discussions on the Luo Nuer and Murie conflicts in Juba organized by Minority Rights Group International and Boma Development Initiative warned there could be an outbreak of “genocide” in the Southern Sudan region. It could be sparked by a lack of political action to resolve the conflict between the Luo Nuer and Murle communities. The weakness is blamed on the judiciary system. The groups called for empowerment of local government so they can handle community disputes. According to Jonglei state officials at least 3,000 people have been killed in 2011 in the ongoing inter-ethnic conflict. The UN Office for the Coordination in contrast reported that around 2,500 were killed in 2009 due to violent conflicts throughout the whole of South Sudan.
December 17th, 2011
Over the past three months, STAND Canada has taken the opportunity to step back and evaluate our organization’s mandate, activities and effectiveness. We continue to be committed to making it easy for our membership to translate compassion into action by becoming advocates against genocide, but we believe it’s time to consider new ways of accomplishing this goal to maximize our impact.
In the past few months, we have asked our membership for feedback. After hearing from our alumni, our chapters and members, we have decided to make some changes to ensure that STAND effectively facilitates anti-genocide advocacy and continues to empower youth and the Canadian public at-large.
December 14th, 2011
Violence has resulted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) November 28 presidential elections, with international monitors doubting the poll’s credibility and opposition parties organizing protests.
Although official results state that President Joseph Kabila was re-elected, reports surfaced indicating that the electoral commission was more prone to discard ballots in areas where opposition vote was high.
The Carter Center, whose observers monitored the vote, noted that some constituencies reported “impossibly high” rates of 99 to 100 per cent voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to President Kabila. The results also lack transparency, given that the electoral commission hasn’t yet announced the poll-by-poll results.
As a result, violence has broken-out between opposition supporters and Congolese security forces, leaving at least four people dead and many shops looted. Opposition parties are planning for country-wide protest which they claim will remain peaceful.
December 9th, 2011
STAND UBC has been busy since September, from our Western Canada Advocacy Conference to a collaborative seminar on Child Soldiers in the DRC.
This semester, we have been focused on education and discussion about what is going on in the DRC, both for ourselves and our campus community. We held two seminars, the first on sexual violence and the second on child soldiers. We partnered with our friends, the Africa Canada Accountability Coalition and Invisible Children, who had so much to share with us. We engaged in meaningful discussion in order to better understand the complexity of the issues.
As the holidays have been drawing closer, we printed out holiday cards and sold them in order to raise money for the Darfur Stoves Project, which supplies fuel-efficient stoves to Darfurian refugees so that they do not have to spend hours collecting firewood.
In the new year we will start off with our panel discussion: “Trade vs. Aid in South Sudan”. Trade vs. Aid is a hot topic at UBC that is sure to draw attention. We will have a political science professor, a refugee, and a politician giving us their own opinions on the subject! We are also planning to meet with an MP, which will be inspiring for us all.
Courtney Loftus is Media Coordinator at the STAND UBC chapter. Stay up-to-date on events happening around UBC campus by contacting her to receive the bi-weekly STAND UBC newsletter straight to your inbox – email email@example.com.
Interested in sharing the news from your chapter to the STAND Canada blog? Contact Alexa Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.