The May STAND Digest looks back on what led to the current conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, and provides an update on Canada’s current, official stance on the violence in Heglig and against minorities in Khartoum.
Archive for May, 2012
May 28th, 2012
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
Thousands of South Sudanese Now Returning Home, Says IOM
Last Friday, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) announced that at least 1,890 South Sudanese civilians who were stranded in Kosti, Sudan en route to South Sudan, have been airlifted home. The IOM’s effort, which had started five days prior, has increased its service from two to four flights per day and announced plans to increase its capacity to six flights per day to meet the large capacity of returnees seeking access to South Sudan. According to IOM’s South Sudan Chief of Mission, Vincent Houver, about 1,200 people have been arriving in South Sudan weekly; over the new few months, 100,000 additional South Sudanese are expected to enter South Sudan. Despite the sudden increase in transport, approximately 4.7 million remain at risk of starvation in South Sudan. According to the United Nations, the situation is unlikely to improve soon due to lack of available food, displacement of civilians, a failing economy, border closings, and agricultural disruption.
Bashir Expresses Hope for Peace
Last week, African Union mediator, Thabo Mbeki, disclosed that Sudanese President Omar al Bashir “confirmed that he believes…in a need of peace.” However, a recent United Nations Security Council resolution mandating that Sudan and South Sudan re-establish peace talks in the midst of escalating violence relating to quarrels over financial compensation for use of Sudan’s oil pipeline has passed its deadline. While South Sudan had claimed a readiness to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, Sudan has maintained that the shared border should be properly demarcated first. According to Mbeki, the Sudanese government has recently agreed to meet a key demand of the United Nations– “creating a 10 km buffer zone on the border between the two states.”
South Sudan Accuses Sudan of Supporting Rebel Attacks on Border
On Wednesday, Juba accused Khartoum of aligning with rebel groups for a two-day attack on civilian villages of the border states of Western and North Bahr el Ghazal, displacing hundreds of men, women, and children. Citing the attacks as an attempt to elicit an aggressive response from South Sudan’s army and thus dampen international predisposition to encourage peace between the two countries, South Sudan Minister of Information and Media Affairs, Barnaba Benjamin Marial, described the event as a “slap in the face” of the international community. Despite the accusation, Khartoum continues to deny an affiliation with rebel groups in South Sudan, and in turn accuses South Sudan of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North, a militia united against the Sudanese government.
ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest of Congolese Militia Leader, Extension of Charges Against Ntaganda
Earlier this month, top International Crime Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, declared his intentions to seek a warrant of arrest for Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) commander, Sylvestre Madacuma, on account of crimes against humanity and war crimes – murder, rape, torture, and attacking civilians. Furthermore, Ocampo stated that he hopes to extend the standing warrant against renegade Congolese General Bosco Ntaganda of the DRC’s national army; Ntaganda is currently wanted for recruiting child soldiers from 2002-2003. Ocampo has expressed “hope [that] arresting them will mark a significant change in the violence that has been afflicting the region for the last 18 years.” Ocampo will present a review of his evidence against Madacuma and Ntaganda to judges at the Hague, who will accept or reject the motion for a warrant.
Militia Groups Targeting Families of Enemies in Eastern Congo
Since the Congolese recently redirected its forces in pursuit of ICC-wanted defected general Bosco Ntaganda, civilians living in much of Congo’s violence-laden eastern provinces have suffered from lack of military protection. With rival militias currently targeting each other family members, UNICEF estimates about 80 fatalities have occurred since the beginning of May. Describing the situation, Congolese member of parliament Jean Luc Mutokambali stated that local militia groups have arisen to defend themselves against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, who have been seizing the no-longer-protected areas. A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross described the victims as “civilians, some of whom are very young children, elderly people, or women.” Villages have been pillaged, with some victims being burned alive in their homes. In an effort to deter these civilian attacks, the United Nations local peacekeeping force has deployed attack helicopters in North Kivu.
If you are interested in news relating to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, check out the National Post’s May 13, 2012 article, Top Joseph Kony Rebel Leader Captured in Uganda After Jungle Battle here.
May 9th, 2012
Last month we gave you information regarding a unique opportunity to travel to Rwanda with our partner organization, Aegis Students, for a skill-development and knowledge-enhancing experience.
This opportunity encompasses the chance to begin to comprehend the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide and to be inspired towards advocating towards peace, especially within post-conflict regions.
If you are passionate about genocide prevention, we highly encourage you look into this opportunity, to gain a practical education on the development of post conflict regions and understanding the stages leading towards a genocide. The program includes learning about Rwandan genocide in 1994; visiting memorials, meeting the survivors, volunteering with their social programs and engaging in activities to confront the legacy of the genocide and understand what we can do to help prevent it occurring again. The program also includes trips to the different sites and memorials in rural Rwanda, as well as a safari and a brief holiday on the shores of Rwanda’s 5th largest lake, the Lake Kivu. Much time is spent with local NGO’s in and around Rwanda, and participants will have the chance to network and learn from those they wish to emulate.
The program begins on 9th July until 1st August and the cost is $2,080 CAD, excluding flights. The program runs on an annual basis so please feel free to inquire about future trips. If you have any specific questions, please contact the Program Coordinator, Richard Newell at Richard.newell@
As STAND members, this trip provides a practical hands-on way for you to become involved in the building of Rwanda’s future. It will equip, train and inspire you to help us end genocide.
Monica Chakravarty is Principal Director of STAND Canada.
May 8th, 2012
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies’ (MIGS) Will to Intervene Project and the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect are pleased to invite you to a special event to mark the passing of a municipal proclamation declaring “Will to Intervene Day” in Toronto on May 10, 2012. The Will to Intervene Project is a crucial initiative co-founded by LGen Roméo Dallaire that aims to mobilise domestic political will in Canada to prevent mass atrocity crimes and make “never again” a reality.
The event will feature special addresses from Martha Hall Findlay, Tarek Fatah and others.
To find out more and to register, please visit http://willtointerveneday.eventbrite.com/
The event will take place in the quadrangle at Trinity College (University of Toronto), 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, from 2p.m. to 4p.m. on 10 May, followed by a reception with light refreshments. If the weather is uncooperative, the event will take place in Seeley Hall, Trinity College.