Monday, November 28, 2011

Some 76,000 people fleeing conflict in Sudan enter Ethiopia, South Sudan – UN

Some 76,000 people fleeing conflict in Sudan enter Ethiopia, South Sudan – UN

Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state cross into western Ethiopia through the Kurmuk border crossing

25 November 2011 –
The United Nations refugee agency voiced concern today over the movement of large numbers of people from Sudan into Ethiopia and South Sudan, saying that an estimated 76,000 people have moved since August, mainly as a result of conflicts.

Of the estimated 36,000 Sudanese refugees who moved towards Ethiopia, up to 17,000 have been transferred to camps, according to Raouf Mazou, the Deputy Director UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) African Bureau in charge of Eastern, Horn of Africa, Chad and Sudan.

The challenge UNHCR is facing is that the refugees have gone to extremely remote locations which are difficult to reach, Mr. Mazou told reporters in Geneva. Assistance had been provided by helicopter, he said, adding that up to 100,000 Sudanese could enter Ethiopia and South Sudan in the coming few weeks if the current trend continues.

Meanwhile, efforts are under way to encourage people to relocate from the Yida refugee site in South Sudan’s Unity State to safer area further south away from the border, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The refugees fled fighting in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state.

South Sudan has also been receiving refugees crossing from Sudan’s Blue Nile state.

Sudan Expels Kenyan Ambassador Over Bashir Warrant « VOA Breaking News

Sudan Expels Kenyan Ambassador Over Bashir Warrant

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Sudan has expelled Kenya's ambassador after Kenya's High Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The Kenyan court ruled Monday that the country's government must arrest Mr. Bashir “should he ever set foot in Kenya.” Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

Human rights groups had criticized Kenya for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir when he attended a ceremony in Nairobi for Kenya's new constitution in August 2010.

A Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman said Monday the government in Khartoum has ordered the Kenyan ambassador to leave the country within 72 hours. He said Sudan has also summoned its own ambassador from Nairobi.

Sudan's foreign ministry had earlier said the court ruling was linked to Kenya's domestic politics and would not affect bilateral relations.

Sudan does not recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court, and Mr. Bashir has flouted the arrest warrants by repeatedly traveling abroad, though mostly to countries that are not ICC members.

The ICC has argued that Kenya is obligated as a member state to arrest the Sudanese president. Officials at the Hague-based court have said that if Kenya fails to comply with the ICC warrant, the court may report Kenya to the U.N. Security Council.

Sudan's government has been fighting rebels in Darfur since 2003. The ICC says Mr. Bashir orchestrated a campaign of murder, rape, and other crimes against civilians in the region.

The U.N. says fighting and related violence in Darfur have killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced some 2.7 million others.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Region or Multi States…Voting Will Settle the Controversy

One Region or Multi States…Voting Will Settle the Controversy

The question of one region or states constitutes the elements and future of the Doha Agreement between Justice and Liberation Movement and the government of Sudan represented by the National Congress.
The Doha agreement has entered the stage of implementation under the supervision of Darfur Regional Authority that expires late 2015 by referendum on most contentious issue between the two partners (National Congress and Justice and Liberation Movement) with regard to the question whether the region of Darfur will become one region different from other states of Sudan or will remain within the system of other Sudan’s states by carving it into five states. This issues, which will be settled through the referendum clearly constitutes a bone of contention despite the agreement is meant to bring about stability and development in Darfur.
The President of Darfur Regional Authority Atenjani Sisi announced during a visit to El-Fashir, where the Authority is based, last November 24, announced that El-Fashir would be the capital of the region in the future.
The Sudanese government is faced with another problem that the Doha agreement if culminated in a referendum result in favor of the region will open new doors for further divisions of Sudan, which will encourage other states; especially there are voices in East Sudan calling for such thing.
Justice and Liberation Movement at the end of the day wants make El-Fashir capital of Darfur, which means the return of Darfur to old times and cancelling the existing states and reintegrating others, a scenario opposed by many citizens of Darfur.
The Governor of North Darfur Mohamed Osman Kibir while addressing the general congress of the National Congress held late last month voiced his utter rejection of the option of “one region” and called on the members of the National Congress to work for many states.
Observers see that the “one region” option is being meet with fierce resistance in South and West Darfur as well as recently proposed states: Jebel Marrah state, with Zalingei as its capital, and East Darfur, with Adiein as capital. The residents of such states argue that having many states has opened the door for all to participate in issues related to governing and politics; in addition to development and growth across the region after it was carved into states in 1994. They say that getting back to one region will deprive them of those gains.
Sisi spelled out his plan for the implementation of the agreement and pointed out the necessity for coordination. However, conflicting objectives and views over strategic issues will affect the performance of the Regional Authority.
The adoption of the Justice and Liberation Movement of “one region” relies on money that Qatar will supply for the development of Darfur to construct schools, hospitals, houses of worship, roads and telecommunications. On the other hand, the National Congress counts on maintaining the unity of the country and broadening participation and reducing administrative shadow. Between this and that, the Darfuri citizens, the real stakeholders, will decide what the agreement will lead at the end of the day through voting in the referendum.
The Naivasha agreement ended in dividing Sudan into two separate states. Did the government learned a draw lesson from its experience of management of Naivasha crisis over the past five years to ensure that Sudan remains united in its administrative, political system and integrity of its territories or differences that inevitably will accompany the implementation of the agreement will lead to a region that may set the beginning for autonomous rule that may culminate in secession?