UN Security Council statements - 23rd August 2013

1)     SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/14 reads as follows:

“The Security Council expresses its continued support for the African Union’s (AU) efforts to facilitate Sudan’s and South Sudan’s implementation of their bilateral agreements and compliance with the requirements of the AU road map and of resolution 2046 (2012). The Council recalls in this regard the Communiqué adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) Ministerial Meeting on 29 July, the Communiqué adopted by the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) on 22 July, and the mechanisms outlined by the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Chair, President Thabo Mbeki, in his 9 June letter to President Omar Hassan A. al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir. It also welcomes the extension of the AUHIP’s mandate.

“The Security Council expresses grave concern about continued challenges to implementation of the 27 September 2012 Cooperation Agreements, and calls on all parties to urgently: 1) Implement fully and immediately the 27 September 2012 Cooperation Agreements and all other relevant agreements; 2) Make effective use of the joint and other mechanisms that have been established to do so; 3) Cooperate with the AUHIP, African Union and IGAD; and 4) Refrain from pursuing any actions that run counter to these objectives.

“The Security Council recalls that resolution 2046 (2012), inter alia, prohibits both States from supporting any rebel groups operating against the other State and further recalls relevant agreements between Sudan and South Sudan to that end. The Council welcomes the establishment and the commencement of work of the Ad Hoc Investigative Mechanism (AIM) to look into allegations of such support and the commitment by both Governments to accept the AIM’s findings.

“The Security Council welcomes the creation of the AU Border Programme Technical Team (AUBP TT) to determine conclusively the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) centreline on the ground, and reiterates that the centreline of the SDBZ in no way prejudices the current or future legal status of the border, ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, and demarcation of the border. The Council welcomes both Governments’ commitments to accept the AUBP TT’s findings.

“The Security Council urges the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to maintain dialogue to ensure continued transportation of oil from South Sudan, and the Government of Sudan to suspend any actions to halt the transportation of oil from South Sudan to allow these mechanisms to complete their work.

“The Security Council supports the AUPSC’s calls for full cooperation with the Abyei Area Joint Investigation and Inquiry Committee’s (AAJIIC) investigation into the killing of a UNISFA peacekeeper and the Ngok Dinka paramount chief.

“The Security Council reiterates its grave concern about the highly volatile situation in Abyei area, and stresses that the parties must immediately implement pending aspects of the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for the Abyei Area, in particular to resolve the dispute over the Abyei Area Council and immediately establish the Abyei Area Administration and Abyei Police Service. The Council recalls their decision in resolution 2046 (2012) that the parties must resume immediately negotiations to reach agreement on Abyei final status under the auspices of the AUHIP. In this regard, the Council calls for swift action to disarm communities in Abyei in accordance with the decision of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to turn Abyei into a weapons-free zone which it welcomed in resolution 2104 (2013).

“The Security Council calls upon the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N to cease hostilities and engage in direct talks to end the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The Council also calls on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, and to fully respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In this regard, it emphasizes that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law must be held accountable.”

 

2)     JONGLEI, SOUTH SUDAN

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President María Cristina Perceval ( Argentina):

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern over the increased occurrence of conflict and violence and its effect on civilians in South Sudan, in particular a marked deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation in parts of Jonglei.

They strongly condemned attacks on civilians and the looting of UN and other international aid organizations’ facilities in Jonglei State, South Sudan. They deplored the fact that these attacks have caused large-scale displacements of the civilian population and called on the Government of South Sudan, which has primary responsibility to protect civilians, to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, and provide full freedom of movement and unhindered access for the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) to all of Jonglei State, and it noted recent signs of improvements in this regard.

They called on all parties, including armed militias, to exercise restraint, refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, and fully respect their obligations under applicable international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law.

They took note of the commitment of President [Salva] Kiir to investigate and hold accountable those accused of committing violations against civilians in Jonglei State, and reiterated their deep concern at human rights violations and abuses by armed groups and by national security institutions, including some members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and emphasized that those responsible for any violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law must be held accountable.

The members of the Security Council also underlined the need to address the underlying causes of inter-communal violence in South Sudan and urged all parties to seek peace through reconciliation, in this regard, the members of the Security Council recalled, subject to the requirements of international law, the 9 July renewed amnesty offer of the Republic of South Sudan towards relevant armed militias.

They recognized the important role of UNMISS in building local capacity and supporting peacebuilding efforts, and the importance of the Mission’s protection of civilians and provision of security in facilitation of humanitarian assistance in Jonglei. They condemned all attacks on UNMISS troops and staff and called for prompt and thorough investigation of these attacks, and demanded that there be no recurrence of such attacks or impunity for the perpetrators.

Sudan & South Sudan update - 27th August 2013

A weekly round-up from Peace Direct (www.peacedirect.org)

NEWS ROUND-UP

Sudan

The Guardian: Sudan’s worst floods for 25 years leave 500,000 facing destruction and disease

23 Aug: Forty-eight people have been killed and more than 500,000 affected by the worst floods in Sudan in quarter of a century. Read more

South Sudan

Reuters: South Sudan’s Kiir puts generals under investigation for abuses

25 Aug: Several South Sudanese army generals have been put under investigation for alleged human rights abuses in the east of the country where the army is fighting a rebellion, President Salva Kiir said on Sunday. Read more

Time: 90,000 missing after South Sudan violence, says group

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says that around 90,000 people are still missing and likely hiding in fear after ethnic violence last month in South Sudan. Read more

Reuters: South Sudan passes oil bill, waits president’s approval

26 Aug: South Sudan’s parliament has passed a long-awaited petroleum bill after years of consultation and waits for final approval by President Salva Kiir, a senior lawmaker said on Monday. Read more

BBC: James Wani Igga appointed South Sudan vice-president

23 Aug: South Sudan President Salva Kiir has appointed James Wani Igga as his deputy, state radio has announced. Read more

Sudan-South Sudan relations

Reuters: UN appeals to Sudan to continue transporting South’s oil

23 Aug: The UN Security Council on Friday urged Sudan not to shut down oil pipelines that are the sole conduit for crude exports from South Sudan, which relies heavily on oil revenues for its economy. Read more

Darfur

Sudan Tribune: Darfur mediator to brief Sudanese officials on Arusha consultations with rebels

26 Aug: Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Darfur joint peace mediator, will brief Khartoum government about a consultations meeting he organised with two Darfur rebel groups in Tanzania, a Sudanese official announced on Monday. Read more

South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abyei

Sudan Tribune: Sudan army says it says took control of rebel-held village in Blue Nile

25 Aug: The Sudanese Armed Forces on Sunday announced that it has recaptured the village of Ashimbu in Gessan area near the Ethiopian border. Read more

Sudan Tribune: Sudan reiterates its rejection to hold Abyei’s referendum in October

21 Aug: The Sudanese government reiterated its rejection to hold a referendum on the future of Abyei area, stressing that priority should be given to establish local institutions and provide services to the civilians there. Read more

Sudan & South Sudan update - 12th August 2013

A weekly round-up from Peace Direct (www.peacedirect.org)

Sudan-South Sudan relations

Reuters: One Sudanese soldier killed in clash with South Sudan

5 August: One Sudanese soldier was killed on Monday in a clash with troops from South Sudan after a patrol from the south crossed the border, a Sudanese military spokesman said. Read more.

Sudan Tribune: SPLA accuses northern army of border attack 6 August: A South Sudan army (SPLA) official has accused northern forces of allegedly shooting its patrol soldiers at disputed border area between the two countries. Read more.

Sudan

ABC News (AP): Floods Kill 36 as Thousands Affected in Sudan

12 August: Sudanese authorities say flooding has killed at least 36 people and left thousands homeless. Read more.

South Sudan

Reuters: Over 300 killed, thousands uprooted in bout of South Sudan fighting 8 August: More than 300 people were killed and thousands sent fleeing into bush during two weeks of fighting between South Sudan’s army, rebels and rival tribes in the east of the country last month, officials said on Thursday. Read more. CNN: Aid worker dies after attack in South Sudan 9 August: A staff member of the aid organization Doctors Without Borders has died after an attack on a vehicle near the capital of South Sudan, the group said Friday. Read more.

Darfur

Reuters: Tribal clashes kill 111 in Sudan’s Darfur - tribal sources 11 August: More than 100 people have been killed since Friday in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region in clashes between two tribes over land, tribal sources said on Sunday. Read more.

Abyei

Sudan Tribune: Sudan-backed tribal official criticises Abyei peacekeepers over presence of rebels

10 August: Al-Khair Al-Fahim, co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), has slammed the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for turning a blind eye to the presence of Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in the region. Read more.

 

Sudan & South Sudan update - 5th August 2013

A weekly round-up from Peace Direct (www.peacedirect.org)

Sudan-South Sudan relations

Reuters: Sudan says thaw in relations may prevent South Sudan oil halt 31 July: Sudan hopes it will not be forced to block vital crude exports from neighbouring South Sudan after recent “good steps” made to end a row over alleged rebel support, Sudan’s second vice president said on Wednesday. Read more.

Sudan Tribune: US welcomes extension of AUHIP mandate 3 August: The United States has welcomed the African Union (AU) decision to extend the mandate of its High Level Implementation Panel on North and South Sudan (AUHIP) for more six months. Read more.

Sudan

Bloomberg: Sudan President Bashir Barred From Entering Airspace, Suna Says

4 August: Saudi Arabia refused to allow a plane carrying Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir to enter its territory, forcing it to turn back to the capital Khartoum, Sudan’s state-run Suna news agency reported. Read more.

Sudan Tribune: Sudan’s Bashir holds surprise meeting with Gosh, visits Turabi

1 August: The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir met with two of his foes this week in separate occasions amid growing speculations about a new political initiative he is planning to launch. Read more.

South Sudan

BBC News: South Sudan’s Salva Kiir excludes Riek Machar from cabinet 1 August: South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has appointed a new smaller cabinet after sacking his entire previous team last week, a state decree says. Read more.

Sudan Tribune: SPLM to investigate former vice-president 4 August: South Sudan’s ruling Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will investigate the conduct of the country’s former vice-president and a deputy chairperson of the party, Riek Machar Teny, for allegedly using public media to discredit the government and announcing his presidential ambition. Read more.

Darfur

Reuters: 134 people killed in clashes in Sudan’s Darfur - tribal leader 30 July: Some 134 people have been killed in new clashes between two rival tribes in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, a tribal leader said on Tuesday. Read more.

South Kordofan

Sudan Tribune: S. Kordofan MP’s call on SPLM-N fighters to abandon war

4 August: The parliamentary bloc of South Kordofan state in Sudan’s National Assembly has appealed to the citizens of the state within the opposition Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to renounce violence and join efforts to develop the state. Read more.

Parliamentary business - 5th August 2013

Last week in Parliament

 

The Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the proposed merger in October of the role of the European Union special representative to Sudan and South Sudan with that of the European Union special representative to the Horn of Africa, and what are the expected benefits for Sudan and South Sudan from the merger.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): We support efforts by the European Union (EU) to rationalise the number and cost of Special Representatives (SR). We recognise that the proposed merger of the EUSR mandates in the Horn of Africa can potentially provide a more cost-effective intervention, while increasing strategic linkages in the region. But it is clear that Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan will all continue to require a high level of EU attention, so it will be important to ensure that the EUSR’s activities are tightly focused and prioritised and well-coordinated with other EU and Member States activities in the region. Before a final decision is made, we have asked the EU High Representative to take into account how events in Sudan and South Sudan develop over the next four months, particularly on whether substantive progress is made on the various international mediation processes. We will continue to discuss this issue closely with our EU partners before the expiration of the EUSR Sudan and South Sudan mandate in October 2013.

We will ensure the Noble Lord, and the other European Union Committee members, are kept informed of developments ahead of the final decision to merge the mandates.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have asked the United Nations Security Council to establish an international independent committee of inquiry to investigate and report on human rights violations and abuses and crimes against humanity in Blue Nile and South Kordofan; if so, when, and what was the response.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): We regularly raise the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile during the UN Security Council’s twice monthly discussions of the situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Security Council resolution 2046 requires the parties to negotiate on an end to the conflict. There is, however, no consensus in the Council on further action, and so the UK has not at this stage proposed detailed measures such as targeted sanctions or the establishment of an international independent committee of inquiry.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have asked the United Nations Security Council to implement targeted sanctions against the government of Sudan to protect people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; if so, when, and what was the response.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): We regularly raise the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile during the UN Security Council’s twice monthly discussions of the situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Security Council resolution 2046 requires the parties to negotiate on an end to the conflict. There is, however, no consensus in the Council on further action, and so the UK has not at this stage proposed detailed measures such as targeted sanctions or the establishment of an international independent committee of inquiry.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the absence of negotiated humanitarian access into Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains, what they are doing to explore alternative options with the international community for delivery of assistance in those areas.

Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat): DFID remains of the view that the best way to achieve the level of access required is for a negotiated cessation of hostilities between the Government of Sudan and Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM(N)). In the meantime, the UK teams in Juba and Khartoum will continue to work closely with the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, other donors, and non-governmental organisations to ensure that assistance reaches all those in need who are accessible, and that we are ready to move rapidly to respond to a broader opening up of access. UNICEF and the World Health Organisation have agreed in principle with the Government of Sudan and SPLM(N) a vaccination campaign targeting all areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile which is due to start at the end of the rainy season in October. We will press both sides to agree on a detailed plan for delivery of vaccines and ensure that there is no further delay.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have asked the government of Sudan to open up South Kordofan and Blue Nile to enable access for humanitarian aid; If so, when, and what response they received.

Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat): The Foreign Secretary raised this issue when he met Sudanese Foreign Minister Karti on 7 May this year and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (Lynne Featherstone) raised it when she visited Sudan in January 2013. Embassy officials in Khartoum have also continued to press the Sudanese Government to allow full access for humanitarian aid. The Sudanese Government has allowed some humanitarian access to Government held areas. We have made clear that this position is not sufficient and fails to discharge the Government’s responsibility to protect all its own citizens.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have asked the government of Sudan to end the aerial bombardment of and use of military force against civilians in Blue Nile and South Kordofan; if so, when, and what response they received.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) raised this issue when he met Sudanese Foreign Minister Karti on 7 May. Our Embassy in Khartoum has also continued to raise this with the Sudanese government since the start of the conflict. Equally we have raised concerns about abuses with rebel groups. The Sudanese government has consistently denied the use of tactics which target civilians, and has claimed that the majority of civilians have left the conflict zones. We have made it clear that we do not regard these responses as credible. We have urged the Government of Sudan and The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North SPLM(N), to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians.

 

The Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what security measures can be put in place by the United Nations and African Union to protect non-governmental organisations working in Darfur, Sudan, following the recent deaths of two World Vision International staff this month in Nyala.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, UNAMID, is mandated to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and humanitarian activities and to facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Darfur.

We believe that UNAMID could be much more effective in carrying out its mandate in this and other areas, through more robust and effective use of its troops and other resources. We are raising this concern in ongoing discussions in the UN Security Council about the renewal of UNAMID’s mandate. We are equally using those discussions to press the Government of Sudan to end all obstruction of UNAMID’s operations.

We will also be stepping up our efforts to help countries to prepare their troops better for their role in UNAMID, including understanding and carrying through the mission’s mandate for the protection of civilians and humanitarian operations.

 

The Duke of Montrose (Conservative): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent killing of two World Vision International aid workers in Nyala, what assessment they have made of the effectiveness with which United Nations Mission in Darfur is fulfilling its mandate of protecting civilians and providing security for humanitarian assistance.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, UNAMID, is mandated to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and humanitarian activities and to facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Darfur.

We believe that UNAMID could be much more effective in carrying out its mandate in this and other areas, through more robust and effective use of its troops and other resources. We are raising this concern in ongoing discussions in the UN Security Council about the renewal of UNAMID’s mandate. We are equally using those discussions to press the Government of Sudan to end all obstruction of UNAMID’s operations.

We will also be stepping up our efforts to help countries to prepare their troops better for their role in UNAMID, including understanding and carrying through the mission’s mandate for the protection of civilians and humanitarian operations.

 

Baroness Jolly (Liberal Democrat): To ask Her Majesty’s Government which 10 countries are receiving the most Department for International Development nutrition funding, and how much bilateral funding from the United Kingdom goes to each of those countries.

Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords, Liberal Democrat): DFID uses the Development Assistance Committee. DAC input sector code for basic nutrition to record nutrition specific investments. In DFID’s annually published bilateral aid expenditure in its Statistics for International Development (SID).

For the period 2011/12, the top ten countries for DFID nutrition basic spend were: India—£26,616,000, Nigeria—£1,913,000, Bangladesh— £1,712,000, Sudan—£988,000, Zambia—£876,000, Tanzania—£820,000, Cambodia—£800,000, Zimbabwe—£745,000, Ghana—£688,000 and Burma £305,000.

These figures do not take into account spending on sectors that also help people maintain a healthy and well-nourished lifestyle (e.g. agriculture, water and sanitation, health, education etc.). Donors are working on a method for calculating this and baseline estimates will be published in September. Since April 2012 several new nutrition specific programmes have begun, for example in Yemen, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia, so this data will not reflect these more recent investments. The SID 2012/2013 data will be published in the autumn.

 

Lord Tugendhat (Conservative): …Our scrutiny work has also continued at a high level in relation to the Middle East and in particular to Syria, where we have expressed concerns about the security of arms and been worried by the recent decision taken at the Foreign Affairs Council. The sub-committee has received an informal briefing on the extension of the mandates of the EU’s regional and thematic special representatives, which came under scrutiny on 27 June. We have expressed our concern that the process of renewing the budgets and mandates of the EUSRs is too rushed to allow proper parliamentary scrutiny. On the role itself, the committee has expressed concern that the mandates of the EUSRs are not always clearly defined and that EUSRs can sometimes duplicate the work of other international actors on the ground. In particular, we put the mandate of the EUSR for Sudan and South Sudan under scrutiny, as it was not clear to us that the political situation and the conditions on the ground justified ending an enhanced EU role to the region…

Sudan & South Sudan update - 29th July 2013

A weekly round-up from Peace Direct (www.peacedirect.org)

NEWS ROUND-UP

 

Sudan-South Sudan relations

Reuters: Sudan delays blockage of South Sudan oil flows for two weeks

26 July: Sudan has postponed the shutdown of pipelines carrying oil from South Sudan for two weeks to allow more time to end a row over alleged rebel support, an official said on Friday in a last-minute effort to keep vital crude exports flowing. Read more.

Sudan

Sudan Tribune: Bashir working on a major initiative for Sudan’s problems: VP

27 July: The Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Muhammad Taha announced today that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has embarked on formulating a comprehensive and effective vision which aims to arrive at radical solutions for Sudan’s political problems, particularly the conflict in Darfur. Read more.

South Sudan

BBC News: South Sudan’s Riek Machar eyes Salva Kiir’s job

26 July: South Sudan’s sacked Vice-President Riek Machar says he will challenge President Salva Kiir for the leadership of the ruling party so that he can run for president in the 2015 election. Read more.

Sudan Tribune: South Sudan says new foreign minister will not participate in AU meeting

28 July: South Sudan said on Sunday that its newly appointed foreign affairs minister will not participate in an African Union (AU) meeting set to discuss the cooperation agreement it signed with neighbouring Sudan. Read more.

Darfur

Reuters: Darfur rebels launch new attack on central Sudan

24 July: Rebels from Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region launched a new assault on the country’s once placid heartland on Wednesday, sending civilians running for cover, rebels and witnesses said. Read more.

BBC News: Darfur unrest: New wave of Sudanese refugees in Chad

25 July: Renewed conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region has seen a fresh wave of refugees flee across the border to Chad in recent months. Read more.

South Kordofan

Reuters: New clashes between army and rebels in Sudan’s main oil state

27 July: New clashes between the Sudanese army and rebels erupted on Saturday in the country’s main oil-producing state of South Kordofan, bordering South Sudan, witnesses and rebels said. Read more

Parliamentary business - 29th July 2013

Last week in Parliament

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, whether they are collecting first-hand witness accounts to establish the truth about the alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; and, if not, why not.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Right Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) made it clear that at the start of the conflict that the situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile deserves a full and credible independent investigation. We continue to believe that is the right course to take when circumstances and access allow it.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, whether they support the extension of the current arms embargo on Darfur to cover the whole of Sudan.

 

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The UK fully supports the EU arms embargo which covers the whole of Sudan. We would consider any proposal to extend the current UN arms embargo to Darfur.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, when the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile was last raised in the United Nations Security Council.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The United Nations Security Council discuss Sudan and South Sudan on a fortnightly basis. The situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile was raised in the most recent consultations on II July 2013. In addition to this, the Noble Lady, Right Hon. The Baroness Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, covered the humanitarian situation in those areas in her briefing to the Council on 20 June.

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, what assessment they have made of the new Amnesty International satellite imagery and eyewitness testimonies relating to the Sudanese military’s activities against the Nuba people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative): We are very concerned over recent reports from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, including Amnesty International’s June 2013 report, which details the upsurge in conflict in recent months. We have made it clear to the Government in Sudan, and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), that the conflict is having an unacceptable impact on civilians who need to be protected.

 

Ministers will discuss a number of issues under the Africa item on the agenda, such as the Great Lakes region, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, and Mali.

Ministers will also discuss the current setback in implementation of oil and security agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the conflicts in the Sudanese states of southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur and the South Sudanese state of Jonglei. The discussion will be an opportunity to agree priorities for EU activity in the coming months. Ministers are expected to agree conclusions.

Parliamentary business - 16th July 2013

Last week in Parliament

Frank Roy (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of peacekeepers deployed to South Sudan by China.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): We welcome the Chinese contribution to UNMISS. The UN Mission in South Sudan has a contingent of 351 Chinese peacekeepers. 338 of them are based in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State where 275 are engineers and 63 support a medical facility. The remaining 13 are military liaison and staff officers in the United Nations Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMISS) headquarters in Juba.

William Bain (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the upcoming expiry of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan’s mandate in that country; and what representations he has made regarding its renewal.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): The Secretary-General issued his latest report on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to the Security Council on 20 June. The report sets out the difficulties South Sudan continues to face two years after independence; the challenging security and financial environment in which the mission has to operate; and recommends that the mission’s mandate is extended for another year, from 15 July. We agree that the mandate should be extended. We are at present discussing the mandate renewal in the UN Security Council, where we will be arguing for the UNMISS to focus on the highest priority security and peacebuilding challenges, in particular the protection of civilians.

William Bain (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the future work programme of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): The African Union High-Level Implementation panel has played a positive role in facilitating agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on the majority of disputes between them. We continue to work closely with it and support its mediation efforts, including through the UN Security Council. The panel’s mandate is due to expire at the end of July 2013. We understand that the African Union Peace and Security Council will meet later this month to agree whether this should be extended, to oversee implementation of those agreements already reached, and pursue resolution of all outstanding issues.

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Amnesty International, We had no time to bury him: War crimes in Sudan’s Blue Nile State.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, we are deeply concerned about the suffering caused by the conflict in Blue Nile state. Accounts presented in Amnesty’s report underline our serious concern about the impact on civilians of the military tactics used. Our priority is a cessation of hostilities and full access to the area for life-saving humanitarian assistance. We continue to press both the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North—the SPLM-N—to enter into talks to achieve this.

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench): My Lords, is the Minister aware that, in addition to this shocking report, new satellite imagery compiled by Amnesty International shows the sheer extent of the purging of the Nuba people from these areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as the scorched-earth policies being pursued by the Sudanese military—unabated, uncondemned and unobstructed by the West? Can the Minister tell us when this situation was last raised in the United Nations Security Council and whether we support the extension of the current arms embargo on Darfur to the rest of Sudan? Rather than locking out refugees from camps such as Yida, why are we still not collecting first-hand accounts from witnesses that detail the genocide and war crimes against humanity which are carried out on a day-by-day basis?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, the noble Lord asked about six questions, and I am not sure that I can answer all of them. The UN is extremely heavily engaged both in Sudan and in South Sudan, with three UN missions and a number of other UN operations. We and other Governments make entirely clear to the Government of Sudan our horror at what is taking place. However, as the noble Lord knows, access to the areas of conflict is extremely difficult for diplomats at present.

Lord Chidgey (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, more than 18 months ago, Matthew LeRiche found that civilians in the Blue Nile State were living in constant fear because of indiscriminate terror campaigns aimed at rendering the population unable to provide even the basics of daily life. Those perpetuating these crimes with impunity had the backing of President al-Bashir and six other ICC inditees. Does my noble friend agree that unless the ICC arrest warrants are implemented, there is little or no deterrence for the present crimes? Will the Government therefore press this case with the international community with absolute vigour to see a result?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): The question of what is the international community for these purposes is very delicate. Arresting an active head of state in his own capital is not the easiest thing to do without going to war. We are deeply concerned about the current situation, but I should stress that the fighting which broke out in South Kordofan and Blue Nile two years ago was in fact sparked by the SPLM-N and it is the Government of Sudan who have responded in a particularly brutal and indiscriminate fashion.

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (Labour): My Lords, in an appalling repetition of history, the Government of Sudan have spent the last two years deploying the same brutality that they used in Darfur to crush the rebellions that have been mentioned in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Does the Minister agree that the lessons of Darfur have not been learnt and that the United Nations Security Council is again failing to respond to the suffering of the Sudanese people, who are being bombarded by their own Governments?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, we have to be careful not to assume that the United Nations can do too much. The UN has been actively engaged in this extremely complex series of wars. Let us be quite clear: there are not just two sides on this, as the noble Baroness herself well knows. There is conflict within South Sudan; there is conflict within Sudan itself; there is conflict between groups which are claimed to be supported from across the border. It is now 10 years since the Darfur conflict started. Things are a little better than they were. I speak with some direct experience, having a close friend who has worked both in Darfur and in Abyei in the past three years. Sadly, there are limits to what the international community can achieve, but I assure the noble Baroness that the British Government and others are working extremely hard and providing as much humanitarian assistance as they can in this dreadful situation.

Baroness Cox (Crossbench): My Lords, is the Minister aware that I visited South Kordofan and Blue Nile states earlier this year and witnessed at first hand the constant aerial bombardment of civilians, which deliberately targeted schools and clinics, forcing civilians to hide in caves with deadly snakes and in banks carved out from rivers, and preventing them harvesting crops, with many dying of starvation? Does the noble Lord agree that this aerial bombardment of civilians is being undertaken only by the Government of Khartoum and that, therefore, there is no moral equivalence between the policies of Sudan and South Sudan? What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to call the Government of Khartoum to account for this aerial bombardment, which has been carried out so far with complete impunity?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, we are not the only external actor influencing Sudan. We have to work with the Chinese, who are major actors in terms of external influence on Sudan, the Arab League countries and others. As the noble Baroness will know, there is a tripartite body consisting of the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League which is attempting to mediate on what is happening in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. I do not in any sense underestimate the horrors of what is happening there. I am very grateful to the noble Baroness for sending me some material on what she witnessed in her recent visit. It is the most appalling—I emphasise—series of interconnected conflicts from Darfur all the way across to Jonglei and Blue Nile. Part of the problem is that Governments in both South Sudan and Sudan are weak and do not control the whole of their territories.

Lord Triesman (Labour): My Lords, the Minister made the point that President al-Bashir would be hard to capture in his own capital. That is of course entirely true, but he must be one of the most widely travelled Presidents of almost any country in Africa. He is at meetings and conferences throughout Africa, throughout the Middle East and occasionally completely out of the hemisphere. What influence are we trying to bring to bear on those other countries that he routinely visits and which do not necessarily have an adverse view of bringing a war criminal to justice?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, the noble Lord will be well aware from his own experience as a Minister how complex these issues are. It is not just a question of Sudan and the ICC. There are delicate questions of Kenya and the ICC at the moment as well. Her Majesty’s Government do of course make representations to other Governments whose territories ICC-designated people visit. Unfortunately, Britain does not command as much influence as we might like in a number of countries in the third world.

Lord Hussain (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, I have had the opportunity of visiting South Sudan and Sudan in the past year or so. Does the Minister agree that, according to the comprehensive peace agreement, the Government of Sudan were required to withdraw all their military forces from South Sudan, which they have done, and that the SPLA was required to withdraw its military people and armed forces from north Sudan but has so far failed to comply?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat): My Lords, the border drawn between Sudan and South Sudan has not been entirely settled. Questions remain about who belongs where, because a number of tribes are pastoral and move across the border. Many issues are not entirely clear or settled. That is very much a problem that we face after the prolonged civil war from which the two countries emerged.

Ian Lucas (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department has spent on which training programmes in Sudan and South Sudan in each of the last six years.

Alan Duncan (Conservative): Training and capacity building is an important component of several UK development projects in Sudan and South Sudan. However we cannot provide a breakdown by year as we do not maintain a central record for all training activities across our programme. Examples include:

Programme

Training and capacity-building programmes

Sudan (including South Sudan before July 2011)

South Sudan

Total value (£ million)

RedR

Providing humanitarian workers with training in security, welfare and programme management

2006-13

2011-13

8.4

Sudan Safety and Access to Justice Programme

Including the training of police officers, the judiciary and Ministry of Justice Staff

2010-14

2011-14

20.6

Basic services Fund

Including direct training of 1,033 primary school teachers

2005-12

56.8

Capacity-building trust fund programme

Including training 1,113 participants with accountancy skills

2010-14

6.8

Stephen Doughty (Labour): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the total value of financial flows remitted by diaspora communities via UK-based money transfer services to (a) Somaliland, (b) Somalia, (c) Bangladesh, (d) Pakistan, (e) India, (f) Yemen and (g) Sudan in the latest period for which figures are available.

David Gauke (Conservative): The Treasury does not hold information on financial flows relating to diaspora communities in the UK. The Treasury relies on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for data on UK transfers. The ONS does not publish separate estimates for remittances as they are not considered to be of sufficient quality. Instead, estimates for remittances are combined with estimates for net transfers from UK charities, defined in the UK Balance of Payments (the Pink Book) as ‘other payments by households’.

The latest data from the World Bank’s Bilateral Remittance Matrix estimates remittances totalled US$23.16 billion from the UK in 2011. Remittances to India totalled US$3.90 billion, to Pakistan US$1.34 billion, to Bangladesh US$740 million, to Sudan US$31 million and to Yemen is US$23 million. No comparable data exists for Somalia and Somaliland. Work is under way by the Government and private sector stakeholders to assess the reliance on money remittance services by such communities.

Ian Lucas (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the work of UNAMID in Sudan.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): As acknowledged by the UN Secretary General in his report of 10 April to the UN Security Council, UNAMID could be more effective in carrying out its mandate to protect civilians. Last year’s United Nations review of uniformed personnel highlighted the changing nature of the conflict in Darfur and outlined a series of recommendations to ensure a more effective and efficient use of uniformed resources to better meet the mission’s mandate. A review of civilian personal is on-going, and initial recommendations are emerging. We are supportive of both reviews’ findings and are encouraging timely implementation of their recommendations.

The restrictions on movement imposed by the Government of Sudan remain a significant challenge to the mission’s ability to fulfil its mandate, an issue we raise regularly in Security Council consultations as well as with the Government of Sudan. The primary responsibility for protecting civilians remains with the Government of Sudan.

The UK will continue to support UNAMID, including through considering how we might assist troop-contributing countries to prepare better to carry out the mission’s protection-of-civilians mandate. We hope that the forthcoming renewal of UNAMID’s mandate will also see international partners recommit their support to the mission.

Officials have discussed the effectiveness of the mission on a number of occasions over the past few months with the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous, the Joint Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the incoming Force Commander.

Ian Lucas (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department’s officials have been based in UK Trade and Investment in Sudan and South Sudan in each of the last six years.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): From 2008-11, there was one locally-employed member of staff working for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) covering commercial relations for the whole of Sudan and based in the British embassy in Khartoum. Following the independence of South Sudan, UKTI retained the officer in Khartoum until March 2013. Over the period in question, there have been no Juba-based UKTI officials.

Ian Lucas (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implementation of the Darfur Initiative in Sudan.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): We believe the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) can play an important role in resolving the conflict in Darfur, and re-committed our support for it at the Darfur Donors’ conference in Qatar in April this year. However, implementation is significantly behind schedule and Darfuris have yet to see tangible improvements to their lives. We continue to press the Government of Sudan and the Darfur Regional Authority to implement the DDPD without delay, so that Darfuris see the change they so desperately need.

Naomi Long (Alliance): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason his Department has reduced its Sudan unit by one member of staff; and what reports he has received about the recent upsurge of violence in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and continuing instability between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): The reduction in size of the joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Department for International Development Sudan and South Sudan Unit follows an internal rebalancing of resources across a number of priority issues in Africa.

We are greatly concerned at the continued conflict in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. In Darfur we are urging all parties to allow full unhindered humanitarian access, and pressing the Government of Sudan to honour its commitments under the Doha peace agreement. In Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan we are pressing the Government of Sudan and Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North to negotiate a cessation of hostilities, full humanitarian access and a political process to address the causes of the conflict.

We are being clear to both Sudan and South Sudan that they must honour the agreements signed in Addis Ababa in September last year, and make progress on other issues not covered by those agreements, including Abyei. We continue to provide political, technical and financial support to the process mediated by the African Union.

Naomi Long (Alliance): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how his Department plans to assess the performance of the British Council’s project in Sudan to train journalists working for Sudanese media and the extent to which the project has contributed towards promoting free speech in that country.

Mark Simmonds (Conservative): The British embassy in Sudan is supporting a multi-year media capacity building project in Sudan, delivered through the British Council. The project aims to improve journalistic skills and standards, which we believe to be essential for the development of a more open and democratic society. It also works with print, radio and TV journalists and senior management from the full media spectrum. It will be assessed in line with standard project management procedures against its objective to contribute to a: “better skilled media which increases Sudanese media access and use of information that promotes peace and good governance”. While it has only been running a short time, its positive impact is already evident in increasingly frank questions and reporting.

Sudan & South Sudan update - 16th July 2013

Sudan Briefing 16/07/2013

A weekly round-up from Peace Direct (www.peacedirect.org)

 

NEWS ROUND-UP

Sudan-South Sudan relations

Sudan Tribune: Sudan wants tangible evidence to prove the end of support to rebel groups 14 July: Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said they are still waiting for evidence proving that Juba has stopped its support to the rebel groups and ended its relations with the SPLM-N. Read more.

 

Sudan

BBC News: Sudan President Bashir’s Nigeria visit causes anger 15 July: Human rights groups have condemned Nigeria for hosting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, and have demanded his arrest on genocide charges. Read more. Aljazeera: Sudan frees ex-spy chief held over coup plot 10 July: Salah Gosh was arrested last November along with 12 army officers on suspicion of involvement in a coup attempt. Sudan has freed the former spy chief after clearing him of charges that he was involved in an alleged coup attempt against veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir last year. Read more.

 

Sudan Tribune: Sudan bans opposition parties from meeting rebels in Geneva 14 July: Sudanese authorities have prevented representatives of opposition parties from travelling to Geneva on Sunday to attend a meeting with Sudan’s rebel groups to discuss peaceful solutions for the conflicts in the country. Read more.

South Sudan

AP: 200 Wounded in South Sudan Tribal Clashes

15 July: A United Nations official in South Sudan says 200 people have been wounded in ongoing clashes between rival tribes in the country’s largest state. Read more.

 

Sudan Tribune: Unity state: MPs deny backing calls to reinstate sacked governor

15 July: A section of lawmakers from Unity state assembly on Monday denied ever asking South Sudan President Salva Kiir to reverse a recent decision to sack elected governor, Taban Deng Gai. Read more.  

Darfur

Reuters: Tanzania wants stronger mandate for Sudan’s Darfur peacekeepers

14 July: Tanzania said on Sunday it would seek a stronger mandate for peacekeepers in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region after seven of its troops were killed in an ambush on Saturday. Read more.

Jonglei

UN News Centre: South Sudan: UN, partners reach stranded civilians in Jonglei amidst more violence

15 July: The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in South Sudan have for the first time this year gained access to areas in Pibor County where thousands of people have been stranded in the swampy bush, a senior UN official said, urging communities there to “halt the cycle of violence” that has killed and displaced civilians in Jonglei state. Read more.

9th July 2013
William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, Chair of the APG for Sudan and South Sudan
Mark Durkan, SDLP MP for Foyle, Member of the APG for Sudan and South Sudan
Stephen Mosley MP, Conservative MP for the City of Chester, Member of the APG for Sudan and South Sudan


On the 9th of July, the international community will recognise the second anniversary of the world’s newest nation, following South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011. 

Last month, we – as members of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan – took part in a debate in the House of Commons Chamber on the UK’s role in supporting peace and development in the two countries. We sought the debate not only in recognition of this anniversary but also because 2013 marks ten years of the brutal conflict in Darfur, which still shows no sign of ending.

A previous Commons debate on Sudan took place in spring 2011 as the world counted down to South Sudan’s independence. At that time, there was much hope and optimism expressed in that debate, with many believing independence would mean a new beginning for both Sudan and South Sudan. However, this year’s debate was entirely different. Responding to the grim situation on the ground, MPs from all parties passionately voiced concerns over the trajectory of events throughout the past two years in both countries.

Even after secession, an acute lack of trust remains between the two countries as each accuses the other of supporting rebels in their territory. The result is that negotiations over critical issues have been painfully slow. Whilst multiple agreements have been signed between Sudan and South Sudan, most notably in September 2012 on trade, oil sharing and the establishment of a safe demilitarised border zone, tensions have remained high and implementation shaky. In particular, the situation in the disputed Abyei region remains unresolved, recently threatening to spill into conflict following the assassination of a local tribal leader.

The inability to work together effectively has cost Sudan and South Sudan dear. The 15-month oil blockade imposed by South Sudan in January 2012 brought both economies to their knees. Whilst the rest of sub-Saharan Africa saw annual GDP grow between 5 and 6% in 2012, GDP fell by a shocking 55% in South Sudan and nearly 1% in Sudan. In March 2013 oil sharing between the two countries finally resumed, but this hangs in the balance once more with Sudan threatening to impose its own blockage following accusations that its neighbour is providing support to SPLM-N rebels in southern Sudan.

But the greatest concerns repeatedly voiced in Parliament were for the civilians and vulnerable populations, mainly women and children, who are the ones most affected by the devastating conflicts and humanitarian crises that plague both countries. In Sudan, the decade-long conflict in Darfur has claimed the lives of 300,000 and caused three million to be displaced continues. 3.5 million people remain dependent on food aid – half of Darfur’s entire population – yet the Government of Sudan continues to limit access for aid organisations in this region. Parliamentarians have also heard chilling reports of the plight of civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states who have been caught between the SPLM-N rebels and Government forces for over two years now, enduring daily aerial bombardment and a severe humanitarian crisis that has left many eating poisonous roots to stave off hunger. 150,000 refugees from this conflict have fled to South Sudan, where the situation in the camps remains of great concern.

In South Sudan, there are growing fears over increasing inter-tribal tensions. South Sudan’s former rebel army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was divided on tribal lines between 1991 and 2002. During this period, southerners fought among themselves in some of the most destructive battles of the civil war. Today, these splits threaten to re-emerge - seven of the country’s ten states display features of conflict and the depredations that come with it. In particular, the conflict in Jonglei has worsened over the past months since March, displacing tens of thousands of people according to the UN. Denial of access has meant that it has been difficult to monitor the extent of the impact on the civilian population, but there are grave fears that a growing humanitarian crisis is looming.

Toby Lanzer, UN Resident Development Humanitarian Coordinator, has rightly pointed out that the biggest humanitarian challenge for South Sudan will be development – that the humanitarian needs of the millions in need of assistance will only be addressed in the long term if the underlying causes that undermine sustainable livelihoods are addressed in parallel with emergency response. Good governance will be key to addressing South Sudan’s substantial lack of development, yet widespread corruption abounds, and the SPLM-led government has struggled with the challenge of building a state from scratch.

Yet we still remain hopeful for the futures of both countries. Finding peaceful solutions will require persistence, and the reality of the situation is that hope is incremental.  When we meet with members of Sudanese and South Sudanese civil society, and with young diaspora in the UK, we are reminded that it is not just political processes, but also the determined spirit of citizens who do not want to see any more war that will power the hope of two nations.

In the debate this year MPs repeatedly emphasized the need for long-term engagement from the international community – both diplomatically and as donors - and the need for a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of conflict. We echo Baroness Valerie Amos’s concerns over donor fatigue following her recent visit to Sudan as UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian affairs and Emergency Relief. And, as the mandates for the UN operations in Darfur and South Sudan approach their expiry date in July, as well as the AU High Level Implementation Panel led by Thabo Mbeki, which has been instrumental in assisting negotiations between the two countries, we urge the international community to renew its commitment to peace and development for Sudan and South Sudan. The piecemeal solutions of the past have failed and we need international leaders to be bold in unlocking the governance reform that is desperately needed if conflict within and between these countries is to ever end.

The fates of Sudan and South Sudan are inextricably intertwined, and have implications for the whole region. We must not allow these issues to fall off the radar.