Sudan - ReliefWeb News
KHARTOUM, 3 February 2016 (UNHCR) - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed the allocation of US$ 7 million by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help address some of the most pressing needs of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan.
An estimated 198,600 South Sudanese have sought refuge in Sudan following the eruption of conflict in South Sudan in December 2013. The majority reside in White Nile and Khartoum States.
“The timing of the CERF funds is critical. This is the first significant contribution received this year. It will help address the increasing humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict and violence at home, and finding safety in Sudan,” said Mohammed Adar, UNHCR Representative in Sudan.
The funds will be used to ease overcrowding in existing refugee sites and support protection, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as emergency education.
Overcrowding has been a challenge in the seven sites where refugees have been living in White Nile State, increasing the risks to their health and well-being. CERF’s funds will support the opening of two additional sites and help address overcrowding.
The CERF funding being made available will support programmes that are implemented in White Nile State by UNHCR and other UN agencies, including the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations World Food Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization.
For more information, please ccontact Mohamed Elnaiem, UNHCR Sudan, Mobile +249 912308842, Elnaiem@unhcr.org(link sends e-mail)
UNHCR has been present in Sudan since 1968 and currently provides support to the Government of Sudan’s efforts to protect and assist 379,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as internally displaced nationals in Khartoum, the East, South and West Kordofan, White Nile and Darfur.
UNHCR’s 2016 funding requirement as part of the South Sudan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan is US$ 141,163,416. The Response Plan, elaborated through a consultative process coordinated by UNHCR with the involvement of some 44 UN agencies and NGO partners, provides the framework for interagency interventions for the assistance and protection of the South Sudanese refugees in the region.
UNHCR has 11 offices in the Sudan. For more information about UNHCR and its work visit: www.unhcr.org(link is external). You can also follow news on refugees and UNHCR on Twitter @RefugeesMedia. (https://www.facebook.com/UNHCR(link is external)).
- See more at: https://www.unhcr-regional.or.ke/news/sudan-unhcr-welcomes-allocation-us-7-million-cerf-life-saving-assistance#sthash.XnkNQTTh.dpuf
Breeding continues in NW Africa while Red Sea area remains calm
Desert Locust breeding is continuing in north and northwest Mauritania and in adjacent areas of Western Sahara where a few small groups formed recently. Limited ground control operations have been carried out in these areas. Breeding will continue during February and may cause a further increase in locust numbers and the formation of hopper and adult groups. As temperatures increase, some adults may move to spring breeding areas south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria.
In the Central Region, only low numbers of locusts are present in parts of the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea in Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Unless further rains fall, breeding should decline in these areas as conditions become dry. In northern Somalia, only isolated adults have been detected on the northwest coast but good rains that fell last week may lead to small-scale breeding.
The situation remained calm in southwest Asia.
Situation Générale en janvier 2016
Prévision jusqu'à’mi-mars 2016
La reproduction du Criquet pèlerin s’est poursuivie en janvier dans le nord et le nord-ouest de la Mauritanie et dans des zones adjacentes du Sahara occidental où les criquets ont formé de petits groupes. Des opérations de lutte terrestre limitées ont été réalisées dans ces zones. La reproduction va probablement se poursuivre durant la période de prévision, ce qui pourra entraîner une nouvelle augmentation des effectifs acridiens et la formation de groupes et bandes larvaires. Avec l’augmentation des températures, il se peut que certains ailés se déplacent dans les aires de reproduction printanière au sud des monts Atlas, au Maroc et en Algérie. Seuls des criquets en faibles effectifs ont persisté dans des parties des aires de reproduction hivernale le long des deux rives de la mer Rouge et du golfe d’Aden, au Soudan, en Érythrée, en Arabie saoudite, au Yémen et dans le nord de la Somalie. En l’absence de nouvelles pluies, la reproduction devrait décliner dans ces zones. La situation est restée calme en Asie du sud-ouest.
Refugees sent back to Sudan say they are being pursued by authorities there, and hope to flee again.
In 2013, Nour Issa and Ahmed Hakim, both in their 20s, fled Sudan's war-torn Darfur region to Khartoum, and then flew to Jordan.
But last December, hundreds of Sudanese refugees, including Issa and Hakim, were arrested and taken to Amman's Queen Alia International Airport for deportation. The move came after the men and women, mostly from Darfur, held protests for weeks outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) headquarters in Jordan against perceived discrimination.
Oxfam's vision is a just world without poverty: a world in which people can influence decisions which affect their lives, enjoy rights and assume responsibilities as citizens of an equal world. Underpinned by a strategic plan, Oxfam commits to achieving six strategic goals:
- The Right to be Heard
- Gender Justice
- Saving Lives, Now and in the Future
- Sustainable Food
- Fair Sharing of Natural Resources
- Finance for Development and Universal Essential Services
Oxfam works with communities in the Horn, East and Central Africa (HECA) to achieve these goals and attain our vision.
Although the year 2014/15 had its fair share of challenges, such as conflict and unpredictable weather patterns, the communities we work with continue to inspire us with their resilience. This document highlights our work in each of the HECA countries in 2014/15 and includes a financial report.
Yemen: Yemen Situation Emergency Response (January - December 2016) Supplementary Appeal 2016 - February 2016
A total of USD 172.2 million* in financial requirements for the Yemen Situation, including USD 115.5 million in additional requirements, for the period January - December 2016:
- USD 12.8 million for Djibouti
- USD 10.4 million for Ethiopia
- USD 18.3 million for Somalia
- USD 1.4 million for Sudan
- USD 126 million for Yemen
USD 3.2 million for Regional and global activities
This total includes support costs (7%).
The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate since fighting and violence intensified in late March 2015. Virtually the entire country is affected by the ongoing conflict and humanitarian needs have increased exponentially, resulting in 80 per cent of the population being in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. More than 2.5 million people – around 10 per cent of the total population – are internally displaced as of 30 November 2015.
Prior to the crisis, Yemen was hosting more than 263,900 refugees, the majority from Somalia, who require continued protection and assistance. Notwithstanding the ongoing conflict in Yemen, refugees, asylum-seekers and vulnerable migrants, the majority from Ethiopia and Somalia, have continued to arrive in Yemen in search of protection or to transit onwards to the Arabian Peninsula. In 2015 alone, 92,446 new arrivals reached Yemeni shores.
Alongside internal displacement, people are fleeing the country in considerable numbers. By the end of 2015, more than 99,000 persons of concern from Yemen had been reported in countries in the East and Horn of Africa, mainly in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan, as well as in the Gulf region. As the situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, and based on recent trends, it is anticipated that movements to the East and Horn of Africa, the Gulf States, and beyond will continue at similar rates in 2016.
Following the system-wide L3 emergency declaration for Yemen on 1 July 2015, UNHCR declared the Yemen situation an internal level 3 emergency and designated a Regional Refugee Coordinator (RRC) for the Yemen situation under the Refugee Coordination Model. The RRC ensures coherent and coordinated support on the ground for UNHCR’s response to the overall regional dimensions of the Yemen crisis. The RRC works closely with IOM and other humanitarian agencies and partners to strengthen UNHCR’s leadership and coordination role for the refugee response, and maximizes collaboration and synergies with other partners at the regional level.
This supplementary appeal outlines UNHCR’s planned response to the Yemen emergency in 2016. It covers the needs of refugees and asylum-seekers of various nationalities in Yemen, internally displaced people (IDPs) and others in Yemen who are part of mixed movements. It also presents UNHCR’s response to the needs of refugees fleeing Yemen to the East and Horn of Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
In December 2015, UNHCR together with IOM launched an inter-agency Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RRMRP), covering the requirements to provide protection and assistance to those fleeing Yemen into Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan for January-December 2016. UNHCR’s response to the Yemen situation in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan as presented in this supplementary appeal is in line with the RRMRP.
General Situation during January 2016
Forecast until mid-March 2016
Desert Locust breeding continued during January in north and northwest Mauritania and in adjacent areas of Western Sahara where locusts formed small groups. Limited ground control operations were carried out in these areas.
Breeding is likely to continue during the forecast period, which may cause a further increase in locust numbers and the formation of hopper and adult groups. As temperatures increase, some adults may move to spring breeding areas south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria.
Only low numbers of locusts persisted in parts of the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in Sudan, Eritrea Saudi Arabia, Yemen and northern Somalia. Unless further rains fall, breeding should decline in these areas. The situation remained calm in southwest Asia.
February 2 - 2016 KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN
Police and security forces dispersed two peaceful demonstrations in Khartoum and Omdurman on Monday. Students demonstrated against the ongoing war in Darfur and other conflicts in Sudan, while market traders demanded an end to the removal of their shops.
Affiliates of the United Popular Front (UPF) addressed the hundreds of students and delivered three speeches in the stadium in the Sudanese capital, Jackson square, and El Hurriya street in El Sug El Arabi neighbourhood.
One of the protesters told Radio Dabanga that the demonstrations then moved to downtown Khartoum. People chanted slogans that called for the overthrow of the regime, and others advocating for those affected by the construction of the Kajbar dam.
Police and security forces dispersed the protests using batons and teargas, and a number of students were injured and detained, the protester said. The exact number is still to be ascertained.
The UPF organised a student protest against current attacks and bombardments in Darfur’s Jebel Marra region, in Khartoum on Thursday 28 January. Three students were reportedly detained by the security service.
A demonstration of market traders in Omdurman the same day was also dispersed by police. The traders, whose shops have been removed by authorities in the past two days, displayed banners reading ‘no racism or regionalism’ in front of the Sudanese parliament. Several traders at the protest claimed that they have been subjected to racial profiling by a senior official of Omdurman locality during the removal of the shops.
They asked the National Assembly to intervene and help them to get their shops back in a memorandum they handed to the deputy chairman of the legislation and justice Committee, Azhari Widaa.
The police arrived in four vehicles to disperse the demonstrators in front of the parliament, while the guards closed the National Assembly building to prevent access to protesters.
Snapshot 27 January – 2 February 2016
Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad: 86 people were killed and 62 injured, with 15 missing after Boko Haram set fire to Dalori, near Maiduguri in Borno state. The past week also saw attacks in Chibok that left 13 dead and 30 injured. 40 civilians were reported dead after Cameroonian troops announced they were carrying out a search for BH militants in the area. In Cameroon, 52 people were killed in BH attacks in January. In Chad, two suicide bombings in Lac region left three dead and 56 wounded.
Namibia: The drought that has been affecting Namibia since the first months of 2015 is worsening, as several reservoirs are drying up. Over 380,000 people are reportedly in need of emergency food assistance and almost a quarter of the population suffers from food insecurity. Widespread loss of livestock has been recorded in pastoral areas.
Turkey: Stability has deteriorated in recent months as fighting between government forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party has intensified. An estimated 200,000 people have been internally displaced in by conflict and military operations since July 2015, and 240 civilians have been killed. At the same time, Turkey is hosting over 2.5 million Syrian, Iraqi and other refugees, straining its response capacity.
Updated: 02/02/2016. Next update: 09/02/2016.
See the Crisis Overview 2015: Humanitarian Trends and Risks 2016, ACAPS' overview of long-term trends in humanitarian needs for major crises, and scenarios outlining their potential evolution in 2016.
The month saw an intensification of Yemen’s war, amid heightened regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran complicating prospects for peace. Political tensions increased in Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Moldova, where protests over endemic corruption and a lack of confidence in the government could escalate. In Africa, Boko Haram’s deadly attacks increased in northern Cameroon, and Burkina Faso was hit by an unprecedented terror attack. On the nuclear front, in East Asia, North Korea’s announcement that it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test was roundly condemned, while nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were rolled back in accordance with the July 2015 deal.
- 1,696,962 internally displaced people
- 643,046 South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries
- 263,000 refugees in South Sudan
- 20,694 refugee new arrivals in South Sudan
- 10 refugee camps
- 6 UNMISS Protection of Civilians sites for IDPs
- $116,275,632 in funding received by UNHCR (28% of the budget required for comprehensive needs)
Nairobi, 27 January 2016 – With the aim to further improve accessibility to information on climate and hazard data, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction & Applications Centre (ICPAC) has published a live web-map to monitor climate and associated hazards in the Greater Horn of Africa region. With technical support from UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), IGAD-ICPAC’s GIS experts developed this comprehensive map that include multiple layers of information related to climate, flood hazard and changes in vegetation conditions all constantly updated to ensure timely information is available to all stakeholders simultaneously.UNOSAT and IGAD
Both organisations have a long-standing collaboration to strengthen technological capacities for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) among IGAD member states and within the centre itself. This initiative, a multi-year programme funded by the Government of Norway, aims at increasing capacity of IGAD and its member states to perform in-house geospatial analysis, mapping and data sharing in support to disaster risk reduction and early warning; implementation of this initiative is coordinated by ICPAC in collaboration with UNOSAT’s team in Nairobi and Geneva.
The activities focus on knowledge transfer, on the use of geospatial information technologies at technical level, awareness raising at policy-making level and technical backstopping for improving services and data delivery. The publication of this live web-map responds to the increasing need to improve climate services and information sharing among a wide variety of technical and non-technical stakeholders. In addition, a geo-portalfor hosting a wide variety of DRR-related geographic data is also available at ICPAC.The live web-map
The live web-map is presently composed of 7 geographic data layers displaying accumulated rainfall, Seasonal climate outlooks, flood hazard, flood risk and river flow indicators, as well as NDVI (normalized Difference Vegetation Index) anomaly analysis, satellite flood analysis and photos from the field. All layers are regularly updated to ensure that the live map shows the most up to date information; the map combines data fromICPAC,UNOSAT, CIMA Foundation, UNISDR’s GAR 2015, and NASA.
This live web-map is an innovative product as it allows for a comprehensive monitoring of the climate conditions in the region; In particular, the flood risk indicator and the river-flow indicator layers are produced using a flood modelling tool that provide forecast information by creating simulated flood scenarios for forecasts 10 days in advance. The map also includes seasonal climate outlooks resulting from Climate Outlook Forums and analyses of vegetation changes updated with the most recent data available through Global Agricultural Monitoring (NASA/GSFC/GIMMS).
Availability of climate and hazard information is becoming increasingly important for many sectors, such as agriculture, water management, economy and trade. Accessing up-to-date information is crucial in a time where climatic phenomena, such as El Niño, destabilize normal seasonal patterns.Official Launch
ICPAC will officially launch this live web-map during the 42nd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 42), on 22-23 February in Kigali, Rwanda: however to ensure immediate impact the live web-map can already be accessed online on ICPAC website here. ICPAC and UNOSAT welcome any suggestions for improvements: please send your feedback to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated Links
This month’s update highlights children and armed conflict concerns and provides recommendations for the protection of children in the situations of Central African Republic, Sudan (Darfur), Syria and Yemen. The update also reiterates key recommendations to the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on Afghanistan to inform ongoing conclusion negotiations, which started on January 27.
Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict is a network of local, national and international non-governmental organizations striving to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. Monthly updates are based on the experience of Watchlist and its member organizations in specific country situations and Watchlist’s expertise in over a decade of engagement with the Security Council’s children and armed conflict agenda.
February 1 - 2016 TAWILA
Each day hundreds of people who fled the attacks on their villages in northern Jebel Marra are arriving at Tawila in North Darfur.
An activist told Radio Dabanga from Tawila on Sunday that about 2,300 families reached the town so far. “They are all showing signs of intense fatigue as their flight took several days because of the proliferation of militia members and gunmen along the way.”
He described the humanitarian situation of the newly displaced as “very difficult as they arrive with nothing but their clothes”.
The activist appealed via Radio Dabanga to “humanitarian organisations and those concerned to urgently intervene to help these victims”.
Returnees flee again
He added that about 300 families who had left the Tawila camps for the displaced last year to return to their villages in the area of Khazan Tunjur and Taradona with the purpose of cultivating their farms, have all come back to Tawila.
“The escalation of the military operations in Jebel Marra and the strong presence of militiamen forced them to leave their farms and return to the camps.”
World: The Market Monitor - Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 30 - January 2016
This bulletin examines trends in staple food and fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket and consumer price indices for 69 countries in the fourth quarter of 2015 (October to December). The maps on pages 6–7 disaggregate the impact analysis to sub-national level.
• During Q4-2015, FAO’s global cereal price index fell by a further 15.2 percent year-on-year because of abundant supplies and sluggish demand. The index returned to the level seen before the food price crisis of 2007-08.
• The real price of wheat dropped by eight percent over the last quarter. It fell by more than 25 percent compared with Q4-2014 mainly because of world record production and higher ending stocks.
• The real price of maize remained constant compared with Q3-2015. Despite lower than expected production forecasts for 2015/16, global supplies were comfortable amid above-average closing stocks.
• During Q4-2015, the real price of rice decreased by two percent. As in Q3, prices were 15 percent below 2014 levels. However, global rice supplies may tighten in 2015/16.
• In Q4-2015, the real price of crude oil dropped a further 12 percent compared with Q3-2015 and reached its lowest level in the past eleven years.
• The cost of the minimum food basket increased severely (>10%) during Q4-2015 in nine countries: Burundi, Malawi, Niger, Peru, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. High increases (5–10%) were seen in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Yemen. In the other monitored countries, the change was low or moderate (<5%).
• Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS (Alert for Price Spikes), were evident in 19 countries, particularly in Ghana, Haiti, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Syria (see the map below).3 These spikes indicate crisis levels for the two most important staples in each country, including beans, cassava meal, maize, millet, potatoes, rice, wheat, sorghum and sugar.
South Sudan: South Sudan - Special Working Paper on Devaluation of South Sudan Pound: Short-term Food Security Implication, January 2016
Since the independence of South Sudan, the value of the pegged exchange rate has somewhat been unsustainable – wide differential with the actual value of the currency as determined by economic circumstances and developments in the country. With the economy experiencing: (1) the 2012 oil production/export shutdown; (2) civil war from December 2013, leading to higher defense spending, disruptions of oil production, and higher risk perceptions of investors; and (3) the collapse in oil prices, from over USD100 per barrel in 2013 to USD 50 or less in 2015, the pegged exchange rate became unsustainable, with the situation further compounded by the terms of agreement with the Republic of Sudan over payments for the use of pipelines and compensation, which are fixed in US dollar terms and not related to the oil price. In an attempt to maintain the fixed exchange regime, the government had to ration the supply of foreign exchange in the official market, thereby giving rise to a foreign exchange black-market which met the demand not satisfied by the rationed official market. The divergence between the official rate and the black market rate increased over time as oil prices fell and foreign exchange reserves were further depleted.
Following Independence, the Bank of South Sudan adopted and maintained a fixed exchange rate regime pegged at SSP 2.96 per 1 USD. Prior to repealing the fixed exchange rate system in December 2015, the country faced an increasing pressure to stabilize the money market in the face of many challenges: foreign reserves dwindled, fiscal deficit widened and oil revenues dropped. Weighed down by inflationary and currency depreciation pressures, the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) on 15th December 2015 adopted the floating system in which the value of the South Sudanese Pound against USD is determined by the prevailing market forces. This effectively devalued the currency overnight with the official rate moving from the previous SSP/USD 2.96 to 18.5, the then going rate in the parallel black market.
While un-pegging the exchange rate seemed long overdue to correct longstanding market distortions, for a low-production country which predominantly relies on imported goods even for the most basic of commodities, there are however, socio-economic and livelihood consequences. The impacts is also magnified by that the fact that oil revenue (typically accounting for more than 90% of the government revenue) could be in deficit following the record decline in global prices amidst fixed pipeline charges by the Sudan government on oil passage. In the immediate aftermath of the exchange rate market correction, the urban poor and the most vulnerable populations in rural areas that are highly dependent on markets2 have witnessed continued decline in their purchasing power due to the ongoing price upsurge that has now been compounded by devaluation induced run-away inflation. As popularly believed that these impacts are short-term, the actual longevity of these impacts will depend on the ability of the Government to accelerate public sector and structural reforms aimed at achieving among other things:- removing bottle necks to private investments, ensuring macro-economic stability, reducing the government wage bill, ensuring sustainable public debt, strengthening non-oil revenue collection systems, rehabilitation and immediate reopening of oil fields, diversification of the economy (including prioritizing agriculture as the next frontier of growth through increased policy and budgetary support) and achieving sustainable peace along with the positive steps of floating the currency, taking into account the safety net needs of the most vulnerable. There are already fears that without proper management of the situation, the policy change could as well set the stage for a vicious cycle of currency depreciation. Securing key trading corridors will be important in enabling trade flows and adequate prepositioning of commodities before the rains begin in April.
In view of the above, there is immediate need to scale up social transfers to poor and most vulnerable segments of the population by relief and development actors to compensate the resultant welfare losses occasioned by the ongoing economic challenges.
Currently, the humanitarian response plans and appeals for 2016 are seeking over $19.8 billion to meet the needs of 89.4 million people across 37 countries. The figures may increase in the course of 2016. As of 29 January, $50 million has been received for the appeals.
In January 2015, the UN-coordinated inter-agency appeals required $16.4 billion to meet the needs of 57.5 million people across 22 countries.
The year ended with requirements at $19.9 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion, to meet the needs of 82 million people in 38 countries.
As of 29 January, 21 humanitarian response plans (HRPs) and six refugee response plans (RRPs) for 2016 have been published. Eighteen of them are already being tracked by the Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Of these, early recipients of funding include: Nigeria (4 per cent funded), Cameroon (3 per cent), Niger (2 per cent), Libya, Chad and Somalia (all at 1 per cent).
Further response plans are being finalised and will be available online in the coming weeks.
Sectors benefitting from early funding have been those of agriculture, protection and human rights, shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, food and health.
So far in 2016, the global humanitarian reported contributions are over $1.3 billion, with approximately $261 million in outstanding pledges. These contributions are reported towards bilateral funding, the Red Cross movement, and other funding mechanisms including for NGOs outside the UN-coordinated appeals framework.
As reported to FTS, the UN coordinated appeals have been consistently funded on average at 62 per cent regardless of the total requirement per year, and despite its five-fold increase over the last five years. 2015 saw the lowest coverage, closing the year at 53 percent (there may be adjustments to these final figures). The total funds received increased by 93 percent from $5.6 billion in 2011 to a highest $10.8 billion in 2014. It is expected that FTS will receive more funding reports attributed to 2015 appeals over the course of this year. All donors and operational partners are encouraged to report their contributions to FTS in a timely manner to ensure an up-to-date reflection of the funding status.
Meanwhile by 29 January, donors had pledged almost $250 million towards the CERF for 2016, of which some $76 million has already been received. In January, CERF allocated almost $9 million in rapid response grants and an additional $100 million to sustain life-saving relief for up to 4.5 million people in nine severely underfunded crises where levels of vulnerability are alarmingly high and available resources for humanitarian response are critically low.
Government forces committed serious attacks against civilians, including widespread killings, rape, and destruction of property, in the conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states. Sudanese authorities restricted civil society and independent media, and suppressed protests and demonstrations. President Omar al-Bashir was re-elected in April 2015 in a poll that did not meet international standards for free and fair elections. Sudan has yet to adopt a constitution since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s six-year interim period ended in 2011. The ruling National Congress Party and opposition parties remain deadlocked over a national dialogue process that was to pave the way for elections and a new constitution.Conflict and Abuses in Darfur
In December 2014, President Bashir announced the resumption of “Operation Decisive Summer,” a military campaign that began in February 2014 against armed rebel groups in Darfur. The operation was led by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a Sudanese government force consisting largely of pro-government militias under the control of its National Intelligence and Security Service.
Between December and April 2015, the RSF and other government forces attacked villages and towns, mostly in the Jebel Marra region. They were responsible for serious abuses against the civilian population—including killings, rape, torture, mass displacement, destruction of property, and looting of livestock—that may amount to crimes against humanity. In January 2015, RSF soldiers raped scores of women and girls in and around the town of Golo.
The government blocked the African Union/United Nations peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, from much of the Jebel Marra region, and from investigating allegations of mass rape and other abuses by government forces that occurred in October and November 2014 in Tabit, North Darfur. Although the peacekeepers were briefly allowed into Tabit, where Sudanese armed forces raped at least 200 women in a 36-hour period, government security forces accompanying the peacekeepers compromised the integrity of their investigation. Neither the UN nor any international aid organizations have been able to access the town and provide victims with medical or psycho-social care.
UNAMID has been largely ineffective in protecting civilians from violence, hampered by Sudan’s denial of access to areas affected by conflict. Jebel Marra, for example, where tens of thousands are still displaced, has not been accessed for several years. Attacks and security threats against mission personnel have also undermined its effectiveness.
Violent intercommunal fighting continued in 2015, especially in South Darfur.Conflict and Abuses in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile
Unlawful attacks on civilians by government forces, carried out through aerial bombardment and ground forces in Southern Kordofan caused civilian casualties, including the deaths of at least 26 children in 2014 and 2015, some burned alive or blown to pieces after bombs or shells landed on their homes. Government bombing included what appeared to be targeted attacks on medical clinics.
The fighting and attacks on civilians destroyed homes and property and caused thousands to flee into crowded refugee camps in South Sudan. Government aircraft also dropped cluster munitions on Um Dorein and Delami counties, Southern Kordofan, in February and March 2015. Although the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which enjoys broad international support, prohibits their use, Sudan is not yet a party to this treaty.
In May 2015, government attacks on villages in Blue Nile caused large scale displacement of people from the Bau locality. Sudanese groups reported that at least three villages were burned by government forces, and people were forced to move to government strongholds. Residents were threatened with arrest or were detained if they did not leave.
The government has barred humanitarian agencies from working in rebel-held areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and has failed to agree with SPLM-N on terms for humanitarian access, including for a UN emergency polio vaccination campaign. As a result, the majority of children born in rebel-held areas have not been vaccinated against preventable diseases. Health workers received almost 2,000 suspected measles cases during an outbreak in Southern Kordofan between April and December 2014.Arbitrary Detentions, Ill-Treatment, and Torture
On December 6 and 7, 2014, human rights defender Amin Mekki Medani, political opposition leader Farouq Abu Eissa, and political activist Farah Ibrahim Alagar, were arrested in connection with their support for the opposition declaration, “Sudan Call,” and detained for four months. They were held incommunicado for 15 days before being transferred to Kober prison and charged with crimes against the state, which carry the death penalty. They were released on April 9, 2015, after the minister of justice exercised discretionary powers to drop the case.
In the lead up to, during, and after the national elections, from April 13 to 16, 2015, security forces arrested dozens of opposition party members, students, and political activists campaigning for an elections boycott. Many reported they were detained for several days and subjected to harsh beatings before being released without charge.
In mid-April, a well-known female activist appeared in public bruised and beaten after three days’ detention. National security denied responsibility and brought defamation charges against her. On April 16, a human rights trainer, Adil Bakheet was detained for 17 days in police custody and charged with crimes against the state for his participation in a voter education training. In May, two activists were detained in connection with speaking about sexual harassment and corruption, then released without being charged.
In August, national security agents continued to detain political activists, including members of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) engaged in public demonstrations against government policies. Several were subjected to violence and abuse and required to report daily to NISS.Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Association, and Expression
Sudanese security forces used excessive force to break up demonstrations over a range of issues, and prevented or restricted public events, particularly in the lead up to the general elections. In April, police and military fired tear gas and live bullets at protesters at a rally in a displaced persons camp in Central Darfur. Police raided El Fasher University in North Darfur, using tear gas to break up a group calling for an elections boycott, and arresting around 29 students.
Authorities also clamped down on civil society groups. In March, security agents raided the Tracks for Training and Human Development office, seized computers and other assets, and accused staff of supporting an elections boycott. In late December 2014 and January 2015, authorities revoked the licenses of three cultural organizations without providing reasons, and shut down a book fair and cultural event in Khartoum.
On December 21, 2014, agents raided the Sudanese Human Rights Monitor while it was hosting a meeting to prepare for Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. The Monitor was founded by Dr. Amin Mekki Medani, who had been detained on December 6 for four months in connection with his support for the “Sudan Call” declaration.
Authorities also continued to restrict media. National security agents seized print runs of 14 newspapers on February 16, and 10 newspapers on May 25, apparently because of articles on sensitive topics. In January 2015, the editor-in-chief of Al Midan, an opposition daily, was charged with crimes against the state for articles quoting a rebel commander, and faces the death penalty. In July, three journalists were arrested while covering a doctor’s strike in Gedarif.Legal Reform
The NISS has broad powers of arrest and detention for up to four-and-a-half months without judicial review, months beyond the international standard. Amendments to the constitution in January 2015 further empowered the NISS by designating it as a regular force with a mandate of combatting a wide range of political and social threats and taking precautionary measures against them. The service is known for its abusive tactics, including torture, against real or perceived political opponents.
In February, Sudan made amendments to the criminal code that could reduce the risk of women being accused of adultery when they report rape. However, the government has failed to implement various other reforms, including laws governing media, voluntary organizations, and public order regime.
The authorities continued to apply Sharia (Islamic law) sanctions that violate international prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment. The penalties are applied disproportionately to women and girls, typically for “crimes” such as adultery or violations of morality codes.Key International Actors
The AU’s High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan, headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, continued to mediate peace talks for Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur, and talks on a National Dialogue process.
The ongoing conflict in South Sudan and accusations of Sudan’s support to armed opposition there continued to undermine progress on outstanding issues, such as border demarcation, security, and status of the contested area of Abyei, as required in the 2012 cooperation agreement.
Amid Sudan’s pressure that UNAMID make plans to leave the country, the UN Security Council reduced the mission’s size by almost 5,000 troops in August 2014. In August 2015, despite calls by the government of Sudan on UNAMID to withdraw from “stable” parts of Darfur, the Security Council extended the mission’s mandate through June 2016. The Security Council also extended the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei through mid-December 2015.
In May 2015, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women traveled to Sudan for the first time in over a decade; her report is expected in 2016. In September 2015, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the independent expert for one year and urged the government of Sudan to initiate an independent public inquiry into the shooting of demonstrators in September 2014 and March 2014 and to investigate human rights violations in camps for the internally displaced.
March 2015 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Security Council’s referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since then, the ICC has issued arrest warrants for five individuals, including President al-Bashir, for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in connection with atrocities in Darfur. Sudan has refused to cooperate with the court in any of the cases. In December 2014, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council that she was “hibernating” her investigations on Darfur and urged the council to make “a dramatic shift” in its approach to responding to states that do not cooperate with the court’s requests on arresting Darfur suspects.
Al-Bashir remains a fugitive, but his travel has been restricted. A number of anticipated trips abroad have been cancelled, rescheduled, or relocated amid diplomatic and public outcry, particularly by African civil society groups.