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Sudan: ‘Progress, but many challenges remain’: UN Expert on Human Rights in Sudan

29 April 2016 - 12:25am
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: South Sudan, Sudan
The UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, today concluded his second visit to Sudan as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the country.


From his observations during his visit from 14 to 28 April 2016, he notes progress since his first visit in May 2015, but also expresses concerns regarding press freedom, the security situation, and a number of human rights issues in Sudan.

Aristide Nononsi's complete statement:

During my visit to Khartoum, I met with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, the State Minister of Justice, the State Minister of Defence, the State Minister of Finance, the Chief Justice and representatives of the judiciary, the Advisory Council for Human Rights, the National Commission for Human Rights, Parliamentarians, the Commissioner-General of the Humanitarian Aid Commission, the National Commission for Human Rights, various specialized units of different ministries, the Director in charge of training and capacity building of the National Intelligence and Security Service, the Khartoum Bar Association, members of political parties, academia, civil society, and the diplomatic community. I also had the opportunity to travel to Southern Kordofan where I met with the regional authorities. In addition, I travelled to two Darfur States, including visits to Zam Zam IDP camp and to the model village of Thabit in North Darfur, as well as to Khor Omer camp in East Darfur. I also met with the Walis of North and East Darfur States, respective state officials, the Head of the Darfur Regional Authority, UN country team, UNAMID and civil society actors.

I note some positive developments, and welcome the signing by the Government of Sudan of an Action Plan with the United Nations to prevent the recruitment and use of children by the Sudan Government security forces. I also commend the Government’s commitment to appoint a High-level focal point to coordinate the implementation of this Action Plan with the United Nations and to monitor its implementation. I also note some efforts in the field of rule of law, including the appointment and deployment of police officers, prosecutors and judges to some remote areas, in particular in Darfur. In this regard, I recommend that the newly established police stations and courts be provided with adequate resources in order to carry out their duties in an efficient manner. I also visited the model village in Thabit, a project funded by the Qatar Government and aimed at providing basic services, including health, education and drinking water to the local population.

Despite these positive developments, I remain concerned about a number of human rights issues in the country. I continue to hear about cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, as well as allegations of ill-treatment and travel ban on human rights defenders and political activists by security forces, including the National Intelligence Security Service. In this regard, I remain deeply concerned about the National Security Service Act which provides powers of arrest and detention to NISS, and procedural immunity for acts that should be subjected to criminal liability.

I welcome the decision of Sudanese authorities to return the passports of civil society activists who were prevented from attending the pre-briefing session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. I would like to emphasize the important role played by Human Rights Defenders, and stress the need for the Government to allow them to carry out their activities in an open, safe and secure environment. Nonetheless, I remain concerned about specific cases of arbitrary arrest and detention without charges of four pastors in Khartoum since mid-December 2015 as well as those of students from the University of Khartoum since 13 April 2016. I have raised these concerns with the relevant authorities, and I was informed that the first case was transferred to judicial authorities who have charged the four pastors with criminal offenses. I was also informed that the case of the students will be shortly handed over to the relevant judicial authorities for prosecutions. I call on Sudanese authorities to ensure that the right to a fair trial and due process is guaranteed to these individuals.

I welcome the decision of Sudanese authorities to return the passports of civil society activists who were prevented from attending the pre-briefing session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. I would like to emphasize the important role played by Human Rights Defenders, and stress the need for the Government to allow them to carry out their activities in an open, safe and secure environment. Nonetheless, I remain concerned about specific cases of arbitrary arrest and detention without charges of four pastors in Khartoum since mid-December 2015 as well as those of students from the University of Khartoum since 13 April 2016. I have raised these concerns with the relevant authorities, and I was informed that the first case was transferred to judicial authorities who have charged the four pastors with criminal offenses. I was also informed that the case of the students will be shortly handed over to the relevant judicial authorities for prosecutions. I call on Sudanese authorities to ensure that the right to a fair trial and due process is guaranteed to these individuals.

I would also like to express concern about ongoing censorship of newspapers, and increased restrictions on journalists from freely expressing their opinion. In view of the ongoing political dialogue, it is imperative that restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and association be removed in order to create a conducive environment for a free and inclusive national dialogue. In this context, the suspension by NISS of the Al-Tayar newspaper since mid-December 2015 is of concern. I have raised this case with the authorities, and I strongly recommend that the appeal of Al-Tayar newspaper against NISS’ decision to suspend its operations is guaranteed an independent judicial review along with provision of adequate compensation.

As a follow up to my last visit and report, I also raised the case of victims and families of victims of the oil-subsidy demonstrations of September 2013 with the authorities. While I welcome the ongoing compensation process of victims and families of victims by the Government, I would encourage the authorities to consider additional action, including impartial investigation and prosecution of those responsible for these incidents. Impunity for human rights violations would send the wrong message to victims, perpetrators, and the wider public, and undermine the rule of law.

In Darfur, the security situation remains fluid and unpredictable. This has had a direct impact on the human rights and humanitarian situation. I am concerned by the conflict in Jebel Marra which has resulted on new displacements especially in Sortoni, Tawilla, and Kabkabiya. I am also concerned by the detrimental effects of the conflict on civilians in light of allegations of human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate killings, destruction and burning of villages, abductions and sexual violence against women. I call on the authorities of Sudan, who bear the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights in Darfur, and all other parties to the conflict, to respect the rights of the civilian population. I also call on the Government to allow humanitarian agencies and UNAMID unfettered access for delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need.

I commend efforts being made by UNAMID, the African Union, the Government of Qatar and other partners to promote political dialogue between the Government of Sudan and armed opposition movements under the framework of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). I welcome the signing by the Government in Addis Ababa in March 2016 of the road map aimed at ending the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. I urge the armed movements to put the people of Sudan’s interest first, and to sign the road map of Addis Ababa in order to bring peace and stability in the country.

During my visit to Zam Zam IDP camp in North Darfur, people expressed concern over the shortages of food and limitation of opportunities to acquire skills to help improve life chances, including income generating activities for women. In particular, the security situation outside the camp remains a matter of concern. The IDPs live in a state of insecurity due to the presence of various armed elements and criminality that occur within the region. In recent weeks, 9 incidents of rape of women from the camp were reported. According to information received, these incidents happened when the women went outside the camp to engage in livelihood activities. I call upon the Government and UNAMID to fulfil their obligation in creating a safe and secure environment for these displaced communities and ensure that once created these secure environments are kept as such.

The humanitarian and human rights situation in East Darfur remains a matter of concern with killings, and displacement of civilians caused by inter-tribal clashes. The size and scale of inter-tribal clashes over cattle rustling and control of natural resources in East Darfur has been unprecedented with the use of sophisticated firearms by combatants. I am of the view that a sustainable solution to this problem will involve proactive remedial measures to address impunity in the region and a well-designed and peaceful civilian disarmament campaign. I call on the Government to take pertinent measures to strengthen accountability for human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law in East Darfur State and other parts of Darfur.

I welcome the decision by Sudanese authorities to receive South Sudanese refugees in the country. Nonetheless, I remain concerned about the precarious living conditions faced by these people. During my visit to Khor Omer camp in El-Daein, I noted the lack of appropriate shelters for the refugees, and was briefed on other challenges, including shortage of water, food and medicine. I call on the Government of Sudan and the international community to increase their humanitarian assistance to these refugees.

I have also noted the need for technical assistance expressed by the local authorities in South Kordofan and Al- Jazeera State, and I would encourage the Government and the international community to provide adequate means and resources to these institutions in order to strengthen their capacity in the field of human rights.

With respect to my mandate to assess the human rights situation and make recommendations for technical assistance and capacity building to the Government and civil society organizations, there is, to a large extent, consensus amongst all relevant stakeholders of the need for capacity building in the form of relevant human rights training for members of the judiciary, the National Human Rights Institution, the police and security forces and non-governmental human rights organisations, amongst others.

I am aware of the fact that some funding to key Government bodies have been released by some donor States, and that technical assistance and capacity building activities provided by various UN agencies and UNAMID will continue. I strongly believe that a spirit of cooperation is essential between the Government, donor States, and the UN to improve the human rights situation in the country. I therefore encourage the Government to facilitate the unrestricted operation and mobility of UNAMID and UN agencies in Sudan, including timely provision of visas to their staff and release of their shipments from the port. I believe that the presence and effective operation of these agencies would stand to make a meaningful difference in Sudan.

I conclude this visit to the Sudan with a sense of hope for the future inspite of the many human rights challenges that the Government and its people continue to face. I strongly urge the Government to build on its positive efforts, and for these efforts to be directed towards concrete change on the ground, including through implementation of a number of recommendations in my previous report and those of my predecessors. The UN system and donor States stand ready to provide support to improve the human rights situation in the country.

Sudan: End Malaria for Good: Sudan receives additional 30 Million USD to support malaria interventions

29 April 2016 - 12:07am
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Sudan

Khartoum - 26 April 2016 : With an important new allocation, the goal to end malaria in Sudan is in reach. Over the next two years, Sudan will receive an additional 30 million USD from the Global Fund to support malaria interventions. The Grant Approval Committee of the Global Fund met in Geneva this week to review the proposal submitted by UNDP to extend the grant end date to December 2017 and provided positive recommendation. With this additional support the total malaria grant will stands to 116 million USD for 2015-2017. “This is an important gesture from the donor community to Sudan, as the world celebrates the Malaria Day under the theme End Malaria for Good”, said Selva Ramachandran, Country Director, UNDP. “The 10 years of partnership between the Health Ministry, UNDP, and the Global Fund in Sudan has helped in achieving tangible results to end malaria for Good”, he continued.

The malaria programme in Sudan has made huge strides. Between 2000 and 2015, the country reduced the number of malaria cases from more than four million to less than one million. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of deaths due to malaria declined by one-third. Malaria still remains a big concern for Sudan with 11 percent of all out-patient consultations and 13.6 percent of all inpatient admissions in hospitals are attributed to the disease. Malaria also remains one of the biggest causes of illness and death in children under five. The additional funding will help procure bednets needed to ensure every person in Kassala, Gadraf, White Nile, Blue Nile, Greater Kordofan and Darfur States can sleep under a long lasting insecticide treated net (one net per two people), as well as access to timely diagnosis and treatment services. This is a key milestone in Sudan to end malaria for good.

During the last 10 years, more than 3 million of malaria cases were treated annually, 16 million insecticide treated bed- ets had been distributed and households in two states have been sprayed with insecticides twice a year.

The Global Fund in collaboration with UNDP is supporting Sudan to strengthen the HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes and the health systems. The overall goals of the Fund supported projects are to prevent deaths that are caused by the three diseases, to interrupt transmission of the three diseases, reduce morbidity, and to develop health systems.


To find out more about UNDP’s interventions in fighting Malaria, HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis, please consult our website : http://www.sd.undp.org/content/sudan/en/home/ourwork/humandevelopment/overview.html

Sudan: Tea lady's journey from Sudan's war-hit Kordofan to White House

28 April 2016 - 11:08pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan | Friday 4/29/2016 - 02:59 GMT

By Tom Little

Through 20 years' selling tea by searing-hot Khartoum roadsides, Awadeya Mahmoud dreamed of improving conditions for her co-workers, mostly from conflict-hit areas like herself, but never imagined it would lead to the White House.

But for struggling to improve conditions for impoverished women selling tea and food from stalls across the Sudanese capital, Mahmoud received a "Woman of Courage Award" from US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington last month.

"I was overjoyed when I received the prize," Mahmoud said after a 10-day visit to the United States to collect her prize.

Kerry hailed her "steadfast efforts to promote legal reform and to advance economic empowerment for women in Sudan".

True to form, Awadeya was back at work in one of the small cooperatives in Khartoum's Souq Shaabi area immediately after returning from the US, giving legal aid to women facing harassment from the police and social stigma.

The dirt courtyard covered by a tin roof was festooned with banners of her in floral traditional robes receiving her prize from Kerry and she hopes to use the publicity to expand the network of cooperatives across Sudan.

"This work isn't just in Khartoum, it's in all areas of Sudan," she said.

Thousands of women -- many displaced by protracted conflicts in Darfur and South Kordofan regions -- sell tea and simple meals by Khartoum's roads for as little as 50 SDG per day ($4 according to the black market exchange rate).

Working unaccompanied, they are stigmatised in socially conservative Sudan and face sexual harassment.

They also work in fear of Khartoum's municipal police, who can confiscate their stalls, demanding to see permits to work and cards proving they have no infectious diseases and imposing fines of several hundred Sudanese pounds.

Awadeya spent two decades selling hot drinks from behind a small tin stall, under the beating Sudanese sun.

'Decent ladies'

Born in 1963, her family moved to Khartoum from the conflict-hit South Kordofan region when she was a young girl.

After marrying, she started working in 1986 to support her young family in the only trade available to a woman of her background with only a basic education -- selling tea.

"We sat all day under the heat of the sun and there were no bathrooms for us to use," she said.

Recounting hard years working as a tea lady as she sat in her cooperative, she constantly stopped to offer visiting members breakfast or -- of course -- tea and coffee served from a stand in the courtyard.

Her warm demeanour belied her steely determination to improve the lives of her fellow tea sellers and food vendors.

In 1990, Mahmoud helped to start a cooperative in the Hajj Yousif area of the city, home to migrants from the Nuba Mountains area.

In return for a small subscription, the group offered legal support, sending members with legal training from NGOs to help return confiscated equipment from the police.

They soon opened more branches, with hundreds of women joining, and also offered training in other skills.

But in 2006, she and several other leaders in the cooperative were jailed for four years over an investment the women became involved in that left them heavily indebted.

Undeterred, she resumed work in 2010 and even became head of a network of cooperatives of some 8,000 women across Khartoum.

Laughing with two of her colleagues in the cooperative in Souq Shabi as one brewed a pot of fresh coffee spiced with ginger, she said hopes her award will boost the image of Sudan's humble tea lady.

"Society looks at tea sellers negatively, but this is unfair. Tea ladies are decent women".

tl/hc

Sudan: Sudan: Arrivals from South Sudan | 16 - 29 April 2016

28 April 2016 - 12:54pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Over 224,620 persons have arrived in Sudan from South Sudan
- Sudan hosts an estimated 350,000 Southern Sudanese individuals following the separation of South Sudan from Sudan
* Abyei PCA Box is estimated to have received 2,496 (IOM)

Sudan: Sudan: White Nile State - Refugee sites hosting new arrivals from South Sudan | 16 - 29 April 2016

28 April 2016 - 12:52pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan
  • 92,634 Total new arrivals from South Sudan

  • 74,636 camp and reception centre population

  • 17,998 non-camp population

South Sudan: UNHCR South Sudan Operational Update - 16 - 29 April 2016

28 April 2016 - 12:49pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The influx of South Sudanese into Sudan that began in late January 2016 amid ongoing conflict and deteriorating food insecurity continues with some 54,000 arrivals into East and South Darfur and West Kordofan states. Of these new arrivals, 41,774 are residing in East Darfur. 

  • In White Nile State, there was a large increase in the rate of arrivals recorded during the reporting period. Whereas the average number of arrivals per week has been around 500 for the past two months, in the past week over 2,100 new South Sudanese have arrived in the White Nile State sites.

  • The first food distribution based on biometric registration commenced on 21 April in El Redis I and Dabat Bosin sites, and in all other White Nile sites the following day. The distribution is proceeding smoothly, and has already completed in Dabat Bosin. An information campaign was conducted in all sites prior to the shift to sensitize communities on the new system. 

  • The second phase of biometric registration was completed in Um Sangor site on 24 April, with a total of 4,195 individuals registered who had arrived since completion of the first phase of the registration exercise.

  • Over 1,000 South Sudanese have been arrested in Khartoum since early April for alleged lack of documentation despite most being in possession of registration cards issued by the Sudanese Directorate of Passports and Immigration (IPP). Some 300 South Sudanese have been released following legal intervention and advocacy efforts with the authorities, but others remain in detention.

  • In Khartoum state, an accidental fire broke out in the Soba Kongor open area, destroying over 100 shelters and resulting in the death of two girls. UNHCR has provided non-food item assistance to all affected households.

UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS

Operational Context

The number of South Sudanese that have fled into East and South Darfur and West Kordofan since late January has nearly reached 54,000. I n White Nile State, there was a marked increase in the number of arrivals, with nearly 2,169 arrivals recorded in the past week, compared with an average of 500 arrivals per week observed in the two months prior. These recent arrivals are arriving directly from South Sudan with a small number also coming from Khartoum State.

In East Darfur, the total number of refugees stands at 41,774 as of 25 April. In Khor Omer IDP camp, IOM conducted a second round of verification of South Sudanese on April 25, bringing the total number of verified individuals in the camp to 25,548. Food distribution by WFP has reached 22,600 of the new arrivals as of 17 April, with further distribution planned to take place shortly. UNHCR is distributing non-food items to all new arrivals in Khor Omer, with additional stocks prepositioned to cover a total of 30,000 individuals. Access to water and sanitation is severely constrained in Khor Omer, with only 29 per cent of water requirements currently being met and a 98 per cent gap in latrine coverage. Medical supplies sufficient for four months have been delivered to the camp’s health clinic, but a vehicle is urgently needed to transfer emergency cases to the Ed Daein hospital. Insufficient stocks of reproductive health equipment and kits are also reported. A middle-upper arm circumference screening (MUAC) conducted by UNICEF and the State Ministry of Health (SMOH) identified a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 8.1 per cent, falling below the SPHERE emergency threshold of 15 per cent. However, data collected at the onset of the influx indicated much higher levels of malnutrition among the children upon arrival and before provision of nutritional supplements. Land availability poses a main challenge for delivery of further assistance, such as distribution of shelters and latrine construction. Discussions regarding establishment of a new site in East Darfur to host the new arrivals are ongoing, and local authorities are working to negotiate the use of a site located near to Khor Omer. Access to other localities in East Darfur where new arrivals have been reported remains limited. Insecurity and localized violence across the state also continue to impact the extent of response activities by partners. Planning figures anticipate 97,000 South Sudanese arrivals in total by the end of June 2016.

In South Darfur, the number of South Sudanese arrivals is 4,594, an increase of 469 arrivals since mid-April. Food and emergency household items have been provided to most new arrivals, but distribution of shelters has still not yet been authorized by authorities. Planning figures for South Darfur anticipate a total of 7,000 arrivals to the state by the end of June 2016.

In West Kordofan, WFP completed a verification exercise in Kharasana, identifying 9,776 South Sudanese residing in the area. Of those verified, 710 individuals have arrived in Kharasana since the end of March coming both from other parts of Sudan (i.e. White Nile and Khartoum states) and from South Sudan’s Unity State. WFP has since started distribution of one-month food rations to all South Sudanese residing in Kharasana. Food distribution in El Meriam is still on hold after several weeks due to lack of clearance by security authorities. As a result, the situation of refugees residing in the area is growing increasingly critical, with very high food insecurity and malnutrition already reported in the area during an assessment in mid-March. A measles outbreak affecting West Kordofan has reportedly led to several deaths among South Sudanese, with 12 deaths reported in El Tibbun town in Babanusa locality. The West Kordofan SMOH is responding to the situation with support from WHO for essential medicines and vaccinations. In White Nile state, UNHCR has continued to lead preparations for relocation of families to the new Al Waral site to help ease congestion in the existing seven sites. Relocation of families is expected to start in the first week of May, once construction of latrines, communal shelters and installation of water bladders has completed. Over the reporting period, the first food distribution to be based on a biometric registration system commenced in all seven sites led by joint UNHCR/WFP teams, targeting 73,475 refugees in total. The second phase of biometric registration also finalized in Um Sangor site, with 4,195 individuals registered who had arrived since completion of the first phase of the exercise.

In Khartoum, arbitrary arrests of South Sudanese have continued since first being reported in early April. Over 1,000 South Sudanese have reportedly been arrested in Khartoum for alleged lack of documentation and charged a fine of 1000 SDG, despite the fact that the majority are in possession of the IPP registration card containing the foreign number issued by authorities. UNHCR has been closely monitoring the situation, providing protection and legal support to the detainees, and pursuing the issue with the relevant government counterparts in order to uphold the validity of the IPP cards. More than 300 of those arrested have since been released but many remain in detention. Advocacy efforts by UNHCR are ongoing, as well as on the part of the South Sudanese Embassy. Recent reports in the media have indicated that the Cabinet decision from 17 March that South Sudanese in Sudan are to be treated as foreigners has been revoked, but no official confirmation of this has been communicated.

On 18 April a fire broke out in Khartoum’s Soba Kongor open area destroying more than 100 shelters and resulting in the death of two young girls. The fire was due to accidental causes. UNHCR visited the site in the following day to assess damages and provided emergency material assistance including clothing and non-food items.

World: 2015 Annual Report

28 April 2016 - 11:27am
Source: Generations For Peace Country: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Since 2007, Generations For Peace has trained 8,920 volunteers from 50 countries, and with our support, volunteer-led programmes have reached 229,020 children, youth, and adults in communities facing different forms of violence. Our cascading model, in which volunteers we have trained directly (1st generation) go on to train other 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and even up to 6th generation volunteers in their communities, increases our reach and reinforces the sustainability of our efforts.

Sudan: Sudan: Humanitarian Bulletin | Issue 17 | 18 – 24 April 2016

28 April 2016 - 9:32am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Italy, South Sudan, Sudan

HIGHLIGHTS

• Between end January and 24 April 2016, 54,635 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan, according to aid organisations.

• In Central Darfur, about 5,200 IDPs from Jebel Marra have been reported in the Fanga Suk area and Rokero town following inter-agency missions.

• A new report by SKBN CU says renewed conflict between government forces and SPLMN has led to significant internal displacement and increased humanitarian needs in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

• HelpAge International will be closing its operations in the country.

FIGURES 2015 HRP

Displaced people in Sudan (as of Dec 2014) - 3.1 million

Displaced people in Darfur (as of Dec 2014) - 2.5 million

GAM burden - 2 million

South Sudanese refugee arrivals in Sudan - since 15 Dec 2013 (UNHCR) - as of 31 March 2016 - 221,322

Refugees of other nationalities (UNHCR) - 130,000

FUNDING

79.1 million* US$ received in 2016

  • This will be tracked against the 2016 HRP once finalised.

World: IGAD to Measure Progress in Implementation of Resilience to Drought Regional Initiative

28 April 2016 - 3:12am
Source: Intergovernmental Authority on Development Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, World

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning inaugurated the Sixth Steering Committee Meeting of their Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) in Nairobi. This will be followed by the meeting of the IDDRSI Ministerial General Assembly which will be held on 29th April 2016.

These two IDDRSI Platform meetings will review the progress made in the implementation of the drought resilience initiative throughout the IGAD region; examine the challenges met and the opportunities available; and discuss proposals and recommendations for the way forward.

Representatives from IGAD Member States forming the IDDRSI Steering Committee, Development Partners, UN agencies, Non-State Actors, IGAD Secretariat and its Specialized Institutions and other stakeholders with expertise or interest in cross-border development and the implementation of IDDRSI are attending and participating in this event.

The Sixth Steering Committee Meeting was declared open by the Ambassador of Kenya to Ethiopia, HE Catherine Mungai Mwangi in her capacity as Ambassador to IGAD as well, speaking for the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Devolution and Planning of Kenya, in the presence of the Chair of the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors, HE Ambassador Shamebo Fitamo Adebo, and the Executive Secretary of IGAD, HE Amb. (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim.

The IDDRSI Steering Committee is meant to review the progress made, outcomes and challenges in the implementation of IDDRSI. It is also the occasion for IGAD Member States to exchange and update on the dealing with drought and impacts of the recent El Nino phenomenon in their respective countries and for development partners to interact with the latters.

The IDDRSI Steering Committee Meeting of April 27th and 28th April is for the different stakeholders to advocate for a regional approach in resilience to drought disasters, strengthen existing frameworks for resilience programs plus informal and harmonized cross-border trade, security and cooperation between the IGAD Member States for economic development and improved peace and security in the region.

The IDDRSI General Assembly of the 29th April will be a high level engagement of ministers and other senior policy officials from IGAD Member States, senior representatives of Development Partners and other stakeholders which provides strategic leadership and policy direction to facilitate the expedited implementation of the drought resilience initiative. ###

Sudan: Sudan student killed during university protest: doctor

27 April 2016 - 12:44pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Sudan

Khartoum, SUDAN | AFP | Wednesday 4/27/2016 - 16:27 GMT

A student was killed on Wednesday during clashes between Sudanese security forces and protesters at a university in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, a hospital doctor and witnesses said.

Violence erupted when security forces confronted angry students who spilled out of the campus of Ahaliya university in Omdurman, which lies on the western banks of the Nile opposite Khartoum.

The protesters were demanding the release of fellow students arrested in previous demonstrations at Sudanese universities.

"Students clashed with plain-clothed policemen when they stepped out of the university gate," a protester said.

A doctor at Omdurman hospital told AFP the student was already dead when he was brought to the facility, without specifying the nature of his wounds.

Hundreds of students later carried his body covered in a white shroud to his home in an impoverished neighbourhood of the city, an AFP correspondent reported.

"Killing of student means killing of nation!" angry students chanted as they marched in a procession.

Riot police and plain-clothed officers deployed around the hospital and also walked along with the procession.

It came a day after police used tear gas to disperse a protest at Khartoum university over what students said was a government plan -- denied by the authorities -- to sell iconic Khartoum university buildings.

Universities in Sudan have seen regular protests, with the authorities often closing the institutions to prevent unrest.

ab-jds/dr

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

World: El Niño and Health - Update: Global overview - April 2016

27 April 2016 - 11:05am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tonga, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, World, Zimbabwe

GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACTS

• Severe drought and associated food insecurity, flooding, rains and temperature rises due to El Niño 2015-2016 are causing a wide range of health problems, including disease outbreaks, malnutrition and disruption of health services.

• El Niño 2015-2016 is affecting more than 60 million people, especially in Eastern and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific.

• Although adverse weather effects of El Niño are expected to wind down by mid-2016, the health impacts are expected to last throughout 2016 and beyond. Urgent attention is needed now.

• WHO and partners are working closely to support nearly 30 countries to prepare and respond to this El Niño event, but significant funding gaps must be closed to prevent avoidable deaths and illnesses.

• La Niña may follow in the second half of 2016, causing further extreme conditions and more health problems. Regardless of El Niño and La Niña, WHO urges countries to prepare for all climate risks.

World: El Niño and Health Funding Requirements: Global overview - April 2016

27 April 2016 - 10:21am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, World, Zimbabwe

El Niño 2015-2016 is affecting more than 60 million people worldwide, and the health consequences, such as disease outbreaks and malnutrition, are expected to increase throughout 2016.

Funding is required to support activities by Ministries of Health, WHO, Health Cluster and partners to prepare for, and respond to, the health problems of those most affected by El Niño.

These funding figures are taken from individual country plans as well as WHO and interagency Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) for 2016.

In total, WHO and Health Cluster partners are seeking USD 185 million to scale up urgent action needed to address the health effects of El Niño’s adverse climate conditions.

These figures are framed within the overall Government health sector funding requirements of affected countries estimated to be USD 459 million.

World: ECHO Factsheet: Forced displacement - refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) - April 2016

27 April 2016 - 8:17am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World

Humanitarian situation

Key messages

  • The number of forcibly displaced people (refugees and internally displaced people) has continued to rise alarmingly in 2015 and 2016, calling for increased humanitarian assistance worldwide.

  • The EU is a leading international donor for refugees. It gave €1.064 million for humanitarian assistance dedicated to refugees and IDPs financial year 2015, as well as €200 million in ongoing projects from development assistance. The funding covers projects that help in access to shelter, protection, food and other basic services such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene and education.

  • Humanitarian aid aims at upholding basic human rights and protecting children and adults against violence, abuse and exploitation through protection and advocacy activities.

  • In April 2016, the European Commission, in association with the European External Action Service (EEAS), adopted a new development-led approach to forced displacement, aimed at harnessing and strengthening the resilience and self-reliance of both the forcibly displaced and their host communities. Political, economic, development and humanitarian actors should be engaged from the outset and throughout displacement crises to work with third partner countries towards gradual socio-economic inclusion of the forcibly displaced. The objective is to end forced displacement and make people's lives better and more dignified during displacement.

World: Issue Brief No. 16, February 2016: Checks and Balances: Securing Small Arms during Peace Operations

27 April 2016 - 3:54am
Source: Small Arms Survey Country: Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sudan, World

Since the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations released its seminal report in 2000, UN peacekeeping missions have grown considerably in size and complexity. More than 100,000 uniformed personnel were serving in these missions as of November 2015, an increase of 300 per cent since 2000. These soldiers and police officers are operating in challenging environments, often in underdeveloped countries amidst violent armed groups with little interest for political compromise and no compunctions about attacking their perceived enemies, including UN forces. Any hope of success for these missions requires that peacekeepers be well trained and well armed.

The implications of the UN’s shift from monitoring peace agreements in post-conflict settings to operating in countries ‘where there is no peace to keep’ are many and varied. While researchers and policymakers have thoroughly studied many of these implications, the daunting challenge of safeguarding the small arms and light weapons deployed as part of these operations are less well-documented.

Checks and Balances: Securing Small Arms during Peace Operations, the latest Issue Brief from the Small Arms Survey, attempts to improve understanding of this issue by identifying and describing practices in current and recent UN peace operations, highlighting the challenges to implementing these practices, and the describing the UN’s attempts to overcome them. Building on the Small Arms Survey’s previous research on small arms and light weapons in peace operations (see Under Attack and Above Scrutiny?), this Issue Brief explores the barriers to universal implementation of robust control measures.

  • Stockpile security, record-keeping, and reporting practices vary significantly from mission to mission, and oftentimes within the same mission.

  • The system through which the UN manages contingent-owned equipment (COE) provides the framework for rigorous mission-level stockpile security regimes.

  • ‘Temporary’ small arms storage structures are sometimes used in peace operations that last for ten years or longer. Transitioning to more robust structures, including purpose-built depots, may be warranted in many of these cases.

  • The United Nations has developed detailed policies, procedures, and guidelines on securing arms and ammunition during peace operations. These safeguards are laid out in numerous documents, many of which are not publicly available. A consolidated, readily accessible compilation of these safeguards would be useful not only to UN and contingent staff, but also to other organizations engaged in peace operations.

Download Issue Brief 16, Checks and Balances: Securing Small Arms during Peace Operations

Sudan: Sudan Human Rights Update – March 2016

26 April 2016 - 11:23am
Source: SUDO (UK) Country: Sudan

Overview

During the month of March 2016, SUDO (UK)’s network of human rights monitors have reported and verified 65 incidents of human rights abuses across Sudan involving nine Sudanese states, whilst one such abuse was recorded in South Sudan relating to the arrest of two prominent Sudanese politicians who had participated in the National Dialogue by the security services of the Government of South Sudan. Monitors submitted a further two reports verifying the presence of a heavily armed group in North Darfur that is allegedly linked to ISIS in Libya, in addition to the troop movement of the Rapid Support Forces in South Kordofan.

Enclosed within the 65 reports pertaining to human rights abuses, SUDO (UK) has assessed that various forces under the authority of the Government of Sudan2 were responsible, as individual entities, for 50 instances of human rights abuses, whilst various militias known collectively as Janjaweed were responsible for ten abuses. Unknown parties committed five such abuses, the various armed opposition movements four3 , and the South Sudanese security service one such abuse. Once again it is worth stressing that multiple actors colluded in various incidents resulting in the fact that multiple perpetrators can be responsible for the same incident, hence 70 perpetrators have been identified for 65 human rights abuses.

The 65 reports detail the following: the death 37 civilians and the serious injury of 59; the rape of 14 females including nine minors; the arrest of 28 persons including one detainee being held in a toxic container at the Sudanese Armed Forces Headquarters in Demazin; 15 reports of aerial bombardment resulting in the minimum use of some 160 bombs; the direct targeting of 30 civilian villages, which have been identified by monitors leading to the destruction of 15 of those villages; five incidents pertaining to press freedom with four newspaper confiscations; three dispersions of peaceful protest; and the denial of external travel to five persons.

Sudan: Sudan says referendum result shows Darfur 'crisis' over

26 April 2016 - 11:07am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Tuesday 4/26/2016 - 18:13 GMT

Sudan said on Tuesday the result of a referendum in Darfur shows that the conflict in the war-torn region that has killed tens of thousands of people is finally over.

On Saturday, officials announced that almost 98 percent of Darfur voters had opted to keep the region as five states in a referendum that was boycotted by the opposition and criticised internationally.

The vote on whether to unite Darfur into a single autonomous region was held over three days between April 11 and 13.

"The page on the Darfur crisis has now been turned," Amin Hassan Omar, the official in charge of the Darfur file in President Omar al-Bashir's government, told reporters at a press conference in Khartoum.

"Now we need to deal with the after-effects of this crisis."

In 2003, ethnic minority rebels in Darfur mounted an insurgency against the Arab-dominated government of Bashir -- who is wanted for alleged war crimes in the conflict -- complaining of economic and political marginalisation.

More than 2.5 million people displaced by the conflict live in the vast region of western Sudan, and according to United Nations figures 300,000 have been killed in the conflict.

A united Darfur with greater autonomy has long been a demand of ethnic minority insurgents battling Khartoum, but rebel groups boycotted the referendum, calling it unfair.

Bashir, whose ruling National Congress Party supports the five-state system, had insisted that the ballot go ahead as stipulated in a 2011 peace agreement signed with some rebel groups.

Darfur was a single region until 1994 when the government split it into three states, and later added another two in 2012, claiming it would make local government more efficient.

On Tuesday, Omar blamed the rebels for the unrest.

"The rebel groups didn't want peace. They want war," he said, adding that the government now plans to collect weapons that are widespread in the region.

"We will first collect heavy weapons which are in the hands of outlaws," Omar said, adding that some of these "outlaws had ties" with the country's security apparatuses.

Since 2003, parts of Darfur have been further destabilised by conflicts between the region's myriad ethnic and tribal groups, as well as by rising crime levels.

Later on Tuesday, the head of the Darfur Regional Authority, Tijani Sissi, also called for the speedy round-up of weapons in Darfur.

"I urge the state to speed up the collecting of weapons from citizens in order to prevent Darfur from falling into tribal conflict," the official SUNA news agency quoted him as saying in parliament.

ab-jds/srm

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Sudan: About OCHA Sudan

26 April 2016 - 9:49am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Sudan

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent, principled and timely response to emergencies and natural disasters. OCHA works with Governments and with Inter-Agency Standing Committee members, which include key operational actors from the United Nations, non-governmental organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, among others.

OCHA (previously known as the Department for Humanitarian Affairs, until 1998) was established following UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, adopted in December 1991.

Mission

• Mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies;

• Advocate for the rights of people in need;

• Promote preparedness and prevention;

• Facilitate sustainable solutions.

South Sudan: Return of opposition leader should speed up formation of unity government, deliver real peace - OXFAM

26 April 2016 - 9:24am
Source: Oxfam Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan

26 APRIL, 2016 - JUBA // In response to the return of South Sudan’s opposition leader, Riek Machar, to Juba, Oxfam’s Country Director in South Sudan, Zlatko Gegic said:

"Riek Machar's return to Juba is a positive step towards the formation of South Sudan's Transitional Government of National Unity. Over four months late, the transitional government is desperately needed to deliver lasting peace, reconciliation and justice for the people of South Sudan. The country’s leaders must now demonstrate their commitment to the deal and work urgently to end needless suffering for millions of South Sudanese facing a dire humanitarian crisis. Across the country, at least 2.8 million people are struggling to get enough food and 2.3 million have been forced from their homes."

"We urge all parties to the conflict to live up to their commitments and ensure the ceasefire is respected. The people of South Sudan deserve unimpeded access to humanitarian services, guarantees of safety and protection and a voice in shaping the country's future."

"The success of the peace deal will be reflected in improvements in the humanitarian situation and the confidence of the displaced to return home."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Riek Machar, who was the vice president of South Sudan until July 2013, fled the country in December 2013 after a political dispute between him and President Salva Kiir escalated into a civil war that took on ethnic dimensions. Following a peace agreement in August 2015, he was reinstated as vice president in February.

Despite a general lull in active combat since the signing of the peace deal, the ceasefire agreement has been repeatedly violated as fighting has flared up in areas less affected by the war.

Since the peace agreement was signed in August 2015, the UN estimates over 100,000 people, mainly from Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal states, have fled into neighbouring countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Darfur in Sudan.

Contact Information:

Faith Kasina | Media Lead | +211 (0) 955 477 540 | fkasina@oxfam.org.uk

South Sudan: South Sudan crisis far from over as opposition leader returns

26 April 2016 - 9:12am
Source: Norwegian Refugee Council Country: South Sudan, Sudan

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) welcomes the return of opposition leaders to South Sudan, but calls for urgent attention to the humanitarian crisis.

“While the arrival of Riek Machar and other opposition leaders is a positive step in the path to peace, the humanitarian crisis is far from over,” warned NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan, Victor Moses. “Though the peace process resolves some national level political disputes, it does not resolve escalating humanitarian and protection needs on the ground.”

Humanitarian needs in South Sudan are staggering. Some six million people need humanitarian assistance - more than half the population. Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes. Over half of all school-aged children are not attending classes. Despite these figures, only 20 per cent of the aid appeal for South Sudan has been funded. Aid agencies, including NRC, have less money to respond to greater needs.

“The deteriorating humanitarian situation is affecting the lives of millions of people,” said Victor Moses. “But the political leadership now has an opportunity to improve the plight of its people. We call on the country’s leaders to protect civilians and create an environment where communities feel safe so they can return home to rebuild their lives, and aid workers can reach them safely. We call on the international community to do all it can to support the aid operation and prevent families from sliding deeper into crisis.”

Serious food insecurity continues in South Sudan, with some 2.8 million people estimated to be severely food insecure. A report in December projected an estimated 40,000 people in parts of Unity State (Ruweng, Northern and Southern Liech) to be experiencing catastrophe levels of food insecurity. These communities are in need of urgent food and other humanitarian assistance to avoid any further deterioration and escalation of the food insecurity. Political tensions and cattle raiding related to national-level conflict dynamics plague humanitarian access in the central part of Unity State (Ruweng, Northern and Southern Liech).

Over 55,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring Sudan since January, escaping conflict and food shortages. Over 44,000 have crossed into Sudan’s Darfur region, with 41,000 people reportedly arriving in East Darfur alone and over 27,500 to one single camp.

Note to editors:
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is a humanitarian organization working in more than 25 countries globally. For more information go to www.nrc.no.

NRC has been working in Southern Sudan since 2004. It has humanitarian programmes in Central Equatorial, Jongeli, Lakes, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Unity, Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. In 2015 NRC provided aid to almost 700,000 people in South Sudan. For more information on NRC’s work in South Sudan go to www.nrc.no/southsudan.

Michelle Delaney | Media Adviser, Norwegian Refugee Council | Oslo | Mobile: +47 941 65 579 | Email: michelle.delaney@nrc.no | http://www.nrc.no/ | Twitter: @NRC_Norway / @michelledelaney

Sudan: Denmark and Ireland donate US$6 million to the 2016 Sudan Humanitarian Fund [EN/AR]

26 April 2016 - 8:07am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Denmark, Ireland, South Sudan, Sudan

Khartoum, 26 April 2016. The Governments of Denmark and Ireland have donated $2.8 million and $3.2 million respectively, to the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) that will fund critical life-saving projects prioritised by humanitarian organisations in Sudan.

In recent months, Sudan has witnessed wide-scale displacement from the Jebel Marra area in Darfur, with tens of thousands of people reportedly displaced. Humanitarian organisations are currently responding to needs on the ground; however, acute gaps in life-saving assistance, such as water, nutrition, and health services provision, have stretched the existing capacity and funds. Moreover, other new humanitarian needs such as the influx of South Sudanese refugees into Sudan have put additional pressure on the timely delivery of humanitarian aid.

“Timely and targeted contributions from the donor community are vital to ensure that the SHF continues to be a strategic and flexible funding mechanism that supports life-saving interventions,” said Ms. Marta Ruedas, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan. “Funding received in 2016 will predominantly go towards supporting the response capacity of international and national NGOs - the front-line responders in emergencies.”

This new funding will support ongoing emergency response activities across Sudan and aims to pilot innovative humanitarian interventions so as to ensure maximum impact on the ground. SHF-funded projects are based on humanitarian principles, and in 2016 the Fund aims to further promote the integration and mainstreaming of critical issues such as gender and protection.

The SHF is a multi-donor pooled fund that supports the timely allocation and disbursement of funds to Sudan’s most critical humanitarian needs. Since 2006, the SHF has received and granted over $1 billion to international and national NGOs, and UN agencies, funds and programmes, enabling these entities to provide relief to people in need. In 2015, SHF allocated $54.8 million for humanitarian action across Sudan.