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Sudan: Sudan: ICRC set to resume its humanitarian work

22 September 2014 - 11:45am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Sudan

News release22 SEPTEMBER 2014

Khartoum/Geneva (ICRC) – The Sudanese authorities have lifted the suspension of activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), even while discussions on practical arrangements to promote effective coordination between the humanitarian organization and the country's authorities are still under way.

The authorities suspended the ICRC's activities in the country on 1 February, citing technical issues. "The lifting of the suspension while the dialogue continues is a positive step," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. "It will allow us to resume our humanitarian work and our aid will again reach conflict- and violence-affected people. This is good news."

After being absent for seven months from conflict-affected areas, the ICRC will re-initiate a dialogue with everyone involved in or affected by the conflicts to ensure that they accept its neutral and impartial work. "Our priority is to have our staff back on the ground as quickly as possible," said Mr Sandoz. "As the humanitarian situation has changed since February, we will start by carrying out assessments of needs in conflict areas. We will then decide on what can be done, and re-adapt our capacity accordingly."

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2003, it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:

Asia Kambal, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 91 216 49 31

Thomas Glass, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05

Sudan: Sudan lifts ban on Red Cross operations

22 September 2014 - 11:45am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Sudan

09/22/2014 15:20 GMT

GENEVA, September 22, 2014 (AFP) - The Red Cross said Monday that Sudan had ended a ban on its aid operations, imposed by the government in February.

In a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Khartoum had opted to lift the suspension even though discussions on the issue had not yet wrapped up.

"The lifting of the suspension while the dialogue continues is a positive step," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.

"It will allow us to resume our humanitarian work and our aid will again reach conflict- and violence-affected people. This is good news," he said.

Sudan called a halt to ICRC operations on February 1, accusing the neutral, Swiss-based aid organisation of violating guidelines for working in the war-torn country.

Specifically, Khartoum said that the ICRC had failed in some cases to work via the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

The ICRC had only cited "technical issues" as the reason for the suspension.

The restriction came after a string of moves against other foreign aid organisations in the country, where rebels are fighting the government in Darfur, the Kordofan region and Blue Nile state.

"Our priority is to have our staff back on the ground as quickly as possible," said Sandoz.

"As the humanitarian situation has changed since February, we will start by carrying out assessments of needs in conflict areas. We will then decide on what can be done, and re-adapt our capacity accordingly," he added.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978.

In 2003, it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

As a neutral intermediary, the Red Cross has facilitated the handover and repatriation of numerous prisoners held by armed groups in the troubled Darfur region.

The agency has also provided health services, food aid, seeds, tools, hand pumps and other assistance which helped more than 1.5 million people in restive parts of the country last year.

jwf/nl/gj

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

South Sudan: South Sudan Emergency: Regional overview of refugees from South Sudan - New arrivals since 15 Dec 2013 | as of 18 September 2014

22 September 2014 - 11:27am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

DISPLACED POPULATION OF SOUTH SUDANESE
REFUGEES: 451,445
IDPS: 1,300,000
TOTAL: 1,751,445

Kenya: Kenya: Kakuma - Weekly New Registration Population Composition - 14th - 20th Sept 2014

22 September 2014 - 7:49am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan preview

Sudan: Ma’alia officials quit East Darfur institutions amid tribal attacks

21 September 2014 - 1:59pm
Source: Sudan Tribune Country: Sudan

September 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Eight officials in the government of East Darfur state and twelve members of state legislative assembly resigned from their positions to protest the continuous attacks by Rizeigat gunmen without prompt action from the state and national governments to stop it.

Umda Abu al-Hassan Moahmoud al-Tom, the representative of Ma’alia paramount chief, said on Saturday that all the members of his tribe participating in the institutions of East Darfur state handed over their resignation letters to the tribe leader Mohamed Ahmed al-Safi.

“We decided to boycott East Darfur state politically and administratively,” al-Tom said adding they are resolved to disengage from the Rizeigat dominated institutions, reaffirming that all the Ma’alia officials are committed to this decision.

Al-Tom further said they formed a committee to officially deliver the resignation letters to the competent authorities.

Last August, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that 200 Ma’alya and 123 Rizeigat tribesmen were killed in clashes which took place in the Umm Rakubah area in East Darfur’ Abu Karinka locality.

Clashes between the two tribes intensified in recent years following oil discovery in Ma’alia areas. But the tribal fighting is also related to disputes over pasturage and water sources.

A governor adviser, Hamid Mohamdi Bashar, who is one of the resigned officials, proposed three options to settle this conflict: the first le create a new state including the oil fields, annexing their land to North Darfur state or create an autonomous administration with in East Darfur state similar to the transitional administration of the disputed Abyei area.

The Ma’alia represent 40% of East Darfur population and control 45% of its superficies. The centre of Rizeigat territory is the state capital El Daein town, while the Ma’alia centre is in Adila, which borders North Darfur and South Kordofan states.

Sudanese government launched several reconciliation conferences to end the conflict between the two pastoral tribes. Last July, the vice president attempted to mediate between the two parties but the Ma’alia rejected his efforts because he belongs to the Rizeigat.

The Ma’alia accuse the government of supporting their foes because many of them are involved in the paramilitary forces known as Janjaweed militias used to fight rebel groups. But Khartoum and the tribal leaders deny the charges saying the attacks are carried by uncontrolled gunmen.

(ST)

Sudan: Displaced in North Darfur’s Kutum to pay ‘protection fees’

21 September 2014 - 1:46pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

FATA BORNO (21 Sep.) - Militiamen in Kutum locality, North Darfur, are imposing ‘protection fees’ on displaced farmers.

“Militiamen told us last week that each displaced family has to pay SDG 10 ($1.75) and three bowls of sorghum for the so-called protection of their farmlands,” a sheikh of the Fata Borno camp for the displaced reported to Radio Dabanga.

He explained that the militiamen have taken position at the police station of Fata Borno, since the police withdrew from the locality almost three years ago.

“We are continuously harassed and assaulted by those Janjaweed. We need protection against them, not by them, as they are the ones who rob our money, mobile telephones, and other belongings. We went to the security service in the locality to file a complaint, but they rejected the case, under the pretext that those robbing the displaced are outlaws, who have nothing to do with police.”

An activist from Fata Borno camp described the security situation in Fata Borno as “extremely bad”. “The government-backed militias sustain full control over the area, while police and Unamid are entirely absent. The displaced do not dare to go to Kutum town for shopping, or work, as they fear being assaulted and robbed.”

He demanded from Unamid to re-deploy its forces in Kutum locality for the protection of the displaced.

Sudan: ‘Nuba in South Kordofan on the brink of starvation’

21 September 2014 - 1:43pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan, South Sudan

KHARTOUM / SOUTH KORDOFAN (21 Sep.) - After three years of civil war in South Kordofan, the humanitarian situation is extremely bad.

“The Nuba in South Kordofan are on the brink of starvation,” Najwa Musa Kinda, executive director of the Nuba Relief and Reconstruction Organisation, told Radio Dabanga.

She described the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan since the outbreak of fighting as “extremely bad”. “The Sudanese Air Force is continuously bombing the areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which has prevented the farmers from planting this rainy season.”

“Owing to the constant bombardments on residential areas, as well as vast tracts of farmlands, the people have sought refuge under the ground or in the hills, where there is nothing to drink or eat. They have now also consumed all their planting seeds. The majority of the Nuba who did not flee to South Sudan or towards the north are severely malnourished. They are depending on wild fruits and trees barks’ to stay alive, as relief organisations are not allowed access to the area.”

Kinda said that more than 1.2 million people have been displaced in the Nuba Mountains during the three-year-war. “They are surviving in dire conditions. About 800,000 fled to areas under control of the SPLM-N. Some 90,000 fled from the areas of Rashad and Dalami in April and May this year.”

“The areas controlled by the rebel movement are devoid of any health care services”, the NGO director explained. “Only one hospital and one health clinic are still kind of functioning in Kauda, with one doctor present. The number of patients by far exceeds the capacity of both health institutions. There are many patients now being treated in improvised shelters, and under trees.”

“Both the hospital and the clinic have been bombed intentionally, earlier this year, by the Sudanese Air Force”, the NGO director noted. “An aircraft first took photographs of both health institutions, and a few days later they were bombarded.”

Regarding the Nuba who fled to South Sudan, “they are not better off”. “The UN refused to officially recognise the 80,000 Nuba in Yida camp, and the about 10,000 Nuba in the Jwan Tong camp in South Sudan as refugees. Consequently, they have not been provided any relief.”

She appealed to the UN to immediately intervene, and provide relief to the Nuba people in the refugee camps, and the displaced in the areas controlled by the SPLM-N.

Sudan: Sudanese opposition figures say country is on the brink of collapse

21 September 2014 - 1:34pm
Source: Sudan Tribune Country: Sudan

September 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Several Sudanese opposition figures have painted a bleak picture of the situation in the country, saying Sudan is witnessing a deep political crisis and is on the verge of the collapse.

The deputy chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP), Meriam al-Mahdi, who spoke in a symposium organised by the Reform Now Movement (RNM) on Saturday, said the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) bears the greater responsibility for the current Sudanese problems, calling for the need to embrace the principle of transparency and recognise problems and mistakes in order to resolve the country’s crises.

She said the government policies weakened the state’s institutions including the Sudanese army, pointing to the great powers enjoyed by the National Intelligence and Security forces (NISS) at the expense of the police and the army.

Al-Mahdi emphasised that the NCP could no longer control NISS, stressing that change in Sudan is inevitable in light of the failure of the state to perform its necessary functions.

The NUP official added that the regime seeks to entangle political forces into participation in the government in order to share responsibility of its failures, warning that cosmetic changes within the regime will have serious implications, including extreme violence and intervention of international powers.

She further noted the national dialogue began to witness a shift towards making fundamental change in the regime, saying that elections as a tool for achieving peaceful resolution was aborted since 2010 elections.

Al-Mahdi underscored the need to adhere to national dialogue and those who seek to manipulate it, considering it the only hope for achieving peaceful transformation in the country.

The leading figure at the National Movement for Change (NMC), Mohamed Mahjoub Haroun, for his part, said Sudan is going through a state of “frustration” and the Sudanese people are desperate and have lost hope, pointing to the lack of security and stability in the country.

He noted the negative changes in the Sudanese society including the racial, regional, and class divisions besides the increase in crime rate and the greater tendency towards violence, pointing to the high cost of Sudan’s ill-relation with the international community.

Haroun warned that Sudan is on the brink of the abyss due to corruption and failure to achieve renaissance, pointing the national dialogue produced two trends including the one which is occupied with “change” of power and the other which seeks to “overthrow” the regime through popular uprising.

He also pointed to existence of two trends within the regime, saying some are scared from the forces representing the marginalised people and others believe the regime has come to an end.

The NMC figure underscored the need for reaching a compromise in order to make the necessary change through a genuine dialogue, warning the country would fall in the abyss if such a move was not realised.

The deputy chairman of the RNM, Hassan Rizg, warned the government against manipulation of the national dialogue process, stressing that dialogue is progressing well.

He called for adoption of the positive items included in the Paris Declaration signed between the NUP and the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF).

Rizg further accused the NCP of using government money to finance its conferences.

“All NCP conferences are funded by billions [of government money] not members subscriptions [or financial contributions],” he added

Last January, Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir unveiled a national dialogue initiative aimed at holding an comprehensive conference on a new constitution and ways to end the armed conflicts in the Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.

The NUP, led by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, and the RNM, led by Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Attabani, suspended their participation in the national dialogue before the latter rejoined the process.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) and the rebel SRF refused to join the dialogue from the outset.

On 8 August, the NUP and SRF signed the “Paris Declaration”, which calls for ending the wars and engaging in a genuine national dialogue aimed at restoring democracy in Sudan.

(ST)

Sudan: Darfuris call on Sudan’s HRs Commission to stop violations

21 September 2014 - 1:21pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan preview

KHARTOUM / DARFUR (21 Sep.) - Darfuri civil society members last week submitted a statement to the Sudanese Human Rights Commission in Khartoum about the “situation of human rights” in the country.

In the statement, the Darfur displaced, women, youth, journalists, and lawyers of the Darfur Bar Association express their hope that the Human Rights Council “will perform its obligations and duties towards the improvement of the human rights situation in Sudan”.

The Darfuri activists urge the Council to take all the appropriate measures, “within the framework of its jurisdiction”, to put pressure on the Sudanese government to immediately stop the “heinous and gross violations” of human rights.

Pressure must be put to pear on the Sudanese government to “honour its commitment according to the 2005 Interim Constitution, international covenants and conventions”, and immediately stop human rights violations “committed on a daily basis in Darfur: bombardments of villages and populated areas, extra‐judicial killings, sexual harassment, forced displacement, and arbitrary detention”.

“We the undersigned, in submitting this statement to the honourable members of HRC, remind them, as Darfuris, we represent a mixture of ethnicities, cultures and tribes, unifying as a heterogeneous co‐existent Afro‐Arab society, which is known throughout history as Darfur. We invoke the members of HRC to consider the situation of human rights in Sudan in the light of the report of 18 September 2013 of the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Professor Mashood Adebayo Baderin,” the statement said.

The statement contains multiple examples of violations of the human rights of displaced, Darfur students studying at Sudanese universities, Darfuri living in different parts of Sudan; of children's rights (in particular during the demonstration on 23 and 24 of September 2013); political actions designed to pit tribes against each other; the denial of Darfuri to express themselves freely as provided by the Sudanese Interim Constitution and international laws, and the partiality and lack of independence of the judicial system.

Recommendations

The statement, signed by 53 Darfur displaced, activists, civil society organisations, and lawyers recommends that the Sudanese government “must be ordered” to respect the rights of the displaced in the camps. The regime must abide by its international obligations in the fields of international law and international humanitarian law. It must desist from evacuating displaced’ camps by force, imposing constraints on these camps, as well as denial of basic services, and the services provided by the international humanitarian organisations.

“The regime must stop arbitrary arrests”, and “allow international humanitarian organisations to provide their services” to the displaced “and the areas affected by conflicts in Darfur, and elsewhere,” the signatories state.

“The Sudanese government must be forced to ensure fair trials, and to establish independent investigations committees into cases of extra judiciary killing during the popular uprising of 23‐24 September 2013. Special investigation committees must be established to investigate the killings of Darfur university students and activists.”

The Darfuri activists urge the international community to “take clear and firm steps to stop the grave violations of human rights”, committed by the Sudanese government, its security apparatus, and proxy militias.

The statement concludes by stressing that “strong measures must been taken to monitor the human rights situation in Sudan”. The signatories believe that this can only be fulfilled by changing the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on human Rights from Item 10 to Item 4 of the International Human Rights Convention.

Sudan: Sudan: Presence of Aid Workers across Darfur (August 2014)

21 September 2014 - 10:32am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Sudan preview

South Sudan: IOM Regional Response to South Sudan Crisis, External Sitrep, 15-21 September 2014

20 September 2014 - 8:00pm
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Highlights

Bentiu Health Clinic opens in South Sudan.

Number of South Sudanese refugees entering Khartoum, Sudan, continues to drop.

South Sudanese refugees awaiting registration at the Pagak entry point in Gambella, Ethiopia.

Kenya registers a decline in the number of refugees entering the country.

IOM explores the possibility of relocating all refugees by boat and air as heavy rains damage roads.

Overview

Over 1.3 million people remain displaced in South Sudan since the civil conflict began in December 2013. Approximately 451,445 others have fled South Sudan and crossed into neighboring countries: Kenya (43,253 individuals), Uganda (125,996 individuals), Ethiopia (189,156 individuals), and Sudan (93,040 individuals). (Source: UNHCR, 18 September).

Security situation continues to be unpredictable. Most access constraints reported recently are related to violence against humanitarian workers, assets and premises. A total of 13 humanitarian workers have been killed since the crisis began on 15 December 2013. Humanitarian partners continue to report regular threats, interference into humanitarian activities and restrictions of movement either for humanitarian workers or for beneficiary populations.

The number of South Sudanese refugees entering Khartoum continues to drop. IOM in Sudan has registered a total of 47,891 refugees entering the country since the beginning of the conflict. All arrivals during this reporting period were tracked by IOM hub in Jabal Awalia; no South Sudanese refugees were registered in South or West Kordofan.

Of the 451,445 South Sudanese refugees who have fled into neighboring countries, 189,156 have crossed into Ethiopia (Source: UNHCR, 18 September). In comparison to previous months, the number of South Sudanese refugees relocated by IOM has decreased during this reporting period, as camps continue to be flooded. On request by UNHCR, IOM is facilitating inter-camp transportation for refugees who may want to relocate to a different camp for one reason or another.

Between 15 and 21 September, the number of refugees crossing into Kenya has decreased. The decrease can be attributed to both the rising insecurity at the border, and the heavy rains. Refugees that manage to cross the border report of attackers on the route to Nadapal who threaten and extort refugees. A taxi with passengers was shot at by the attackers as the driver refused to stop. As a result, three children who were in the taxi, along with their mother were injured. They were rushed to Torit Hospital by a good samaritan where they are currently receiving treatment.

Sudan: Grenade kills three in Darfur's Jebel Marra

20 September 2014 - 2:31pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

EAST JEBEL MARRA (19 Sep.) - Three farmers died when they were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Deribat, East Jebel Marra, on Thursday night. Government forces probably thought that the farmers were rebel forces and fired a rocket, according to a relative of one of the deceased.

“They were on a farm located 5km east of Deribat, when the grenade hit them at 8pm,” the relative told Radio Dabanga. Aisha Ishag Omar (31 years), Musa Adam Abdel Karim (55 years), and Musa Hamid Yahya (60 years) were killed on the spot, along with their donkeys.

The listener said that the reason behind the government forces' attack was that they confused the lights on the farm with possible rebels riding in cars. “The government forces usually open fire at any light source during the night, even flash lights,” he said.

Sudan: Militiamen rape, abduct North Darfur displaced

19 September 2014 - 10:34pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

KABKABIYA / BIRKAT SEIRA (19 Sep.) - Pro-government militia members have raped two displaced women, and abducted three displaced men in Kabkabiya locality, North Darfur, on Wednesday and Thursday, several sources told Radio Dabanga. In Saraf Umra locality, a nurse and his family was abducted by militiamen, and forced to pay blood money for the death of one of their militia members.

Militiamen rape two in Kabkabiya

Militiamen raped two displaced women in Wadi Ora, north of Kabkabiya, North Darfur, on Wednesday.

A family member of one of the victims told Radio Dabanga that the perpetrators were four pro-government militiamen, who rode on camels and horses and wore military uniforms.

He explained that the women, one of whom is married, and the other is a 17-year-old, were returning to the Kabkabiya camp at 4pm when the militiamen intercepted them. They did not release the women until three hours later. The family member stressed that they had reported the incident in Kabkabiya to the UN Mission in Darfur (Unamid).

Three Kabkabiya displaced abducted

Also in Kabkabiya on Thursday, pro-government militiamen abducted three displaced men in Kijunga area, which is north of Kabkabiya. The militiamen stopped the men who were returning to Kabkabiya after collecting straw, an activist in Kabkabiya camp told Radio Dabanga. “The militia members told the displaced that the land belongs to them, and that it is not allowed to collect straw there, after which they kidnapped the three men.” They also took their donkey carts with them.

One of the displaced men managed to flee from the militiamen in the middle of the night and arrived in the camp to tell the residents about the incident. The militiamen are still holding Abdallah Som and Abakar Osman, the activist said.

Nurse forced to pay blood money

In Saraf Umra locality, militiamen have forced a nurse and his family in Birkat Seira area to pay blood money for the death of a militia member, claiming that he died after the nurse gave him an injection. As a result of the allegation, family members of the deceased have attacked the nurse's family, and kidnapped some of his family members.

A witness explained to Radio Dabanga that the militia member, Adar Ga, had come to Musa Gojak, a male nurse, when he was ill. Musa had given him the injection. 15 days later, Adar Ga died, for which the militiamen blamed Musa. Adar Ga's family later attacked Musa and his family, who denied having caused the death. Militiamen then captured Musa in Birkat Seira.

The source reported that the militia members have kidnapped Musa's son, Anwar, and the father of Musa's wife, Yousif Adam Ali. They also fetched the body of the deceased Adar Ga, and have taken it together with the two family members to Saraf Umra town. There, they forced Adam Ali to sign a statement saying that the death of the militiaman was caused by the injection of Musa, and that he has to pay blood money for his death.

Sudan: Eastern Sudan areas destroyed, isolated by torrents

19 September 2014 - 10:31pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

TOKAR (19 Sep.) - Heavy rains and torrents destroyed a number of houses in Jibait and Sinkat areas in eastern Sudan on Wednesday, and displaced the population. There were no efforts from the government to help the affected, sources told Radio Dabanga.

Tokar town has been surrounded by water from the overflowed Khor Baraka for over two months now. To go in or out of Tokar, people wade through water for 10 km. In some places, the water is as high as one meter. As a result, 200,000 inhabitants of south Tokar are isolated, and suffer from a severe food scarcity.

The Government of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and international aid organisations reported that new rains and flooding have affected an additional 20,000 people mainly in Sennar, and South and Central Darfur states. By 14 September 2014, the total number of people affected by heavy rains and flooding that began in late July is estimated at over 277,000 people, according to HAC in the latest bulletin of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

World: Bring “Mediterranean mass murderers” to justice – UN Human Rights Chief

19 September 2014 - 10:02pm
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Country: Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

GENEVA (19 September 2014) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged Egypt and other North African and European States with relevant information to make a concerted effort to bring to justice the people smugglers who allegedly deliberately sank a boat causing the deaths of between 300 and 500 refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean last week.

High Commissioner Zeid stressed that it was crucial to bring to an end the prevailing impunity surrounding such crimes and urged States to do more to address the root causes driving people to make such dangerous journeys.

“This is a truly horrendous incident,” Zeid said. “It is the duty of States to investigate such atrocious crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice, and even more importantly to do more to prevent them from happening in the first place. All the countries in the Mediterranean must make a concerted effort to clamp down on the smugglers who are exploiting one of the most vulnerable groups on the planet and endangering their lives, virtually on a daily basis, purely for financial gain.”

“The callous act of deliberately ramming a boat full of hundreds of defenceless people is a crime that must not go unpunished. If the survivors’ accounts are indeed true – and they appear all too credible – we are looking at what amounts to mass murder in the Mediterranean.”

Similar efforts, he said, should also be made to punish and deter such crimes in other parts of the world, including the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Caribbean as well as those carried out against migrants and refugees using land routes.

“All countries would throw the full weight of their police forces and justice systems behind an investigation if the victims were their own citizens and were killed by criminal gangs on their own soil,” Zeid said. “The reaction should not be any less rigorous just because the victims are foreigners and the crime took place on the high seas. Yet very few people who kill, rape or rob migrants during their journeys end up in court.”

According to the 11 survivors interviewed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the migrants and refugees first embarked on a boat in the Egyptian port of Damietta. The passengers included a substantial number of Palestinians, many of them from Gaza, along with Egyptians, Syrians, Sudanese and possibly other nationalities.

All witnesses interviewed so far told IOM staff that the smugglers who deliberately rammed the boat far out to sea between Malta and Greece were either Egyptian or Palestinian. The High Commissioner urged the Greek, Maltese and Italian authorities to share information on the identity of the smugglers with the Egyptian authorities, who he said should immediately also launch a full and thorough investigation. “You cannot transport large quantities of foreigners in buses into a major port and cram them on board a ship without the port authorities and other witnesses being aware of what is going on,” Zeid said.

While recognizing the complexity of modern migration movements, Zeid urged all States to remember that migrants have the same rights as all other human beings. He stressed that the root causes of such tragedies must be tackled by the relevant States and by the international community.

“Far too many refugees and migrants are dying all across the world in an effort to flee conflict, systematic political oppression and human rights violations, including economic deprivation. These root causes in their countries of origin must be tackled in a concerted manner,” Zeid said.

“We also need a renewed effort to find ways to manage refugee and other migratory movements in an orderly manner that reduces the need for people to resort to unscrupulous people smugglers. The European Union, other destination States, transit countries and countries of origin must do more to address the range of factors pushing so many people into the arms of the smugglers. The focus, at every stage of the process needs to be on respect for the rights and inherent dignity of every human being.”

Zeid warned that xenophobia-driven politics continue to undermine Governments’ determination to find real solutions to an increasingly desperate situation in many parts of the world. He stressed that it is essential that refugees are able to escape to safety, and that States do not penalize them for taking irregular routes, as well as taking more robust steps to protect them when they do.

“There were refugees as well as economic migrants on board this boat,” Zeid said. “The largest and fastest-growing group of people claiming asylum in Europe in 2014 are Syrians – a clear manifestation of the deplorable failure to bring that conflict to an end, and of increasing pressures, frustrations and loss of hope on the part of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees, the great majority of whom are still in over-burdened neighbouring States,” the High Commissioner added. Other major groups of asylum seekers that have been rising sharply in Europe over the past year include Iraqis and Eritreans, many of whom are escaping systematic political oppression and forced conscription.

ENDS

To learn more about High Commissioner Zeid, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

For more information or media enquiries, please contact Rupert Colville (rcolville@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 9767) or Ravina Shamdasani (rshamdasani@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 9169)

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Egypt: Bring “Mediterranean mass murderers” to justice – UN Human Rights Chief

19 September 2014 - 10:02pm
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Country: Egypt, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic

GENEVA (19 September 2014) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged Egypt and other North African and European States with relevant information to make a concerted effort to bring to justice the people smugglers who allegedly deliberately sank a boat causing the deaths of between 300 and 500 refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean last week.

High Commissioner Zeid stressed that it was crucial to bring to an end the prevailing impunity surrounding such crimes and urged States to do more to address the root causes driving people to make such dangerous journeys.

“This is a truly horrendous incident,” Zeid said. “It is the duty of States to investigate such atrocious crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice, and even more importantly to do more to prevent them from happening in the first place. All the countries in the Mediterranean must make a concerted effort to clamp down on the smugglers who are exploiting one of the most vulnerable groups on the planet and endangering their lives, virtually on a daily basis, purely for financial gain.”

“The callous act of deliberately ramming a boat full of hundreds of defenceless people is a crime that must not go unpunished. If the survivors’ accounts are indeed true – and they appear all too credible – we are looking at what amounts to mass murder in the Mediterranean.”

Similar efforts, he said, should also be made to punish and deter such crimes in other parts of the world, including the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Caribbean as well as those carried out against migrants and refugees using land routes.

“All countries would throw the full weight of their police forces and justice systems behind an investigation if the victims were their own citizens and were killed by criminal gangs on their own soil,” Zeid said. “The reaction should not be any less rigorous just because the victims are foreigners and the crime took place on the high seas. Yet very few people who kill, rape or rob migrants during their journeys end up in court.”

According to the 11 survivors interviewed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the migrants and refugees first embarked on a boat in the Egyptian port of Damietta. The passengers included a substantial number of Palestinians, many of them from Gaza, along with Egyptians, Syrians, Sudanese and possibly other nationalities.

All witnesses interviewed so far told IOM staff that the smugglers who deliberately rammed the boat far out to sea between Malta and Greece were either Egyptian or Palestinian. The High Commissioner urged the Greek, Maltese and Italian authorities to share information on the identity of the smugglers with the Egyptian authorities, who he said should immediately also launch a full and thorough investigation. “You cannot transport large quantities of foreigners in buses into a major port and cram them on board a ship without the port authorities and other witnesses being aware of what is going on,” Zeid said.

While recognizing the complexity of modern migration movements, Zeid urged all States to remember that migrants have the same rights as all other human beings. He stressed that the root causes of such tragedies must be tackled by the relevant States and by the international community.

“Far too many refugees and migrants are dying all across the world in an effort to flee conflict, systematic political oppression and human rights violations, including economic deprivation. These root causes in their countries of origin must be tackled in a concerted manner,” Zeid said.

“We also need a renewed effort to find ways to manage refugee and other migratory movements in an orderly manner that reduces the need for people to resort to unscrupulous people smugglers. The European Union, other destination States, transit countries and countries of origin must do more to address the range of factors pushing so many people into the arms of the smugglers. The focus, at every stage of the process needs to be on respect for the rights and inherent dignity of every human being.”

Zeid warned that xenophobia-driven politics continue to undermine Governments’ determination to find real solutions to an increasingly desperate situation in many parts of the world. He stressed that it is essential that refugees are able to escape to safety, and that States do not penalize them for taking irregular routes, as well as taking more robust steps to protect them when they do.

“There were refugees as well as economic migrants on board this boat,” Zeid said. “The largest and fastest-growing group of people claiming asylum in Europe in 2014 are Syrians – a clear manifestation of the deplorable failure to bring that conflict to an end, and of increasing pressures, frustrations and loss of hope on the part of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees, the great majority of whom are still in over-burdened neighbouring States,” the High Commissioner added. Other major groups of asylum seekers that have been rising sharply in Europe over the past year include Iraqis and Eritreans, many of whom are escaping systematic political oppression and forced conscription.

ENDS

To learn more about High Commissioner Zeid, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

For more information or media enquiries, please contact Rupert Colville (rcolville@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 9767) or Ravina Shamdasani (rshamdasani@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 9169)

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Sudan: ‘Epidemic diseases, food shortages’ in Kass camps, South Darfur

19 September 2014 - 12:25pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

KASS (19 Sep.) - The displaced people living in El Batari camp in Kass locality, South Darfur, have complained about the bad health conditions, the spread of diseases, and the lack of health care from the authorities in the camps.

The camp coordinator told Radio Dabanga that typhoid, malaria, and diarrhoeal diseases are prevalent amongst the displaced, and the children in particular. The environment in the camps has deteriorated because of the accumulation of rainwater in the streets that lead up to Kass, the coordinator reported. “This has caused the spread of epidemic diseases amongst children.”

She appealed to the health authorities to bridge the streets and the water ponds so as to avoid diseases.

The camp leader further described a rise in prices and shortages of corn rations in the camps. She appealed to the World Food Programme to fill the acute shortage of corn rations. A mid of corn has risen to SDG20 ($3.46), a bottle of oil to SDG20, and the price of a piece of soap has risen to SDG4 ($0,70).

Senegal: West Africa Seasonal Monitor - September 18, 2014

18 September 2014 - 10:46pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan preview

September rainfall will be particularly important in determining seasonal outcome for the Sahel

Key Messages

  • Over much of Senegal and Mauritania August brought rainfall accumulation with levels more near normal. Favorable Sea Surface Temperature trends off the coast are likely to extend wetter conditions for the next few weeks. This improvement, however, has come late in the season and may not be able to reverse the effects of rainfall deficits that occurred earlier in the season.
  • For the rest of the Sahel, the observed warming trend off the Gulf of Guinea may result in a bad distribution of rainfall across the Sahel for the end of the season, which could have a negative impact on crop development, particularly in areas that experienced long planting delays.
  • Average to above-average rainfall continues over much of the Guinean-Sudanian and Bi-modal Zones. Good crop development can continue to be expected, even in areas that are experiencing relative rainfall deficits as cumulative rainfall totals are enough to meet crop water requirements.

South Sudan: ACCORD's Training Unit collaborates with IGAD to train women mediators from Sudan and South Sudan

18 September 2014 - 4:53pm
Source: African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes Country: Sudan, South Sudan

ACCORD recently partnered with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to provide training aimed at empowering women mediators from Sudan and South Sudan. A total of 20 Sudanese and South Sudanese women participated in the five-day training, which focused on ensuring the inclusion of women in peace processes for IGAD taskforces.

The training, sponsored by the IGAD Mediation Support Unit (MSU) and delivered by ACCORD, was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 25 to 29 August 2014. The training content included information on defining and understanding conflict, mediation, and gender and mediation.

The event offered a valuable opportunity for Sudanese and South Sudanese women to network, share experiences, and find opportunities to discuss potential solutions to the challenges of gender inclusion in peace processes.

The training, which built-in the screening of documentaries and interviews, was well received by all participants, who committed to working collectively in the future towards changing male-dominated peace processes into more gender-balanced environments.

By responding to IGAD MSU's request for this training, ACCORD aimed to contribute to its goal of empowering women, and to encourage competent women to find opportunities to be included and engage in meaningful peace processes in the regions they live in. At the same time, cooperation with IGAD MSU has proven to be important for enhancing women's skills and their understanding of the various structures and strategies they can access and employ to develop a culture of peace, and ultimately achieve socio-economic stability in their region.

The training also reflects ACCORD's commitment to complying with the regulations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which strives to ensure heightened inclusion of women in the peace and policy-formulation processes.

ACCORD remains committed to and welcomes further engagement with IGAD, and other like-minded institutions, for the promotion of women's participation in mediation and peace processes.

For more information on the work of the Training Unit at ACCORD please contact Laura Doriguzzi-Bozzo, Training Officer at laurad@accord.org.za.

Sudan: Joint Statement on National Dialogue in Sudan

18 September 2014 - 2:59pm
Source: Government of the United Kingdom, Government of Norway, US Department of State Country: Sudan

The members of the Troika (the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway) welcome recent efforts to reinvigorate a process of genuine national dialogue in Sudan. As the country confronts a new and critical era in its history, we remain conscious of the continuing governance concerns expressed by the Sudanese people, the problems of center-periphery imbalance, and the articulation of political, economic, and social grievances, particularly in the country’s peripheries. Despite years of peacemaking attempts supported by regional and international actors, deadly conflicts persist. We recognize that the many such attempts to resolve conflict and rectify grievances at a regional level have failed to achieve a sustainable peace. We reiterate our support for a mediation architecture that facilitates both resolution of conflict and a comprehensive process of national dialogue, and thus welcome initial progress with Sudanese stakeholders to this end, under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.

In this regard, we recognize the following Principles as a basis for meaningful governance reform and lasting resolution of the conflicts in Sudan:

  • There is no military solution to the conflicts in Sudan;

  • A compartmentalized and regional approach to peacemaking cannot yield a solution to grievances that are national in character;

  • A sustainable peace and genuinely representative political system can best be achieved through a comprehensive national dialogue that addresses fundamental issues of governance, political inclusiveness, resource-sharing, identity, and social equality at a national level;

  • A comprehensive dialogue should be broadly inclusive; its exercise and outcomes should recognize and accommodate the country’s unique diversity of peoples, cultures, and religions; and such a dialogue must necessarily include the Government of Sudan, armed and unarmed opposition movements, political parties, a broad range of civil society representatives, and constituents from every region of Sudan;

  • A comprehensive dialogue can succeed only in an environment conducive to meaningful participation of all of the country’s diverse constituents, free from any restrictions to the right to assembly or the right to freedom of expression;

  • A comprehensive dialogue might best serve Sudan and its people by:

  • Upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Sudan;

  • Yielding an inclusive and participatory governance arrangement that allows all citizens and regions to participate in institutions that are democratic in nature and to benefit equitably from Sudan’s national resources;

  • Agreeing to a timeline and benchmarks for the holding of national elections, so as to ensure elections can be broadly participatory and yield legitimate and widely-recognized outcomes, and thus help to initiate a more democratic political dispensation in Sudan.