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Monday, April 29, 2013

Failed talks and spread of war accelerating Sudan's "Somalization", says Sudanese think tank

Failed talks and spread of war accelerating Sudan's "Somalization", says Sudanese think tank

29 April 2013, In a statement issued today, Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) expressed alarm at the collapse of the recent peace negotiations in Addis Ababa between the Government of Sudan ( GoS) and Sudan’s People Liberation Movement- North ( SPLM-N) and the spread of warfare between them to new areas in the country in the state of North Kordofan. "We call on the two parties to abstain from attacking civilians and to do everything in their power to facilitate the flow of life saving humanitarian assistance, without any preconditions, particularly to the hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee their homes in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states", said Monim El Jak, from the SDFG. The statement also expressed concern at the public mobilization campaign that was launched immediately after the spread of the fighting, in particular fear that propaganda could be the precursor to an escalation of the current crackdown against civilians belong to the war affected regions.
“We warn the government of Sudan and the security apparatuses not to commit ethnic and/or geographic based violations, which will weaken the already fragile social peace”, said Monim El Jak. “SDFG will coordinate with independent civil society groups to generate political, societal and legal support to those who might be affected by these campaigns”.  

The Sudanese advocacy and think tank group also called on the international community and the Sudanese political and civic forces to end the pursuit of partial agreements for Sudan's multiple wars and chronic crises, such as those being generated in the concurrent forums of Doha (for the Darfur crisis) and Addis Ababa (for the ‘Two Areas’ led by the AUHIP). The international community and Sudanese actors must design a comprehensive and inclusive peace process capable of addressing the structural injustices that continue to fuel multiple wars in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile State, and now Northern Kordofan in central Sudan. "The current escalation is the latest manifestation of the failure by all parties engaged on Sudan— national, regional and international—to come up with an approach to peacemaking that unifies negotiation tracks to create the requirements for ending the violence, for transformation of governance and democratic change. Any delay or hesitation by Sudanese and internationals will lead to the acceleration of Sudan’s "somalization", El Jak added.


Hours after the collapse of the talks between the SPLM-N and the government, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) launched a surprise attack on several small towns in Northern Kordofan. Observers saw the move as an attempt by the SRF to expose the government as weak to its constituents in areas in central and northern Sudan that have not yet felt the effects of the conflicts which have so eviscerated the marginalized areas of the country, and to weaken the government's position for the next round of negotiations. The attackers destroyed some government buildings and a power station in one town before retreating in the face of the government's counteroffensive. SDFG called on both parties, Government of Sudan and the SRF, to strictly abide by international humanitarian law and human rights law, to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and ensure the humane treatment of noncombatants. The atrocities and violations that have characterized the government's conduct of the war to date, in particular the ongoing aerial bombardment of civilian areas that have led to the uprooting of millions of Sudanese civilians from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, must end.

One of the consequences of the spread of warfare closer to central Sudan has been a new round of public mobilization and propaganda, including mobilization of the Popular Defense Forces (PDF). SDFG has been alarmed by media reports and statements by officials which aim at fueling the mobilization and the propaganda. SDFG recalled the campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention based on perceived ethnic origin practiced by the government apparatuses after the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacks on Khartoum in May 2008. SDFG called on ruling party in Khartoum, public and private- owned media outlets and security apparatuses to avoid creating a divided societal atmosphere that will only feed the existing political and ethnic polarization.

The human suffering on the ground in the many war zones in Sudan is immense. The populations living in the relatively peaceful center are relatively in no better shape, reduced as they are to poverty by a crushing economic crisis and cowed into silence by relentless repression of dissent and free speech, including through arbitrarily detention and torture of dissenters. Earlier this week closer to the capital Khartoum in Um Dom, riot police used teargas and live ammunition in a suburb to dispersed peaceful protesters angered by the government's lease of their lands to a foreign investor without consultation with them. One protester was killed and many citizens were injured. Last week's developments, with failed talks and spread of war, will also aggravate the already tragic humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

For more information: http://democracygroup.blogspot.com

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