Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
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AGOK, South Sudan -- “I ran because I saw many militias and SAF,” said Malak Miyen, an elderly Ngok Dinka man. “I survived because of God.” Malak was in Abyei town when Sudan government forces and allied militias violently took over the Abyei territory in May 2011, in response to alleged South Sudan army provocation. For over a year, he has been displaced in a town 37 kilometers south of Abyei town called Agok. This was the second time in his life Malak has been forced to flee from his home. The first time was in 2008, when Abyei town was similarly ravaged by fighting.
On May 2, the United Nations Security Council enacted a resolution addressing recent violence that has flared along the poorly defined international border separating Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the nearly year-long conflict between Sudanese government forces and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF. It was an important move, and a significant one given the political gridlock the Security Council often faces when considering issues related to the two Sudans.
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations convened to hear testimony from panel experts and discuss the role of the United States in the, “Situation in South Sudan.” Panel experts included the Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the Honorable Nancy Lindborg, the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, the Honorable Princeton Lyman, former Special Envoy for Sudan, Mr. John Prendergast, Not On Our Watch board member, and the Honorable Kate Almquist Knopf, Adjunct Faculty at the National Defense University.
Sudan and South Sudan policy analyst Akshaya Kumar's op-ed originally appeared on the Daily Beast.
At the end of October, I wrote about how the Satellite Sentinel Project observed ominous troop movements that warned against an impending attack on civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state. Since then, the Sudanese government has launched a multi-front military campaign in the area. At the same time, it has escalated the tempo of aerial bombardment and resumed its scorched earth campaign against civilians. South Kordofan Governor Adam Al-Faki has vowed to conduct a “comprehensive cleanup campaign” and the Minister of Defense said his troops will “not stop until we crush them.” We predicted these developments, but we didn't want to be right. Without a commitment from international policymakers to push for real change, this deadly violence will continue.
Thousands of vulnerable civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state are fleeing as a wave of aerial bombardments and a series of ground attacks sweep Buram and Dilling counties. Clashes between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, rebel coalition have recently intensified in the area, and South Kordofan Governor Adam Al-Faki has vowed to conduct a “comprehensive cleanup campaign” against the rebels. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, says that attacks in South Kordofan between November 21 and 25 displaced some 25,000 civilians from the Nuba Mountains.
Our partner the Enough Project has released a needs assessment conducted by anonymous researchers with access to rebel-held parts of Sudan’s South Kordofan state. An independent humanitarian expert has endorsed the methodology of the study, “Life in the Nuba Mountains” which paints a holistic picture of a place where internationals are not given permission to enter.
This report offers a holistic assessment of humanitarian needs in South Kordofan state, based on field research conducted in July–August 2013 by anonymous researchers. Due to security concerns, the organization wishes to remain anonymous but requested that the Enough Project publish the report. Given the lack of access to these rebel-held areas, there has been little information made public about the situation on the ground. This report strives to fill in some of these gaps.An independent humanitarian expert, Steven Hansch, has endorsed the methodology of the study, “Life in the Nuba Mountains” which paints a holistic picture of a place where internationals are not given permission to enter. The accompanying policy brief, “Aid as a Weapon of War in Sudan,” offers a way forward.
This op-ed by Not On Our Watch Board Member John Prendergast and Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar originally appeared on the Daily Beast.
Satellite surveillance can do more than document abuses after they happen. By combining information from citizen journalists with analysis of troop movements visible in imagery captured from 300 miles away in space, we can alert the world of the potential for an attack on civilians in Sudan, even before troops fully deploy.