New York, June 18, 2012 (SSNA) — On June 14, 2012, South Sudanese Volunteer Initiative (SSVI-USA) organized and conducted a peaceful rally in New York City at the United Nations (UN) demanding accountability for Sudan government. Attended by South Sudanese, American friends and Human Rights advocates, and other marginalized Sudanese, the protesters marched to the UN Headquarters after a long day of rally and delivered their demands to Peggy Kerry, Assistant to US Ambassador to the UN, Susan E. Rice. The group is gravely concerned about the bombings and attacks of South Sudanese territories by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) even after the passing of the UNSC resolution 2046 calling for immediate halt of hostilities between the South and North Sudan and a return to the negotiating table.
Among the demands, we called for action against the Sudanese government in order to answer for its failure to adhere to the UNSC resolution 2046 and the African Union (AU) peace and security roadmap. In particular, it should be noted that since the Panthou (Heglig) crisis, the government of Sudan has stepped up its aerial campaign against civilians’ population as illustrated by the Bentiu bombing on April 12, 2012 and many others. These belligerent actions were met with very little outcry, a sharp contrast from the one towards South Sudan during the Panthou (Heglig) crisis, from the international community. We are urging the international community, particularly the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Security Council and the African Union (AU), to show fairness and immediately hold Sudan accountable not only for its air campaign against innocent civilians but for its reluctance to take seriously the UNSC resolution 2046, and the African Union’s peace and security roadmap in order to negotiate in good faith. In our message, we also warned the concerned parties that their reluctance to act will soon result in further bombardment and more civilians sufferings and called for action from the UN and the African Union now!
We are reminding the international community about Sudan’s deceit and manipulation to change the internationally recognized border lines because it is the same behaviors that causes the current talks to collapse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, because Sudan wants to administer all the disputed areas, essentially putting into question their comprehension of the meaning of the word ‘disputed.’ In Sudan speaks, its position, actions and attitude at the negotiating table in Addis, reinforce what we have been saying all along; that is it wants to and will control the disputed areas whether the international community likes it or not, thus by force.
We also want to note that the Sudan government’s conviction of demarcating the borders by force, rather than peacefully, is not hard to believe since it has successfully moved the border southward, resulting in the annexation of Panthou (Heglig) – which, as per the 1/1/1956 border, is part of South Sudan’s Unity state, and other areas where oil was discovered. This redrawing of the map in South Sudan by the regime in Khartoum as a result of oil discovery is clearly documented, and thus the reason of the continuous attack on South Sudan, an apparent campaign to annex South Sudan’s oil producing state of Unity, to the North.
Many international experts and South Sudanese alike expected this behavior from the Sudan because its refusal to either sign peace pacts or dishonor the ones it signed has been consistent over a long period of time. Eric Reeves, A renowned Sudanese expert from Smith College, put it eloquently when he said “Khartoum has consistently refused to negotiate these areas of the border either within the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) or through high-level political engagement. Over more than seven years, it has repeatedly refused to convene or participate in good faith in the TBC, to accept the findings of the Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) stipulated by the Abyei Protocol of the CPA, or to accept the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (July 2009)”.
Finally, we want to end this message by providing recommendations whose consideration will be the key to redressing the current impasse that Sudan has created. We realized that current talks will not get anywhere because Sudan wants to have its way or no way. To this end;
- All hostilities, often instigated by the Sudan, must be ceased
- All disputed areas must be referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
- The PCA ruling must be binding and it should be enforced by the international community by whatever means necessary
- SAF withdrawal from Abyei must be completed with no exception. Leaving 150 Sudanese troops there is not a complete withdrawal
- There must be unimpeded humanitarian access to all civilians displaced by the Sudan bombardment
- The arrest warrant of the Sudanese President on crimes against humanity must be carried out
- All prisoner of war (POW) held by Sudan must be released
- There must be no-fly zone to deter further civilian bombardment and displacement
- All South Sudanese students and citizens being held illegally must be released
- Current sanctions on Sudan should be tightened and more should be issued