New York, June 18, 2012 (SSNA) — We the South Sudanese community and friends in the US, in conjunction with the South Sudan Volunteer Initiative USA branch (SSVI – USA), gather here today because we are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis between South Sudan and [North] Sudan. 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 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. We want to forewarn the concerned parties that this reluctance will soon result in further bombardment and more civilians sufferings. We must act now!
While the Sudan government’s activities, particularly its continuous attacks on South Sudan since its independence in July last year, and its defiance of the international community’s plea to respect human rights, implement the remaining provisions of the CPA, withdraw the remaining 150 troops from Abyei, and stop aerial bombardment of innocent civilians deep inside South Sudan’s territory, are not startling to us – for we are used to them (that is the reason we are here), we find it shocking to see the level in which it has been able to easily deceive the international community on almost every issue on the table. In recent past, the fraudulent account of Panthou (Heglig), gained an unprecedented acceptance among some international circles, essentially raising major concerns about the global community’s attention span. The Sudan government has never been honest in its dealing with anyone, let alone the international community, and for the international community to take its words for anything, much less at face value, is synonymous to allowing a child molester keeps your children under the pretext that he has recovered. We are reminding the international community about this reality because it is the same pretense 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 cease
- 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