Sudan: Experts and Human Rights Groups Support Comprehensive Solution in Sudan

Seventy Sudan experts and human rights groups from Africa, Europe and North America sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council today urging its members to evaluate its approach to the crises in Sudan in order to "increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the UN Security Council in its ability to support peace." (Full text of the letter below.)

The letter identifies the geographical and political changes that have taken place in Sudan since the outbreak of violence in Darfur in 2003 while noting that the international community has failed to keep pace with these changes, preferring instead to preserve processes that have not succeeded but have incurred devastating losses.

The letter outlines the issues that are common in all of Sudan's crises and that have been identified in multiple resolutions passed by the UN Security Council: violence against civilians, the need for humanitarian aid and ending impunity. In addition, the letter highlights the international community's recommended solution to Sudan's fundamental problem - democratic transformation and "creating a new and equitable political and developmental dispensation."

Given the worsening and growing crises in Sudan and the opportunity presented by anticipated changes this month within the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the letter urges "the UN Security Council to consolidate its approach on Sudan to more effectively support the development of a just peace."

Sudan Unlimited seeks to support Sudanese and South Sudanese in their efforts to secure and enjoy freedom, justice, equality, democracy, peace, and prosperity.

FULL TEXT OF LETTER:

July 23, 2013

Dear Members of the UN Security Council,

Given current events, geographical and political changes, and a fundamental commonality with regard to Sudan's problems and solutions, we, the undersigned, request the UN Security Council to consolidate its approach on Sudan to more effectively support the development of a just peace.

Current Events:

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that "since the beginning of 2013, more than 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes" in Darfur, and over 1.2 million people are displaced in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with more than 220,000 seeking refuge in South Sudan and Ethiopia, in addition to 48,000 from Abyei who remain displaced in South Sudan. In violation of UN Security Resolutions 1591 and 2046, the government continues attacks by air in Darfur and the Two Areas in addition to blocking humanitarian assistance throughout the country, including Eastern Sudan.

Despite tremendous long-term investments in aid and diplomacy by the UN Security Council, the Security Council Committee, the African Union Peace and Security Council and other members of the international community, it is apparent that the current process is not improving the multiple and growing crises in Sudan.

Accommodating Change:

The current approach to achieving peace in Sudan is based on geographical and political realities that no longer exist. The Darfur peace process was initiated before the independence of South Sudan and it was mistakenly kept separate from the North-South peace process to avoid harming what was feared to be a fragile agreement, the CPA. UN Security Resolution 1592 urged the parties to build on the CPA in order to bring peace and stability to the entire country and in particular to Darfur, but this comprehensive approach never materialized, as democratic transformation failed, South Sudan gained independence, Abyei was repeatedly attacked and destroyed, and the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile attempted to address their own grievances with the central government through the process of Popular Consultation provided by the CPA.

The delayed and often misunderstood popular consultation process failed to yield results as conflict ignited over rigged gubernatorial elections in South Kordofan in the new geography of Sudan. The government found itself fighting a war in the west in Darfur and along its new southern border. Naturally rebel groups in the two areas identified with each other and eventually joined forces to create the Sudan Revolutionary Front. A separate peace process for the rebels in Darfur, who now share an agenda and alliance with rebels in other parts of the country, no longer makes sense.

Not only have changes occurred geographically and politically in Sudan, but change is pending with regard to the Chairmanship and possibly the existence of the primary negotiating body of the peace process, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP.) Thabo Mbeki has indicated his plans to resign effective July 31st and has recommended a new mechanism to replace the AUHIP. Given the escalation of violence in Sudan and its changing landscape both figuratively and literally, changing the UN Security Council's approach to Sudan is especially important and appropriate now.

Fundamental Commonalities:

In addition to variables on the ground, change that capitalizes on the fundamental commonalities of problems and solutions facing all regions of Sudan would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the UN Security Council in its ability to support peace.

Many UN Security Council Resolutions address Abyei, and currently UN Security Council Resolutions 1556 and 1591 for Darfur and Resolution 2046 for South Kordofan and Blue Nile identify almost identical issues:

Acts of violence committed against civilians in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law including aerial bombardment and sexual and gender-based violence.

The need for safe, unhindered and immediate access for humanitarian aid.

Holding accountable those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international law and ending impunity.

Furthermore, the solutions provided for Darfur - such as an arms embargo and sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes - are also appropriate for South Kordofan , Blue Nile and other regions adversely affected by the government, especially given the government's refusal to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions.

But more importantly, many of the international processes to resolve conflict and achieve peace in Sudan share a common recognition of the need for fundamental change at the center:

The October 2009 Report of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur to the AU Peace and Security Council states:

The Darfur crisis is also correctly seen as a "Sudanese crisis in Darfur." It results from a legacy of the unequal distribution of power and wealth in Sudan, whereby peripheral regions, including Darfur, have been historically neglected. The war in Darfur cannot be resolved outside the context of a response to the wider challenges facing Sudan as a nation, of democratic transformation, of creating a new and equitable political and developmental dispensation, and of giving the best chance for national unity.

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (May 2011):

21. Power sharing is vital for the country's unity, security and stability. The devolution of power and the peaceful transfer of executive and legislative powers by democratic means, through free and fair elections, as guarantors of stability shall be the foundation for democratic governance in Sudan.

The June 28, 2011 Framework Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (North):

The following principles shall guide the work of the Joint Political Committee: A commitment to democratic governance based on accountability, equality, respect, rule of law and justice for all citizens of Sudan.

The international community has clearly identified the key issue that is adversely affecting the entire country and chronically inhibiting the establishment of peace and prosperity in Sudan. The international community has worked to address and manage the effects or symptoms of this core problem; however, changes on the ground in an increasingly dangerous environment for Sudan's citizens demand a new approach. Consolidating the peace processes will yield a more efficient and effective process that may produce better results for the people of Sudan and remove the threat of Sudan's conflicts to international peace and security.

Signed by:

Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman

Advocate/Human Rights Lawyer from Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan

Dr. James Smith

Aegis Trust

London, England UK

Al Sutton, M.D.

African Freedom Coalition

New York, NY USA

Debra Dawson

African Soul, American Heart

Fargo, ND USA

Rev. Fr. Lexson A. Maku

Afro Canadian Evangelical Mission

Abbotsford, BC Canada

Joan Hecht

Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan

Jacksonville, FL USA

Mohamed Y. Khalifa

American Foundation Against Torture, Inc.

Boston, MA USA

Osman Naway

Arry Organization for Human Rights

Ibrahim Tahir Ahmed

Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development

Fairfax, VA USA

Omer Abdelsawi

Blue Nile Association

Mulberry, FL USA

Philip Nima

Blue Nile Community Association

Salt Lake City, Utah USA

Laura Limuli

Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan

Brooklyn, NY USA

Victoria Sanford, PhD

Director and Professor of Anthology

Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies

Lehman College & the Graduate Center

City University of New York

New York, NY USA

Sara Kornfeld

"Change the world. It takes cents." TM

Denver, CO USA

Reverend Heidi McGinness

Christian Solidarity International-USA

Denver, CO USA

Dr. Jacky Mamou

Collectif Urgence Darfour

Paris, France

Roz Duman

Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action

Denver, CO USA

Uriel Levy

Combat Genocide Association (CGA)

Tel Aviv, Israel

Edmund Yakani

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization - CEPO

Juba, Central Equatoria South Sudan

Omer Omer

Cultural Mission

Fairfax, VA USA

Cory Williams

Darfur and Beyond

Phoenix, AZ USA

Bakheit Shata

Darfur Community Org

Omaha, NE USA

Abdelgabar Adam

Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA

Philadelphia, PA USA

Martha Boshnick

Darfur Interfaith Network

Washington, DC USA

Jacob Berry

Darfur International School

Tel Aviv, Israel

Motasim Adam

Darfur Leaders Network - DLN

New York, NY USA

Abdelbagi Jibril

Hamid Eltigani Ali

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre

Geneva, Switzerland

Rev. Jean McCarthy and Rev. Peggy Harris

Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Office

Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Des Moines, IA USA

Craig Louis Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH

Doctors to the World

Breckenridge, CO USA

Eric Reeves

Smith College

Northampton, MA USA

Jobickson J. Modi

ESSCA-USA

Dallas, TX USA

Rabbi David Kaufman

Help Nuba

Des Moines, IA USA

David Alton

(Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool)

House of Lords

London, England UK

The Baroness (Caroline) Cox

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

United Kingdom

Nasredeen Abdulbari

Independent Consultant

Author, The Future Constitution of Sudan: Aspiration and Views

Baltimore, MD USA

Dismas Nkunda and Deirdre Clancy

International Refugee Rights Initiative

Kampala, Uganda

Yashar Vasef

Iowa United Nations Association

Iowa City, IA USA

Phil L. Nippert

Kentuckiana Taskforce Against Genocide

Louisville, KY USA

Dr. Luka Biong

KUSH, Inc.

Washington, DC USA

Barbara English

Living Ubuntu

Newport Beach, CA USA

Nancy Walsh

Long Island Darfur Action Group

Farmingdale, NY USA

Jamal Mahgoub

National Democratic Forum

San Francisco, CA USA

Diane Koosed

Never Again Coalition

Portland, OR USA

Bob Cooper

Nuba Mountain Peace Coalition

Dallas, TX USA

Gogadi Amoga

Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group

Amelia, OH USA

Nuraddin Abdulmannan

Nubia Project

Washington, DC USA

David Rosenberg

Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition

Pittsburgh, PA USA

Hakim Mayol Jouk

South Sudan Community in Germany

Düsseldorf, Germany

Rev. Ronald D. Culmer

St. Clare's Episcopal Church

Pleasanton, CA USA

Hannah Finnie

STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

Washington, DC USA

Ngor Kur Mayol

Sudan Rowan Inc.

Atlanta, GA USA

Esther Sprague

Sudan Unlimited

San Francisco, CA USA

Saifeldin Babiker

Sudan National Forum in California

Santa Clara, CA USA

Tamadur Abo Idris

Sudanese Democratic Forum

Ottawa, Canada

Saadia Al Khalifa

Sudanese National Democratic Forum

Oakland, CA USA

Lakshmi Linda Sirois

Temple Ahavat Achim Darfur Social Action Committee

Gloucester, MA USA

Faith McDonnell

The Institute on Religion and Democracy Church Alliance for a New Sudan

Washington, DC USA

Muatasim Mahdi Mahmoud Abdalla

The Union of The People of Darfur in UK & N.Ireland

Birmingham, West Midlands UK

Sunday Taabu

Ubuntu Women Institute USA Inc.

Greensbro, NC USA

Henry Lejukole

United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association

Des Moines, IA USA

Dr. Samuel Totten

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Fayetteville, AK USA

Mukesh Kapila

Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs

University of Manchester

Manchester, UK

Wendy James

Emeritus Professor

University of Oxford

Oxford, Oxfordshire UK

Ahmed Hussain Adam

Visiting Scholar

Co-Chair of the Two Sudans Forum

Columbia University

New York, NY USA

Olivia Warham

Waging Peace

London, England UK

Henry C. Theriault

Professor of Philosphy

Worchester State University,

Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International

Worcester, MA USA

Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D.

World Without Genocide

St. Paul, MN USA

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