Weekly Education Update
Sudan, South Sudan, DRC, Syria
Sudan, South Sudan
South Sudan has launched official passports and identity cards for the first time since the country’s independence in July.
South Sudan’s newest rebel movement has told Sudan Tribune that it plans attack the capital Juba within the month and denies it is backed by Khartoum. The leader of the South Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SSPLM/A), Tong Lual Ayat, claims to have a force of 5,000 soldiers and plans to double that figure with new recruits and defections from the South Sudanese military (SPLA).
The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, voiced appreciation for the active role played by the government of South Sudan to stop the fighting between the Lou-Nuer and Murle communities in the troubled Jonglei state. At least 3,141 people, mostly innocent civilians predominantly women and children have died in a week-long tribal clash, involving two neighbouring rival ethnic communities of Lou and Murle in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, according to unconfirmed reports.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir offered to help Libya integrate its dozens of militias into the country’s armed forces.
South Sudan has accused the Sudanese government of blocking 3.4 million barrels of its crude oil exports, diverting over half a million barrels to its refineries and building a pipeline to keep diverting its oil.
The Sudanese government on Thursday filed a complaint with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) claiming that the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) have forcibly recruited 900 children from South Kordofan state. The rebels have denied the allegations.
Sudanese authorities said today that 34 people are still missing since attacks on some localities by a Darfur rebel group in North Kordofan state last month.
The United States president Barack Obama issued a memorandum notifying the Secretary of State and Congress that he is adding South Sudan to the list of countries eligible to buy weapons from the US.
The governor of South Sudan’s Unity state, Taban Deng Gai, has called upon Sudanese refugees to leave Yida camp and move to a more secure location due to security threats. The Nuba refugees fled to South Sudan’s Unity state to escape fighting in South Kordofan between rebels and the Khartoum government that has displaced tens of thousands since it began in June 2010.
Conflict between the Murle and Luo Nuer tribes in South Sudan’s Jonglei State continued on Sunday with the Murle accused of carrying out a revenge attack on Akobo County. The fighting has killed as many as 23 including 4 men and 19 women and children.
The National Liberation Council (NLC) of South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A) announced it had elected Lt. Gen. Peter Kuol Chol Awan as the new leader of the south-based rebel outfit.
The United Nations (UN) has once again asked the Sudanese government to grant international aid groups access to rebel controlled areas in the country’s war hit states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Violence continues in eastern Congo, where 45 civilians were killed last week in remote villages in Shabunda, in the South Kivu province. Reuters reported late last week that the FDLR was responsible for the massacre and four Rwandan rebels were killed when Congolese troops were sent to the area.
According to Jason Stearns of Congo Siasa, the UN Group of Experts report on the DRC does not side with either of the extreme views taken in the conflict minerals. Instead, the report is more nuanced as it highlights the increased incidence of smuggling in the region and rising unemployment and poverty, but also the that the legislation and advocacy efforts have led to a shift in mineral production from conflict to non-conflict sites bringing about “a reduction in the level of conflict financing provided by these minerals.” The report also urges the SEC to publish its rules to allow for responsible commercial actors to resume purchasing minerals from the Kivus. However, the SEC has once again delayed the publication of the provisions of section 1502 of Dodd-Frank.
Foreign voting experts have arrived in the DRC to review the flawed November elections that gave President Kabila five more years in power. The team is made up of members from the US-based National Democratic Institute and International Foundation for Electoral Systems. The team is supposed to meet with electoral officials, members of Kabila and Tshisekedi’s political parties as well as the international electoral observers present in November.
In a new report, DRC rights group Voice of the Voiceless (Voix des sans Voix) called for new elections about November’s controversial legislative and presidential polls. This echoes calls for new elections by the Carter Center and other international election monitors.
The DRC faces a possible suspension of its cooperation with the European Union (EU) over the outcome of the elections. An EU spokesman, Maja Kocijancic, said that the EU could invoke article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, under which it can suspend cooperation with any African, Caribbean or Pacific country found to have violated democratic principles. This would include the end of any financial aid from Brussels to Kinshasa, with the exception of humanitarian assistance.
France’s RFI radio station was finally allowed to resume operations in the DRC for the first time since the elections. The radio station’s broadcasts were cut for the content of its post-election coverage, which Communications Minister Lamber Mende said had wanted to create a confused situation which could lead to clashes between the Congolese”. Other radio stations that were labeled pro-opposition by the government in Kinshasa remain blocked.
After a meeting in Kinshasa, the DRC has committed troops to aid in United Nation’s efforts against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony. The Central African Republic, South Sudan and Uganda were among the other African countries who signed a deal that their troops could cross international borders without hindrance when pursuing LRA troops.
In Zimbabwe, police continues to clash with churches over the fate of 80 refugees who fled the DRC in the aftermath of the November elections. The refugees, who allegedly walked from the DRC to Zambia to escape political violence, were supporters of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress party. Police and immigration officials in the town of Bulawayo claim the refugees are breaking Zimbabwean immigration law, and have threatened to jail them. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches continues to protect the refugees, but it highlights a larger problem with the hundreds of Congolese that have fled the country in the month following the elections.
A new report claims that child labor is on the rise worldwide. However in the DRC the incidence of child labor is especially high due to instability and extreme poverty, as the country has been classified under the “extreme risk” category.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made two public appearances this week, appearing on the 10th in a televised address and before a crowd of supporters in Damascus the day after. In the televised address, which lasted almost two hours, President Assadvowed to defeat the “conspiracy” against his regime, placing the blame for the Syrian unrest on foreign subversion and radical terrorist groups. President Assad made some overtures for reform such as a referendum for a new constitution, but the rhetoric was dominated by Assad’s hardline stance. On Wednesday before a crowd of supporters in Damascus, President Assad reiterated his claims and goals from the televised address, stating “We will make this phase the last one of the conspiracy.”
Despite the presence of Arab League monitors , violence by Syrian security forces has continued throughout the country unabated. Some 400 civilians have died since the arrivalof Arab League Monitors in December, fostering doubts among the league’s leaders of the mission’s efficacy. Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani of Qatar, speaking at a conference with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, said of the mission that “I could not see up until now a successful mission, frankly speaking.” Furthermore, a number of Arab League monitorshave resigned or otherwise left the mission in Syria owing to general disillusionment over the ability of the mission to alter the Syrian regime’s behavior as well as the continuing danger and lack of mobility on the ground. Eleven League monitors were injured on Monday observing pro-Assad demonstrations, which caused a three day hiatus on observation efforts, which resumed Thursday. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby expressed frustration that Syria had only sporadically implemented the terms of the League agreement, and that “neither the violence has stopped, nor the killing. The level has dropped, but it has not stopped.”
Syrian opposition groups via BBC news reported that over 24 civilians had been killed on Wednesday, 10 of them in Homs, nine in Hama as well as additional casualties in Aleppo, Idlib and Latakia. Among the dead was French journalist Gilles Jacquier, who was killed under in an attack under uncertain circumstances while working on the street in Hama.
The education update is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information contact the following:
Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith email@example.com
DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com