Weekly Education Update
Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, DRC
Sudan, South Sudan
South Sudan announced it was seeking US$99 million in funding to conduct a census, which has been encountering that may prevent the exercise planned for 2014 from taking place.
The United Nations (UN) has proposed a 7.8% reduction in its global peacekeeping operations citing the difficult financial situation of several member countries.
Rebel groups said Monday they had captured a Sudanese Army garrison near the border with South Sudan. The rebels said they killed 130 members of the government forces in the attack.
Sudan denounced suggestions that it was confiscating oil from South Sudan on Tuesday and indicated that the newly independent South was responsible for stonewalling an oil deal between the two nations.
Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has received an invitation from his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani to attend an Arab League’s summit slated for late March in Baghdad.
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, told a rally in Jonglei state—the scene of large scale ethnic violence over the last two months—that the military and police would fight cattle raiders if they refused to hand over their weapons in an imminent disarmament campaign.
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and neighboring Sudan’s capital Khartoum launched an annual action plan to further consolidate multilateral ties between the two East African cities.
The United Nations Human Rights body the Geneva Forum passed a resolution, brought to the floor by Arab and Western states, which condemned the Syrian government for “the widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities.” A United Nations meeting earlier in the week determined that over 7,500 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the unrest almost a year ago; with BBC News reporting via opposition sources that some 100 civilians a day are being killed due to the intense shelling campaign undertaken by the Syrian military upon the city of Homs in preparation for their ground assault.
Syrian rebel fighters announced Thursday that they were withdrawing from the Baba Amr district of the city of the Homs owing to losses incurred from the almost month long shelling campaign, the severe humanitarian cost upon the civilian population as well as the impending offensive launched by Syrian ground forces into the district. The last week has been marked by frequent clashes throughout the outskirts of the district between security and army forces against Syrian rebels. Syrian civilians trapped in Baba Amr are said to be desperately lacking in basic medical and food supplies, in addition as rebel forces pulled back Thursday security forces moved in to perform a sweep of the district and make arrests and detentions. However, the International Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent have also been allowed temporary access to the district in order to distribute supplies and medical care.
A political row occurred Thursday between the leadership of the Free Syrian Army and Syrian National Council, the two central opposition forces in Syria. The Syrian National Council’s leadership had announced the formation of a military body to oversee and coordinate resistance efforts within Syria, however, leaders with the Free Syrian Army, the central body conducting armed resistance within Syria itself, alleged it had not been consulted in the formation of the coordinating body. The row highlights continuing divisions within the Syrian opposition movement and in particular, the divide between emigre organizations and of those based within Syria.
Due to the influx of refugees from eastern Congo into neighboring Uganda, the country has announced it will open a third refugee camp. Uganda’s refugee minister Stephen Malinga estimates that up to 100 people cross the border per day, and up to 3,000 people have fled the country since November’s elections. Recent arrivals to the camp are speaking out about instances of violence and rape, and even cite example of armed men questioning how they had voted in the presidential election. It is not expected that refugees will be able to return to the DRC soon, as violence continues and the number of displaced both internally and outside of the country continues to grow.
Congolese refugees are not only fleeing to Uganda, but also to countries in the surrounding region as a whole. UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon announced this week that he was “concerned” by the treatment of migrants on the border between Angola and the DRC. Since the elections, there has been an influx of refugees across the border which has been accompanied by increased incidence of sexual violence. Displaced women and men continue to experience sexual assault and rape along this contentious border. Last year, a UN envoy reported on the systematic rape of displaced Congolese by uniformed men along the border which has often served as a site of conflict over resources. Ki-Moon said in Angola on Monday, “It is natural that you need to deal with immigrants engaging in illegal extraction of natural resources. However, I remain concerned by the human rights situation of these people and also the sexual violence which is happening…”
The International Criminal Court announced that it will deliver its final verdict on Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, who is accused of conscripting, training and arming hundreds of child soldiers between 1998 and 2003. He was apprehended and handed over to the court in 2006 and went on trial in 2009. Prosecutors have spent the time compiling a detailed case against him, saying that he is guilty “beyond any possible doubt.” Lubanga’s case represents the war crimes court’s first trial. Human Rights Watch has compiled the answers to many questions raised by this first verdict by the ICC here.
DRC Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu announced that the government will block exports of tin ore, gold, coltan and wolframite unless traders can prove that the minerals originate from a state-certified conflict-free source. This represents the latest government initiative to try to cut the ties between minerals and conflict, and will begin within the next three months. Many believe the move reflects Dodd-Frank and the growing global awareness of the conflict mineral trade. Though the minister acknowledged the role conflict mineral legislation has played in slashing exports from the eastern Kivu provinces, he stressed the importance of regulation to take mines from the hands of the militia.
In Brussels, Katanga Province Governor Moise Katumbi narrowly escaped an attack by opposition supporters. This highlights a growing trend in the diaspora to target Congolese officials traveling abroad who are sympathetic or even complicit in the current Kabila regime.
The Carter Center continues to discredit the November presidential and parliamentary results, saying the integrity of both polls have been “compromised” and the truth may never be revealed. According to the organization, it may be impossible for CENI to reconstruct the poll results and produce “a faithful record of the will of the people” due to systematic fraud, disorganization and even political violence.
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 Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com