Weekly Education Update 3/8-3/15

 Weekly Education Update

3/8-3/15

Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, DRC

Sudan, South Sudan

In the New York Times, an American aid worker reports on the fear inspired by government rocket fire in the Nuba Mountains.

Over 4,000 riffles were collected in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and thousands more in other towns and villages in the first day of disarmament 

After days of tense negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement on issues of nationality and demarcation of the border.

The United Nations and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army signed a revised action plan regarding their commitment to ridding the army from child soldiers.

The Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein took part in a regional conference in the Libyan capital Tripoli making it his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him earlier this month.

The commissioner of Rumbek East county of Lakes state, David Marial Gumke, reported that his county authorityhas arrested 24 suspected criminals involved in cattle raiding activities.

The Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Saudi Arabia and immediately held talks with King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz, Saudi state media reported.

Renewed tension and clashes in the disputed border areas of north and South Sudan has led to massive influx of people seeking safety in the Southern state of Upper Nile and western Ethiopia, an official from the United Nations refugee agency has said.

A US aid worker serving with the World Food Program (WFP) in Sudan’s western region of Darfur has been kidnapped.

Syria

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan met with Syrian officials over the weekend as part of the The Joint Special Envoy (JSE) for Syria, a mission aimed at mediating an end to the violence in Syria which now is nearing a full year in length. Annan outlined to the Syrian government the necessary steps to restore peace and stability in the nation; among them the allowance of humanitarian aid for impacted populations, dialogue between the government and opposition. However, progress on the implementation of these measures remains uncertain. The United Nations has also announced its plans to deploy monitors to nations bordering Syria in order to document testimonials and observe the ongoing atrocities in that nation.

The Syrian Army has launched several large scale offensives across the nation this week, aiming at seizing and pacifying key sites of resistance. The northern Syrian city of Idlib, formerly a Free Syrian Army stronghold, has been largely captured by the Syrian army as of Wednesday according to BBC news; with Syrian army and security forces undertaking sweeps throughout the city. With Idlib and other Northern sites taken, as well as the embattled Baba Amr district in the city of Homs now occupied, the Syrian government has made major gains over the course of the last week. Beginning on Wednesday, the Syrian army also launched a major raid in the Southern city of Dara'a, the site where the protest movement initially began last year. Along with raids, government forces have used artillery and armored units to strike the city in a manner similar to that undertaken in Baba Amr.

Amnesty International released a report Tuesday chronicling the widespread use of torture by Syria's military and security services upon detained individuals. The report documents the systematic nature of the abuses, with approval for said practices being directed from the highest levels of the Syrian government, and continuing down chain of command..

DRC

Despite three months passing since the contentious and controversial November 2011 elections, the DRC still lacks a parliament or a new government. President Kabila, who is notoriously media shy, has limited public appearances even more following outbreaks of protests and political violence around the country. His last address to the nation was over 2 months ago, which has allowed for rumors to flourish in his absence. On Tuesday, Kabila’s former cabinet finally resigned in a procedural move that allows Kabila to form a new government. However when the government will fully be formed is unclear. Investors concerns have already surfaced, as government projects have come to a standstill and state employees have not been paid. 

The Congolese election was one of the most expensive in recent history. In many western countries, the average citizen pays about $1-3 per election. In the DRC, the logistical challenges translated in a cost of $20 per voter for the election. Overall, the vote cost $700 million with foreign donors contributing to just over a third of the total. 

Joseph Kony’s notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has resumed attacks in the Orientale province in northeastern DRC, according to UNHCR. In that province alone, one person has been killed, 17 abducted and 3,000 displaced in 20 separate attacks. This echoes a larger theme of displacement in the region, which has been exacerbated in the past six months. Since the beginning of this year, more than 3,000 Congolese have fled into Uganda. This breaks down into an average of 50 people per day. While some Congolese are from neighboring regions to Uganda like Rutshuru, others are making a long trek from Masisi and Walikale territories located further inside North Kivu which speaks to the severity of the situation. 

In Goma, the capital of DRC’s Northern Kivu province, a month-long water shortage has led to an outbreak of cholera. Though Goma is no stranger to cholera outbreaks, this specific case has spread rapidly and has already claimed over 50 lives. The current water shortage is due to the national water company REGIDESO’s failure to pay its electricity bill, which prompted the national electricity company SNEL to cut its water supply. Now, residents are forced to make the two kilometer trip to Lake Kivu for water, which is contaminated. 

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court issued its first verdict against Congolese rebel leader Thoma Lubanga. Lubanga’s verdict was the result of an arduous three-year trial, which established the precedent for the use of children in war as an international crime. He was ultimately found guilty of recruiting and enlisting boys and girls under the age of 15 and using them in warfare. However this ruling also highlights some of the limits of the ICC’s approach, as the rebels under Lubanga’s command were known for raping, pillaging and killing many civilians. When Lubanga was handed over to the court in 2006, however, the strongest evidence they had was about child recruiting. The verdict was criticized by some judges, but also welcomed by human rights groups worldwide. 

On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Idrissa Muradadi, the leader of the 2nd battalion of the Rwandan Hutu militia the FDLR, surrendered amid a UN-backed military offensive. Muradadi has been fighting in eastern Congo, where the FDLR has launched brutal attacks against the civilian population. He is now awaiting extradition to Rwanda. 


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 education@standnow.org 

Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith esmith@standnow.org

DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelley skelley@standnow.org

Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall tdolzall@standnow.org 

 

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