The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Statement on U.S. Missile Strike on Shayrat Airbase in Syria

On Tuesday April 3, 2017, 86+ civilians were killed in a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib. While STAND has issued statements [1] condemning the attack and mourning the civilians who were brutally killed, we also seek to clarify our position on the U.S. decision to strike regime air facilities in response to the attack.

As our Syrian-American partners have noted for years, the international community has failed to adequately alleviate the immense suffering of the Syrian civilian population throughout six bloody years of conflict. Despite the proliferation of extremist groups, the Assad regime remains by far the largest perpetrator of attacks against civilians, using torture, chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and strategies such as double-tap strikes and siege to cause vast civilian harm. The Assad regime’s apparent use of sarin gas is a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2118, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the 2017 Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons, which called for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014. STAND unequivocally condemns the use of chemical weapons, and maintains unremitting support for the international norm banning their deployment. We encourage an independent investigation into the April 3 attack, and applaud the work of organizations such as Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria (VDC) in documenting such attacks by all parties to the conflict.

As an organization committed to civilian protection, we will continue monitoring the Trump administration’s policies in Syria and urge the Trump administration to handle relations with Russia with caution, as escalating conflict would yield particularly devastating consequences for Syrian civilians.  Moving forward, all military action taken by the U.S. to reduce civilian harm must take part within a broader, long-term diplomatic strategy aimed at securing a political solution to conflict. Additionally, the U.S. should seek Constitutionally-mandated Congressional approval for any future military action against the Assad regime, and should work multilaterally with international partners in both diplomatic and military spheres, if necessary, to address root causes of the conflict while pushing Assad towards the negotiating table.

In addition to the recent missile strike, American airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq have caused hundreds of civilian casualties in recent weeks, and we emphasize the need to use the highest possible standards to ensure that only military targets are hit. We urge a robust and independent investigation into these recent air strikes by the US military.

Finally, STAND calls on the Trump administration to take decisive measures to support those uprooted by conflict by providing adequate funding for humanitarian aid and for refugee resettlement, both in the region and in the U.S. Though the Trump administration has said the strikes were conducted out of concern for Syrian civilians, current policies on refugee resettlement and humanitarian aid suggest otherwise. The administration must recognize the immense human cost of its current stances on foreign aid and refugee resettlement and immediately reverse these policies.


This statement was issued by the STAND Student Managing Committee, STAND’s national decision-making body. Please contact STAND Student Director Savannah Wooten at or STAND Executive Manager Mac Hamilton at for any additional information. Click here for a pdf of the statement.

Never Say Never: Taking a Chance on the STAND MC

I am at once intensely critical and hopelessly idealistic, which is why it surprises me sometimes that I grew to love STAND as much as I do. I was incredibly skeptical at first, I will admit, when I went to my first meeting. I think I had a bitter taste in my mouth since I dealt with resume-filler clubs in high school, and truthfully, I feared labelling myself as yet another white woman from the suburbs with the weight of the world on my shoulders, blindly throwing solutions at problems that I will never fully grasp. In my mind, nothing would replace the local, grassroots social justice open forum I grew up with at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

The jury is still out on whether I am really just another white woman with the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders, but STAND truly has, most definitely, defied my cynicisms from the very first chapter meeting. Never have I encountered such thoughtful, genuinely passionate individuals so willing to adapt than the people I have met through STAND.

Over the past year or so, as chapter leader and as West Regional Organizer, I have met organizers, students giving up their free moments to learn and advocate, policy experts, and most importantly, survivors. Listening to women from Rwanda, Cambodia, Nigeria, Darfur, and South Sudan tell their stories of resilience shook me to my core. They reminded me of the power of the human soul like no religion class in my 13 years of Catholic schooling ever did.

Engaging with survivors, on-the-ground activists, and youth organizers to lead actions and campaigns has placed STAND and its leadership team at the front lines of a growing global youth network. It is a network of individuals ready to act, to hold even the most powerful human rights abusers accountable, and to provide students with the tools they need to make a difference. Taking part in this network has been the most fulfilling part of my STAND experience.


Beyond the concrete skills I have gained lobbying congressional offices and attending conferences and retreats, I have gained the support of amazing people in this movement to inform and uplift me. The best part is that, as a Managing Committee (MC) member, I get to welcome more student leaders into our network of solidarity and empower them with the tools to make us the Never Again Generation. Afterwards, I get to watch us all work together towards tangible policy goals at home and abroad.

Like I said, I was incredibly skeptical at first, but I shouldn’t have been. Every meeting and every conference I have attended was filled with leaders as eager to teach as they were to learn. Perhaps I could have gotten more involved sooner, and met these people earlier. That is my only regret. I am so grateful that I found a home at STAND, and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish next.

Check out available STAND Managing Committee positions for 2017-2018 here. Applications are due Friday, March 31 at 11:59 PM.

darcyDarcy Gleeson is a sophomore at the University of Southern California and is originally from Louisville, KY. She is the Vice President of her STAND chapter at USC and STAND’s West Coast Regional Organizer for the 2016-17 school year.

46 Local, National, and International Human Rights Groups Oppose Lifting of U.S. Sanctions on Burma in Lead Up to Aung San Suu Kyi Visit

Washington, DC – As the U.S. prepares for a visit by Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Burma, they must reconsider their decision to lift further sanctions on the country. Today, the U.S. Campaign for Burma and STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities have submitted a letter to President Obama, supported by 44 local, national, and international organizations in opposition to the lifting of sanctions on Burma.

In July 2012, in response to the country’s democratization efforts, the U.S. government began easing sanctions on Burma to support investment in the country. Today, the sanctions that remain are targeted at the richest and most corrupt members of Burmese society and do little to hinder the country’s overall development, rather limiting the military power of groups contributing to the destabilization of the country.

Of the letter, Myra Dahgaypaw, acting Executive Director at the U.S. Campaign for Burma stated, “Though there has been democratic progress in the past few years, there remain a number of pressing issues threatening the stability of the country and its most vulnerable people. In particular, ethnic minorities across the country continue to be abused at the hands of the Burmese military, who often deprive them of water, food, and humanitarian aid. There continue to be reports of sexual violence at the hands of the Burmese military, which the government has repeatedly failed to investigate. The U.S. government must continue to exert pressure on the Burmese government until ethnic minorities in Burma achieve basic human rights.”

Savannah Wooten, Student Director of STAND and a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, added that there are a number of benchmarks that should be met before the U.S. considers lifting further sanctions. In particular, “the Burmese army must cease violations of international humanitarian law; prioritize the inclusion of civil society, women, and youth in peace talks; and address the lack of citizenship for Rohingya as well as further efforts to protect this vulnerable group. The fact that several reputable international reports have concluded that genocide may have occurred or be ongoing against the Rohingya should be reason enough not to lift sanctions.”

Full text of the letter, as well as supporting organizations, is available here.

The letter is signed by ALTSEAN-Burma, American Jewish World Service, Arakan National Congress Party, Association Suisse-Birmanie, Burma Action Ireland, Burma Campaign UK, Burma Link (Thailand), Burma Partnership, Burma Task Force USA, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, Carl Wilkens Fellowship, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Franciscan Action Network, Free Burma Campaign (South Africa), Genocide Watch, Global Witness, Harry Potter Alliance, Info Birmanie (France), IFI Watch Myanmar, International Campaign for the Rohingya, Jewish World Watch, Just Foreign Policy, Fortify Rights, Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Kachin Peace Network, Kachin Women Association Thailand, Kachin Women Peace Network, Karen American Association of Wisconsin, Karen Association of Iowa, Karen Culture Organization of Arizona, Karenni-American Association, Peacebuilding Connections, Refugees International, Rohingya American Society (RAS), Rohingya Federation of Arakan (RFA), Rohingya National Coalition (RNC), STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, Stop Genocide Now, Swedish Burma Committee, Tayovan Women’s Union, Together We Remember, U.S. Campaign for Burma, Wan-Lark Foundation, Watchers of the Sky Initiative, Women Peace Network-Arakan, and World Rohingya Organization (WRO).


U.S. Campaign for Burma (USCB) was established in 2003 to help build and channel political will for freedom in Burma. Since then, USCB’s work has delivered tangible results for the people of Burma. USCB are the only U.S. based advocacy organization devoted full-time to human rights, freedom, and democracy in Burma. Through public education, leadership development initiatives, and advocacy campaigns at local, national, and international levels, USCB works to empower Americans, resettled Burmese refugees, and Burmese civil society in Burma and throughout its border regions to promote freedom, democracy, and human rights in Burma, raise awareness about the egregious human rights violations committed by Burma’s military, and ensure international actors pursue policies that assist the promotion of democracy and human rights in Burma.

STAND, the Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, was founded in 2004 by a group of students at Georgetown University. Since then, STAND has expanded to high school and college campuses across the United States. Originally an acronym for “Students Taking Action Now: Darfur,” STAND’s mission quickly expanded to ending and preventing genocide and mass atrocities wherever they may occur. Today, STAND focuses on Sudan and South Sudan, but also on Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, and emerging atrocity issues such as those in Burundi and Yemen.

For more information, contact Myra Dahgaypaw at the U.S. Campaign for Burma at (718) 207-2556 or, or Mac Hamilton at (774) 722-2861 or

To our MC seniors, with love

To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” We have had an incredible year thanks to our 2015-2016 Student Leadership Team, and our MC seniors have been such a vital part of all that we’ve accomplished.

Francesca, Jake, Emily, Zac, and Clara – we have learned so much from each of you, and you’ve contributed an incredible amount, not only to STAND, but to the genocide prevention movement as a whole. Thank you hardly seems enough for the time, energy, and passion you’ve given over the past year(s) with STAND, but we’re giving it a go!

Francesca Freeman, Student Director, University of Chicago

 IMG_5125Francesca, I have felt so incredibly #blessed to be your right hand lady this year. Your commitment, passion, and vision have made STAND stronger and more effective throughout the past year. You have truly gone above and beyond in every aspect: from overseeing our ~amazing~ summer interns while I was in Rwanda; to double-editing every single blog post, national email, and facebook post; to drafting countless social media posts and leading conference call after conference call, you have done us all proud. I deeply admire your selflessness, commitment, and mad organization skills and will so miss our multiple hour chats and your barrage of punny memes and gifs. I’ve learned so much from you as a colleague and a friend, and I cannot wait to cheer you on as you find your next adventures. Looking forward to many (many, many) more dollar frozen margaritas, genprev chats, and matzo ball soup. So much love!


P.S. This is the first meme I ever got from you so we must frame it and cherish it forever.

– Mac Hamilton, Executive Manager

Francesca, I can’t believe I am about to pick up the torch from you for the 2016-2017 school year. Being SD is a huge role and responsibility and I have learned a lot from your passion and energy in the position. You are one of the people who first drew me to STAND and I find it touching and fitting that I’m now stepping into your shoes. Thank you for your faith in me as I was just getting started and for being such an instructional and invested team member throughout the last year. This organization is better because you were in it and I know STAND’s love for you will continue beyond your time as SD. Thank you for a wonderful year and for all you’ve done within the genocide prevention sphere — you are loved and appreciated.

– Savannah Wooten, outgoing Education Coordinator, incoming Student Director

Jake Ramirez, Campaigns Coordinator, University of Arizona

IMG_9254At least to me, Jake initially came off as quite unassuming. While quite a few people in STAND have the (endearing, of course) habit of making sure you know within 5 minutes of meeting them that that they identify first and foremost as an activist and want to do nothing else with their life but fight atrocities, Jake’s backward hat and basketball vibe was slightly different. However, as I got to know Jake it became clear that he was one of STAND’s strongest assets. Jake is dedicated to learning and making STAND as effective as possible. As anyone on the MC would tell you, having someone as funny, kind, and chill as Jake made the MC much more enjoyable to be a part of. It will take a long time for me to separate the names Jake Ramirez and Roy Hibbert in my head, but it will take much longer for STAND to get over the loss of such a valuable member. To conclude, there are only two things left to say: first, thank you, and second, bees?

– Timmy Hirschel-Burns, outgoing Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer, incoming Policy Coordinator

Jake, I feel so lucky to have worked with you over the past two years. From the moment I joined STAND as a staff member, I knew we were going to be good friends. You were the first person to welcome me to the team individually, were always super responsive, and were the first to volunteer when the team needed anything, whether or not you knew how to do it. I’m thinking, amongst many other things: figuring out how to use our old website and set the stage for our new one, logging into MailChimp (how the heck am I ever supposed to teach that to anyone else?), learning and mastering PhotoShop in one night, and writing tons of national emails with wicked catchy sub-lines. I will really miss having you on the STAND team next year, but am excited to see what’s next for you–don’t be surprised if I continue to gchat you for national email advice! Can’t wait to have you as a guest speaker at our next conference, which may or may not be called “Kreating, Aiding, Nurturing Youth Evolution (KANYE).”

-Mac Hamilton, Executive Manager

Emily Collinson, Communications Coordinator, American University

BOOOOIIIIIII do I luuuuv Emily Collinson. I was so intimidated by you when I first met you, which only happens when I meet someone I am totally in awe of (which I was). When I found out I was going to be sharing a room with you during our first conference in DC I was pumped but also scared to death like I just wanted to make a good impression on you SO badly so I was trying to be cool but it’s kind of hard to be cool with someone you just met in a hotel room, but I think we hit it off pretty well. I feel SUCH a strong connection to you (wow this is sappy? are we dating?) and you have honestly become one of my best friends. As a part of STAND, you have provided comic relief and reason at the same time, not to mention a variety of skillz in COMMS and other things. I look up to you in every way and I can’t wait to come stay wit u in DC <3.

-Bethany Vance, outgoing Southeast Regional Organizer, incoming Education Coordinator

IMG_9304Emily, I am so thankful to know you and to have worked so closely with you this past year. You have brought your humor, grace, wit, and skill to STAND this year and have rocked our social media like no other. You are a light and a kindred spirit and the MC has been lucky to have you as both our Comms Queen and our friend. I have nothing but love for you and I know that STAND is just one of many stepping stones in your bright future. I hope you remember your year with STAND fondly — I know you made a huge impact on mine.

-Savannah Wooten, outgoing Education Coordinator, incoming Student Director

Zac Peloquin, Northeast Regional Organizer, Clark University

IMG_9327I am so lucky to have met Zac because, without his passion and excitement for STAND, I would have never joined such an amazing organization. Zac started out as my boss for my work study job at Clark University. Upon hearing that I was majoring in Holocaust and Genocide studies, Zac showed up to work during my shift one day to try to convince me to join STAND. I had no idea what he was talking about whenever he said “National STAND” but he was so passionate about it I couldn’t help but be intrigued.

After being in the club for about a month, Zac asked me to go to DC with him for a STAND summit. We spent about 20+ hours together on a bus to and from DC. Since then, ZP and I have become good friends and have worked together on many STAND events at Clark. It is so great to work with Zac because he is always ready with a creative and ambitious idea. Not only that but he is incredibly hard working–I have no doubt that he could put an entire event together in one night (which I’m pretty sure he did this past semester).

Zac is always the first one to help you when you’re feeling down. I can think of countless times when I was in the library having a rough time studying and he gave me a hug and tried to cheer me up. STAND will not be the same without the constant pictures of his adorable chinchilla, his huge appetite, or his commitment to genocide prevention. Thank you, Zac, for being a great Regional Organizer and friend!

– Casey Bush, outgoing Midwest Regional Organizer, incoming Campaigns Coordinator

As a former Northeast Regional Organizer, I am so so thankful for the incredible work you’ve done in strengthening and expanding our reach in the Northeast this past year. Your passion and work ethic are truly exceptional and I’ve loved watching your work throughout the year. From Day One, you pushed each and every MC member to stay up-to-date on current events, volunteered to be first during roundtables, and were always willing to help out whenever a hand was needed. I’ll miss your videos of chinchilla dust baths, your political commentary, and your giant hugs! Thank you for all you’ve done for STAND national, the Northeast region, and for Clark STAND over the past year – please stay in touch!

– Mac Hamilton, Executive Manager

Clara Lee, Digital Media Coordinator, St. Olaf College

12651224_10153949577312049_3439320654459187367_nI feel so lucky to have known and worked with you in a variety of capacities, first as a delegate to Global Youth Connect’s Rwanda Human Rights delegation, before I became STAND’s staff member, then as a STAND intern, and finally as a STAND MC member! You have the biggest heart and the most contagious kindness I’ve ever seen. Your thoughtfulness, curiosity, and willingness to try new things have added so much to our team over the past semester. Thanks for your friendship, hard work, and endless tiny tweaks to our graphics (I know my perfectionism isn’t always the easiest to work with). I love you lots and know you will rock whatever comes next for you!

– Mac Hamilton, Executive Manager

Clara, you are actually the sweetest, kindest person on this whole MC. Okay not even just on the MC, you’re one of the nicest people I’ve EVER met and we were SO lucky to have you. I feel like there were times where we would have fallen apart without your amazing work ethic and dedication. I know you are going to have an incredibly bright future in whatever you choose to do because everyone is going to love you immediately after meeting you, just like we all did. Also, you totally kill the graphic design game. Also thank you for following me on instagram and liking all my pics, it’s a great confidence boost u da best.

– Bethany Vance, outgoing Southeast Regional Organizer, incoming Education Coordinator

“Our Generation is Gone”: The Islamic State’s Targeting of Iraqi Minorities in Ninewa

By Brooke Chambers and Sean Langberg

In the summer of 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State carried out a violent campaign against civilians in Ninewa province in northern Iraq, home to many of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities. In less than three months, IS decimated millennia-old communities and irrevocably tore the social fabric of the once-diverse region, with 800,000 individuals displaced, thousands more kidnapped, and at least one thousand people were killed.Capture

In September 2015, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide undertook a Bearing Witness trip to northern Iraq to learn about the atrocities that had occurred there, assess the current situation, and understand the future risks to ethnic and religious minorities and other civilians in the region. We found that IS targeted civilians based on group identity, committing mass atrocities to control, expel, and exterminate ethnic and religious minorities in areas it seized and sought to hold. IS committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing against Christian,Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean-Mandaean, and Kaka’i and perpetrated genocide against the Yezidi people.

We met with individuals and families who had been forced to flee with little more than what they were wearing. Yezidi men wrote name after name of their missing family members—wives and daughters, who they believed were kidnapped, and sons and brothers, whose circumstances they did not know. Villages and towns that have simply ceased to exist. Minority communities that helped to shape Iraq’s rich and diverse history and today face exile and extinction in the country. As one man told us, “We have no future. Our generation is gone.”

The Way Forward

The US government has specifically stated that preventing mass atrocities—all atrocities, not just genocide—is a core national security priority. As such, the United States and other countries combatting IS should articulate, as part of their broader coalition strategies, efforts and tools that they can employ to address and minimize the ongoing threats to civilians. In the immediate term, this should entail assisting targeted populations in achieving two main goals: (a) protecting civilians and (b) improving accountability for past atrocities.

Protecting Civilians

The current counterterrorism and counterinsurgency paradigms do not prioritize an assessment of, or compel a response to, the unique threats and risks of mass atrocities that local populations and individuals may face. IS will continue to pose a threat to local populations. Countering the group necessitates an ongoing assessment of both IS’s motivations, organization, and capabilities for committing atrocity crimes, and of the vulnerabilities of at-risk communities, as well as their resiliencies that can be strengthened.

Protecting civilians also entails ensuring that those engaged in counter-IS efforts do not harm civilians. The tactics used to win the war to defeat the group and liberate the territory it holds might very well contribute to future cycles of violence, displacement, and devastation. Iraqi security forces and affiliated militias, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, and local self-defense militias all have been accused of human rights abuses in the past. There is a risk that this will continue as IS-held territories are reclaimed.

Improving Accountability for Past Atrocities

Young displaced Iraqis wait for food distribution at a camp on the outskirts of Erbil. —Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The culture of impunity that has prevailed in Iraq for decades is a key driver of violent conflict and mass atrocities today. The general lack of and mismanagement of investigations and prosecutions, and lack of accountability for perpetrators, send a strong signal to those considering taking up arms, whether in support of or against IS, that there are few costs to committing atrocities against minority communities. The Iraqi government’s limited capacity and lack of political will surrounding accountability issues also create significant barriers to transitional justice programs going forward.

There needs to be an immediate investment in transitional justice measures that address both current and past mass atrocities committed in Iraq. This includes documenting crimes perpetrated by IS and affiliated groups, as well as those committed during counter-IS efforts, for the purposes of understanding the full scope of atrocities in Iraq and future prosecutions of perpetrators.

Contact Sean Langberg ( for more information

unnamedBrooke Chambers is an Intern at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide





17e20e3Sean Langberg is a Policy Assistant at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.


Join #BooksNotBombs, Create Opportunity for Syrian Students

On January 15, 2013, the first day of final exams, two airstrikes hit Aleppo University, killing 82 students. Since then, more than 4,000 schools have been attacked, putting thousands of children and young adults out of school because it is simply too dangerous to go, or because their schools have been destroyed. Once in refugee camps, the UNHCR has no mechanism for providing higher education to those affected by the conflict that has claimed the lives of over 20,000 children and 189,000 people overall. As barrel bombs continue to fall, and with peace talks just now beginning, we face the fact that the Syria crisis is creating what Malala Yousafzai terms a “lost generation” of uneducated youth in Syria, many of whom have been out of school since the beginning of the conflict nearly 5 years ago.

12347815_218671291797560_5480883326057070544_nThat’s why STAND is teaming up with Students Organize for Syria on Books Not Bombs, a campaign to encourage universities to create scholarships for Syrians. This campaign offers a tangible way for students and universities in the United States to both support their Syrian peers and to promote a genocide prevention agenda. By mobilizing our campuses, we can both raise awareness and invest in Syria’s future. By offering scholarships to Syrians, universities can help build the next generation of doctors, lawyers, architects, and teachers. This is vital, as it is Syrians who will create sustainable peace in Syria and rebuild their homes and communities when the conflict ends.

Genocide prevention is the core of what we do. Books Not Bombs advances this mission in several vital ways. It provides Syrians in dangerous situations an avenue to pursue an education that would otherwise be unattainable. It helps young Syrians develop the skills they need to rebuild their country after the conflict. It provides a valuable cultural learning opportunity for both Syrian and American students. Most importantly, it breaks, the cycle of violence in a small but meaningful way. It tells Assad and any who threaten the Syrian people that we are investing in a beautiful future for Syria and Syria’s youth–a future within our reach.

The conflict in Syria has dragged on for five years too long. The fear of a whole generation of Syrians losing their chance at an education is becoming a terrifying reality. This “lost generation” is the generation that can rebuild Syria and promote peace if they are nurtured and given the tools to do so. Join us — call on your university to create scholarships for Syrians. Young Syrians are seeking peace and education. All we have to do is provide the Books.

Start a Books Not Bombs campaign on your campus by visiting!

 jake headshotJake Ramirez serves on the STAND Managing Committee as the Campaigns Coordinator. He is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in Business Economics and minoring in Regional Development. Jake served as STAND’s Communications Coordinator for the 2014-2015 school year and helps run his local STAND chapter. Jake can be reached at  


francesca headshotFrancesca Freeman serves on the STAND Managing Committee as the Student Director. She is a fourth year at the University of Chicago double majoring in Anthropology and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies and minoring in Human Rights. She was STAND’s Midwest Regional Organizer for the 2014-2015 school year, was involved in her high school STAND chapter, and helps organize anti-genocide initiatives at the University of Chicago. Francesca can be reached at

US Anti-Genocide Movement STAND Merges with the Aegis Trust for Genocide Prevention

US Anti-Genocide Movement STAND Merges with the Aegis Trust for Genocide Prevention

STAND, the US-based student movement to end mass atrocities, is merging with the Aegis Trust as the US branch of the Aegis Youth Department. Founded in 2003 by a group of Georgetown students, over the following years STAND chapters sprang up at schools and colleges across the USA. Originally an acronym for ‘Students Taking Action Now: Darfur’, STAND subsequently expanded its focus to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities wherever they may occur. 

This is a mission shared by the Aegis Trust, which developed in 2000 from the work of the UK National Holocaust Centre. Aegis addresses genocide as a public health issue and works to prevent it in three stages; first, through commemoration and peace-building education designed to break long-term cycles of violence; second, through research, evidence-based policy advice and advocacy for people now at risk of mass atrocities; third, through support for survivors and communities trying to rebuild when genocide is past.

Responsible for the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda – a site where some 250,000 victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide lie buried – Aegis is now being urged by leading figures in Kenya, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR) to take its successful model for peacebuilding beyond Rwanda’s borders.

In particular, the move to help CAR is backed by a youth-led campaign launched in February by STAND and Aegis Students, the youth arm of the Aegis Trust. With STAND now sharing the Aegis umbrella, ‘Action for CAR’ ( promises to be the first such international youth-led campaign.

“Aegis is an international leader in the field of genocide prevention and we’re excited to be a part of their expansion,” said Natasha Kieval, Student Director at STAND. Mac Hamilton, STAND Executive Manager added, “Merging with Aegis strengthens our impact and broadens our resources to fight against genocide and mass atrocities internationally. By joining Aegis, with their focus on youth empowerment for peacebuilding, we will only expand our commitment to experiential student leadership.”

“We have long admired the passion and commitment of our colleagues at STAND. The Aegis team is delighted to be joined by them in this merger,” says Dr James Smith, CEO of the Aegis Trust. “We know from experience just how important youth-led advocacy and peacebuilding are in breaking cycles of violence, and we look forward to working closely with our American colleagues not only for the Central African Republic, but ultimately for the prevention of mass atrocities wherever people are at risk.”

Weekly News Brief 5/02/2013


About 95 people are still missing three days after the collapse of a gold mine pit in North Darfur. Sources say rescue workers have not yet reached the Jebel ‘Amer mine, which the local commissioner attributes to the poor security situation in the region. In January, Jebel ‘Amer was the source of a deadly conflict between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes who fought over its control. More than 150,000 people were displaced by renewed violence in Darfur in the first three months of 2013. For a summary of the recent escalation of violence in Darfur click here. For a brief summary of the conflict in Darfur as it has evolved over the past decade click here.The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels swept through Umm Rawaba in North Kordofan on Saturday morning in an attack that took the Sudanese government and observers by surprise. The Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which launched an unprecedented assault on Sudan’s twin capital city of Omdurman in May 2008, confirmed its role in the attack. JEM is a member of the SRF, which also includes the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), which is fighting the Sudanese army in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. It also includes the factions of Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and another of Abdel-Wahid Mohamed Nur (SLM-AW).

A new report confirms Sudan’s renewal of support to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group from October 2009 through at least February 2013. The report includes satellite imagery of a likely LRA encampment in Sudanese-controlled territory where rebel leader Joseph Kony was last sighted in late 2012 and reportedly remained for several weeks. The imagery indicates the camp was abandoned by March 2013, but Kony reportedly remains nearby in neighboring Central African Republic and could seek to reestablish his presence in Sudanese-controlled territory in coming months.

A first round of mediated peace talks between Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement – North has ended without an agreement. Talks are centered on politics, security and providing humanitarian aid to Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

South Sudan

More than 1,000 members of one of the largest active rebel groups in South Sudan, the South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM), are poised to lay down arms and surrender to the government, officials said last week. According to a government spokesperson, the surrendering rebels will not be prosecuted. South Sudan President Salva Kiir offered amnesty to all rebel groups operating in South Sudan after he took office in 2011. The SSLM was formed in 1999 to fight with southern Sudanese rebels against Khartoum in Sudan’s long civil war. But ahead of South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the rebels turned against Juba, accusing officials of corruption and tribal favoritism. They were one of the largest of the active rebel groups in the state. A team from the SPLA is scheduled to arrive in Unity State on Friday for talks on integrating members of the SSLM into the national army.

An attack on Pibor town by about 200 insurgents led by David Yau Yau has left one SPLA soldier and two rebels dead, officials said Tuesday. The attack, which took place on Monday, followed another raid by Yau Yau’s forces on an SPLA base on Sunday. No one was killed in that attack, which came days after South Sudan President Salva Kiir offered amnesty to six rebel groups, including Yau Yau’s, who have been fighting the government. SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said the attack on Pibor made it clear that Yau Yau was not going to accept Kiir’s offer of amnesty.

The spokesperson for the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A) has denied the group was among thousands of rebel fighters that surrendered to the government after accepting an amnesty offer by president Salva Kiir. The SSDM/A was formed in 2010 by former SPLA general George Athor after he failed in his bid to become governor of Jonglei state.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emphasized Iran’s ongoing support for the Assad administration and stated that a rebel victory would destabilize the whole region on Sunday. His remarks follow efforts by Egyptian and Iranian officials to establish an “Islamic quartet” with Turkey and Saudi Arabia to help resolve the conflict. On Tuesday, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah made similar remarks, saying that the Assad regime has “real friends in the region” that would not allow it to fall. The main opposition group, the National Syrian Coalition, condemned his statements as threats and warned against any intervention by Iran or Hezbollah.

On Monday, an Israeli lawmaker stated that that Syria’s chemical weapons have begun “trickling” to Hezbollah and that he “has no doubt” that the Assad administration has already used chemical weapons. Israeli defense officials have distanced themselves from this statement. Turkish government and health officials announced Wednesday that Turkey has begun testing blood samples taken from Syrian casualties to assess whether or not they were the victims of chemical weapons. Syrian ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari said Tuesday that the use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot be tolerated and demanded a UN investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Aleppo by rebel groups. He has so far refused calls for investigation into two other alleged uses of chemical weapons.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that there is “limited but growing” evidence that the Assad regime has in fact used chemical weapons and agreed with the Obama administration’s warning that use of chemical weapons would constitute a ‘red line’ for possible intervention, but cautioned that the latest intelligence does not yet constitute proof of such usage. Meanwhile, President Obama stated that he was not prepared to act unilaterally in Syria and suggested that an international consensus on whether or not the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Syria would be necessary for any military intervention. Senior administration officials have also revealed that the Obama administration is preparing to arm the Syrian opposition and has “taken steps to assert more aggressive U.S. leadership” among those seeking to oust President Assad. The officials also emphasized that the administration will continue to pursue political negotiation and is seeking to dissuade Russia from continuing its support of the Assad administration.

On Wednesday, President Assad made a public appearance at a power plant in central Damascus to commemorate Labour Day as one of only three public visits this year. This visit comes a day after a bombing in downtown Damascus was reported by Syrian state television to have killed at least 13 people and wounded many others. On Monday, a car bombing targeting Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki exploded, killing at least nine people.


More anti-Muslim violence erupted again on Tuesday. Mosques and Muslim-owned properties were destroyed, although with no injuries have yet been reported. A Buddhist monk named Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden”, has been inciting anti-Muslim sentiments and gaining popularity across central Burma. He was sentenced to 25 years of prison in 2001 for his preaching but was released in 2010. Wirathu and his nationalist, anti-Muslim movement known as “969” has been accused of inspiring recent sectarian violence against Muslims in Meikhtila, Central Burma, which has left over 40 dead and 13,000 displaced.

Human Rights Watch published a report on the status of Rohingya in Burma on April 22. The Rohingya are a stateless, Muslim people in Western Burma that were the subject of widespread communal violence late last year. The report urges the Myanmar government to grant citizenship and other basic human rights to the Rohingya and allow humanitarian organizations and the UN access to afflicted areas. Most importantly, however, Human Rights Watch accuses the Myanmar government of failing to stop ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. A day after the Human Rights Watch report, Myanmar President Thein Sein was awarded a prize for his efforts towards peace by the International Crisis Group. Additionally, the EU lifted many of its sanctions against Burma. However, an arms embargo remains in place.

In response to the sectarian violence against Muslims late last year, a Myanmar government commission released its findings on Monday. The investigation suggested that family planning education would help mitigate the “undermined peaceful coexistence” caused by the Rohingya. Additionally, the commission recommended upholding the controversial 1982 Citizenship Law that denies citizenship and other basic rights to the Rohingya. The commission also claimed that those displaced should not yet return to their homes because the risk of violence is still too great. However, the commission did urge the Myanmar government to quell hate speech and increase aid funding.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

At the end of March the UNSC approved a resolution to extend the mandate of MONUSCO, the UN force in the DRC, and to create an intervention brigade tasked with conducting “targeted offensive operations” against rebel groups. The brigade will be led by a Tanzanian general and will consist of 3,069 troops from Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa. Christoph Vogel at Think Africa Press is skeptical that an additional force will be able to solve the underlying issues any better than previous forces. With such a small number of troops, it is unlikely that the intervention brigade will be able to confront the multiple armed groups that have formed in the DRC. Their inability to focus on more multiple issues may discredit them in the eyes of locals. In order for the brigade to be successful, he argues, it will need a flexible set of rules of engagement, material assets and equipment, and political support at various rebels. Many human rights leaders and activists have expressed concern that the intervention brigade will only further escalate violence against women and girls in the region.

According to IRIN, tens of thousands of displaced people in Katanga Province have received little or no humanitarian aid since attacks in December and January. Displacements are ongoing, with the most recent attack occurring on March 23. There are currently only 450 UN troops in Katanga, which is an area the size of France.

On April 29, Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, met with the senior leadership of the DRC and the UN mission in the DRC. Robinson is the former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and was appointed to this new position in March.

M23 ex-combatants are renouncing their ties with the group and applying for refugee status in Rwanda. If refugee status is given, they will be free to move freely or move to refugee camps in different parts of the country.

Weekly News Brief 4/25/2013


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern over anti-aircraft and chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands, stating that it is in Israel’s interest to defend itself. On Wednesday, Syria’s Information Minister said that Syria would not use chemical weapons against Israel or its own citizens. The announcement comes a day after a senior Israeli intelligence officer said that the Assad regime’s forces have used chemical weapons against rebels. On Thursday April 25th, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that “the U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria”. While Secretary Hagel stated that the US “cannot confirm the origin of these weapons”, they are “very likely” to have originated with the Assad regime. The Secretary reiterated the obligation of the United States and its key partners and allies to “fully investigate, including with all key partners and allies and through the United Nations, evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria.” The disclosure was sent in a letter to several members of Congress. Senator John McCain responded by saying that “it’s pretty obvious that a red linehas been crossed” and called on the President to begin arming the rebels, enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, and to increase pressure on Russia to cease its support for the Assad regime.

Fighting has intensified at the strategic Minnigh airport in Aleppo province as rebels have taken a key military position outside the airport. The battle is part of a larger strategy of the rebels to cut off one of the Syrian regime’s supply routes. On Wednesday, fighting in Aleppo resulted in the destruction of a minaret of a 12th century mosque, part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Rebels and Syrian state forces have traded blame over the incident. On Monday, Syrian state media reported that armed rebels captured two Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops in northern Aleppo province. A Syriac member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group, also reported the kidnapping. Clashes have also grown in the border villages of al-Qusayr near Lebanon. Syrian rebel groups have been firing shells into the Lebanese Hermel region, a stronghold of Hezbollah, in what they claim is retaliation for attacks by Hezbollah.

The European Union has eased its oil embargo on Syria in an effort to help the civilian population and the opposition. Under the new terms, European companies will be able to import crude oil and petroleum products from opposition-held areas. On Tuesday, the EU’s anti-terror chief stated that hundreds of Europeans are fighting in Syria for rebel groups and expressed concern over their radicalization.

Syria accused international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi of partiality and interference after he criticized the regime’s response to a January offer of talks from opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib and said that Assad should not seek another term as president. Syrian state media also accused the United States of “[throwing] oil on the fire” on Sunday by doubling its aid to the opposition. The new aid package, announced on Saturday’s ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting, will go beyond providing food and medical supplies “to include other types of non-lethal supplies.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Mai-Mai Kata-Katanga rebel group, which operates in Katanga in southeast DRC, say that they are engaged in an armed campaign to gain autonomy for the province, a mission that traces back as far as July 1960, when Katanga tried to secede from the newly-independent country. They say that the richness of the province is not reflected in living conditions there. On March 23, the Mai-Mai Kata-Katanga launched an attack on Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga, trying to seize the seats of the governorate and the provincial assembly. They entered clashes with the Congolese army before surrendering to MONUSCO forces. 33 people were killed and 60 wounded in the conflict. The March 23 attack was not the first of such attacks. In May 2010, they raised their flag at the Place de la Poste square in Lubumbashi. They are also thought to be behind a number of other attacks.

Bosco Ntaganda’s statement on March 26 at the ICC has revived a long standing debate on Congolese nationality. “I was born in Rwanda but I am a Congolese citizen because I grew up in Congo. I prefer to speak in Kinyarwanda throughout this trial. I was informed of these accusations but I plead not guilty.” Many in Congo consider Kinyarwanda-speakers to be foreign. Yet many of these Kinyarwanda-speakers are Congolese Tutsi who have lived in Congo for generations and consider it their home.

M23 forces reportedly tried twice to protest against the new offensive UN brigade, but had to postpone because the local population refused to participate, and, to the contrary, fled town.


The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on Wednesday said it is “ready and prepared” to hold direct talks with Khartoum to resolve the humanitarian crisis and reach a framework agreement on an inclusive process on the country’s new constitution. The SPLM-N, which is now coordinating with Darfuri rebels, hopes to discuss national issues with the government. However, the government believes that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) should be the framework for Darfur, and wants to focus on establishing a settlement on South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

The United States is ready to receive a senior envoy from Sudan in a bid to push forward the country’s peace process, an official stated on Wednesday, in a move criticized by human rights advocates. The United States invited a delegation led by an aide to President Omar al-Beshir, Nafie Ali Nafie, after he voiced an interest in traveling to Washington. In addition, the Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein will head to Chad on Thursday despite an arrest warrant for him by the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Saleh Mohammed Jerbo, an alleged war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was killed last Friday in North Darfur. Jerbo, who was also the deputy general commander of the JEM-Bashar faction, was allegedly killed by the JEM, after the two groups started fighting last week. The JEM claims that Chadian troops are fighting alongside JEM-Bashar. According to a JEM spokesman, Chadian troops were “backed by tanks, warplanes and helicopters” in Tina. JEM-Bashar, led by Mohamed Bashar Ahmed, broke away from JEM last year and signed a peace treaty with the Sudanese government earlier this month. Jerbo was indicted by the ICC for supposedly killing 12 UNAMID peacekeepers in 2007. Together with an accomplice, they are suspected of leading 1,000 rebels in an attack on an UNAMID compound in Haskanita, Sudan.

On April 19th, one UNAMID peacekeeper was killed and two others injured in an attack by unidentified assailants on the Mission’s team site near Muhajeriya, East Darfur State. Reports from eyewitnesses claim that pro-government militias killed 18 civilians in the East Darfur cities of Muhajeriya and Labado after government forces recaptured the two towns between Tuesday and Wednesday as Sudan Liberation Army -Minni Minawi withdrew. An estimated 40,000 people have been displaced by the fighting between the Sudanese army and rebel forces of SLA-MM in the region. Witnesses also claimed that the militia had kidnapped a number of girls from inside the UNAMID team site in Muhajeriya and raped them. Several citizens were reportedly tortured, they added.

SLA-MM also claims to have shelled the airport of Nyala, capital of South Darfur, on Monday. This is the first operation of its kind since the war in Darfur began over a decade ago. SLA-MM says the bombardment is a warning to the government that its forces are getting “close” to the town. Earlier this month a Sudanese MP had suggested Nyala could fall in the hands of rebels at “any moment” as the city is besieged by them and lacks security. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir recently relieved the governor of South Darfur from his duties following the increasing insecurity in the state.

South Sudan

At least three people, believed to have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, were rescued by South Sudan security forces at its border with Central African Republic (CAR) on Wednesday. Western Equatoria state officials said the southern army (SPLA) served as part of the African Union (AU) forces. The soldiers, locally known as ‘Arrow Boys,’ liberated a six-year old boy and two young women from rebel captivity. One of those rescued, Mibinina Kumboringi, is suspected to have been a wife of the LRA leader, Joseph Kony. Kumboringi told state authorities that rebels abducted her about six years ago, after raiding a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), looting food items and abducting several other people.

South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has announced the formation of a new national reconciliation committee in a move seen as a response to public concerns, a week after suspending the process. Kiir on April 22, appointed the Archbishop of Episcopal Church, Daniel Deng Bul, to chair the national reconciliation committee, deputized by the Archbishop of Catholic Church, Paride Taban. This is the second time the president has appointed Archbishop Bul to chair a reconciliation process, after his first appointment to chair the process among the tribes in his home state of Jonglei, last year. According to the Sudan Tribune, Bul, in the process of reconciling tribes in Jonglei, was accused by the Murle community of allegedly siding with the Dinka Bor, his tribe, prompting the Murle to withdraw from the reconciliation process and demanding for appointment of a neutral person to chair it.

The US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) has carried out a survey among the citizens on the ongoing constitutional making process in South Sudan. According to the survey, the majority people of South Sudan want the freedoms of movement and expression to be clearly stipulated in the permanent constitution. The majority of citizens also gave most of their concerns for access to education in addition to term limits for the president. In addition, the majority of citizens want a multiparty democracy in South Sudan and detest the one-party system. The survey also expressed the importance of respecting and developing traditional authority at local levels in the country, and found that most South Sudanese oppose early marriages, and hope to recognize the disputed Abyei region as part of their country.

Donor and development partners have pledged up to $300 million as aid to support South Sudan’s turbulent economy, the country’s ministry of Finance has announced. Much of this new support, according to the ministry, would be provided through the government budget. The decision, the ministry said in a statement, emerged out of this week’s South Sudan Economic Partners Forum, hosted by the US Department of State on April 16.

Lastly, talks between the Sudan and South Sudan governments established ten border crossing points along their border, eight of which are to open immediately. Both governments hope the border openings will promote trade and easier movement among the two countries.

Weekly News Brief 4/18/2013


On Monday, a Lebanese official announced that Lebanon will send a letter of complaint to the Arab League over recent violations of its territory along the Syrian border, urging the UN to address the increasing refugee crisis. Hezbollah also condemned the violations of Lebanese territory and blamed Syrian rebel groups for one attack. On Sunday, rockets fired into the Hermel region of Lebanon from Syria, killing two and wounding others. UN diplomats said Tuesday that the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, may cut ties with the Arab League.

According to diplomats at the UN, Brahimi has stated that the Arab League’s moves to recognize the opposition have undermined his role as a neutral mediator. Also on Tuesday, Belgian police arrested six men on charges of aiding in jihadist recruitment for Syrian rebel groups.

Russia and Turkey remain split on ending the Syrian crisis ahead of a meeting of a core group of the Friends of the Syrian People, a cooperative of states and organizations that meets periodically to discuss the Syrian crisis outside of the UN, scheduled for Saturday. Russia has denounced the Friends of the Syrian People as making a negative contribution to the Geneva decision and to fostering dialogue in the civil war. On Wednesday, differences emerged in the testimonies given before Congress by Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel over the coherence of the Syrian opposition. Secretary Kerry expressed a more optimistic view over the possibilities of supplying arms to moderates within the Syrian opposition, while Secretary Hagel, along with General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned that the situation within the opposition had become more confused.

Last Thursday, the Syrian National Coalition stated that Syrian government forces massacred 60 civilians in what the Coalition described as revenge killings for rebel gains in the area. The reported massacre took place in the town of Sunamayn, which has seen heavy fighting between government and rebel forces in recent days and is near a strategic highway between Damascus and Dara’a. The same day, the Local Coordination Committees, a network of Syrian activists working on the ground, denounced al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call for an Islamic state in Syria as “blatant interference in Syria’s internal affairs.” On Tuesday, rebels regained ground lost on Sunday to Syrian government forces in a battle for control over the main highway leading to Aleppo and a truce was held in the northern Aleppo district of al-Sakhour to allow Red Crescent workers and members of an opposition local council to collect 31 mostly-civilian bodies. Opposition groups accuse government snipers of killing the civilians. An activist group also reported Tuesday that a government rocket attack killed 7, including children, in a village located between Homs and the Lebanese border.


According to Reuters, the European Union will lift all sanctions “with the exception of the embargo on arms” on Burma next week. This follows the easing of sanctions by the United States over past two years in recognition of Burma’s recent democratic reforms. Rights groups are expected to strongly criticise the move, particularly following recent sectarian violence against Muslims in central Burma that some have called genocide.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi broke her two-week silence last week on the violence in central Burma that targeted Muslims, leaving 43 dead and 13,000 displaced. Suu Kyi advocated for the “rule of law and security for people” as essential to deal with both current and possible future violence.

Following Suu Kyi’s comments, three Muslims were sentenced to 14 years in prison for their role in the recent outbreak of violence. The three people included the owner and two employees of a gold shop where the violence began. According to the court, fighting broke out over the appraisal of a gold hair clip that was allegedly damaged at the store. The fighting quickly spread throughout the town of Meikhtila and, eventually, the region. As of yet, no Buddhists have been convicted.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Two Congolese military officers have been suspended for their implication in mass rapes and other human rights violations committed in Minova in the east in late November 2012. Investigations found that two FARDC units engaged in these atrocities, and in February, MONUSCO sent a letter to FARDC’s chief of staff requesting formal suspension of these units. Last week, the government announced that several arrests had been made as an interim disciplinary measure, and that a number of officers had been suspended and put at the disposal of the Military Prosecutor.

As a result of instability in the Central African Republic, there are now over 30,000 refugees in the DRC, 1,000 in Cameroon, and nearly 7,000 in Chad.


Violent battles between the rebel group Sudan Liberation Army -Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) over control of Labado and Muhajeriya in East Darfur broke out last week causing about 36,000 civilians to flee to UNAMID bases for protection.The SLA-MM held control of Labado for a short period of time before the SAF forces ousted them. Following the recapture of Labado, the SAF said rebels caused much chaos and looting in the city during their control. SLA-MM in turn blamed the army and allied militias for killing 10 civilians during the town’s takeover.

Fighting between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes resumed in Central Darfur on Thursday.  The fighting came one day after leaders from both groups signed a ceasefire. The conflict has already caused 10,000 people to be displaced. The spokesman of the SAF announced the recapture of the Dandor garrison near South Kordofan’s capital from rebel forces on Wednesday. SPLM-N claims it shelled the headquarters of the SAF headquarters in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, in response to the airstrikes on civilian areas by the army.  On Monday, SPLM-N forces had taken control of Dandor garrison, and they plan to regroup and attack the government even more “violently” in the future.

Direct talks between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) to settle the South Kordofan and Blue Nile conflict will start on April 23, announced the rebel group on Monday.

South Sudan

An independent Swiss Research Group, the Small Arms Survey, issued a report that affirms that Sudan has supplied weapons and ammunition to rebels fighting South Sudan’s government.  Sightings of Sudanese aircraft dropping weapons in South Sudan, as well as the discovery of new Sudanese and foreign manufactured arms offer proof to the suspicions of the South Sudan government.  The report also explains that the SPLM supports the SPLM-N but with significantly less arms support than the Sudanese government has offered South Sudanese rebel groups.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has withdrawn some powers from his vice president, possibly because he is a likely challenger for the ruling party leadership. Kiir, who has led the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) since 2005, also halted a national reconciliation initiative that had been launched by Vice President Riak Machar, which had been viewed as an attempt to raise his political profile. The two men were on opposing sides of a split within the SPLM during much of the 1983-2005 civil war that ended after the two factions reunited.

The Sudan oil ministry said Sunday that the first crude oil from South Sudan reached its territory, bringing both impoverished nations closer to billions of dollars in revenue after a dispute over fees. This good news comes shortly after presidents Al Bashir and Kiir met in Juba last week, where they both agreed to restart trade relations. The discussions unfortunately did not yield a resolution to controversial status of Abyei.