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Trivia and Discussion Guide: Implementing Peace in Sudan

A discussion guide on how to put peace on the ground in Sudan…

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement
5 years on…

Trivia Question:
Give the month and year that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement assigned to the following benchmarks to be implemented:
1) The national census
2) The national election
3) The referendum on Southern independence

Discussion Guide:

How does the international community help a peace deal to actually achieve peace?

Sudan’s government has signed the “Comprehensive Peace Agreement”, the “Darfur Peace Agreement”, and the “Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement”. But so far, South Sudan, Darfur, and East Sudan have seen more insecurity than peace. The critical question is why, and how that equation can change – and a couple of key sub-questions is implementation: how can the international community ensure that all the partners involved in these peace agreement actually implement the agreements they’ve signed? And even if all parties follow the letter of the agreements, will that actually bring peace?

For the purpose of this discussion and given the recent 5th anniversary of the CPA, this Discussion Guide will focus on the CPA:

Key facts on the CPA

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is the landmark peace deal that in 2005 brought an end to Africa’s longest civil war: the civil war between the Government of Sudan in the North and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in the South. It consisted of the following elements:

  • Power-Sharing Agreement:
    • There is to be 6 years of power-sharing between the North and South through the formation of a Government of National Unity in Khartoum
    • At the same time, during these 6 years, there is to be a semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan set up to administer Southern Sudan
    • In 2008, there is to be a national census to take into account the
    • In July 2009, there is to be a national election for national positions (such as President of Sudan), local positions (such as local members of parliament and governors), and Southern Sudanese positions (such as President of Southern Sudan)
    • In January 2011, there will be a referendum on whether or not Southern Sudanese wish to secede from the rest of Sudan to form an independent state
  • Wealth-Sharing Agreement: the CPA calls for more equitable sharing of Sudan’s oil wealth, 75% of which comes from the South and 15% of which comes from the disputed area of Abyei.
  • Border Demarcation: an independent border commission will be established to assess and demarcate the border between Northern and Southern Sudan, which must negotiate a region of highly-contested oil-rich lands.
  • Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: two areas that lie between North and South Sudan that are contentious have somewhat separately arranged their own versions of power and wealth sharing, with a rotating governorship of the two regions between the GoS and GoSS. There will also be a “popular consultation” process included for the two regions.
  • Abyei:. Abyei is an oil-rich region that was has been so contentious that a separate deal had to be signed, which detailed that:
    • An independent Abyei Border Committee would demarcate the borders around Abyei
    • Abyei would be jointly administered by North and South over the interim period
    • If the South decides to secede, Abyei will then be able to choose if it joins the South or North

Key Players and perspectives

  • The Government of Sudan (GoS): GoS, dominated by the National Congress Party has much to lose in the course of implementing the CPA:
    • The referendum: South Sudan is not the only marginalized area of Sudan to have rebelled against the GoS: Nuba, Darfur, Beja are some of the many places where marginalized areas have mobilized for rights and recognition. If the South secedes successfully, GoS fears that these other areas may get the message that they will be capable of doing the same
    • The National elections: the national elections are life-and-death for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. He has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, and if he loses power, a new government could turn him over to the Court for trial. The NCP will do whatever it takes to stay in power. However, if there is one thing that GoS wants, it is legitimacy, and this election is its chance to prove to the world it is a legitimate government.
    • Border demarcation and wealth sharing: the north has very few natural resources of its own, and is determined to control as much of the oil-rich territory along the border in case the South decides to secede.
  • The Government of Southern Sudan: GoSS is dominated by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), theSouthern rebel movement which fought the North during the civil war. The SPLM’s greatest achievement is forcing GoS to sign the CPA, and its reputation rests on the CPA’s successful implementation. But the SPLM has some conflicting issues:
    • The referendum: the SPLM supports the vision of a “New Sudan”, where the South stays united with the North and reforms country into a secular democracy. However the Southern Sudanese people have overwhelmingly given up on this idea, and support independence
    • The national elections: if the SPLM puts forward a legitimate candidate for president and s/he wins, it may be seen as betraying the Southerners’ wish for independence. However if the SPLM doesn’t put forward a legitimate candidate for the president, it will be betraying its original vision of a “New Sudan”
    • The local elections: the SPLM is a political party formed out of an armed movement, which means that most of its members are former military and not trained for political office. Also, currently, no one has been elected to a position and instead has been appointed, and many are facing charges of incompetence and corruption. Successful local elections will mean that for the first time SLPM representatives will have to face the judgment of their constituents, in which many could lose their office
    • Border demarcation and wealth sharing: almost all of the budget for the young GoSS comes from oil revenues, so it is of upmost importance to the GoSS that it maintains control over as much of the oil wealth as possible, particularly since most of the oil wealth is in the South
  • IGAD Sub-Committee on Sudan (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda): these states are some of South Sudan’s neighbors and have a regional stake in the successful implementation of the CPA: insecurity in Sudan will spill (and has spilled) over into their borders, and they have political stakes in either a unified or divided Sudan
  • Observer States: (Italy, Norway, UK, and US): these foreign states invested significant political and financial capitol in negotiating the CPA. These states should have the largest stake in seeing the successful implementation of the CPA, but over the years attention has been turned elsewhere to issues such as “the war on terror” or, closer to home, the crisis in Darfur that erupted in 2003.

Road blocks: protocols that have been unimplemented, delayed, or violated

  • The Abyei protocol: the most volatile area, Abyei is an area between North and South Sudan that is rich in oil and therefore hotly contested. The CPA imposed a ceasefire on Abyei, which has been violated numerous times, particularly the May 2008 when a clash between the SPLA and the Government of Sudan displaced 90,000 people, the entire population of Abyei
  • North-South Border demarcation: an independent expert is supposed to mark the border between the North and the South, which is controversial because it determines who gets control over critical oil resources. This process has been delayed and disputed and remains unresolved
  • Joint-Integrated Units: the Government of Sudan and the SPLA are supposed to have formed joint military units designed for contested or controversial areas. However, instead of working together, the two forces have clashed in Malakal, a Southern Sudanese town close to oil reserves.
  • The census: the census was marked with incredible controversy, delay, and flaws in implementation. The census results were actually rejected by the South when they came out, who alleged that the North had made the Southern population smaller than it truly was in order to gain political advantages.
  • The election: according to an ENOUGH briefing: “Daunting legal and logistical obstacles currently impede the electoral process. The National Elections Act, enacted in July 2008—more than two years after the date agreed to in the CPA—is vague on the policies and procedures for the elections and draft regulations have yet to be finalized. The National Assembly recently adopted highly questionable reforms to the Press and Media Law, and it has yet to amend the National Security Act, a law that bears directly on the safeguarding of civil liberties during the electoral process. Voter registration remains an enormous logistical challenge, as it will now be held during the rainy season, a time when most of the rural and remote areas of Sudan are largely inaccessible by road. With less than nine months remaining before the polling period begins, 20 million potential voters must be registered in a voter registration process that has not yet commenced. These voters, the majority of whom are illiterate and many of whom have never voted before, will then be asked to complete a complex and confusing series of ballots, casting their vote in local, regional, and national elections.”
  • The referendum: again, according to an ENOUGH publication, “The consistent delays and lack of transparency in the electoral process have set a precedent that bodes poorly for timely organization of the referendum. The referendum law is unlikely to pass in Sudan’s National Assembly before the general elections, which opens the possibility of the NCP using a new and perhaps northern-dominated body to manipulate provisions of the CPA and further forestall the referendum. Elections would then give way to an increasingly tense and potentially explosive period: the “homestretch” between the elections and the referendum.”
  • Wealth-sharing: there have been many allegations that the GoS is not giving GoSS its fair share of oil revenues, contributing to significant budget shortfalls in Southern Sudan, which desperately needs funds for reconstruction and for setting up a brand new government.

Key Questions

  • What is at stake for the different parties? Whose interests are put at risk by successful implementation of the CPA? Whose interests are served by the CPA?
  • What might be key pressure points that could be used to get different parties to implement parts of the agreement they wouldn’t be inclined to?
  • What are some potential outcomes of the 2010 elections? What effect might those have on power-sharing arrangements and the referendum?
  • What are some likely and unlikely partnerships that could be formed for implementation? What international or local partners might be slowing down the process?
  • What flash points might come up that could cause the process to derail? What are the most important benchmarks that need to be observed to ensure that the CPA is implemented?
  • If there is a failure of implementation, what might happen?
  • How can the international community act to reduce the potential harm if the CPA fails? How should the international community respond to an increase in insecurity or a return to civil war? How should the United States be prepared to respond to a potential increase in violence in South Sudan?
  • What role can the United States play in ensuring the implementation of the CPA? What would you advise the Obama administration to do to ensure the CPA stays on track?
  • Even if the CPA is implemented successfully, what issues can you foresee still facing Sudan?


One year left to realize Comprehensive Peace in Sudan

5 years ago today, the 9th of January of 2005, Africa’s longest civil war came to an end: the armed and political giants of North and South Sudan signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Naivasha, Kenya.

5 years later, the 9th of January of 2010, none of the words in the title “Comprehensive Peace Agreement” have shown themselves on the ground:


Although it is the anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, comprehensive is not a word that should be used to describe the extent of peace in Sudan.

Two other peace agreements currently hang in limbo as well: the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in 2006 and the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement. Not one of them has seen full implementation; marginalization, underdevelopment, and insecurity remain the norm in South Sudan, Darfur, Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, Eastern Sudan, and countless other parts of Africa’s largest country.


Sudan is far from peaceful, far from post-conflict – in fact, looking at the headlines about Sudan over the past month alone, the picture that those headlines paint is one of insecurity:

10 aid agencies just released a report called, “Rescuing Peace in Southern Sudan”, warning that unless the international community acts quickly, Sudan risks descending into civil war once again, and summarizing the extent of this year’s violence: 2009 saw the death of 2,500 civilians and the displacement of 350,000 more. These are not the statistics one sees from a country at peace with itself.

As if to highlight the report, two days after it was issued, at least 140 people were killed in trial clashes between the Nuer and Dinka tribes. It is just one of a string of such clashes this year: Doctors Without Borders responded to 8 violent clashes itself, according to its report “South Sudan: Facing up to Reality”. The report cited a frustration that everyone is treating Southern Sudan as if it is post-conflict and not investing in emergency response funds, when there is a sharp and urgent need to equip humanitarian organizations and the local authorities for emergency response.

On top of all of this, the World Health Organization declared Southern Sudan to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, far surpassing Darfur.


2009 also saw a widening and deepening of divisions within Sudan: President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, and responded by expelling 13 of the top aid agencies in Darfur over the summer.
Earlier this month, opposition protests were broken up, with Bashir’s government cracking down and arresting leaders of the SPLM and other civilians.

Critical milestones for fulfilling the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, namely the elections, were postponed again, and again.

The Future:

Sudan is now exactly a year away from the critical referendum that signifies the end of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; however given the current trends, the closer Sudan gets to seeing this date, the more instability and insecurity it sees.

And so the world needs to see Sudan for what it is: not a post-conflict country in the process of implementing a peace agreement, but a country barely holding onto the threads of stability in some areas, having already lost the peace in others, and at risk of collapsing back into whole-hearted civil war again.

And in the next year, until the 6th and final anniversary of the CPA, the international community cannot afford to take its eyes off of Sudan.


Weekly News Brief, November 22-29

A weekly summary of the most important developments in the conflicts we see on the ground in Burma, Congo, Sudan, and beyond:


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement saying that Sudan had violated the UNAMID peacekeeping agreement, that the peace efforts for Darfur have failed, and warned of increasing threats. Sudan’s UN Ambassador responding saying that UNAMID should leave Darfur.

However, diplomats believe new hostilities may be brewing. The SLA said government forces attacked civilians in Jabel Eissa and al-Harra in North Darfur on Wednesday. Reports of 7 IDPs being killed in a fight between residents and government troops.

Hundreds of former combatants in Darfur have been discharged from both the army, militia, and rebel groups.


A significant article came out about the LRA’s presence in South Sudan and the damage it is causing.

Other articles highlight the tenuous position of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Kordofan in the series of crises across Sudan.

Southern Sudan’s president Salva Kiir narrowly avoided being killed in a plane crash after leaving Uganda to urge Ugandans to lead the world in recognizing an independent South Sudan if they choose secession.

An op-ed in the Huffington Post answers the question “Why Sudan matters”


Significant movement in the ICC’s Congo trials: two warlords faced trial for war crimes this week and pleaded innocent. Meanwhile, key witnesses have been reported to have been threatened.

The UN said that Communal violence has claimed at least 100 lives and displaced 53,000 people since the end of October in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s northwest Orientale province, that the Congolese army is funneling weapons to rebel groups, and that rebels are having no difficulty circumventing sanctions.

Both a UN group of experts and Human Rights Watch separately criticized the international community’s response to the crisis in Congo.


“Treat the Disease Not Just the Symptoms”: Current intervention efforts in DR Congo could benefit from genuine civilian protect

The Fall 2009 Pledge2Protect conference held in Washington DC was off the hook; I have never been more proud of STAND. I was able to understand so much material, digest many perspectives and in the end left very educated, challenged and encouraged.

Naturally, the material about DR Congo stood out to me. Starting with the introductions through the detailed sessions to examining the role of the international community, I couldn’t help but think of how big a task we still have ahead of us. Having listened to two formerly high-level officials speak about attempted interventions in Congo, my focus in this blog is on the international community’s role, past mistakes and necessary future steps. The speakers’ names will not be used for purposes of privacy, and some of the material is the writer’s opinion.

One former worker on the USAID project in DR Congo said that he thouht that the international community could be more serious with intervention projects. He assesses that while the current Congolese government is weak and in need of external help, the help being offered is often half hearted, delayed or aimed at the wrong targets. He said that we would need to dig deeper than the obvious symptoms of the war, like rape victims and deaths, and so while caring about these, also aim to deal with underlying structural weaknesses, which if they aren’t worked upon, will continue to undermine any progress, including the ‘best laid’ plans like MONUC.

Another speaker, a Congolese national who has also served in the US Army, noted the lack of sustainability of the peace operations, including those from NGO’s. Using an example of a rape victim whose fistula gets treated, goes back to the village and returns 3 months later with an even worse injury, he makes the point that we are treating symptoms and not the disease. There is urgent need to not only deliver immediate needs like health care and food, but also to disband the rebels and destroy their footing which enables them to repeat their atrocities. This footing is, most prominently, the minerals which provide constant income from ‘cash in briefcase’ transactions with international dealers and corporations. This speaker echoed the sentiment projected by most members with firsthand experience, that time has come to stop proclaiming empty ideals and signing meaningless contracts; if we are going to denounce ‘blood minerals’, we need to stop buying them, corporations need to ensure they aren’t fuelling conflict and we, consumers, need to lobby and pressure our governments to make only meaningful and not manipulative interventions in disadvantaged countries.

A third speaker, associated with the ENOUGH project asserted that according to his assessment, the MONUC operation was never built to succeed. He echoed his colleagues’ view that the capable countries are doing more containing than resolving of the conflict. He compares the number of soldiers sent to DR Congo to those sent to a much smaller Bosnia and concludes that it is very obvious which of the two conflicts is a priority to the USA and UN and which one they are engaged In just so that the public can stop blaming them for indifference.

Between 1991 and 2004, USA spent about $15b in Bosnia, over $13b of this going to military activities. Today however, the USA boasts of covering only almost one third of the almost $1b annual UN military budget in DR Congo, which is over 100 times bigger than Bosnia. It took about 17,500 troops to bring relative peace to Sierra Leone which is 1/32 the size of the Congo, where MONUC started with just 5,500 . DR Congo could use about 100,000 well equipped troops who have taken time to understand what they are dealing with, not desperate troops from poor countries who are seeking not ideological satisfaction and human protection, but a chance to earn a little more on a UN mission than they could have in their home military operations. Then we would see less events like the October 2003 Ituri massacre, near which stood 8 helpless MONUC personnel.

In the end I was left with this question; being well aware of the current global system where capable countries are only going to intervene for strategic purposes, where do we look next for a solution, beyond pushing these very countries to intervene and end humanity’s plights? David Gibbs noted in his book that the first time USA went to DR Congo, they wanted the uranium they dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Belgium, the then colonial master, unlike Congolese nationals, benefitted from the deal), The next time they came, they helped to assassinate Congo’s only could have been independent leader, Patrice Lumumba in 1961. They followed this up by financially propping Mobutu to make sure he wouldn’t join the communists, and today, when mineral corporations are benefiting from Congo’s constant chaos, the USA is ‘working hard’ at countering many surface problems, and ignoring the deep ones, most which have roots in the 1994 Rwanda genocide upon which the West initially looked with indifference. The task ahead of us is huge: how do we start to turn the tables and care about what really matters? What is the magic concoction of attitudes and actions that will help us elevate human life and freedom above profits and prestige? When will we stop doing lip service and containing symptoms and start taking action and resolving conflicts?

And when will the international community begin to treat the disease instead of merely struggling to address the symptoms?

Sharon Muhwezi,
DR Congo education coordinator,
Dartmouth College.

Weekly News Brief, October 30 – November 6

A roundup of the most important news events of the week in Sudan, Burma, and Congo, and other areas of concern…
Areas of Concern

·         The New Republic called for the resignation of Special Envoy Scott Gration in an editorial published this week.

·         The African Union officially released the recommendations of the African Union Panel on Darfur. The recommendations for the report can be found here.

·         Turkey defended its decision to allow President al-Bashir to attend the Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Istanbul next Monday, citing that it has not signed the ICC’s Rome Statute.

·         JEM claimed that a Sudanese Army Battalion had defected to the rebels earlier this week, adding 214 soldiers to JEM forces.

Democratic Republic of Congo

·         Human Rights Watch has documented at least 270 civilian deaths in four massacres perpetrated by the FARDC in the eastern Congo since March. HRW believes that more than 505 civilians were deliberately killed by the FARDC since anti-FDLR operations began in January.

·         In response to FARDC abuses, MONUC suspended support for the FARDC’s 213th Brigade for its actions at Lukweti, which killed 62 civilians earlier this year.

·         Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy called for an investigation into FARDC attacks on civilians.


·         The Burma Environmental Working Group released a report on how government development projects primarily benefit the military while causing environmental degradation and the destruction of livelihoods in ethnic areas.

·         The New York Times details the challenges that could emerge from fighting between the government and the United Wa State Army, including the increased militarization in ethnic areas of Burma and an increase in cross-border drug trade.

·         Senior US officials visiting Burma called for renewed emphasis on political dialogue, the revision of the 2008 Burmese Constitution, and said that the U.S. is prepared to improve bilateral relations with Burma.  However, both envoys said that the process will be slow and that their visit was primarily intended as an exploratory mission to explain the government’s new Burma policy.


·         UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for greater security for UN personnel in Afghanistan after a Taliban attack last Wednesday killed 5 UN staff and wounded another nine. On Thursday the UN announced plans to temporarily relocate 600 foreign staff members while it conducts a review of security across the country.

·         Abdullah Abdallah withdrew from the Afghan presidential run-off elections scheduled for this weekend, paving the way for Hamid Karzai to be declared the official winner.  Abdullah denounced the new government as illegal on Wednesday.

·         Members of the White House staff have hinted that President Obama is close to making a decision on whether to increase troops in Afghanistan.


·         U.S. forces in Iraq expect more large-scale attacks – like the two bombings last week – across the country in the coming weeks as Iraqis prepare to vote in January parliamentary election. Iraqi authorities have yet to agree on election law for January, raising concerns about the fate of the election.

·         Four bombs – in a bicycle, a bus and roadside – killed at least 8 Iraqis and injured dozens others across the country on Sunday.


·         President Clinton encountered firm civilian criticism of U.S. drone missile attacks on Pakistani soil during her three-day visit to the country. Some citizens likened the attacks, which have killed hundreds of civilians as well as Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, to terrorism.

·         A suicide bomber killed 35 people outside a bank near Pakistan’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday. Late Monday night, two suicide bombers attacked a security checkpoint at the entrance to Lahore, wounding seven. 

·         The UN suspended long-term development work in northwest Pakistan, reducing its staff there and confining its work to emergency, humanitarian relief.


·         At least 36 people were killed and 175 wounded in waves of violence across Somalia last weekend, as clashes erupted between government troops and rebels and between rebel groups themselves. Fresh fighting between government troops and Hizbul Islam insurgents also broke out in Beledwayn on Wednesday.

·         Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab has tightened its grip over southern provinces, imposing harsh restrictions based on Sharia law. Reports indicate the group has closed women’s organizations to stop women from going to work and is publicly beating women who do not comply with Sharia regulations.

·         Two Somali gunmen who attempted to hijack an airplane flying to Djibouti on Monday were foiled by the plane’s crew and passengers.

Sri Lanka

·        Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation into death threats sent to newspaper editors critical of the government. The Sri Lankan government has previously arrested journalists critical of the government under charges of terrorism.

·        Some of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on a boat moored off the coast of Indonesia for the past two weeks and seeking access to Australia have threatened to commit suicide if forced to return to Indonesia, where they lived for five years before sailing out for Australia. Three other asylum seekers drowned when their boat capsized as they tried to sail directly from Sri Lanka to Australia.

·        Sri Lanka’s army chief visited the U.S. this week but managed to evade an interview with the Department of Homeland Security on possible war crimes committed by Sri Lankan troops during the country’s civil war against Tamil separatists.

Around the World

·         The Guinean junta has reportedly imported $45 million in light weapons over the last few weeks, reportedly with the help of South African mercenaries.

South Sudan

·         Eight people were killed during fighting in Upper Nile state, near the village of Nagdyar. The fighting was reportedly between Shilluk and Dinka gunmen who have fought in the past.

·         Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor was quoted as saying that South Sudan overwhelmingly wants independence with the 2011 referendum vote.


Sudan Government to Close IDP camps

This Wednesday, the Sudan Tribune reported that the Government of Sudan (GoS) “wil begin closing down the camps for the displaced populations in the war torn region of Darfur next year.” The Government would essentially shut down the camps and forcibly relocate the displaced Darfuris to their home villages or to other new “housing complexes”.

First and foremost, not only is this a violation of international law which forbids the forced repatriation of a displaced population, but is in violation of a consensus specifically related to Darfur vocalized by the Cairo Agreement, which states,

“To effectively execute the UN principles related to the right of all displaced persons, especially in relation to facilitating voluntary, safe and dignified return, within the framework of a project that would guarantee rebuilding destroyed villages as well as rebuilding the infrastructure and providing means for a decent life.”

Though the GoS has little respect for both the logic and the law of the international community, it is certain to have a hidden logic for this decision. At the moment, until more information is revealed, the following are considerations when looking at this situation:

  • Political: with the elections coming up in 2010, Darfur is the region of greatest uncertainty and perhaps where the GoS has the most at stake. As Bec Hamilton notes in her informative and illuminating blog post, “The desire [of Omar al-Bashir] is to be seen as having won [the 2010 elections] legitimately, which in turn requires convincing anyone who would dare to say otherwise, that the elections will be “free and fair.” The consequences of this desire are seen in several areas, one of which is the aggressive agenda that Khartoum is now pushing on IDP returns. There is a very real sense in which those in Khartoum view the IDP camps themselves as the problem – as if the camps would disappear, then there would no longer be a “Darfur problem” and the world shift the spotlight. What the regime understands well is that “free and fair elections” and “2.5 million IDPs” are not concepts easily reconciled.” However, on a purely logistical level, the relocation of millions of IDPs would complicate the registration and voting process to a level it is hard to imagine them as even remotely legitimate. However, even if a conceivably legitimate voting process were to take place, Bec Hamilton points out further along in her post that the camps are “concentrated clumps of political opposition” and highly organized, another threat to Bashir’s legitimacy.
  • Security: the IDP camps have become increasingly politicized and militarized over the years, and the threat of relocation could be viewed as a security threat by the camp residents, potentially leading to an escalation of hostility or predominance of armed groups within the camps. This could in turn become an excuse for Khartoum to close down the camps or attack them as hotbeds of insecurity. UNAMID faces a significant challenge in their roles in maintaining peace and security in the camps in any situation.
  • Humanitarian: with aid already so restricted and strained in getting so several centralized distribution points (i.e. the IDP camps), scattering a population to remote villages will make them even more unimaginably difficult to reach and will strain further the already thinly-stretched resources of the humanitarian community. In addition, many would be returning to villages and could have difficulty starting their farms again in time for the rains in June.

The full scope of the possible motivations and potential outcomes and consequences will not be apparent for some time now, which makes this an issue the international community must monitor with vigilance. Please continue to stay informed on this issue, and contact with any questions you may have.

And please, call your Senator and Representative and educate them about this occurrence as well, so that if the international community must act at the very least your members of Congress will not be caught unawares as we have so many other times in the past.

Be the smartest kid in the room…

The Pledge 2 Protect conference is just around the corner, and 1,000 people are traveling from near and far to participate.

Whether you are traveling by train, plane, bus, or car (as long as you are not the one driving), make the most of your transit time with the Pre-Conference Readers. The E-Tem has prepared 4 pre-conference readers with essential information, impotant background documents, and thought-provoking articles to give you the background knowledge you need to make the most of the educational moments at the conference.

So download, print out, and read up!

Weekly News Brief, October 12-19

A weekly update of the most important updates on the ground in our conflicts of concern. This week: potential peace talks for Darfur in Uganda, child labor in Burma, “catastrophic” interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more….



·         Next week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will begin the confirmation of charges hearings for Darfur rebel chief Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, leader of the Darfur United Resistance Front. Garda is accused of masterminding a raid on African Union peacekeepers in 2007.”

·         On Monday Gunmen attacked a UNAMID guard post in Kutum, North Darfur, wounding one peacekeeper.  The injured peacekeeper was evacuated to the hospital in Kutum and later to El Fasher where he is currently listed as stable.

·         Uganda is reportedly willing to host peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels and said that President al-Bashir would be welcome at any talks. Bashir was also invited to the upcoming AU summit on Refugees and IDPs in Kampala.


·         Free Burma Rangers just released a field report detailing continued child labor and the indiscriminate shooting of civilians in central Karen State.

·         A Burmese court sentenced Kyaw Zaw Lwin, a U.S. citizen born in Burma, to 14 years in prison for alleged charges of fraud and forgery. Additionally, another 11 political activists, including one Buddhist monk, were sentenced to between five and 10 years in Insein Prison.

·         Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with three American, British, and Australian diplomats last Friday to discuss these countries’ economic sanctions policies against Burma.

·         Burma and Bangladesh stationed warships and military forces along the Burmese-Bangladeshi border.

·         Indian army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor met with Burmese generals on Sunday to discuss military-to-military cooperation between the two countries.

·         Timor-Leste and Switzerland have backed a global arms embargo against Burma.

·         An internal audit by a UN budgetary panel reported that 60 percent of UN funds to Burma are not monitored.

Democratic Republic of Congo

·         The Congo Advocacy Coalition reported that since anti-FDLR operations in the DRC began in January, at least 1,143 civilians have been killed, 7,000 raped and 900,000 displaced by fighting between the government and the FDLR.

·         The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions called the UN backed FARDC offensive against the FDLR ‘catastrophic’. Alston also reported that FARDC troops had massacred 50 people in an attacke on the village of Shalio, South Kivu in April.


·         More than 85,000 civilians, soldiers and police have been killed in Iraq from 2004 to 2008, according to a report released by the Iraqi government on Thursday. The dead include 1,279 children and 2,334 women.

·        A succession of bombings targeting a national reconciliation meeting killed 23 civilians and injured 65 in Ramadi last Sunday. The attacks failed to injure any of the targeted officials and struck civilians instead.

·         A suicide bomber killed six people and wounded 10, including the leader of an pro-government local militia, at a café in southern Iraq.


·         A suicide bomb blasted apart a crowded marketplace in northwest Pakistan last Friday, killing at least 52 and injuring another 148. Officials believe the attack was meant as a warning against the new military offensive in South Waziristan. Another suicide attack in a crowded marketplace, near the Swat Valley and directed at a military convoy, killed 41 on Monday. This latest attack brought the death toll for that weekend to more than 100

·         On Saturday, 6 Taliban stormed a Pakistani army headquarters and held 42 people hostage. Pakistani commandos launched a rescue raid the next day, freeing 39 of the hostages; three were killed. The Pakistani Taliban said the attack had been carried out by its Punjab branch to display its “capability to strike at any place in Pakistan.”

·         Gunmen also attacked a federal security building and two police stations in Lahore on Thursday. The attacks killed at least 26, including several children. No group has taken responsibility yet but the Taliban is strongly suspected. More than 150 Pakistanis have died in the past two weeks due to a string of Taliban attacks, prompting strong concern over a planned army offensive in South Waziristan.

·         The Pakistani army objected to the conditions of a $1.5 billion non-military U.S. aid package approved by Congress, saying the terms allow the United States to interfere in Pakistan’s national security policy. Sen. Kerry said conditions need to be clarified, not changed and that the U.S. has no intention of infringing on Pakistan’s sovereignty.


·         The U.N. envoy for Somalia called for a professional security force to be established in Somalia by August 2011, when the mandate for the TFG expires.

·         The main hospital in Mogadishu received threats last week not to accept aid from foreign charities. The hospital staff has said it plans to continue its work despite the warnings.

·         The TFG, some say with the help of the Kenya’s army, is recruiting Kenyan youth to join Somali government troops. Al-Shabaab threatened to attack Kenya if it continues to recruit ethnic Somalis in Kenya to fight against them and other Islamist insurgent groups.

·         Witnesses say Ethiopian soldiers crossed into Somalia on Sunday and arrested dozens of Beledweyn villagers for questioning. Other civilian reports indicate that Hizbul Islam created new outposts near Beledweyn, a strategic town controlled by rebels, last week. Civilians also say Al Shabaab is forcibly compelling residents to attend public amputations of thieves.

·         Gunmen shot down a Hizbul Islam commander in the Somali capital last Friday.

Sri Lanka

·         Sri Lanka increased its military budget by 20% for the remainder of 2009 to strengthen security forces, and extended Sri Lanka’s state of emergency for another month.

·         In a statement last Friday, the State Department pressed the Sri Lankan government to return freedom of movement to Tamil IDPs and to “improve human rights and accountability.” Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International warned that conditions in detainment camps would deteriorate with the upcoming monsoon season

·         225 Sri Lankans moored on a boat off the coast of Indonesia is pleading with Indonesian and Australian officials for asylum, saying it is unsafe for Tamils to return to Sri Lanka.

·         Sri Lanka will hold early parliamentary and presidential elections next year, to take advantage of the current administration’s popularity. President Rajapaksa said he will wait until after the elections to consider political reforms to improve the Tamil minority’s status.

Around the World
South Sudan

·         LRA rebels killed two women during an attack last Wednesday, around the Western Equatoria town of Yambio.

·         In a letter this week the leader of south Sudan urged President Obama to not lessen pressure on the northern National Congress Party (NCP). Salva Kiir wrote that “There has not been any transformation or reform at the cent… The status quo prevails. . . . Significant change in policy in relation to Sudan should only come when there is change in the reality of Sudan”.


·         The ICC prosecutor is reportedly investigating last month’s crackdown in Guinea, which killed 157 people. International Crisis Group recently released a report calling for the junta to prepare a strategy governing the transition to a democratic government.

Weekly News Brief, October 5 – 11

Areas of Concern

·         The AU Panel on Darfur, led by Thabo Mbeki, submitted its report to the AU, but the report will remain confidential until the AU summit later this month. In handing over the report, Mbeki said that a peaceful solution to the Darfur conflict involves the participation of all Sudanese.

·         The Sudanese government denied that it was actively recruiting former US executive branch officials to lobby for the removal of sanctions and the country’s designation as a state-sponsor of terror. Sudan reportedly recruited former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and attempted to recruit John Danforth and Richard Williamson.

·         Six more Armored Personnel Carriers, donated by Canada, have arrived in Senegal in preparation for deployment with the UNAMID force.

·         The Doha talks on Darfur will resume at the end of October in Qatar.


·         Writing in the Irrawaddy, Saw Yan Naing stated that the Junta’s new anti-drug policies in the north are cover for the government’s goal of integrating ceasefire militias into a border guard force.

·         The Thai government said that it would not forcibly repatriate Burmese refugees if a new round of fighting in the north led to mass displacement.

·         In a meeting with diplomats from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, Aung San Suu Kyi discussed what sanctions are currently on Burma, the motives behind their imposition and their impact on citizens of the country.

Democratic Republic of Congo

·         LRA fighters killed twenty-two people and abducted 12 more from the town of Digba, near the city of Dungu in the northern DR Congo.

·         According to the Ugandan People’s Defense Force, the LRA is reportedly moving towards Chad. Last week, the LRA was reportedly moving towards the Sudanese state of Bahr el Ghazal.


·         OCHA released its humanitarian update for September 2009, stating that September was the second deadliest month for civilians in 2009. 280 civilians were killed in September, 193 of which were attributed to armed opposition groups. At least 130 of these casualties were caused by IEDs.

·         A suicide bomber attacked the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 17 and injuring more than 50. This is the second major attack on the Indian Embassy in the last two years and the second large attack in Kabul in the last month.

·         President Obama says he will not substantially cut the number of troops in Afghanistan but remains undecided about whether to increase U.S. military presence there.

·         8 people, including at least 5 civilians, were killed in a coalition forces airstrike last week.


·        More than 40 people were killed in a market bombing in the city of Peshawar. This is the second major bombing targeting civilians in the last week.

·         A suicide attack struck the U.N. World Food Program’s offices in Islamabad on Monday, killing five civilians. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying humanitarian work was not “in the interests of Muslims.”  The U.N. temporarily closed its offices across the country while it reviews security arrangements.  More bombings are expected as the Pakistani army prepares for an assault on South Waziristan, considered a Taliban stronghold.

·         A video that cropped up on Facebook last Thursday shows Pakistani troops abusing a Taliban suspect during an interrogation. The video, if verified as truthful, would provide further evidence to human rights groups’ claims that the Pakistani army has committed human rights abuses in the Swat Valley. Pakistan’s government has begun an investigation into the video’s veracity.

·         A Senate bill to triple non-military U.S. aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year for five years passed the House last week. The State Department says it is considering changing where the aid goes, hoping to funnel it more directly to the government and local groups.

·         Last Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign minister said his country needed more military assistance to battle extremist insurgents. In the meantime, two Pakistani generals admitted that billions of U.S. military aid sent to help Pakistan defeat Al Qaeda was diverted to other uses, critically hurting the Pakistani military’s ability to fend off a regrouping Al Qaeda.


·         The Somali police declared Al Shabaab rebels may be planning more suicide bombings against the government and AU forces. This may include the use of ambulances and other UN vehicles.

·         Al-Shabaab declared war against Hizbul Islam last week, prompting a battle for control of the southern port town of Kismayo. Clashes between the groups erupted last Thursday, killing dozens and displacing hundreds. Some reports indicated leaders of the two groups held meetings to formalize a ceasefire. Both groups claimed victory on Tuesday, shortly after town elders announced they had resolved tensions between the groups.

·         Some evaluations expect the split of the groups’ alliance will benefit the TFG, though other analyses are less optimistic and fear inter-group fighting will spread throughout Somalia.

·         Somalia’s president visited the U.S. last weekend in an effort to shore up support for the TFG, stopping in states with a substantial Somali population, including Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio. He pressed foreign donors for more aid, noting that most pledges made last April have not been met, and urged for stronger commitments to end the lawlessness engulfing Somalia.

·         The U.N.’s refugee agency reported on Friday that 145 Somali civilians were killed and 285 injured in September. A bomb exploded in a Mogadishu marketplace last Friday, killing six civilians and injuring 15. Fighting between AMISOM troops and Islamist rebels killed three civilians on Monday.

·         Three foreign aid workers kidnapped from northern Kenya and taken into Somalia last July were finally released this week. Both Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam have denied responsibility.

Sri Lanka

·         Secretary of State Clinton told the UN last week that rape had been used by Sri Lankan troops as a weapon of war against Tamils, provoking protest from the Sri Lankan government. The U.S. State Department responded with a letter to Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs minister, affirming that it had no recent evidence of women being raped while detained by the Sri Lankan government.

·         Sri Lanka’s human rights minister said the government accepted U.N. criticism of IDP resettlement and would try to follow recommendations made by visiting officials, especially in light of the upcoming monsoon season.

·         The government announced last week that it had resettled all displaced persons from camps in the Eastern Province. Meanwhile, at least 2,000 shelters for IDPs in Sri Lanka were destroyed by strong winds last weekend.

·         The Sri Lankan government has also begun a fresh appeal for foreign funds to resettle IDPs, asking for additional donations to the $225 million it received in aid pledges this year.

Around the World

South Sudan

·         42 people were killed and 70 injured during fighting between youth from the Dinka Bor and Mundari tribes, part of more than 1,200 people killed in South Sudan so far in 2008.

·         According to UNHCR, ongoing violence in South Sudan is a major challenge in the repatriation of more than 2 million people that remain displaced due to the civil war that ended in 2005.


·         Fighting between members of the military junta was reported as the Deputy Junta leader attempted to arrest an officer for his role in the deaths of more than 150 people two weeks ago. This comes as France blamed Guinea’s ruler, Captain Camara, for participating in the decision that led to the deaths.


The Abuse of Women in Congo

In addition to losing their husbands, children, parents and neighbors, many women, especially in Eastern Congo, have lost their dignity through rape. The UN estimates that 200,000 women and gals have been victims of sexual violence since 1998. And in 2008 alone, 16,000 cases were reported. Unfortunately, the perpetrators are not only the rebels and hooligans, but also the very government forces supposed to protect the civilians. And while the rate of rape has increased in an era of war, Congo’s traditional culture, which largely demeans women, has falsely justified rape in many men’s minds.

Besides looting and killing, different rebel groups have used rape as a tool to destabilize families. Rape is a favored weapon because victims of rape are stigmatized by their families, and neither are the resultant babies welcomed. Historically, rape has been and still is viewed as taboo, making it an easy choice for anyone looking to mess with the populations: so naturally, it has increased with the war. "What we are seeing in the DRC is a new phenomenon directly associated with the conflict," said Lyric Thompson, an international policy analyst at advocacy group Women for Women. "Rape has been widely used as a weapon of war. As soldiers have returned home, violence and abuse against women has moved into domestic life." (All

Culturally, Congolese women are at loss when it comes to issues of respect and value. Many of their cultures uphold practices that demean women and drive them to settle for less than they deserve: this has made the rape trend even easier to perpetuate. For example, in the Hemba tribe in order to cleanse yourself after your husband’s death, you sleep with his younger brother. Stéphanie Mutonkole is a member of the Sanga tribe and explains how, among her people, it is customary for a new tribal chief to have intercourse with his mother before he can be enthroned, regardless of the age of the mother. When it comes to marriage customs, a raped girl can be married off to the perpetrator without them demanding bride price: rape victims are viewed as worthless and so can be married off free of charge, compared to their ‘valuable’ virgin counterparts. So since everyone is facing financial trouble right now, raping women has become a cheap way to get wives.

One wonders where the government is when women are being raped from one year to another, crying out to no avail. Truth is, there are no strong structures in place which can potentially help these women: the legislations are weak and unpaid officials have no incentive to fight the practice. For instance, forced marriages, though deemed illegal, still happen widely. Women are still widely denied education and health care, which has caused them to also underestimate their own value in society, by simply always accepting where the men place them. "The biggest challenge for Congolese justice is that civilian and criminal courts do not exist in our villages," one civilian said. "In the village you only have customary tribunals and the judgment is rendered according to customs. It is very difficult for a tribal chief to renounce his tradition."

Human Rights’ Watch (HRW), an organization which has been very active in Congo and done a lot of work on the issue of rape, is very appalled that despite all the buzz and publicity, rape incidents are hardly reducing. In early 2009, HRW’s researcher, Kippenberg and her colleagues took on a new investigation. She focused on the 14th brigade of the Congolese Army, whose record illustrates some of the broader problems contributing to their own practice of sexual violence: internal divisions, chaotic chain of command, impunity, and poor living conditions for soldiers. Executive Director Kenneth Roth met with President Kabila in July 2009 and they made what he calls progress in anti rape strategy: a commitment to prosecute the perpetrators. Many cases have since been opened up and a few high profile officers prosecuted. HRW has also held public education sessions in Goma. "For justice to prevail," Kippenberg says, "senior military officials must continue to be investigated and prosecuted for sexual crimes."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited DR Congo in August 2009 and held meetings, during which rape was discussed in detail. She also met with the country’s president Joseph Kabila and announced that the problem of rape in Congo is not one that the country can fight alone; outside help is necessary. Clinton was horrified by what the women have suffered, and promised that the US government would help train local doctors and provide cameras so that the crimes were documented. She also pledged US$17 million in aid for victims of sexual violence.

In partnership with Human Rights Watch and other groups, Mathilde Muhindo, a former member of the Congolese parliament and founder of the Olame Center, has pressed the European Union, the United States, and others to address ongoing atrocities in eastern Congo. She led a coalition of local women’s organizations that advocated successfully for a comprehensive law on sexual violence. Muhindo has faced intimidation for her work but refuses to be silenced. Human Rights Watch honors Muhindo for her unfaltering dedication to the safety, health, and rights of often forgotten women in eastern Congo.

Sharon Muhwezi,