Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Issues Human Security Alert for Sudan's South Kordofan and Abyei
The Satellite Sentinel Project, which George Clooney founded along with John Prendergast in 2010, is issuing a human security warning for civilians living south of Kadugli in Sudan’s South Kordofan state and for those in the hotly contested Abyei area. Satellite images reviewed by DigitalGlobe Analytics show unusually high levels of activity at several Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, military installations in Sudan’s North and South Kordofan states, which could signal planned deployments toward several locations, including the highly contested Abyei area. DigitalGlobe satellite imagery also corroborates earlier reports of SAF destruction at Buram bridge in September 2013. The bridge destruction isolates two rebel-held towns, Tess and Buram, leaving civilians vulnerable to attack from SAF troops based nearby.
The destruction of Buram bridge, the increased troop buildup, and the appearance of new ground and air materiel at several military installations collectively point to a possible new SAF military campaign before the end of the rainy season. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese civilians in South Kordofan are potentially at risk.
Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project said:
“Our ongoing satellite surveillance of Sudan can do more than document abuses after they happen. By combining credible information from citizen journalists in South Kordofan with analysis of satellite imagery, we're shining a spotlight on the potential for an attack, even before troops deploy. ”
Satellite Sentinel Project Co-Founder John Prendergast added,
“The Sudanese government has repeatedly bombed this area and denied humanitarian access to people for years. The military buildup that is growing at once across several areas is a chilling indication of what could quickly escalate, particularly with the planned referendum in Abyei. The international community must send a strong signal to the Sudanese government it will not tolerate attacks on innocent Sudanese civilians and the deliberate destruction of homes and farmland.”
DigitalGlobe satellites and the Enough Project analysts will continue to monitor the Abyei area and watch for increased activity near Buram and Kadugli. The Satellite Sentinel Project will issue additional alerts on signs of the Sudanese army's southbound movement.
United Nations has partnered with the UK to launch a powerful new political campaign to end rape in war. Already, 128 countries have publicly committed themselves to a new Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. It promotes women’s full participation in peace negotiations. In doing so, the declaration casts women as more than victims of sexual assault during conflict who require restitution. Instead, it envisions them as peacemakers and change agents for their countries' futures. Read More »
Sudan Minister Speaks on Resilience As Dire Need in Nuba Mountains Made Public
WASHINGTON -- Today, Sudan’s Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamad takes the platform to speak on “Strengthening the Resilience of Communities” at the International Peace Institute in New York. In recent weeks, Hamad has himself challenged the resilience of Sudanese people by supervising the government’s brutal repression of peaceful demonstrators, activists, press, and civil society organizations. Although hundreds were killed in the streets and at least a thousand remain detained by state security, Hamad, whose government shut down the internet for almost a day, still publicly claims that the grisly photos leaking out on social media are being recycled from the Egyptian revolution. Hamad’s responsibility extends beyond the recent crackdown; he also handles negotiations on humanitarian access to civilians living in war-torn Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The Enough Project has made public the pressing humanitarian needs of 800,000 civilians still living in rebel-held part of Sudan’s South Kordofan state in its new report, “Life in the Nuba Mountains.” The facts in the report challenge Hamad’s narrative on the government’s efforts to promote and strengthen resilience with the release of a new policy brief and report about the humanitarian condition of people living in the Nuba Mountains area. Hamad’s work, and his government’s policies throughout Sudan have had devastating consequences for the Sudanese people, particularly those in the country’s war-torn border regions. The report, which is based on research secretly conducted in rebel-held parts of South Kordofan, which experience aerial bombardment on a daily basis, proposes a set of immediate humanitarian interventions to support those struggling for survival. The Enough Project’s accompanying policy brief, “Aid as a Weapon of War in Sudan,” contextualizes the situation and argues that the Sudanese government’s ongoing manipulation of aid access across the country offers another reason for the adoption of a comprehensive approach to the problems affecting Sudan.
“For decades my people have been living off the land and providing for themselves despite drought and conflict,” says Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, the bishop of Kadugli diocese “Now they face bombings timed specifically so that they are prevented from planting their crops and tending their fields. Adults go hungry so that their children can eat. But many still continue to die from hunger and diseases. Thousands of children are living in caves in the mountains without education. People are living life under siege and in constant fear.”
Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast said, "The Sudan regime continues to use the denial of humanitarian aid as a weapon of war. The result of this is a steady diminishing of the capacity of Nuba communities to cope with this imposed deprivation. It is a most cynical approach to warfare, slowly bleeding the people of their ability to survive. The international community must become more robust in its efforts to break this humanitarian blockade. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese lives depend on it."
The “Life in the Nuba Mountains” report finds that households in the region are cultivating 73 percent less land than they were before the conflict erupted. These patterns amplify the recent findings of the Sudan Consortium, which tracked the timing of bombing attacks in both 2012 and 2013 and found evidence of a deliberate and ongoing intention to disrupt the planting and harvesting of food crops. Currently, in South Kordofan, 62% of adults are restricting their own food consumption so that children can eat. 43% of surveyed households do not even have enough food to last a week. 83% of those surveyed say they are reducing the number of meals they eat around 3.5 times a week to cope with the lack of food, 80% are limiting the portion sizes with similar frequency.
Steven Hansch, an expert on humanitarian aid with Relief International, reviewed the report’s methodology and findings. He found “the researchers’ assessment techniques are consistent with international practice and the analysis covers hunger, water access, education, health care, displacement, sanitation issues --- metrics that effectively capture a snapshot of life in the area.”
Life in the Nuba Mountains” argues that concrete steps, such as food distribution, agricultural support, hand pump repairs, and latrine construction, could alleviate these immediate food, health, and sanitation needs, as well as improve the long-term ability to cultivate the land. The policy brief augments this argument, highlighting that the current isolated negotiations for access to conflict regions must be brought under one umbrella conversation about ending the war in South Kordofan, Darfur and Blue Nile. Otherwise, Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project argues, “the Sudanese government will continue to wield aid as a weapon of war and the urgent humanitarian needs identified in the “Life in the Nuba Mountains” report will remain unmet.”
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
Enough Project Announces Release of Arabic Language Report
WASHINGTON – The Enough Project announces today the release of an Arabic translation of our report on the economic imperatives of escalating violence in Darfur. The report, “Economics of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur,” is based on research from a trip to the region earlier this year, and confirms that the Sudanese government is sponsoring violent clashes to strategically pacify restless janjaweed militias and consolidate economic control over Darfur’s rich natural resources.
The release of the report in Arabic is a demonstration of the Enough Project’s efforts to reach beyond our English-speaking audience and make our research on patterns of recent violence in Sudan accessible to the Sudanese public. As mass protests spread across Sudan, we hope that our report can be a resource to Arabic-speaking scholars, civil society and activists about events unfolding far from the capital, in Darfur.
The gate into the town of Abyei, located on the contested border between Sudan and South Sudan, is raised. An Ethiopian peacekeeper sits in the shade of a bunker laced with razor wire. He’s devoid of rifle or helmet. Read More »