WILD magazine recently published an article, “Champions of Peace”, highlighting Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast and the scope of work that Enough does against genocide, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity. Read More »
On October 31, 2013, residents of the contested Abyei region that lies between Sudan and South Sudan announced the results of a historic unilateral referendum to join South Sudan. This Enough Project report contextualizes the Ngok Dinka community's vote to join South Sudan and calls for the U.S. and the African Union to take immediate action to help determine Abyei’s final status.
Enough Project Urges US and African Union to Act on Abyei
Frustrated residents of the contested Abyei region that lies between Sudan and South Sudan announced the results of a historic unilateral referendum on Thursday. A new Enough Project reportcontextualizes the Ngok Dinka community's vote to join South Sudan and calls for the U.S. and the African Union to take immediate action to help determine Abyei’s final status.
The fate of Abyei is one of the most important issues left unresolved since South Sudan became an independent state in 2011. The region is home to the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya, nomadic Arab herders, who migrate across the Abyei region twice a year. The two groups have lived there together in mutual interdependence, but a long history of unfulfilled promises for self-determination and the politicization of Abyei’s final status has raised tensions. In 2008 and 2011, Sudanese army attacks left towns burned to the ground, and resulted in the displacement of 120,000 people.
The report,"What Happens to a Dream Deferred" calls on the African Union to carry out its intended visit to the region, report on key findings, outline a clear timeline for a credible and internationally-sanctioned vote as called for in the African Union’s proposal, and hold Sudan to its existing wealth-sharing promises for Abyei.
Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst, and co-author of the report, says, "The people of Abyei's dreams have been deferred for too long. Unless the African Union makes it clear that it is willing to stand behind President Mbeki's proposal, violence could once again seize the region."
Over 99 percent of the Ngok Dinka who voted on the unilateral ballot expressed a desire to transfer the Abyei territory from Sudan’s sovereignty to South Sudanese control.The Misseriya tribe has now vowed to hold their own referendum to voice their desire to stay with Sudan.
Timothy May, Enough Project Field Researcher, and co-author of the report, says "The Sudanese government already owes both the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya 2% of the region's oil revenues since 2005. While they might not agree on the area's final status, both groups can work together to push Khartoum to turn over those funds, which could help develop their communities."
Neither Sudan nor South Sudan recognize the validity of the vote. The report authors explain that the Ngok Dinka’s unsanctioned vote is an expression of collective will and should be seen as a precursor to an internationally-recognized referendum for the disputed area.
John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-Founder, explains, "Abyei's peace can be secured only by honoring the multiple past agreements allowing its residents to vote on their future. The UN peacekeeping mission led by Ethiopia acts as a deterrent to armed conflict, but they cannot stay forever. The international community must use this moment to support a lasting resolution."
Last year, I met Chelsea Strelser when I attended my first meeting for William & Mary’s STAND chapter. Fresh off a summer internship with the Enough Project, I was excited to begin combating mass atrocities and genocide across the globe. Read More »
The last two times the Sudan government perpetrated horrific attacks against civilian populations in the disputed territory of Abyei, a Connecticut-sized political football contested by both Sudan and South Sudan, we visited with the survivors after the fact. Read More »
New Report: UN, US should address FDLR and M23 rebel threats in Congo
A new Enough Project report argues that the United Nations and U.S. government should address regional security threats in Africa's Great Lakes region by working with Congo, Rwanda, and the U.N. Intervention Brigade to contain the rebel groups Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, and M23. “Taking Back Eastern Congo: Comprehensively Addressing the FDLR and M23 Rebel Groups” discusses Congo and Rwanda’s most prominent security concerns, blending analysis, field research, and interviews in Goma and the surrounding region.
The report also provides recommendations for regional envoys. These recommendations include promoting a sustained focus on core security issues; developing disarmament and reintegration plans for the M23 and Congolese armed groups; and improving operational intelligence, humanitarian measures as well as public outreach for the U.N. peacekeeping mission and new intervention brigade.
The report takes stock of the strength levels and recent battlefield dynamics involving two key rebel groups with different connections to Rwanda that shape security concerns for governments on both sides of the Congo-Rwanda border. The FDLR is headed by some of the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and it has attacked Rwanda in the past year. Kigali believes the FDLR poses an existential security threat. The M23 is an offshoot of several previous rebel groups, and the U.N. and other groups have linked it to the Rwandan government, but Kigali denies the link. “Taking Back Eastern Congo” argues that neutralizing a weakened FDLR through a more robust and comprehensive strategy could mitigate Rwanda’s security concerns in eastern Congo. Alleviating these Rwandan security concerns could, in turn, result in a more rapid solution to the M23.
Goma-based Enough Project field researcher and report co-author Timo Mueller says, “As the U.N. peacekeeping force and the Intervention Brigade work to improve their capabilities on the ground, it is also as important that the U.N., U.S., African Union, and European Union envoys encourage substantive talks to take place as soon as possible on the security interests of states in the region, including support for rebel groups.”
Enough Project field researcher and report co-author Fidel Bafilemba adds,“The people of eastern Congo have been bearing the brunt of the many atrocities of the FDLR rebel group. Regional leaders must finally commit to resolving this issue once and for all.”
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.