Escalating violence, displacement, and new political developments in the areas along Sudan’s periphery—Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile—are going largely unnoticed as international attention focuses on violence in South Sudan.
WASHINGTON — As South Sudan faces its worst violence since independence, a new Enough Project report urges policymakers to remain vigilant about new developments in Sudan, as armed conflict worsens in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile regions and risks going unnoticed. Senior Enough Project Advisor Omer Ismail and Enough Project Editor/Researcher Jacinth Planer's new report “Forgotten Wars: Sudan’s Periphery Smolders with Focus on South Sudan,” cautions policymakers against a potential binary perspective on conflict in the two Sudans, with the potential for conflict in one area to draw focus from deteriorating conditions elsewhere.
Amid escalating violence across South Sudan, to the north, South Kordofan has seen its highest number of bombings and civilian casualties in two years. Air strikes in Blue Nile state have increased in scale and deadliness with the use of new tactics and military equipment. Some 200,000 people are displaced from South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and in 2013 alone over 400,000 Darfuri people were displaced from their homes with heavy air strikes. As the numbers of displaced South Sudanese soar, so too are numbers of those displaced from conflict zones in Sudan. Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating rapidly for large numbers of displaced people who are stranded, with limited access to humanitarian aid, and flanked by violence on multiple sides, leaving them especially vulnerable.
Omer Ismail, Enough Project Advisor and co-author of the report, said:
“Civilians fleeing violence are vulnerable and caught between expanding war zones between Sudan and South Sudan. A disconnected perspective on one area—to the exclusion of others—cannot work. Core drivers of violence must be addressed in both countries, or the wars will continue with dangerous and destabilizing consequences.”
Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar, said:
"Maintaining focus on both Sudan and South Sudan at the same time remains essential. South Sudan has signed a cessation of hostilities and Sudan's President Bashir has spoken of peace talks with rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. There may be signs of hope, but the hardest diplomacy is ahead. Both countries merit more sustained attention."
John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-Founder, said:
"Ground attacks have been similarly violent in South Sudan and across the border, but the difference in Sudan is the aerial terror sown by the Sudanese Air Forces. As parties in South Sudan negotiate and monitor ceasefire agreements, our new report highlights a major government offensive in the Nuba Mountains."
Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on the urgent crisis unfolding in South Sudan. The U.S. has played a crucial role in supporting past peace efforts in Sudan and South Sudan over the past couple decades, and should continue that tradition now. There are a number of specific things the U.S. can do to make a real difference in supporting peace right now in South Sudan that I outline in my testimony. Read More »
As this year comes to a close we remember the moments, both good and bad, which shaped our ongoing work to end crimes against humanity and mass atrocities in 2013. Take a minute to reflect on the successes of this year and our continued efforts in 2014 to make strides toward peace. Read More »
On December 15, violent clashes erupted on the streets of Juba, South Sudan’s capital city. While the details surrounding the spark of the violence are unclear, it is already apparent that these clashes have the potential to destabilize the entire country. Despite the operational constraints posed by the U.S. embassy’s evacuation of all non-essential staff, the United States government can and must do more to help avert a return to civil war in South Sudan. In an open memorandum the Enough Project outlines possible steps the U.S. could take in addition to what is presently being done. Read More »