Emergency Relief Coordinator’s key messages on South Kordofan
6 JULY 2011 • Issue Number 2
I. Key Messages
I am concerned about the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan. All parties to the conflict are exhibiting total disregard for civilians, who are being killed, injured, terrorized and displaced by repeated attacks, including aerial bombardments. I am especially troubled by as yet unverified but credible reports of disappearances of civilians, extra-judicial killings and mass graves.
I am also increasingly disturbed by the lack of information about the whereabouts and well-being of the 7,000 people who had sought refuge in the UNMIS camp in Kadugli, and were forcibly relocated from the safety of that compound by men bearing the emblem of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society. We need to know where these people are, and the reasons for their relocation.
UN humanitarian agencies have been asking the Government of Sudan for access to affected areas in South Kordofan for weeks, but the Government has only allowed international staff to visit limited areas in Kadugli. These restrictions on our access are seriously impeding our ability to assist the people in South Kordofan. Many of the 1.4 million residents of the affected areas are in need of humanitarian aid, and at least 75,000 people have been displaced. While we appreciate the concern of the Government of Sudan for the security of UN staff, the UN routinely conducts its own security assessments around the world and is therefore capable of determining where it is safe to operate.
In addition to the failure of all parties to respect and protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law, I am disturbed by the failure of parties to the conflict to respect UN assets, and particularly by the theft of UN property and damage and destruction to UN offices. It is incumbent on the Government to respect and protect aid workers and UN assets.
The conflict in South Kordofan has prevented entire communities from planting their fields. Reports that civilians trying to cultivate their land are being targeted reinforce the concern that civilians are losing their only means of survival in an environment where they are also being deprived of humanitarian aid.
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