Human Rights Update: Three year anniversary of outbreak of conflict sees highest number of attacks directed against the civilian population of Southern Kordofan - June 2014

Report
from Sudan Consortium
Published on 30 Jun 2014 View Original

The Sudan Consortium works with a trusted group of local Sudanese partners who have been working on the ground in Southern Kordofan since the current conflict began in late 2011. All the attacks referred to in this report were launched against areas where there was no military presence and which were clearly identifiable as civilian in character. We believe that this information provides strong circumstantial evidence that civilians are being directly and deliberately targeted by the Sudanese armed forces in Southern Kordofan.

The Government of Sudan’s (GoS) military offensive against opposition forces of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan reached a new level of intensity during June, provoking increased concern over the fate of civilians in those areas.

Between 1 and 22 June, monitors on the ground recorded a total of 1,062 bombs2 and 1,229 artillery/rocket shells landing on or near civilian settlements in Southern Kordofan during the course of 82 separate attacks. This represents the highest number of attacks directed against the civilian population in Southern Kordofan since the conflict began in 2011.

Additionally, on 16 June, Sudanese government aircraft bombed a hospital run by the international organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). This follows a similar attack on the Mother of Mercy Hospital in South Kordofan at the beginning of May, an attack which was widely condemned by the international community.3 These repeated attacks on clearly marked medical facilities indicate that, at the very least, the Sudanese government is failing to take all feasible precautions to ensure that its attacks do not violate the protected status of these facilities under international humanitarian law. A more straightforward interpretation of the observed facts on the ground is that the hospitals are being deliberately targeted.

Human rights monitors in Southern Kordofan are also reporting increased concerns over the actions of Sudanese government ground forces, and in particular the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia.
Witnesses interviewed by the Sudan Consortium’s partners on the ground, allege that in recent weeks the RSF have been responsible for abduction, rape and extrajudicial killings of civilians as they advance into areas of Southern Kordofan previously under opposition control.