Khartoum threatens NGOs in South Kordofan and Darfur with expulsion
By Toby Collins
July 11, 2011 (LONDON) – North Sudan’s secretary for the political sector threatened Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) operating in Kordofan and Darfur with penalties or expulsion on Monday.
Gudbi-Al Mahadi, of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is reported by the pro-Khartoum Sudanese Media Centre as threatening NGOs with “legal penalties” and “halting of activities” as some were “found providing logistical support to insurgents”.
No evidence was provided to support the allegations against the NGOs. But officials from the ruling party said they do not want a repeat in South Kordofan of the large humanitarian presence and the creation of camps for the displaced civilians, as has happened in Darfur.
In 2009 the Sudanese government expelled ten humanitarian organisations from Darfur, claiming they had been collaborating with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had recently issued a warrant for Sudan’s president and two others for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Mahadi’s threats come two days after South Sudan celebrates its statehood and as the conflict in Kordofan continues with limited humanitarian aid access.
The recently elected governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun, is also wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
Four international and Sudanese rights groups urged today the African Commission on Human Rights to press the Khartoum government to halt human rights abuses in Southern Kordofan.
Human Rights Watch, Interights, REDRESS, and the Sudan Democracy First Group accused the Sudanese government of carrying out attacks on civilians since the start of clashes, last June, between the regular army and forces aligned to the Sundan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) - now the official army of South Sudan. During the civil war Northern Sudanese from Kordofan joined the SPLA in its conflict with Khartoum.
The organisations said that Khartoum blocked access to the affected areas and prevented "the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and other international agencies from providing humanitarian assistance, helping to protect civilians, and monitoring the human rights situation. Government security forces have arbitrarily arrested and detained UN national staff."
"We want African political and human rights bodies to heed the international calls for a fact-finding mission to South Kordofan to investigate the scale of violations, identify those responsible, and ensure accountability and justice for abuses,” said Monim El Jack, co-founder of the Sudan Democracy First Group.
UN agencies estimate that over 75,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were forced to flee their villages since the start of hostilities in the oil producing region in June. The UNOCHA further says "many of the 1.4 million residents of the affected areas are in need of humanitarian aid".
The Sudan Social Development Organization, UK said it received reports from IPDs attesting that the fighting between the SAF and the SPLA of South Kordofan remains unabated.
SAF, according to independent group, took a garrison point in Delami on 9 July and 35,000 of its residents were evacuated on 10 July.
Er Rahad Emergency Committee which has been working with the IDPs said it does not have sufficient supplies to meet their needs.
Heiban County SPLM chairperson, Younan Albarut Ajour, said Khartoum had shut down the Norwegian Church Aid/government mobile network in Nuba Mountains on 2 July “in order not to allow the world to know what is going on in the region.”
On 5 June fighting broke out between SAF and SPLA troops in the tumultuous South Kordofan region. Many of the residents of the region are Nuba who fought in the civil war between North and South Sudan, against the North. They now find themselves neighbours to South Sudan. Khartoum has allegedly been carrying out house to house killings based upon ethnicity and political affiliation.
On 28 June an accord was singed by North and South Sudan, which has proved ineffective, and has been dismissed by the NCP leadership.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a statement on 8 July stating “humanitarian workers have restricted access to South Kordofan, which makes both assessment and assistance extremely difficult“.