‘The Way Forward for Peace in Sudan’: DRDC letter to AU
The Geneva-based Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) has sent a “letter of concern“ to Ambassador Manuel Tomas Lubisse, Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) and UNECA Chairman, AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) for March 2014.
In the letter, of which a copy was received by Radio Dabanga on Saturday, the DRDC Executive Director, Abdelbagi Jibril, expresses the DRCD’s concerns that actions of the Sudanese government “reflect its intent more than its words”, pointing to President Al Bashir's call, in January, for a national dialogue and recent attacks in the war-torn regions of Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.
DRDC urges the AUPSC to ensure that all outstanding provisions of its previous resolutions and measures on Sudan are fully respected. The organisation considers the provisions on the implementation of the Framework Agreement of 28 June 2011 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, “the most effective means to achieve a just and durable peace in Sudan”.
Below the full text of the DRDC letter on “The Way Forward for Peace in Sudan”:
“Dear Ambassador Lubisse,
The Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) has the great honour in submitting this letter to you and to members of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) in anticipation of the meeting between the AUPSC and the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) mediation team headed by President Thabo Mbeki. This crucial meeting is meant to address the failed political negotiations between the government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N) on the situation in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile States.
In this regard, DRDC is pleased to inform you that during the last three sessions of the Civil Society Forum on Sudan and South Sudan, which were convened by DRDC in Addis Ababa in January and May 2013 as well as in January 2014, hundreds of activists from Sudan, South Sudan and Africa in addition to Sudan-focused civil society groups from the Arab World and Western Europe expressed their full support for the important work of AUPSC vis a vis the situation in Sudan. The participants at these sessions overwhelmingly encouraged the AUPSC to continue its efforts and approach for a comprehensive solution to the political crisis in Sudan. They expressed the views that the AUPSC, in coordination with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), should embark upon a robust action to address the situation.
Our recommendations were reached after we observed that during the past many years all attempts by the African Union and the international community to address the political and humanitarian crises in Sudan have failed. However we note, with grave concern, that due to the unsuccessful previous efforts, peace has failed to materialize and the suffering of the Sudanese people, has only intensified and expanded throughout the country, especially in regions that witness armed conflicts.
President Al Bashir's recent overture towards inclusive national dialogue to address Sudan's governance dilemma testifies to the government’s recognition of the need for political reform and a new approach to deal with the political crisis in the country. However, the President’s move seems to have created, among some political forces and observers alike, a dangerous sense of euphoria given events on the ground. Such unwarranted euphoria could detract from the real work that needs to be done to save lives and create stability in Sudan and the African sub-region.
While political negotiations were underway in Addis Ababa in February 2014 and while President Al Bashir was talking about peace and dialogue, aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force killed 15 civilians, including women and children, in the Nuba Mountains. Meanwhile, on 27 and 28 February 2014, the army and its support militia, the Janjaweed, attacked civilian populations in South Darfur State. This attack led to the death of hundreds of vulnerable villagers, the rape and abduction of tens of young women and girls, the destruction of more than 50 villages, and the forcible displacement of about 20,000 unarmed villagers. Multiple sources among the victims’ families expressed fears that the abduction of young women and girls is meant for sexual enslavement and forced labour.
DRDC is concerned that actions of the government of Sudan reflect its intent more than its words. DRDC, therefore, earnestly implores members of the AUPSC to approach issues of peace, governance and political transformation in Sudan with the appropriate sense of gravity and resolve that could finally yield a just response. This is necessary in order to end the crimes committed against millions of civilians in Sudan and to help implement international law already established to secure a better future for the country.
It is worth mentioning that acting under the mandatory Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 2046 on 2 May 2012, which states that GoS and the SPLM-N “shall extend full cooperation to the AUHIP and the Chair of IGAD, to reach a negotiated settlement on the basis of the 28 June 2011 Framework Agreement ...” Furthermore, Resolution 2046 expressed the intention of UNSC, “in the event that any or all of the parties have not complied with the decisions set forth in this resolution, to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the Charter as necessary.”
The 28 June 2011 Framework Agreement between the GoS and the SPLM-N required that the “Parties shall form a Joint Political Committee, which shall be facilitated by the AUHIP, to address all relevant issues related to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile including those requiring attention to national constitutional questions.” The June 28, 2011 Framework Agreement outlines in great detail the vision, guiding principles, agenda and programme of work necessary to achieve the objectives of recent negotiations and the expressed aspirations of government officials, opposition groups, civil society, and the Sudanese people at large to create an inclusive and comprehensive national political process. The agreement provides the mandate and role of AUHIP in this process and UNSC Resolution 2046 provides the unambiguous backing and authority of the international community to enforce the agreement.
DRDC urges the AUPSC, as it considers the way forward for Sudan, to review its previous resolutions and measures on Sudan and ensure that all outstanding provisions of these resolutions, especially those provisions on the implementation of the existing Framework Agreement of 28 June 2011 - as the most effective means to achieving a just and durable peace in Sudan and greater stability in the African sub-region - are fully respected.
While looking forward to hearing from you at the earliest convenience, please accept, Dear Ambassador Lubisse, the assurance of our highest respect and consideration.
Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director”