UN Security Council must do more to protect civilians in Sudan

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Civilians killed in air raids on villages

Göttingen, 04. Januar 2012

Considering the continued attacks on villages in South Kordofan by the Sudanese air force, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) appealed to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, to advocate for an immediate stop to the attacks on civilian targets in Sudan. Also, Sudan must be urged to give humanitarian aid workers free access to the conflict areas in the provinces of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. More than 300.000 civilians are affected by the armed conflict between the Sudanese army and the liberation movement SPLM-North and cannot be provided with supplies. The STP did not only address the request to the South African presidency of the Security Council but also to the German UN ambassador, since Germany has already campaigned at the World Security Council for a better protection of women and children in armed conflicts.

In South Kordofan, four villages were bombed by the Sudanese air force since the second of January, 2012. During the attacks on the villages of Al Buram, Kao, Naro and Warli, at least seven civilians were killed, eight people injured and 28 houses burned down. There was also a mosque destroyed during the attack on Warli. Air raids on villages were also continued in the Blue Nile province. Since mid-December 2011, approximately 50.000 people fled from their settlements and are now dependent on emergency aid alone in the west of this province.

"The continued indiscriminate bombing of the civilian population, the destruction of market places, churches, mosques and homes are crimes against humanity – not even to be justified by trying to fight the rebel group SPLM-North," says the STP's letter to the Security Council and the German UN Ambassador. Even Sudan must abide by international laws of warfare when fighting insurgents. "The protection of the civilian population must have absolute priority," said the STP's expert on questions regarding Africa, Ulrich Delius. "Random measures of punishment and intimidation – like those of the last few days – do not help to maintain law and order or to effectively deal with armed rebel groups."

The STP states that the targeted bombing of civilians was practiced by the Sudanese air force in military conflicts in Darfur and southern Sudan years before. The government is therefore systematically violating international humanitarian law.

Ulrich Delius can be reached under +49 (0)551-49906-27.

Translated by Robert Kurth.