Today, the Enough Project released its latest policy brief that discusses the implications of the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, signing separate memoranda of understanding, or MOUs, with the Tripartite Partners—comprised of the U.N., African Union, and League of Arab States.
The U.N. estimates that over the past year more than 700,000 people have been internally displaced or severely affected by the ongoing fighting between the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N in these border regions, and many people remain trapped with little or no access to international humanitarian aid. Additionally, the government of Sudan has launched extensive bombing campaigns against these SPLM-N controlled regions forcing thousands to flee. Therefore, the signing of the two MOUs is significant because it represents a “positive first step forward in securing unfettered access for international human aid organizations to conflict-affected populations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.”
Despite this progress, there are notable differences in the language of both MOUs. The Enough policy brief focuses primarily on these discrepancies and provides recommendations on how the international community should respond moving forward.
The critical discrepancies between the two MOUs include:
- The degree of control that the government of Sudan shall exercise over humanitarian operations in the two states;
- The steps required prior to the deployment of international humanitarian assessment teams to the two states;
- The period of time during which the MOUs remain effective; and
- The critical modalities related to a cessation of hostilities in the two states.
In response to these discrepancies, Enough recommends that the international community:
- Remains constantly engaged with the implementation of the two MOUs, paying particular attention to any indications that the government of Sudan intends to use sovereignty as a pretext for the continued denial of humanitarian aid to the civilian populations of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
- Immediately takes steps to deploy an assessment team comprised of representatives from the Tripartite Partners to all conflict-affected areas no later than August 18, 2012.
- Exercises concerted diplomatic pressure on both the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N to remain committed to a cessation of hostilities in all conflict-affected areas, not just those areas in which aid operations are underway. Efforts must also ensure that both MOUs are renewed as necessary and in a timely fashion.
- Applies pressure on the government of Sudan to directly negotiate the terms of a comprehensive ceasefire agreement with the SPLM-N and the other militarily active components of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF.
Photo: Refugees who fled the ongoing violence in Blue Nile state arrive at Batil refugee camp, across the border in South Sudan. (Amanda Hsiao/ Enough Project)