FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – For more than a year, the government of Sudan has targeted its own civilian populations and denied humanitarian access into Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, causing a humanitarian crisis comparable to that of Darfur less than a decade ago. It is time for the international community to act under the responsibility to protect, or R2P, doctrine and ensure aid delivery to Sudanese civilians with or without the government’s permission, argues a new Enough Project report.
The U.N. estimates that nearly 700,000 civilians are internally displaced or severely affected by the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and an additional quarter of a million people have fled the two states crossing the border into South Sudan or Ethiopia.
The international community has tried to ensure the delivery of aid into these areas through various diplomatic efforts, but to no avail. Most recently in August, the government of Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with the “Tripartite Partners”—U.N., African Union, and League of Arab States—providing for the development and implementation of an action plan for humanitarian aid delivery throughout the two states. Over a month after the MOU’s conclusion, there is still no international aid reaching civilians in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
"The course of events over the past year makes clear that the international community's diplomatic efforts to negotiate with the government of Sudan for unhindered humanitarian access throughout the two states will not result in the delivery of aid,” said Jennifer Christian, author of the report and Enough Project policy analyst. “Under the responsibility to protect doctrine, the international community now has an obligation to ensure international humanitarian aid reaches civilians throughout South Kordofan and Blue Nile by whatever means necessary. Discussions should begin immediately over a comprehensive plan to deliver international, cross-border humanitarian assistance throughout the two states without the permission of the government of Sudan."
The report argues that under R2P doctrine, the burden to protect individuals within the state of Sudan has shifted to the international community. Because Sudan has failed to respond to diplomatic efforts, the international community may take collective measures under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. The Enough Project is not calling for military intervention, but rather for the successful delivery of international humanitarian aid to starving Sudanese civilians.
“The government of Sudan is brazenly denying its own people access to humanitarian aid,” said John Bradshaw, Enough Project Executive Director. “If the responsibility to protect doctrine is to have any meaning, the international community has to step up in a situation like this and ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Blue Nile and South Kordofan by whatever means possible.”
Read the full report: “Shifting the Burden: The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine and the Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.