Archive for September 22, 2011


By Yasser Arman, Washington DC, USA.YasirArman.jpg
Yasir Arman

Congressman Wolf, Congressman McGovern, Members of the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, I very much appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the ongoing human rights violations in Sudan.

For the last twenty-five years, I have been actively engaged in the struggle of the Sudanese people to achieve a just peace and democracy in Sudan and to recognize diversity of all forms. My political activism and support for human rights in Sudan began as a student when I left Khartoum and joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under the leadership of Dr. John Garang. I was one of the few Northern Sudanese leaders who were part of the SPLM leadership. I served as spokesperson for the SPLM until 2005, when after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; I became the Deputy Secretary General of the SPLM.

I was the SPLM candidate for President of Sudan running against President Omar al Bashir until I withdrew due to the rigging of the elections. After the separation of South Sudan from the North, I continued as the number 3 person in the SPLM -North.

I have only recently arrived in the United States from Sudan, so I will be able to provide this Commission and the US Congress with updated reports on the current situation. But I would first like to place the current events into historical context.

In the last century and in this century, four historic events that threatened the stability and the welfare and well-being of human kind. These are World Wars I and II, the Cold War and, most recently, the War on Terror. The government of the National Congress Party and Bashir has effectively been involved in the fourth event.

Sudan, under the rule of the National Congress and President Bashir, has been a refuge for the leaders of the world terrorist organizations including Osama bin Laden and Iman Alshwahry. These and other terrorists, who pose a threat not only to Sudan but to international peace and stability including the U.S., were welcomed to live and operate in Sudan.sudan_eyre.jpg

Malik Agar Eyre

It is significant that terrorism started with the Sudanese people and then extended worldwide. The NCP and Bashir started a war against Southern Sudan and Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile and they extended it to Eastern Sudan and Darfur. There was no segment of Sudanese society that they did not fight or marginalize. They dismissed thousands of army officers, professionals, trade unionists, and they destroyed the lives of thousands of farmers and workers throughout Sudan.

As a result, more than two million Sudanese people from different parts of Sudan lost their lives in the long war in Southern Sudan and many parts of Northern Sudan, and in particular, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan.

Despite the International Criminal Court’s resolution to indict Bashir and Ahmed Haroun, they still rule Sudan and Southern Kordofan in a challenge to the international community and the human conscious.

The National Congress is a fascist group determined to impose their ideology in the name of Islam. Politicized Islam is an agenda for them to use to stay in power by iron and blood. Their Islamic first republic ended up by dividing Sudan into two countries. The new version of the second Islamic republic will further divide Sudan if they stay in power.

The new Islamic republic started by launching the war against Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains. The result has been the displacement of more than three hundred thousand people in the three areas: Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and Abyei. These atrocities are happening in front of the eyes of all those who are advocating for human rights, rule of law, justice, democracy and human dignity. That is why it is so important for this Commission to focus on these events.

The National Congress does not care about the will of humanity. As we are talking now, more than one hundred forty leaders of the SPLM-N have been arrested and are being detained. Among them are Salwa Adam Benia, the Chairperson of the SPLM in Gadarif State; Adam Ali, the Chairman of the SPLM in Northern Kordofan; and, Abed Monim Rahma, a poet and a writer who is being detained and tortured in Blue Nile.

Thousands were tortured and killed in Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile and many are in custody and in the ghost houses of the National Congress in different parts of Sudan.

The National Congress leaders formed a committee headed by Hajmajed Suor, the Minister of Sports, to relocate the mass graves in the Nuba Mountains that hold more than five thousand civilians who were massacred in cold blood.

All that is taking place right now in Sudan, including in Nuba Mountains and Southern Kordofan. That is why it is so important for the Congress of the people of the United States to break their silence on the atrocities, genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place on a daily basis in Sudan.

At the same time that we are meeting now, the National Congress air force is targeting the civilian populations on a daily basis – killing and displacing them. Thus, we count on you to lead the international community to put an end to these atrocities by imposing a no-fly zone from Darfur to Blue Nile. That is the only way to protect millions of Sudanese civilians.

In our experience and in your experience, it has become obvious that The National Congress does not respond to niceties; they respond only to pressures. The United States has been a leader worldwide that helped to bring relative peace to Sudan. These efforts must not cease. It is time, now more than ever before, to put an end to the humiliations against Sudanese people for more than two decades that resulted in killings of more than two million and the displacements of millions of Sudanese people inside and outside of Sudan.

The United States is home to thousands of Sudanese who have found refuge in your great country and even more will seek refuge if we do not put an end to the rule of a dictator who is wanted by the ICC. Within Sudan, civil society organizations and indigenous NGO’s such as Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile People’s Association and Kush, Inc. need to be assisted to carry out their noble mission.

If we do not stop the National Congress, we may soon see their war agenda extend to a war between the South and the North. That course is already being openly propagated in the media and in the newspapers controlled by the fanatic leaders of the National Congress. They are on record advocating such a course in daily newspapers such as Alntbaha Newspaper. The editor-in-chief of that newspaper is none other than the uncle of the Sudanese President.

The National Congress seeks to use violence and war to maintain their grip on power. They want to take Sudanese people to war to avoid the many the economic and political problems that they created. They talking a lot about the new Republic of South Sudan as an escape goat for their own problems, but it is worth mentioning that the problems in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile started twenty-two years ago, which is long before the Republic of South Sudan was born. Also, significantly, the war in Darfur is ten years older than the Republic of South Sudan.

In fact, they started the present war in Nuba Mountains a month before the Republic of South Sudan came into being. As a result of the attacks and the violence, it is essential that South Sudan and the neighborhood of Sudan must be assisted to help thousands of refugees from Northern Sudan.

After a long struggle and fight by Sudanese people against NCP rule for twenty years, the Sudanese people, with the support of the regional and international communities, achieved peace with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Navasha. This peace agreement aimed to achieve three main objectives: First, the transformation of policies in Khartoum from war to peace, from dictatorship to democracy and to restructure the center of power; Second, to base unity on the free will of Sudanese people by allowing Southern Sudanese to exercise their right for self determination, and, Third, to resolve the issue of the three areas.

After a long struggle, only one of these goals has been achieved and that was the right of self-determination. Khartoum remains the same and the problem of the three areas has not been resolved. Even the independence of South Sudan remains unfinished business to Khartoum, which resumed fighting in the three areas, is strengthening its grip in the center, and is currently threatening to take war into South Sudan.

What does that mean? It means more than three hundred thousand people have been displaced in the three areas; an elected governor of Blue Nile has been removed; SPLM-N is being banned; the war is extending from Darfur to Blue Nile in the new South; diversity is being denied and unrecognized; genocide, ethnic cleansing and mass graves are the policy of the day in Southern Kordofan under a governor who is wanted by the ICC and assigned by the NCP to carry-out the policies he practiced before in Darfur; thousands of civilians are being denied access to humanitarian assistance and there is a complete silence worldwide.

Many lost their lives and/or were tortured and detained by orders coming from the Head of State, President Bashir, who, it should be stressed, is wanted by the ICC.

Despite the regional and international effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement that resulted in the Addis Ababa framework agreement, there are some who are asking that he be rewarded.

The SPLM-N exerted all efforts possible to allow the possibility of reaching a peaceful settlement through the Addis Ababa peace process, which ended in vain after being disowned by Bashir. Given this painful experience, we believe the only way left for the Sudanese people is to overthrow the National Congress regime and Bashir.

The question of who is going to replace Bashir is indeed significant and is sometimes even used as an argument to keep him in power, claiming that their might be chaos if he is removed. This is not a worthy position. Sudan is a country that is seven thousand years old. It is much older than Bashir and its fate and future cannot lie on a man who is wanted by the ICC. The Sudanese political life and political actors are much more mature than in many countries that have recently witnessed change.

In fact, Sudan deposed two dictatorial regimes in 1964 and 1985 by popular uprisings. Sudan has had multi-partisan and armed national liberation struggles for many decades in search for freedom and human dignity. Sudan has more mature political organizations with a clear agenda than many other countries. The Sudanese political forces are deeply engaged in a political dialogue that will very soon result in an umbrella for change and for democracy and peace. Without question, this should be supported by the international community.

The United States has been in the forefront in support of democracy and peace in Sudan. That should be the case today. Those are the values shared between the peoples of the United States and Sudan. Permanent peace can only be attained within Northern Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan when there is a democratic government in the Northern Sudan and there are two systems that share the same values in the two countries.

If the National Congress and Bashir continue to remain in power, that is formula for the continuation of war, misery, marginalization, discrimination, genocide and ethnic cleansing. We have to choose between this and the rule of law and democracy. We believe in the people of Northern Sudan, they deserve a system that can cater for their dignity and human rights and that would definitely be supported by the United States of America.

My colleagues and I, in the SPLM-N, believe that Sudan, the region and the world would be better off without Bashir and the National Congress and that Sudan can be re-united again in a union of two independent countries. Sudan can establish strategic relations with its neighbors and can contribute to the peace and the stability worldwide without Bashir and the National Congress.

The most critical issues for us, especially those Sudanese who have opposed Bashir for the last twenty-two years and who are the massive majority, are that we would like to see, on behalf of those who are suffering, that humanitarian assistance should be delivered to the needy people. Such assistance must be provided without allowing Bashir and the National Congress to deny access for relief operations. In addition, there is a need for an independent international investigation on genocide and ethnic cleansing particularly in the Nuba Mountains. It has been proven beyond doubt that the will of the international community to protect civilians can do wonders in the interest of humanity and therefore we call for a no-fly zone to protect the civilians in the zone that extends from Darfur to Blue Nile.

We would like our friends all over the world to continue to defend the rights of Sudanese people for democracy and a just peace. The Congress of the United States has been at the forefront in defending our rights, and indeed names like Congressmen Donald Payne, Frank Wolf, and Jim McGovern hold places of honor in the hearts and minds of the Sudanese people.

Finally, let me express my gratitude and honor for this rare and historic opportunity. It means a lot to the Sudanese people, and for that, I thank you.

Heavy fighting across Sudan conflict state, ‘dozens killed’

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

By Simon Martelli (AFP) – 7 hours ago

KHARTOUM — Clashes between troops and rebels in Sudan’s war-torn state of South Kordofan Thursday killed dozens of people, UN and rebel sources said, with an NGO worker reportedly among the dead.

Rebels from the SPLM-North attacked a checkpoint in the Kurgul area, around 35 kilometres (20 miles) south of Deleng, reportedly killing 12 Sudanese soldiers at around 0530 GMT, a UN source told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Three vehicles were caught in the crossfire, including two private buses and a car belonging to an international NGO, in which a Sudanese staff member was killed and his driver seriously wounded, the source added.

The road, the main land route to South Kordofan state’s capital Kadugli, runs through a mountainous area known to host SPLM-North rebels.

Fighting between the Sudanese army and SPLM/A militiamen in South Kordofan broke out in June, just one month before the independence of South Sudan.

Separate clashes on Thursday indicate that four months later the conflict, which was apparently triggered by the army’s insistence on disarming SPLA elements, is still intense.

The SPLM/A fought with the former rebel army of the south during their decades-long war with Khartoum.

Earlier, the rebels and the army reported heavy fighting in the state’s eastern Rashad district, with both claiming to have killed dozens on the opposing side.

A spokesman for the SPLM-North said they had killed around 60 soldiers in the early-morning attack on an army position.

“The SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) launched a heavy attack in the Rashad area early this morning,” rebel spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi told AFP.

“They killed 60 SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) troops and destroyed 13 mounted land cruisers,” he added.

A number of rebels had also been killed, he said, without elaborating.

The commissioner of Rashad district, Khaled Mukhtar, quoted by the semi-official Sudan Media Centre website, confirmed that the SPLA had launched a surprise attack on the army, near the border with South Sudan.

But he said the rebels had suffered heavy losses.

“More than 30 of them were killed, among them an officer, and two fighters were taken prisoner,” and the army had also captured a large amount of weapons, Mukhtar said.

It has been very difficult to get independent information on the border conflict, with the UN peacekeeping mission disbanded in July and most international NGOs denied access to the region.

Another SPLM source said on Thursday that the Sudanese air force had bombed a village near the town of Talodi, where clashes were reported earlier this week, and that a local leader had been killed.

“The village does not have any military presence, and the raid seems to have been carried out because the villagers refused to join the Popular Defence Force,” Gamar Delman said, referring to the feared militia that is now part of the Sudanese army.

Khartoum has sought to reassert its authority within its new borders since South Sudan’s recognition as the world’s newest nation on July 9, moving to disarm troops outside its control.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where a similar conflict broke out on September 2, are located just north of Sudan’s new international border.

But they both have large numbers of SPLM-North supporters and troops, who have historic political ties to Khartoum’s former civil war enemies, now the ruling party in Juba.

Earlier this week, the UN human rights envoy for Sudan warned that the ongoing violence in the border region could jeopardise peace between north and south.

“Sudan and South Sudan cannot be at peace if the border areas between the two countries remain mired in armed conflict,” Mohamed Chande Othman told the UN Human Rights Council.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jZtLzi_8vGUnQWiupAbi6-5DAA8w?docId=CNG.1373c81d803a20fc4869b3fddebdbd84.311

Sudan Clashes Resume in Southern Kordofan State, SMC Reports

By Salma El Wardany – Sep 23, 2011

Thirty people were killed in clashes between the Sudanese army and rebels in Southern Kordofan State near the border with newly independent South Sudan, the state-run Sudanese Media Center reported.

Violence erupted late yesterday in Sudan’s main oil- producing state, according to SMC, as government forces fought members of the northern branch of the ruling party in South Sudan. Gamar Dalman, spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

Fighting in the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile started after President Umar al-Bashir’s government tried to disarm soldiers who fought during a two-decade civil war alongside the forces of South Sudan, which gained independence on July 9.

As many as 150,000 people have fled their homes in Southern Kordofan since June 5, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Fighting this month in Blue Nile state has displaced about 100,000 people, the United Nations News Centre reported on Sept. 13.

In an Aug. 15 report, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity and war crimes, allegedly committed mainly by government forces, during clashes in Southern Kordofan with insurgents from SPLM-N.

Southern Kordofan accounts for 115,000 barrels a day in crude production, according to Sudan’s minister of state for oil, Ali Ahmed Osman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Khartoum at selwardany@bloomberg.net

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-23/sudan-clashes-resume-in-southern-kordofan-state-smc-reports.html


South Sudan has officially existed as an independent country since July 9. Now it also exists on Google Maps

The absence of South Sudan on Google Maps, and the majority of Internet maps, has frustrated citizens of the new country. As early as July 14, Google answered questions about the missing border with assurances that it was in the process of making the update.

“That’s nice,” John Tanza Mabusu, a broadcast journalist who fled Sudan in 1991 and now lives in Washington, D.C., told Mashable 47 days after South Sudan became a country. “But I would still argue that it’s too late to start talking about that because since the 9th of July, if they were serious, we would have seen the signs of their work.”

Mabusu started a Change.org petition urging Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and National Geographic to update their maps. The petition collected more than 1,600 signatures.

Google is the first of those companies to update its maps. Spokespeople from Yahoo and Mapquest have pointed to map data providers such as NAVTEQ, which has said that it is “currently assessing plans” and cited time-consuming detailed planning.

“I’m hoping that now that Google has officially recognized South Sudan on their maps, the other major online mapping services will quickly follow suit,” Mabusu said in a statement. “The people of South Sudan fought long and hard for their independence and suffered greatly. It’s time these maps reflect their efforts and catch up.”

http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/south-sudan-google-maps/

22 September 2011 Last updated at 11:33 ET

Google puts South Sudan on the map following campaign

South Sudan Google Map

Google has recognised the newly independent nation of South Sudan by including it on Google Maps.

The online separation from Sudan followed a campaign by 1,600 members of the group Change.org, calling for the new nation to be marked on web maps.

But South Sudan is still missing from Yahoo!, Microsoft and National Geographic maps.

It became independent in July this year, following decades of conflict in which some two million people died.

Six weeks after his home country gained independence, John Tanza Mabusu, a journalist from South Sudan living in Washington, launched a petition on Change.org.

It called on online mapping services to update their maps to include the new nation.

“The inclusion of South Sudan will give the people of that new nation pride and a sense of belonging, as citizens of a sovereign nation on the map,” said Mabusu.

“I’m hoping that now that Google has officially recognised South Sudan on their maps, the other major online mapping services will quickly follow suit.”

He said: “The people of South Sudan fought long and hard for their independence and suffered greatly. It’s time these maps reflect their efforts and catch up.”

Change.org says it is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change, with more than 400,000 new members a month

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15023217

Google amends Sudanese map

Google has separated South Sudan from Sudan on Google Maps after campaigners called on the company and other major online map service providers to recognise the newly independent nation of South Sudan by marking it on their web maps.

Southern Sudan (image: a2zproject.org)

“The inclusion of South Sudan will give the people of that new nation pride and a sense of belonging, as citizens of a sovereign nation on the map,” said a spokesperson for the campaigners in a statement.

“We are hoping that now that Google has officially recognised South Sudan on their maps, the other major online mapping services will quickly follow suit.  The people of South Sudan fought long and hard for their independence and suffered greatly. It is time these maps reflect their efforts and catch up.”

South Sudan became an independent, sovereign nation in July after about 99% of the population voted in favour of independence. The referendum followed 50 years of civil war and brutal conflict which resulted in over 2 million deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people.

While South Sudan can now be found on Google Maps, it is however still missing from Yahoo!, Microsoft and National Geographic maps.

Goodman Majola

http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2011/09/google-amends-sudanese-map/

Google Adds South Sudan to Map as Independent Country

Google has separated South Sudan as its own entity after a large push from over 1,600 Change.org members. South Sudan became a sovereign nation July 9, 2011 following a vote by an overwhelming 99% of the population. This was an important decision and day after 50 years of civil war and vicious conflict. The death toll mounts 2 million and even more hundreds of thousands have become refugees.

The Google movement was launched by John Tanza Mabusu, a journalist from South Sudan, currently residing in Washington, D.C. Six weeks after indepdenence Mabusu launched a petition on Change.org requesting that all online mapping services update their data.

“The inclusion of South Sudan will give the people of that new nation pride and a sense of belonging, as citizens of a sovereign nation on the map. I’m hoping now that Google has officially recognized South Sudan on their maps, the other major online mapping services will quickly follow suit. The people of South Sudan fought long and hard for their independence and suffered greatly. It’s time these maps reflect their efforts and catch up.”

-Mabusu

As this change was put into play this week, South Sudan is still missing from National Geographic, Microsoft and Yahoo maps, but as any technology or social media enthusiast knows, Google is a large step. As an international agency, Abraham Harrison is impressed with the integrity and efforts of Mabusu and hopes that other mapping services follow Google’s lead very soon.

http://www.business2community.com/trends-news/google-adds-south-sudan-to-map-as-independent-country-062537

Sudanese government cracks down on remaining southern sympathizers

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Despite hopes of pluralism, Sudan’s government is cracking down on Sudan People’s Liberation Movement members who stayed behind when South Sudan seceded.

By Alex Thurston, Guest blogger / September 22, 2011

Internally-displaced citizens walk to their homes as armed guards pass by on a vehicle, after the army took control of the area at Al-Damazin town at Blue Nile State on Sept. 6. Fighting erupted in early September in Blue Nile state in Sudan between the Sudanese army and fighters allied to Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the dominant force in newly independent South Sudan.

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

This spring, as Sudan prepared for the secession of its southern region, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) also prepared for a division. The main SPLM would continue as the ruling party in the new South Sudan, but the party’s northern supporters would also continue, as SPLM-N, to fight for their vision of a more pluralistic political climate in (North) Sudan. In March, SPLM-N leaders visiting Washington expressed their hopes and ambitions for remaking Sudan, but also warned of the possibility of conflict, especially in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, which would lie on the new border between Sudan and South Sudan.

Conflict, rather than pluralism, has been the outcome in Sudan. In May, a gubernatorial election in South Kordofan saw the victory of Ahmed Haroun, a member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP). The SPLM-N’s rejection of this result helped spark intermittent violence in the state, including a military deployment by the regime on the eve of Southern Sudanese independence. Matters deteriorated further with the outbreak of fighting in Blue Nile State, the only Northern state with an SPLM-N governor, Malik Agar. On Sept. 2, President Omar al Bashir dismissed Agar and has since replaced him with a series of generals. On Sept. 16, the regime suspended the SPLM-N along with 16 other parties with alleged links to South Sudan. And just two days ago, three SPLM-N MPs from South Kordofan resigned. SPLM-N leaders in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile are now effectively operating as rebels, and the fighting is fierce.

The regime’s aggressive posture toward the SPLM-N suggests that leaders in Khartoum believe they must tighten their political control in order to maintain power and stop rebellions. The posture suggests fear, in other words. Suspending the SPLM-N seems like a mistake to me – the backlash could be worse for the regime than simply letting the party continue – but this move adds weight to what some analysts have been saying for a while now, namely that hardliners in Khartoum oppose giving any ground to internal political dissent in the wake of Southern independence. If that’s the case, the hardliners appear to be dictating policy in the border areas.

The extent of the backlash in the border areas bears directly on the question of the central government’s stability. It is not necessarily any single one of the problems that Khartoum faces, but rather the combination of all them, that has made analysts like Bec Hamilton up the odds of regime change in Khartoum. With violence in Darfur escalating, the economy suffering, and the border areas blowing up, Khartoum has a full plate.

Alex Thurston is a PhD student studying Islam in Africa at Northwestern University and blogs at Sahel Blog.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2011/0922/Sudanese-government-cracks-down-on-remaining-southern-sympathizers

Foreign Investor ‘Land Grabs’ Harm Poor Farmers, Oxfam Says

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

September 22, 2011, 5:51 AM EDT

By Alan Bjerga and Luzi Ann Javier

(Adds China ministry’s comment in ninth paragraph.)

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) — Foreign-investor purchases of farmland in poorer nations are displacing local populations and adding little to a country’s wealth, even as agricultural prices increase, according to Oxfam International.

As many as 227 million hectares (561 million acres) — an area one and a half times the size of Alaska — have been sold or leased since 2001, with most of the “land grabs” occurring in the past two years, Oxfam said in a report released today. With the consent of governments, weak legal codes allow the purchase of large tracts with no regard for residents or the environment, said Oxfam, which is based in Oxford, U.K.

“Large-scale demand for commodities is driving a lot of these acquisitions,” Rohit Malpani, an adviser to Oxfam and an investigator into land buys in South Sudan, said this week in a telephone interview in Washington. “There is an inequity of power between investors and the local communities.”

Global food prices have increased 26 percent in the past year, the United Nations says. The world’s population is forecast to jump to 9.3 billion by 2050 from an estimated 6.9 billion in 2010, requiring a 70 percent increase in food production, according to the UN. In February, when costs peaked, the World Bank said the increased expense had pushed 44 million people into “extreme poverty” in a little over half a year.

Higher returns on farmland and rising food prices are luring investors in Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and parts of Europe, while China’s shrinking farmland and water resources are pushing its companies to pour money overseas to secure supplies.

Soros, Ospraie

A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge- fund manager, owns 23 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA. Hedge funds Ospraie Management LLC and Passport Capital LLC as well as Harvard University’s endowment are also betting on farming.

TIAA-CREF, the $466 billion financial services giant, has $2 billion invested in some 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of farmland in Australia, Brazil and North America and wants to double the size of its investment.

China, the largest soybean and grain consumer, is poised to boost investment in farming in South America as it seeks to secure food supplies, Rabobank International said July 28. The country has also targeted Africa and encouraged Chinese agricultural businesses to expand overseas.

China has no plans to acquire large amounts of land overseas, Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said today.

The Oxfam report, which details cases in South Sudan, Uganda, Honduras, Guatemala and Indonesia, calls for international organizations to condemn the purchases and help develop and observe codes for ethical land-buying.

World Bank

It criticizes financial institutions such as the World Bank and its private-sector finance arm, the International Finance Corp., and companies including Sime Darby Bhd., based in Kuala Lumpur, for supporting land acquisitions, at least indirectly.

“Many of these investments, they’re not meant to improve local food security,” Malpani said. “There has to be a balance between international demands and local rights and responsibilities.”

In the Philippines, the government suspended in 2008 a plan to lease 1.2 million hectares of farmland to Chinese companies to grow rice, corn and sugar, after then Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel filed a case with the Supreme Court, questioning its legality.

In a case cited by Oxfam, a subsidiary of Sime Darby acquired village land in Indonesia in 35-year leases in return for promises of new housing, schools, a health clinic and water facilities, most of which hasn’t materialized, said the aid organization. The villagers have been blockading roads in protest, Oxfam said.

Proper Channels

Sime Darby is going through proper channels and working with villagers to improve their community in the company’s plantations in Liberia and Indonesia, Chief Executive Officer Mohd Bakke Salleh said.

“We’re creating economic activity in these areas, so to be accused of land-grabbing is a bit harsh,” Mohd Bakke said in an interview before the report was released. The company is “working with the locals to improve on the facilities and infrastructure of the area.”

The International Finance Corp. “is actively engaged” to verify reports and information on land-buying practices to ensure its ethical standards are being met, Desmond Dodd, a spokesman for the organization’s sub-Saharan Africa office in Johannesburg, said in an e-mail before the report was released.

–With assistance from Regina Tan in Beijing and Ranjeetha Pakiam in Kuala Lumpur. Editors: Dan Enoch, James Poole

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga; Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-22/foreign-investor-land-grabs-harm-poor-farmers-oxfam-says.html

Machine Gun Preacher inspiration Sam Childers and screenwriter Jason Keller

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


by Tasha Robinson September 21, 2011

In his autobiographical book, Another Man’s War: The True Story Of One Man’s Battle To Save Children In The Sudan, Sam Childers describes how he climbed out of a self-serving life of violence, alcoholism, and drug addiction to become a preacher, a church founder, and an advocate for victims of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in the Sudan. He also describes in brief the many floundering years of attempts to adapt his life into other media, as a documentary, a reality show, or a feature film. The final result, Machine Gun Preacher, stars 300’s Gerard Butler as Childers (The A.V. Club interviewed Butler about the film separately) and was helmed by Monster’s Ball and Quantum Of Solace director Marc Forster. Like the book, the film version follows Childers/Butler from his drug-addicted years through his religious conversion, his founding of an orphanage in Sudan, and his leading local militia members on hunting raids against the LRA, which itself raided local villages in the Sudan, mutilating villagers and stealing children to raise as soldiers and sex slaves. The A.V. Club recently sat down with Childers and Machine Gun Preacher screenwriter Jason Keller to talk about what’s happened in the Sudan since the time period depicted in the film, the compromises inherent in based-on-a-true-story cinema, and the hunt for LRA leader Joseph Kony.

The A.V. Club: Your book was written in 2009, and the film doesn’t cover all of it. What’s happened in the intervening two years?

Sam Childers: There hasn’t been anyone killed around the orphanage in over two years. Things are not near what they used to be in that whole area. Jason keeps up on all the news on South Sudan and what’s going on with Kony, and he’ll say, “Since the first of the year, Kony still abducted 1,000 children out of South Sudan along the border, and he’s killed over 200 people along the border of South Sudan and Congo.” So is there still a problem there? Absolutely. But in the direct area that I’m at, there isn’t no problem. But we’ve went in to other areas—I went up into the Darfur area. I’m actually in Ethiopia now. I’m getting ready to do some work in Somalia. We are doing a lot more in the U.S. than we used to. We’ve always done work here, but now we’re getting into a lot of the sex trafficking. We have more people coming on with our organization that is stepping out and saying, “Sam, I want to do this in sex trafficking, I want to do this.” A lot of that, we keep quiet because—our thing is about rescuing children out of it. A lot of organizations want to buy children out of it. I’m not gonna buy no one. I want to just bring them out of it.

AVC: When you say “we,” do you mean your Angels organization?

SC: Yeah, Angels In East Africa. We have more and more partners that have come on, not just as supporters, but have come on to be part of Angels In East Africa.

AVC: What are the long-term goals for the group at this point, now that you aren’t just reacting to raids in your immediate area?

SC: The orphanage in South Sudan, we’re going to keep working on it. We’ve got two bases in Uganda, one in Northern Uganda, one in the capital. We just started one project in Ethiopia. Right now, we have four projects going on with children. Along here in the States, I’ve got a campground in Pennsylvania we use for troubled youth. That work’s going to keep on expanding. They’re getting ready to start having me speak on drugs and alcohol. I’ve been doing that in high schools, but now they’re having me do some stuff in colleges. I believe that our work is expanding to rescue children around the world, because if we can save one child from doing drugs, that means we can save a child from having an overdose. We have a very serious drug problem here in the U.S. We even have a very serious sex-trafficking problem here in the U.S.

AVC: So… when does the sequel film come out?

SC: [Laughs.]

Jason Keller: I don’t know about that.

SC: He’s waiting until I get shot.

JK: [Laughs.] Yeah, that’d be a good ending.

SC: Yeah, you’ve gotta have the ending.

JK: Sam is talking about all the stuff he’s doing around the world for children and sex trafficking in the United States, but I think it’s also important to remember that although South Sudan is now an independent state, the trouble in Sudan continues, and there are mass atrocities happening every day. Today. The Islamist dictatorship in Khartoum is perpetrating war crimes on a daily basis.

SC: Absolutely.

JK: I think although the media has made a big deal out of—and rightly so—that South Sudan is now a free state, we can’t forget that there’s a dictator living in Khartoum, the only sitting president in history to be indicted for genocide. We can’t forget that that part of the country, Central Africa, is a tinderbox, and at any moment, another civil war could break out, or a war between North and South, or genocide, as happened in Darfur. We have to be vigilant. I hope that this movie in some way tells people to be vigilant, and shows people you’ve got to stay involved.

AVC: Have you guys seen any particular effect out of the Obama administration’s declared hunt for Joseph Kony?

SC: He signed a bill to help to hunt him down, but you’ve got to remember, there’s been warrants for Kony’s arrest for many, many years. It’s kind of like us hunting for bin Laden. Our military is one of the greatest militaries in the world, and we have technology that we can read your newspaper from a satellite when you’re in your back yard, and we couldn’t find bin Laden—it took us 10 years. I believe it’s still going to be a while, but as I tell people, “As long as one child is being killed, there’s still a problem is South Sudan, Congo, and Darfur.” There’s still a problem.

AVC: Getting to the film itself, it must be odd to watch a film that’s meant to sum up your entire life in 90 minutes.

SC: The hardest thing for me is watching the first part, where it shows who I used to be, because it was so real. Jason done an unbelievable job in the whole entire movie. He’s said the scenes of Sudan and the fighting was amped up for Hollywood. But the first part, there was nothing amped up. To be honest with you, he left a lot out. My life was a very violent, drug-using life, and it bothers me to see it on the screen. Every time I’ve watched it, it’s made me cry.

JK: We didn’t go as far [as reality did] in terms of violence in that first part, and we had to pull back on the violence in Sudan.

SC: Yeah, showing the children, you know? Showing lips cut off, people skinned alive. Breasts cut off, ears cut off. They showed a couple scenes, but not really what goes on there. You wanna know something? Could America really handle the truth?

AVC: If viewers can’t handle what’s actually going on in Sudan, is that really your problem, or the film’s problem? Why protect people’s sensibilities by downplaying the issue?

JK: But in a way, there’s a balance there, because you want to introduce people to this problem. Unfortunately, we in the United States, we don’t know what’s going on in Africa, and certainly Central Africa. I hope that this movie introduces people who only know of Sudan as “Oh there’s a war over there, child soldiers, I kind of know what that is.” You have to introduce them to this problem, and hope you get them to do their own research. Were we to tell the Sudan side of the story as graphically as I found when I went there, or what Sam has seen in the last 15-plus years of his life, we couldn’t show this movie. It would frankly be an X-rating.

SC: Sometimes, America, when something’s too bad, we don’t want to look at it. We want to turn our head.

AVC: You say that the violence is jacked up to meet Hollywood standards. What’s it like, as somebody who’s actually been involved in firefights, to watch what a firefight looks like by Hollywood standards?

SC: I believe that any soldier that was out there, and even down to police officers, can relate to a lot of the firefights. I’ve been in several gunfights here in the U.S. because of the lifestyle that I led. I believe that there’s enough in it—from what I hear and from what I’ve seen, everything that’s in the movie is all based off of the truth. There’s only a few things that was really amped up, but it’s not amped up that much.

JK: Yeah, I just want to clarify, too. Those action sequences are certainly amped up, and there’s a reason we had to do that, but if you talked to many of the soldiers that I spoke to while I was in Sudan, and Sam worked with the last 15 years, you talk to any of those guys, you show them any of the sequences in the movie, they would say, “It’s that, and it gets worse.” These guys have been through a war, the intensity of which we can’t really imagine in the United States. [To
Sam.] You show Deng [a soldier depicted in the film] those sequences, he’d say, “We didn’t amp anything up. What are you talking about?”

SC: Even last night [at a local screening], there was people there from Sudan who stood up after and said, “We’re happy to see that there’s a movie out now to show the world what we truly went through.”

AVC: How do you deal with going from a situation like that to coming back here to have your morality and motives questioned by the media and other religious groups and aid groups?

SC: You know, America can be just like a war zone itself. I don’t know how much you get involved with young people, but young people are going through something that we don’t even realize nowadays. I spoke in a school here not long ago, and I asked all the teachers, “Will you all please stand up, all the teachers of the school stand up and turn around and look at the back wall.” Some of the kids were as young as 8 years old inside this auditorium. And I went, “I want everyone here that has ever done drugs or been offered drugs to raise your hand.” Almost every 8-year-old raised their hand. If you don’t think that that’s a war, then there’s something wrong with us. It’s still a war. I just look at things a little bit different. When I see a serious problem, I try to figure out, my way, how to solve it, how to fix it. When I’m back here in the U.S., I’m speaking, raising funds, and everything for what I do overseas, but at the same time, I speak in schools, colleges, on drugs and alcohol. I come back here and I go into a different fight. But really, it’s all related.

AVC: You talk about trying to figure out what the solution is. Do you think killing Joseph Kony will fix things in the Sudan?

SC: No. A lot of people—I don’t know where reporters get it. One reporter said that I made a comment that I’d killed over 10 LRA men in a day. I have never said to anybody that I’ve ever killed anyone.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/machine-gun-preacher-inspiration-sam-childers-and,62081/

Mongolia to send 850 peacekeepers to South Sudan

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) —

The Mongolian government would send 850 soldiers to South Sudan as peacekeepers, Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold said Wednesday.

"Sending soldiers to South Sudan, which is a newly independent country with civil war, is a matter of honor," the minister said.

Mongolia had been engaged in U.N. peacekeeping missions since 2002 and was now seeking a bigger role in U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, he said, adding a total of 5671 Mongolian soldiers had served in peacekeeping missions worldwide.

The skills and capacity of Mongolian troops had improved rapidly, he said.

In the past, Mongolian peacekeepers had served in conflict zones such as Iraq, Sierra Leone, Chad, Sudan, Kosova and Afghanistan, according to the defense minister.

"The responsibilities of Mongolian soldiers are also increasing. Previously, our soldiers were guarding military bases. Now they are guarding airports," he said.

In the past few years, Mongolian armed forces increased international relations and military cooperation by signing agreements with some 20 countries, Bold said, citing two military peacekeeping exercises with Chinese soldiers as an example.

Significant progress had been made in renovating military equipment. Mongolia had purchased 100 million U.S. dollars worth of military hardware from Russia in the past three years, Bold said.

The country is upgrading its military rehabilitation center, with the assistance of China and cooperating with U.S., Germany, South Korea and Turkey, he said

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90777/7602129.html

South Sudan seeks funds to develop oil assets

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

September 22, 2011, 8:00 am

By Kwasi Kpodo and Clair Macdougall ACCRA (Reuters) –

South Sudan is taking control of vast oil resources previously managed by the North but the poor, two-month-old state needs urgent funds to boost infrastructure, a top oil ministry adviser told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We could say that about 50 percent of oil resources that were going to the North are southern assets and I can say that a greater part of this is coming to us now," Angelina Teny said in an interview on the margins of an energy conference in Ghana. "Our resources are being managed from the South, although not totally — but at least the (oil) companies are now beginning to move southwards," she said, adding the new government would soon establish a consortium to oversee oil production.

"But again, we should recognize that the South is starting from a bad situation — we’ve been described by many as the least developed — so despite these resources we’d still need huge support to make them useful to our people," she said on the sidelines of an African energy conference in Accra, Ghana. Teny, adviser on petroleum matters to the Energy and Mines Ministry, led negotiations over the oil assets with the northern government in Khartoum. She said the new state already controls most of the oil fields. "Two major blocks are entirely located in the South and about 65 percent of the remaining are also in the South," she said of oil assets controlled by the new state.

She said output from "those fields that are producing" was around 300,000 barrels per day. She said apart from embarking on a vigorous investment drive, there were plans to hold an international donors’ conference. The government had outlined a three-year development program to tackle some of the infrastructure needs, including the building of an oil refinery for the domestic market, Teny said. "Presently, we are importing oil products and its not easy having to import oil when you are a producer, but again it encourages us to think very fast in building a refinery to address domestic needs.

That is being discussed and the government is very serious about it." CONTRACT REVIEW A PRIORITY The government has also prioritized the enactment of a law to regulate the oil sector, Teny said, adding that work was almost completed and the law would soon be published. She said in addition to the need for infrastructure such as roads and pipelines and huge service requirements, the South required capital towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Teny said after initial hesitation, oil exploration companies were responding positively to Juba’s control of the resources. "They have started coming down South and we’re beginning to talk," she said, noting that so far the new government had not awarded any new oil contract and that its priority was to review the existing contracts to ensure transparency. She said there had been a general lack of information on the oil assets which made it difficult for Juba to assess reserves.

Teny said that currently there was virtually no economic relationship with the North and that Khartoum had closed major trading borders between the two sides, leading to a spate of business bankruptcies on both sides. "The economic relationship between the North and the South at this point in time is a bit rough," she said.

http://www.theafricareport.com/last-business-news/5172668-South%20Sudan%20seeks%20funds%20to%20develop%20oil%20assets.html

South Sudan’s President vows corruption crackdown

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

JUBA: President Salva Kiir of the newly-independent South Sudan has announced "five critical steps" for a crackdown on corruption, seen as one of the major challenges to fledgling state.

In an open letter published on Tuesday, Kiir said new measures, including regulation of land sales and publication of government officials’ finances, would lead to greater transparency and accountability.

Kiir has made tackling graft one of his key priorities, and the announcement appears to come at a significant moment, shortly before his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the UN General Assembly.

"This a critical point in our history, a moment of high expectations from our people for services and high standards of good governance and stewardship from our friends, partners and donors," Kiir said.

He pledged new laws regulating land and government contracts, announced the appointment of high-ranking African officials to bolster the banking and finance sector and promised to strengthen the anti-corruption commission.

The government will also investigate diverted funds, seeking help from Britain, the United States, Switzerland and Australia to recover stolen cash from the state coffers.

The UN deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said that following Kiir’s independence day speech and address to the joint houses of parliament on tackling corruption, his latest statement shows "momentum is building."

"He said that this was going to be a key part of his strategy, and here he has outlined five specific strategies. He’s doing it and it’s welcome. It’s bold, it’s decisive, and it’s important," Grande said.

Kiir also promised prosecutions and a published enquiry for a subsidised grain corruption scandal dating back to 2008, and said other government contracts on large infrastructure projects would be investigated.

South Sudan formally proclaimed independence from the north on July 9, after decades of civil war that left the resource-rich country in ruins, and the challenges it faces are daunting.

"The government has essentially been formed from scratch" since the 2005 peace agreement that ended the conflict, and has lacked an anti-corruption strategy, Grande said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/South-Sudans-President-vows-corruption-crackdown/articleshow/10075207.cms

US plots South Sudan sanctions relief

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Anthea Pitt, LONDON: US government officials are drawing up guidelines that will allow the country’s oil companies to operate in South Sudan, without breaching sanctions imposed against its northern neighbour.

It is understood the Treasury Department is preparing to issue licences for operations in South Sudan, although it is uncertain how long it would take for such licences to be issued.

The US’ special representative to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, told a trade briefing in Washington that sanctions could not be lifted, a move that would require congressional approval. But he said the Treasury Department would define new criteria for licensing oil deals that would provide only incidental benefits to Sudan, making some deals with South Sudan possible.

“The rules of the game are still being worked out and that is very frustrating to [South Sudan] because it wants US oil companies there,” he said. "There is a task force working on it and they will have something soon."

State sponsors of terrorism

Sanctions were first imposed on Sudan in 1997, when the country was included on the US’ state sponsors of terrorism list. They were tightened in 2006 and again in 2007, in response to the Sudanese government’s actions in Darfur. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has since been indicted by the International Court of Justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Since South Sudan formally seceded in July this year (PE 8/11 p9), the sanctions’ terms have made it difficult for the industry to enter the country’s under-explored and potentially rich hydrocarbons play. French firm Total, which operates Block B, in Jonglei state, has blamed uncertainty over sanctions for delaying its work in South Sudan. Because of sanctions, Chinese, Indian and Malaysian firms dominate both Sudanese oil plays.

South Sudan took 75% of Sudan’s 500,000 barrels a day of oil production when it declared independence. But the south relies on refineries, pipelines and other infrastructure in Sudan to deliver its output to market. Negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan over tariffs for pipeline access are continuing.

Earlier this year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac), which oversees US sanctions, said the measures in place apply only to Sudan, not South Sudan. But it admitted sanctions may affect South Sudan if properties or interests held by the Sudanese state are involved.

It is likely that sending oil produced in South Sudan to Khartoum for refining, and from there to Port Sudan through the country’s export pipeline contravenes sanctions, whether revenues are shared with the north or if South Sudan pays a transport tariff.

The government in Khartoum is lobbying for de-listing from the state sponsors of terrorism blacklist, so far unsuccessfully. Sources in Washington say that that Sudan must resolve a number of “outstanding issues” and that violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states must cease before removal from the list can be considered.

http://www.petroleum-economist.com/Article/2904233/News-and-Analysis-Archive/US-plots-South-Sudan-sanctions-relief.html

Land deals squeezing world’s poorest, Oxfam says

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Laura Stone; Toronto Star

In Uganda, a farmer and mother of eight are among 22,500 people who have been reported beaten, threatened and evicted from their homes to make way for a British timber company.

In South Sudan, 10 per cent of the land in the newly independent country, is said to have already been bought up, much of it by foreign companies, posing a threat to its fragile stability, which depends on small-scale farming.

And in Honduras, 36 farmers have reported been killed since October 2010, spurred by violence over land occupations.

All these allegations are contained in a new report released Wednesday from Oxfam, a non-profit agency with 15 organizations worldwide, which delves into the “growing scandal” of land grabs in the most vulnerable nations.

“For poor people in many parts of Africa and other parts of the world, where their cash income is almost nothing, that access to the trees, to the plants, to the berries, is absolutely critical to their livelihoods,” said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada.

The report, “Land and Power,” suggests that since 2001 as many as 227 million hectares of land has been sold, leased or licensed in large-scale land deals, mostly by international investors.

The agency said it has cross-checked 1,100 of these deals, and accounted for at least 67 million hectares of sold land — an area nearly the size of British Columbia.

“The fear is growing that this new wave of investment will do more harm than good if land grabbing is not stopped,” the report says. “There are few documented examples of large-scale land acquisitions that have resulted in positive impacts for local communities.”

Fox told the Star that over the past three years, beginning with the global financial crisis in 2008, there has been a “huge acceleration” in large-scale land purchases by foreign investors who want to harvest food or create biofuel.

“This isn’t about buying a farm somewhere. This is about buying the better part of a province,” he said.

The result is fewer jobs and less food and industry for impoverished locals.

The report calls on governments and international organizations to fix current policies that allow for land grabs to go through without consultation or compensation or fair treatment for local people.

In many cases, women are most affected because they produce up to 80 per cent of the food in some countries but have weaker land rights.

While no Canadian companies were named in the report, Fox said Oxfam Canada is looking into the role played by mining companies in purchasing land rights in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The report names purchasing by British-based New Forests Co. as an example of the damage that foreign investment can do.

Oxfam accuses the timber company of evicting some 22,500 people in the Kiboga district of Uganda, leaving families without enough food or money to send their children to school.

“In Oxfam’s view, NFC’s operations highlight how the current system of international standards — designed to ensure that people are not adversely affected as a result of large-scale transfers of land use rights — does not work,” says the report.

New Forests said in a statement it will investigate Oxfam’s allegations but denied wrongdoing.

“Our understanding of these resettlements is that they were legal, voluntary and peaceful and our first-hand observations of them confirmed this,” it said.

South Sudan seeks funds to develop oil assets

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Building up: oil infrastructure in South Sudan

South Sudan intends to raise funds from international donors to develop infrastructure to boost its underdeveloped oil infrastructure as it works to finalise a draft petroleum law, according to reports.

News wires

22 September 2011 15:01 GMT

The newly independent state, which seceded from North Sudan two months ago, now controls most of the oilfields of the former Sudan with explorers now moving southwards, Angelina Teny, an advisor to Juba’s Oil Ministry, told Reuters.

“We could say that about 50% of oil resources that were going to the North are southern assets and I can say that a greater part of this is coming to us now,” she said.

“Our resources are being managed from the South, although not totally – but at least the (oil) companies are now beginning to move southwards,” she said, adding the new government would soon establish a consortium to oversee oil production.

“Two major blocks are entirely located in the South and about 65% of the remaining are also in the South,” she said of oil assets controlled by the new state.

She said output from “those fields that are producing” was about 300,000 barrels per day.

However, the poor country desperately needs fresh investment to exploit its oil resource potential, and Teny said there were plans to hold an international donors’ conference to raise cash.

The government has outlined a three-year development programme to tackle some of the infrastructure needs, including the building of an oil refinery for the domestic market, she said.

The Juba government is now in talks with explorers but has not yet awarded any new oil contracts as it reviews existing deals to ensure they are transparent, according to Teny.

She also said there had been a general lack of information on the oil assets which made it difficult for Juba to assess reserves.

The government has prioritized the enactment of a law to regulate the oil sector, Teny said, adding that work was almost completed and the law would soon be published.

http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article279598.ece

South Sudan seeks funds to develop oil assets

General view of the Tema oil refinery near Ghana's capital Accra March 28, 2005. REUTERS/Yaw Bibini
1 of 1Full Size

By Kwasi Kpodo and Clair Macdougall

ACCRA (Reuters) – South Sudan is taking control of vast oil resources previously managed by the North but the poor, two-month-old state needs urgent funds to boost infrastructure, a top oil ministry adviser told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We could say that about 50 percent of oil resources that were going to the North are southern assets and I can say that a greater part of this is coming to us now,” Angelina Teny said in an interview on the margins of an energy conference in Ghana.

“Our resources are being managed from the South, although not totally — but at least the (oil) companies are now beginning to move southwards,” she said, adding the new government would soon establish a consortium to oversee oil production.

“But again, we should recognize that the South is starting from a bad situation — we’ve been described by many as the least developed — so despite these resources we’d still need huge support to make them useful to our people,” she said on the sidelines of an African energy conference in Accra, Ghana.

Teny, adviser on petroleum matters to the Energy and Mines Ministry, led negotiations over the oil assets with the northern government in Khartoum. She said the new state already controls most of the oil fields.

“Two major blocks are entirely located in the South and about 65 percent of the remaining are also in the South,” she said of oil assets controlled by the new state.

She said output from “those fields that are producing” was around 300,000 barrels per day.

She said apart from embarking on a vigorous investment drive, there were plans to hold an international donors’ conference.

The government had outlined a three-year development program to tackle some of the infrastructure needs, including the building of an oil refinery for the domestic market, Teny said.

“Presently, we are importing oil products and its not easy having to import oil when you are a producer, but again it encourages us to think very fast in building a refinery to address domestic needs. That is being discussed and the government is very serious about it.”

CONTRACT REVIEW A PRIORITY

The government has also prioritized the enactment of a law to regulate the oil sector, Teny said, adding that work was almost completed and the law would soon be published.

She said in addition to the need for infrastructure such as roads and pipelines and huge service requirements, the South required capital towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Teny said after initial hesitation, oil exploration companies were responding positively to Juba’s control of the resources.

“They have started coming down South and we’re beginning to talk,” she said, noting that so far the new government had not awarded any new oil contract and that its priority was to review the existing contracts to ensure transparency.

She said there had been a general lack of information on the oil assets which made it difficult for Juba to assess reserves.

Teny said that currently there was virtually no economic relationship with the North and that Khartoum had closed major trading borders between the two sides, leading to a spate of business bankruptcies on both sides.

“The economic relationship between the North and the South at this point in time is a bit rough,” she said.

http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE78L00920110922?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

U.N. says South Sudan’s chronic food shortages to worsen

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By AFP
JUBA

Thursday, 22 September 2011

South Sudan’s food production could leave 1.2 million people facing severe shortages in 2012. (File photo) South Sudan’s food production could leave 1.2 million people facing severe shortages in 2012. (File photo)

The United Nations said on Thursday that a drop in South Sudan’s food production could leave 1.2 million people facing severe shortages in 2012, amid internal and border insecurity, erratic rains and returns from the north.

A Rapid Crop Assessment carried out last month points to an increased deficit food production of 400,000 metric tons this year, up from 100,000 metric tons last year, the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said.

“We are estimating those that we think will be severely food insecure will be 1.2 million next year,” compared to 970,000 last year, FAO food security specialist Elijah Mukhala said.

South Sudan, which gained independence from the north in July after decades of civil war, needs to produce one million metric tons of food each year, but with displacement and violence, this year’s best-case scenario is around half that, Mukhala said.

“We made gains in 2010. Right now, all these gains are being reversed, and the two main issues are insecurity and rainfall,” causing shortages and price rises, FAO food security coordinator Mtendere Mphatso said.

Lise Grande, who coordinates U.N. humanitarian efforts in the south, said a third of around nine million people there were classed as moderately or severely food insecure this year.

“Although we’re not in a drought like the Horn of Africa, it’s bad and it’s getting worse. So you’ve got the world’s newest country facing a major food security problem… It’s linked to erratic rains, border closures, of course the insecurity, plus the returns,” she said.

Grande said over 300,000 people had come south since January, with the same number again internally displaced due to inter-communal violence from a spate of violence covering border tensions, cattle-raiding, rebel militia groups and civilian disarmament.

“We have the largest peacetime movement since World War Two,” with 500 people entering each day, with internal violence and rains and a lack of employment opportunities putting a further strain on the fledgling nation, she said.

While the U.N. was ready to cater for 110,000 people fleeing south when Sudanese military forces occupied the contested border region of Abyei in May, Grande said food was now running out, with demobilized South Sudanese forces marching south, creating further resource problems.

Around 40,000 displaced people remain in the southern border town of Agok, recently hit by flash flooding, and are set to face another month of half-rations as trucks carrying 170 tons of government donated food are stuck.

Over 8,000 more refugees have poured into the new nation from the violence in neighboring Southern Kordofan, while 7,500 more have fled attacks from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the south-west.

Grande said U.N. humanitarian operations were being hampered by looting and violence towards staff by rebel militia groups and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), as well as the laying of new mines.

Two U.N. staff were killed in an attack in May after SPLA troops commandeered six vehicles.

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/09/22/168211.html

South Sudan Job Vacancy:

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Please directly contact the employer if you have any questions.

To anyone of interest, please circulate the following job vacancies:

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Cash For Work Program Assistant.doc
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A2J County Coordinator EEQ.DOCX
A2J County Coordinator Jonglei.docx
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A2J Program Manager.docx

Job advertisement

Dear Friends,

Pact South Sudan is currently recruiting for two positions of  Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) community mobilizers for the Water program. Kindly find attached and circulate this advertisement to your wider networks.

Kind regards

 

Doreen

 

Doreen Loe Imen/Senior Human Resources Officer

 

Pact South Sudan Country Program

 

Email: DImen@pactworld.org, imenloe@gmail.com

 

Mobile:  +249927067126/0477277766

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Programme for African Leadership London School of Economics

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Programme for African Leadership

-To support ethical leadership for development

The London School of Economics launches an innovative three week leadership development programme in March 2012, designed specifically for high-achievers from across Africa. Participants will attend an intensive executive training course in London where they will benefit from high quality teaching in relevant subjects including globalisation and development by staff from the LSE and elsewhere. Participants will later be invited to an annual forum in Africa to help refresh their skills and form leadership networks across the continent. This programme, for Africa’s most dynamic leaders, will provide access to high level academic thinking and policy ideas from around the world in order that leadership lessons are taken back to organisations and communities.The Programme has been generously supported by LSE alumnus, Firoz Lalji, and his wife Najma.

Programme for African Leadership

*Duration:*
3 weeks

*Start date:*
19 March 2012

*Location:*
LondonSchoolof Economics

You will develop strong analytical skills and an understanding about what makes a good leader. You will understand the essence of inspirational leadership and develop your own leadership style **
*Entry Requirements:*
Applications are welcome from those working in a leadership position from within the following sectors:

-National and inter-governmental organisations
-NGOs
-Corporate sector

Of particular interest to the admissions selectors will be your personal statement. Applicants should ideally have a good degree from a UK university or a non-UK equivalent.

Applications must consist of the following:

-application form; this includes a personal statement explaining how this programme could be of benefit to you, your organisation, your community and what you could bring to the programme.
-Curriculum vitae.
*References:*two references will be required and /must/ accompany the application – one academic and one from your current employer and should particularly focus on your leadership credentials.If you do not have an academic reference, one reference may be provided by a non-related professional.

Financing:
Full and partial bursaries will be available. All applications will be given equal consideration.

*Person Specification:*
We expect that the majority of successful candidates will show:

-At least 5 years of leadership experience in any field
-A proven commitment to their own personal and professional development -A track record of leading and managing change and improvement processes
-Experience of developing other people
-Some study or training in leadership or management
-A plan for how she/he will utilise theirprogramme experience, andhow this will bring benefits for their organisation or community

**

*Applications*should be sent to the following address by 30^th September 2011
**
Department of International Development
(Programme for African Leadership)
LondonSchoolof Economics
Houghton Street
LondonWC2A 2AE
**
**