Archive for October 17, 2011

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


Unity state confronts a set of challenges unparalleled in South Sudan. Some exemplify concerns that register across the emerging republic; others are unique to the state. Situated abreast multiple frontiers, its political, social, economic and security dilemmas make for a perfect storm. Some have festered for years, while more recent developments – prompted by the partition of the “old” Sudan – have exacerbated instability and intensified resource pressure. Recent rebel militia activity has drawn considerable attention to the state, highlighting internal fractures and latent grievances. But the fault lines in Unity run deeper than the rebellions. A governance crisis – with a national subtext – has polarised state politics and sown seeds of discontent. Territorial disputes, cross-border tensions, economic isolation, development deficits and a still tenuous North-South relationship also fuel instability, each one compounding the next amid a rapidly evolving post-independence environment. Juba, and its international partners, must marshal attention and resources toward the fundamental sources of instability in places like Unity if the emerging Republic is to realise its full potential.

Since 2005, the lion’s share of Juba’s – and international – attention was focused on national issues: implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war, volatile North-South politics, the referendum that brought about Southern independence and negotiations toward a constructive relationship with Khartoum beyond partition. Southerners likewise put the unifying goal of independence ahead of other grievances and aspirations. Now focus is shifting to the latent political, security, social and economic stabilisation agenda at home. Nowhere are the challenges deferred more evident than in Unity state.

Situated along the North-South border and atop much of the South’s known oil deposits, Unity is a strategic territory and a primary source of the country’s economic lifeblood. Its subterranean resources made it a centrepiece in Sudan’s civil war; its people, land, and social fabric were devastated by two decades of conflict that pitted national forces, border-area proxies, Southern rebels and its own ethnic Nuer clans against one another. As both wounds and veiled allegiances remain, the legacies of this era continue to influence the politics, and instability, of the present.

Politics in Unity are deeply polarised, and the reverberations are felt well beyond state boundaries. Citizens in many states harbour grievances about their local governments, but resentment is particularly palpable and widespread in Unity. The dispute at the heart of the state’s body politic is partly linked to broader national politics, the unreconciled legacies of a long and divisive war, and fundamental questions of identity and ethnic competition. As new political realities emerge, it remains to be seen whether the alliances of the recent past will endure. Many have high hopes that independence will pave the way for a new, more democratic and transparent administration in Bentiu (as well as in the national capital, Juba), but those hopes are conditioned on fundamental changes taking place in the state.

A series of armed rebellions emerged in the South in 2010-2011, several in Unity. Though sometimes dismissed as mere armed opportunism, they have together drawn attention to more endemic grievances, some of which are manifest in Bentiu. Divisions over security policy and a flawed counter-insurgency strategy highlighted a familiar dilemma of army integration. An inconsistent response has yielded mixed results, sometimes generating more violence, fuelling community grievances, or hampering efforts to bring other rebels back into the fold. Northern support for such groups is highly inflammatory and must cease, but external subversion remains an exacerbating agent as much as a root cause. A demonstrable commitment to reforms in the security sector and rule-of-law institutions, an opening of political space, as well as a more stable North-South relationship will be necessary to discourage future rebellions.

Meanwhile, boundary disputes and cross-border tensions persist. The North-South border is now an international boundary, but it is not yet demarcated and critical sections – including in Unity – remain dangerously militarised. The seasonal migration of nomadic Misseriya cattle-herders to Unity has been interrupted in recent years, generating violence and anxiety along the already tense border. In the absence of negotiated migratory arrangements and implementation of a North-South security pact, there remains considerable uncertainty as to what the coming seasons hold. Likewise, still undefined internal boundaries fuel inter-communal tensions inside Unity state and many others.

A tumultuous end of the CPA era, partition of the country, domestic turmoil in the North, and the absence of arrangements to govern the future relationship between the two Sudans have compounded instability and left questions unanswered. Tens of thousands of Southerners returned from the North to their places of origin, their future uncertain as the state struggles to absorb them. A Khartoum-imposed blockade of North-South transit routes has choked supply chains and caused economic shock in an already isolated state capital. The outbreak of war in neighbouring Southern Kordofan further undermines cross-border movement and trade, protracts North-South tension and has driven refugees into Unity, many of whom need emergency services.

Finally, resources have driven instability and will continue to shape the political, social and economic character of the state in the independence era. Oil has fuelled the national economy and generated state revenue. But Unity constituents remain undecided about its net effect, as tangible development gains are lacking, allegations of oil revenue misuse are widespread, and the social and environmental consequences of extraction persist. The assumption of greater oil sector responsibility will bring changes and an opportunity to revisit contracts and operating standards; it may also prompt new investment. Though production is in decline, industry management and the relationship between state, oil companies and community will be a key determinant of future stability. Large-scale land acquisitions have also generated controversy and drawn attention to inadequate regulation. The potential for new commercial investment will force land policy issues to the fore.

The brutal lessons of oil sector development in Unity illustrate that rigorous regulation and government oversight are necessary to protect the rights and interests of local populations. Meanwhile, violent cattle raiding afflicts many of the state’s agro-pastoralists, often stoking disputes with ethnic Dinka communities in neighbouring Warrap and Lakes States.

Now that independence has been achieved, the challenges and grievances deferred will increasingly surface in what is already a fragile environment. Many aspire to use the 9th of July – independence day – to make a break with the troubles, injustices, and divides of the past. But untangling Unity’s web of intersecting challenges will prove no easy task.

Juba/Nairobi/Brussels, 17 October 2011

Sudan’s Next War

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

An Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopter lands at the team site of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in Abyei, central Sudan, as Zambian soldiers serving with the international peacekeeping operation prepare to depart in armoured personal carriers on a patrol around Abyei town. The area has been the scene of heavy clashes since the seizure of the town – which sits on the border between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan – by Sudanese Government troops on 20 May. Photo ID 473894. 26/05/2011. Abyei, Sudan. UN Photo/Stuart Price

In early May of this year gubernatorial elections were held in Southern Kordofan. Shortly after, violence broke out and government security forces attacked the region.

In mid-May, violence broke out in the small demarcated territory of Abyei after forces from what would soon be the Republic of South Sudan attacked an UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan) convoy escorting Sudan Armed Forces elements of a Joint Integrated Unit. The government responded with a military campaign in the region.

In early September, violence broke out in Blue Nile state and the government declared a state of emergency, replacing the recently elected SPLM-N governor with a military governor.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was the political wing of the army (SPLA) that fought the insurgency in the south, in opposition to the government in the north, between 1983 and 2005. In 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) effectively brought the civil war to an end and provided for a referendum on independence for the south to take place six years later. The referendum was held in January 2011 and southerners voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence. On July 9 the Republic of South Sudan became the 193rd member of the United Nations.

But not all SPLA fighters or SPLM members were from South Sudan. Some SPLM/A fighters and supporters came from the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. But the SPLM became the ruling party of South Sudan after independence, necessitating a political reorientation on the part of the SPLM in the border regions in which they are now identified as SPLM-North (SPLM-N). This is highly problematic from the perspective of Khartoum, which suspects that the SPLM-N is not just a political party that wants to see the removal of the current regime – which is bad enough – but is also being supported by military elements from South Sudan (a claim which the government of South Sudan denies).  In mid-September, Khartoum outlawed 17 political parties it deemed to be aligned with the south and thus “foreign,” including SPLM-N.  The ruling party in Khartoum is the National Congress Party (NCP).

In Southern Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun of the NCP, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes in Darfur, won the gubernatorial election in May. The SPLM-N insists that the election was rigged. Shortly after the election, violence broke out for the first time since a 2002 ceasefire between the SPLM/A of Kordofan and the government. Toward the end of June, Khartoum reached a deal with the SPLM-N that also encompassed Blue Nile. Blue Nile is relatively evenly split between NCP and SPLM-N supporters. Large scale attacks on civilians by government forces and associated militia are ongoing since fighting began in early September.

The international reaction has been predictably limp, despite an UNMIS report that suggests crimes committed by government forces are egregious enough to justify referral to the ICC. The two main rebel groups in Darfur in the west – the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which began fighting their own battle in 2003 – have expressed solidarity with the SPLM-N by calling for the Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Darfur, Kordofan, and Blue Nile.  The Sudan Tribune reported on September 4: “Darfur rebels today urged international community to impose a no-fly zone and to establish safe corridors to provide civilians, in the Blue Nile, Darfur and Southern Kordofan, with humanitarian assistance. They also urged democratic forces to join them in their efforts to change Bashir’s regime.” Humanitarian access has been another major problem, as Khartoum has rigidly restricted international humanitarian operations.

In 2008 the International Crisis Group released a report called “Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?” which highlights the importance of the public consultations mandated by the CPA for the border states. Consultations have been stalled, however, and in July parliament voted to extend the deadline for consultations by six months. It is beginning to look as though the ICG prediction that another war could erupt is materializing, though perhaps on a scale a bit larger than they may have anticipated if the Darfuri groups are able to effectively partner with groups in Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Perhaps these disparate groups can iron out their differences enough to form an effective anti-NCP coalition, and perhaps a more robust international response could be forthcoming?; or perhaps the border states will have to fend for themselves?  Whatever way this unfolds, the ruling party and, more importantly the military – which is becoming increasingly powerful independent of the political leadership – are unlikely to go anywhere without a fight.

By Parthesarathy Rajendran | 8 hour(s) ago | Comments ( 0 )

A patient rests in the men's dormitory at the physical rehabilitation reference centre in Juba, South Sudan, July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

A patient rests in the men’s dormitory at the physical rehabilitation reference centre in Juba, South Sudan, July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Parthesarathy Rajendran is MSF’s head of mission in South Sudan


Today, independent South Sudan is 100 days old. Many will have preoccupations other than celebrating. The families of the 20 people killed by a freshly laid landmine in Unity State last week will not celebrate. The 100,000 people who fled the disputed region of Abyei will not celebrate. And the people trapped in violence between militia groups and the army are certainly more worried about their own safety than any sort of celebration. Independence has brought a lot of hope and promises but emergency needs are not a thing of the past; any such premature assumption would endanger the lives and health of South Sudan’s still vulnerable population. Paradoxically, the very enthusiasm about the future could be putting people’s lives at risk right now.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (Doctors Without Borders) sadly witnessed this premature assumption in 2009. The overwhelming majority of international funding was directed at development and provision of basic services in support of the state — to the detriment of emergency preparedness and of civilian populations at a time when violence was resurgent.  While the international community recognises the new start for South Sudan, aid is not only about state-building — it cannot lose sight of the humanitarian reality on the ground that may not be as rosy as the projected political future.

So far in 2011 nearly 3,000 people have been killed due to violence in South Sudan and around 300,000 displaced, giving a hollow ring to the idea that South Sudan is now ‘post-conflict.’ The violence is painfully real, along the Sudan–South Sudan border and particularly in the states of Blue Nile and Kordofan in Sudan and around the disputed region of Abyei whence refugees are currently fleeing to perceived safety in South Sudan. Elsewhere violence is an ever-present threat, in the southwest with incursions of the Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and in numerous locations throughout the country where southern militias are challenging the central authorities.

Repeated attacks in Jonglei State have caused hundreds of deaths and frequent displacement of thousands of people. The threat of imminent violence has forced MSF to evacuate from the hospital at Pibor twice in 2011, and the situation remains extremely volatile. Without MSF’s presence in Pibor, the population would have to travel over 100 km to seek the nearest secondary health facilities.

The people living in these areas have a hard enough life as it is. Recurring violence and displacement leave them teetering on the edge of an emergency with only one thing to rely on – the provision of effective and responsive humanitarian assistance. When an emergency response is needed, the material, human and financial resources must be ready for immediate deployment in often remote and logistically challenging regions.

This is made extremely difficult when humanitarian aid and state-building activities are mixed together. In the fragile environment we find in many parts of South Sudan, humanitarians must be able to operate with no strings attached, addressing the needs of people in need as their sole objective. In a nutshell, we must remain strictly neutral and be clearly recognised as such.

Now, after independence, most of the influential donors and partners are revising their strategies for assistance to South Sudan. Many are explicitly “coherent” or “comprehensive,” joining up humanitarian aid with overall development and state-building efforts at a time when violence, insecurity and urgent needs continue. For example, the government’s new development plan envisages all aid — humanitarian, development and peace building — as contributing to the creation of peace, stability and development in the fledgling state.

The new mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) includes the protection of civilians caught up in violence in its support to stabilising the new government, even though some belligerents are likely to be hostile to the government. Likewise, the EU is currently developing just such a “comprehensive” strategy for South Sudan, linking its support to humanitarian aid with wider political objectives.

While development and state-building are understandably on the agenda, incorporating humanitarian aid into the same agenda risks urgently needed medical care being perceived as part of wider aid efforts supporting the state. The people we assist — and emerging, often shifting belligerent groups in our working environment — may feel we have chosen sides and lost our neutrality. This perceived loss of neutrality risks humanitarians losing their ability to reach populations in contested areas and to assist them safely and effectively.

Indeed, in remote and marginalised places like Jonglei State or Abyei, safe access is far from a given for humanitarians. With militias forming and shifting alliances, MSF and other humanitarian organisations need to manage the difficult balance of providing assistance and remaining distinct both from the state itself and from the politics of state-building. The ability to assist individuals in need, hard won during decades of civil war by neutrality demonstrated in daily practice, must not now be thrown away in a generalised rush to support state-building.

South Sudan is not an isolated case; from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Congo and Haiti, MSF regularly faces donor and government policies that aim to bring humanitarian aid into the service of wider political strategies. Humanitarian aid is stretched beyond its limits where policymakers want it to stabilise emerging states, to ensure overall security, to reinforce governance or to construct health systems rather than “just” treating individual patients. Exactly these temptingly positive approaches risk humanitarians losing the independent emergency response capacity that enables us to reach people in need in the most remote, volatile regions worldwide.

It would be a needless failure if emergency aid were no longer present or could not get through to people during the next crisis in South Sudan because humanitarians are seen to have taken sides. In South Sudan, the habit of ignoring today’s emergency for tomorrow’s political advances is one that bears being re-examined and finally broken.

JEM: Sudan’s rebels prepared to attack, leader says

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

By Eszter Farkas, for CNN
updated 2:30 PM EST, Mon October 17, 2011
  • A JEM official says if the Sudanese government will not negotiate, an offensive will come
  • “The regime will never care to rectify the situation” unless forced, Gibril Ibrahim says
  • A Sudanese official says the rebels do not have the capacity to topple the government

(CNN) — The leader of Sudan’s best-armed rebel group says an offensive against Khartoum could come soon if the Sudanese government rejects renegotiating the Darfur peace agreement.

London-based Gibril Ibrahim, foreign secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, said in e-mails with CNN that the movement would prefer to achieve peace by putting pressure on President Omar al-Bashir’s regime to sit down at the negotiating table again.

But Ibrahim said that although JEM has been engaging in negotiations with Khartoum since before the armed struggle in Darfur began in 2003, the government has failed to convince rebels that it is a genuine peace partner.

“Unless we take the war to the seat of the throne of the regime in Khartoum, the regime will never care to rectify the situation or faithfully seek peaceful settlements,” Ibrahim said.

He added that the JEM’s leader, Khalil Ibrahim, who had recently returned to Darfur from his year-long exile in Libya, is reorganizing the civil and military organs of the movement and working to create a coalition bringing various armed movements and the political opposition together.

That would include the two factions of Darfur’s other main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement or SLM, Gibril Ibrahim said.

Sudanese State Minister Amin Hassan Omar discredited the threats in a phone interview with CNN.

“We don’t believe that they have this capacity or the force” to topple the government, Omar said. “That would be like committing suicide. … They would be considered terrorists.”

While the JEM and other movements confirmed they will join in a peace workshop slated for October 27-28 in Washington, the government has declined to participate.

The peace agreement — signed in July by only one Darfuri rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement, or LJM — was “the document of the people of Darfur, not just some sort of negotiation between the government and the LJM,” Omar said in explaining the government’s rejection of new talks.

He added that resistance movements have been invited to join the Doha agreement in the three months since it was signed but instead choose to threaten with force.

“We are not intimidated by their talk,” Omar said. “Our alliance is with the people of Darfur.”

This year alone, some 70,000 people from Darfur, a province in western Sudan the size of Spain, have become displaced by aerial bombardments, according to a June 2011 Human Rights Watch report.

Omar refused to comment on accounts of at least 100 aerial bombardments this year, saying the allegations were made by Darfuri rebels and that United Nations-African Union and other international observers have a presence in the area.

Ibrahim said the military tactics Khartoum had used during the civil war in southern Sudan — which became an independent country on July 9 –and those used in Darfur were very similar to those the government applied in the current conflicts in Sudan’s two flashpoint border states, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“It is no secret that JEM forces in South Kordofan are fighting the forces of the regime by the side of the SPLA-N,” the JEM leader said, referring to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North. That group is the northern faction of South Sudan’s main political party, which has been engaged in war against Khartoum in South Kordofan since June.

Since summer, more than 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the United Nations says.

An estimated 300,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict and well over 2 million have been displaced since 2003. Al-Bashir and two other officials are wanted for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur by the International Criminal Court.

‘Lost Boy’ Returns to Help South Sudan Village

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

Aruna Kenyi  took this picture of a teacher with his students in Kansuk, South Sudan, where Kenyi hopes to establish a free lunch program.

Photo: Aruna Kenyi
Aruna Kenyi took this picture of a teacher with his students in Kansuk, South Sudan, where Kenyi hopes to establish a free lunch program.

Like many college students, Aruna Kenyi went home over the summer to see his family. Unlike most of his peers though, the 22 year old’s journey took him halfway around the world to his native Sudan – or  to what used to be Sudan – and is now the new independent Republic of South Sudan.

It was the first trip home in 16 years for the University of Maine-Farmington senior. When he visited his birthplace of Kansuk, the memories came flooding back. His recollections are of civil war and how, as a 5-year-old boy, he and his three brothers were separated from their parents when militiamen ransacked his village.

Thinking their parents had been killed, the brothers joined thousands of other so-called ‘Lost Boys,’ wandering from village to village, fleeing war and famine.


University of Maine student Aruna Kenyi set up a fresh drinking water program in his native South Sudan village and hopes to follow up with a free school lunch program.

Maine Public Broadcasting

University of Maine student Aruna Kenyi set up a fresh drinking water program in his native South Sudan village and hopes to follow up with a free school lunch program.

“We ended up in a camp in Uganda. That’s where we filled the applications for coming to the U.S.,” he says. “And in November 2003, we finally were moved to the U.S.. The first state that we lived in was Virginia, and after that we moved to Maine because we knew some people that we used to live in the camp with that live in Maine so we decided to move here.”

But Kenyi never lost the connection he feels to his homeland. In 2005, he learned that his parents had survived the war back home. Earlier this year, he voted in elections for South Sudanese independence.

And, as part of his studies at the University of Maine where he is majoring in community health education, Kenyi proposed setting up a high school lunch program in Kansuk.

“I really feel the need that if children are fed they are more likely to learn better, and perform better in school,” Kenyi says. “It also improves their health. So I went there with the thought of wanting to start a school lunch program, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to be. I didn’t have enough funding to start the program.”

Before the trip, Kenyi set an ambitious goal of raising $90,000; the cost of providing a daily meal for all 500 kids at the local high school for one year. With the $2,600 he did collect, Kenyi bought water containers so the students have access to clean drinking water. He also set up a sponsorship program to pay volunteer teachers at the village kindergarten.

During his trip, Kenyi discovered that the children needed a lot more than school lunches.

“They have so much need at this school, needs such as a library. They don’t have textbooks at this school. There are about one textbook for one class, and they don’t even have enough chairs and tables for students. Some students sit on the floor at this school.”

There’s also a critical shortage of teachers even though the average class size is about 100 students. But Kenyi’s primary concern remains the school nutrition program.

The school cannot provide lunches and, he explains, that means many kids have nothing to eat all day.

“So they go from eight to four, and once they get home they get to eat something if there is food at home. But at school there is no food,” Kenyi says. “So the students, sometimes at lunch break, they get an hour for lunch. For most students, the distance from school to home is about two hours. A lot of them just decide to go home and not back to school.”

Kenyi is determined to continue fundraising to meet his goal of setting up a school lunch program in Kansuk. He’s approaching church groups, schools and colleges in New England and beyond, for financial support. A successful nutrition program in Kansuk, he hopes, will provide a model for other districts in South Sudan to do the same.

And one day, he says, he plans to return to his country to work as a teacher.

Ambassadors’ Briefing On South Sudan

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Washington, DC — ON-THE-RECORD BRIEFING – U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan E. Rice; Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Johnnie Carson; and USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg on Sudan

MS. NULAND: Good morning, everybody. As you know, this Saturday, July 9th, the Republic of South Sudan will celebrate a ceremony to mark its independence, culminating a six-year peace process. The U.S. presidential delegation to the ceremony will be led by our Ambassador to the United Nations, the Honorable Susan Rice. And the delegation will travel to Juba to attend this historic event today. We are very pleased this morning to have Ambassador Rice as well as several members of the delegation to talk to you about this trip. We also have Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Don Steinberg.

Welcome, Ambassador Rice.

AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you. Good morning, everybody. I’m very honored to lead the delegation that will travel on behalf of the United States to Juba to welcome the new Republic of South Sudan into the community of sovereign nations.

As you know, the delegation will also include Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Brooke Anderson, the Deputy National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff and Counselor at the National Security Staff; General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command; Deputy Administrator of USAID Don Steinberg; Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey, who is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and formerly chairman of that subcommittee; Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who of course is our Special Envoy of the President to Sudan; Barrie Walkley, who is the U.S. Consul General in Juba; and Mr. Ken Hackett, who is president of Catholic Relief Services, an NGO that’s been very active for many years throughout Sudan.

I’m particularly honored, in addition, that we’ll be joined on the delegation by General Colin Powell, who as you all know, along with one of my predecessors, John Danforth, worked so hard to lay the groundwork for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. And obviously, General Powell did that while he served as Secretary of State.

So as you can see, this is a very strong and bipartisan American delegation. It reflects the President’s deep commitment to developments in Sudan and to supporting the new Republic of South Sudan. And we will be active, all of us, all members of this delegation, in our time in Juba, pushing forward on the issues that are so important and remain to be resolved.

Let me just say a few more words about what we’ll be doing, why it’s important, and what message we’ll be bringing on behalf of President Obama. Our trip will, of course, focus on the celebration of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan. Our day will include, in addition to the ceremonies, a meeting with President Salva Kiir and a ribbon-cutting to officially transform the U.S. Consulate in Juba into the U.S. Embassy to the new Republic of South Sudan.

As you know, this independence celebration is a deeply significant event for the people of South Sudan, who, after a half century of war and more than 2 million people lost, finally will have the ability to determine their own future. By any standard, this is a historic moment, and the fact that it’s occurring as a result of a democratic exercise through a referendum that occurred peacefully and on time is itself all the more remarkable.

The United States has worked tirelessly to help make the promise of this moment a reality. First, it would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership and personal engagement of President Obama, who raised his voice consistently and eloquently as he did before what was a historic gathering at the United Nations last September, where he spoke in support, quote, "of a future where, after the darkness of war, there can be a new day of peace and progress."

Our efforts have also been championed by Secretary of State Clinton and bolstered by the hard work of General Scott Gration, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Ambassador Carson, and many others who have logged dozens of trips to the region and countless sleepless hours on the phone and around the negotiating table. Thanks to these efforts and the hard work of many others in the international community and at the United Nations, the moment is approaching when a future of peace is finally possible.

But let’s be absolutely clear: This is a fragile and fraught moment as well. It cannot and must not be taken for granted, least of all by the Government of Sudan and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, who will have to still work exceptionally hard to achieve an enduring peace and enable the emergence of two viable states that are peaceful neighbors.

A number of core issues remain to be resolved. A permanent resolution of Abyei’s status is still elusive. And the situation there, in spite of an agreement on temporary security arrangements signed on June 20th and the imminent deployment of a UN interim security force for Abyei, is still extremely volatile. An estimated 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Abyei.

And meanwhile, of course, we’ve seen brutal fighting in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan between Sudanese armed forces and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army North troops who come from that state. And the Sudanese army continues to carry out aerial bombardments that are hitting civilians. And on June 28th, the government and the SPLM North agreed to a framework of political and security principles for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but they haven’t agreed yet to any cessation of hostilities.

The United States clearly has condemned the escalating violence, especially by the Government of Sudan against civilians, and the detention and targeting of UN national staff and the deliberate obstruction of access for humanitarian agencies. In light of this situation, the United States is extremely concerned by the government’s decision to compel the departure of the UN mission in Sudan from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states and elsewhere in the North on July 9th. It’s vital that the United Nations be allowed to maintain a full peacekeeping presence in these areas for an additional period of time in order to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, support the implementation of any cessation of hostilities agreement, and vitally, to protect civilians.

Furthermore, we’re concerned that the parties haven’t finalized arrangements on major outstanding CPA issues, including the border, citizenship, and oil. We believe the parties need to urgently resolve these remaining issues. In the meantime, it’s critical that the parties cooperate on such key issues as oil and citizenship in order to avoid major economic shocks or social upheaval. Allowing these issues, including the final status of Abyei, to linger without resolution for any length of time could swiftly destabilize the future relationship between these two states. So for our part, the United States will continue to be extremely active in supporting the implementation of the CPA in all of its stages, as we have since its inception, and particularly over the last 12 months. And we will continue to deliver the same consistent message on behalf of President Obama.

Saturday’s celebration is above all a testament to the people of South Sudan and secondly to the parties to the CPA. But as we’ve made very clear, the success of the CPA and the resolution of the larger issues in Sudan, including in particular Darfur, will remain a strong and consistent focus of the United States. As we mark progress for the Republic of South Sudan and an important new chapter in the history of what has been a very troubled region, the United States will remain resolute and clear-eyed about the road ahead.

Thank you, and I would now hand it over to Ambassador Carson.

AMBASSADOR CARSON: Ambassador Rice, thank you very, very much, and I am very pleased and honored to be joining you on this presidential delegation to South Sudan. July 9 marks the technical conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, an accord that ended over two decades of conflict and suffering in Southern Sudan. The people of South Sudan can now look forward with great hope and expectations to the future, despite the enormous challenges that still must be addressed to secure the peace and to preclude another outbreak of conflict.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping South Sudan achieve its political and development goals, as well as working constructively with the government of Khartoum to improve and normalize our relations. To realize their dreams of peace and stability, we believe the leaders of both South and North will need to collaborate intensely and sincerely to achieve these goals. This means a reinvigoration of their efforts to ensure that their separation is characterized by dignity and mutual respect and in a manner that strengthens the continued viability, security, and economic prosperity of each of the two states.

The governments of North and South Sudan still need to reach agreement on critical issues from the CPA that have not yet been resolved. These are, among others, oil and transitional financial arrangements, citizenship and citizens’ rights, the resolution of the five areas along the North-South border, and the future status of Abyei. We also expect Sudanese leaders to implement fully their June 20 agreement on Abyei, which includes a full withdrawal of Sudanese armed forces from that territory.

We also expect the North to fulfill its obligations to hold and conclude in a timely manner meaningful popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. It will be critical for the parties to work together to resolve the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis that now exists in Southern Kordofan. The current situation is deeply troubling. We call on the parties to reach agreement on and immediately implement a cessation of hostilities and allow for aid workers to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by this conflict.

After years of fighting, the people of South Sudan have earned their right to peace. Their children deserve a more promising future that leaves the conflict of generations of the past behind. We hope that their leaders will seize this unique opportunity to establish a durable and self-sustaining peace that will provide a solid foundation for two viable states sharing a prosperous and stable future in which their people can realize their long-delayed hopes and aspirations.

The United States, acting in concert with the United Nations, the African Union, and the European Union and other international partners, will continue to play its part in assisting the new state of South Sudan to strengthen its sovereignty, build its capacity for enlightened governance, and contribute to its economic development. This will be a challenge for all of us. The United States stands ready to work with the people of South Sudan to meet that challenge. Thank you.

I’d now ask Ambassador Steinberg.

AMBASSADOR STEINBERG: We have a real challenge ahead of us in supporting the process of a new state in Africa, and the United States has had a long history of supporting South Sudan both before the completion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and subsequently. At the explicit instructions of President Obama, we have worked to provide the people and the Government of South Sudan with the tools that they need to build a nation. And we often shy away from the phrase "nation building," but in this case it is particularly appropriate.

Ambassador Carson spoke of the expectations of the Sudanese people, and indeed they have high expectations for what peace will mean for them. And already over the course of the last few years, we have worked with the Government of South Sudan to move themselves from a concept into a viable, functioning government. We’ve helped provide a million people with access to water. We’ve helped expand from school enrollment rates of about one in five to now 68 percent. We have financed the construction of roads, bridges, electrical power stations. And perhaps equally significant, we supported the January 2011 referendum on self-determination, which was overwhelmingly in support of independence.

In this effort, we’re working in partnership with a variety of agencies, the World Bank, our Troika partners, the United Kingdom and Norway on developmental and humanitarian assistance. And in that regard, we are prepared to host in September an international conference that will draw together the international community with the Government of South Sudan as a platform to demonstrate their vision and their future for their country and to engage with the international community. That will be held here in Washington towards the end of September.

In line with that effort, we have identified four key pillars for USAID and the whole of government to engage in, and these pillars are the following: to create an enabling environment for the promotion of private investment in South Sudan; to strengthen the agricultural sector to become a true engine of growth for South Sudan; to develop a common platform in institutional structure for the international community to engage in this new country; and to build the human capital necessary to govern and deliver services.

And it’s important to remember that this is a facilitative role, largely, that we’re performing. South Sudan has ample resources from its petroleum reserves and other assets to provide the basic needs for its development. However, in order to make sure that occurs they need the governmental capacity to ensure that resources are well used, that corruption doesn’t take place, and that bottlenecks and other impediments to development don’t occur.

I need to highlight as well that we’re responding to large humanitarian needs throughout South Sudan, and in particular now in Southern Kordofan, in Abyei, where we’re seeing probably a total of about 200,000 people displaced by recent fighting. Many of those are traveling to the South, and we are working with the Government of South Sudan to provide resources to them. I myself was in South Sudan about six weeks ago and met with a variety of Northerners who had come south and who were looking for a new life in the South but had very high expectations for what that life would provide to them. We’re concerned about their safety. We’re concerned about the citizenship questions in the North, which need to be resolved, otherwise we may see a massive flood of new IDPs coming South. And as Ambassador Rice said, we continue to press for humanitarian access to assist those in need in places where access is restricted, especially South Kordofan, the Nuba Mountains, and Darfur.

So we’re very excited about the future. As of July 9th we will have a full USAID mission in Juba along with a mission in Khartoum. And we are delighted to be pursuing the vision of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to help this country emerge as a prosperous and free country.

Thank you.

MS. NULAND: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Ambassador Rice – and maybe, Ambassador Carson you can weigh in – I have a wider question that maybe we can go a bit narrow as well – about your support for this referendum and for the independence of Southern Sudan has been very public and very emphatic. And I’m wondering whether you think – where this leaves the relationship with the North? And whether the people – whether you feel there’s – the North now feels any kind of stigma because of your strong support for Southern Sudan? Even in some of the comments, I mean, that – I think the Northerners feel that – and just from some people we’ve talked to, the Northerners feel now that you’ve chosen kind of Southern Sudan over the North. And the relationship with the government now, how do you – now that they feel that they’ve fulfilled their commitments on Southern Sudan, how do you, as you say, get them to continue to fulfill their commitments on Darfur, on some of these other things while managing their expectations on things like the terrorism list and such?

AMBASSADOR RICE: Well first of all, what we have favored is faithful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which the two parties signed of their own volition, presumably because they determined it to be in their own – each of them in their own interest. So there’s no choosing of sides in that regard. And clearly, with the referendum having been held and the people of South Sudan stating their preferences clearly and overwhelmingly, we and others in the international community – indeed the entirety of the international community, every member state on the Security Council, every member state in the United Nations is committed to supporting and welcoming the Republic of South Sudan into the community of nations.

That said, obviously we have a vital interest in the success of peaceful and mutually beneficial relations between the government of the South and the government of the North. We want very much, as I think you’ve heard many of my colleagues say and Ambassador Carson just reiterated, to be in a position to build a more normal and more constructive relationship with the government in Khartoum. But for that to occur, as we have discussed on numerous occasions directly with them, we need to see full and final implementation of all aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and clearly there are some important elements that remain unresolved.

We have also, from the very beginning, been very plain about the United States’ deep concern about what is transpiring in Darfur and now more recently in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Our interest, however, is seeing those issues resolved, the conflict end, political processes put in place that would meet the aspirations of the people of those regions within the country of Sudan, and that’s what we’ll work to continue to do.

We have many facets now to our relationship with the government in Khartoum. There is great potential for that relationship to deepen, but that depends on progress, as I’ve described, and progress in the roadmap that we have discussed over the course of the last many months with the government.

QUESTION: But they’re expecting – just a quick follow-up – they’re expecting now that they’ve signed this agreement, the South Sudan is an independent country, "It’s time for you to take us off the terrorism list."

AMBASSADOR RICE: Well, in fact, the government in Khartoum knows exactly what to expect because they have heard it very precisely and directly from Ambassador Lyman and from many other senior American officials. There should be no confusion or ambiguity about expectations. We have been as plain as it’s possible to be in black and white, and we are fulfilling our side of the bargain. And as the government fulfills its commitments, as we hope it will under the CPA, we will be in a position to make the progress that we hope to make.

Johnnie, do you want to add anything to that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: Just – thank you. Just one brief comment, and that is to say that the long-term political and economic success of the South is dependent upon having a strong, politically stable, and economically viable partner in the North. And the long-term viability of Khartoum’s government is dependent upon having a politically stable and economically prosperous partner in the South. Both of these countries will, in fact, remain very, very dependent upon one another for a long period of time. It is in their mutual interest, it is in our mutual interest to see two stable, viable, and strong economic states next to one another, and we hope that that message also gets out.

QUESTION: A question for whoever can answer it: The Southern Sudanese have said that the biggest and best present that the United States could give them on their birthday would be lifting the sanctions, and that if they don’t do that, that their oil-based economy just simply won’t be viable. So my question is: Are you – is the United States prepared to either split off South Sudan from existing sanctions on the whole of Sudan or lift sanctions on all of them as part of your efforts to get them kind of up and running?

And a second question is: What prospects are there for extending UNMIS given that, as far as I understand, its mandate sort of ends on July 9th under the CPA? How can you get them to keep them on?

AMBASSADOR RICE: I will take the second one. Do you want to –


AMBASSADOR RICE: The sanctions that have been in place on Sudan – there are different sorts and different types going back to 1993. They would not bear on and be a legacy that will be the responsibility of the Republic of South Sudan. So there are technical aspects to that, but the intent of the sanctions would not be consistent with that.

QUESTION: So that’s not – just so I’m clear on that – that they will no longer be subject to those sanctions as they emerge as a new country?

AMBASSADOR RICE: I mean, there are technical steps that would need to be taken to accomplish that, but the sanctions were imposed for the behavior of a government that is not the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. So we will make accommodation for that reality.

With respect to the United Nations presence, there are multiple aspects to this. In the first instance, we – the United Nations Security Council expects to adopt a resolution as early as Friday, which will establish a new UN mission for the Republic of South Sudan. It is a mission that will have various aspects to it, from security support to protection of civilians to support for building the institutions of the state. And a substantial share of the current UN presence or force in Sudan will shift over and become part of this new mission for the South. And there will ultimately be some troops that leave, some that come in, a different-sized civilian component, et cetera.

In the North, the portion that is above the 1156 border, which includes Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile but not limited to it, there are also currently several thousand UN forces under the current mission UNMIS. The government, very regrettably – and as I mentioned in my comments, to our grave concern – has indicated that it will insist that the UN terminate its mission in the North, effective on the 9th. The United States has been using all of our diplomatic and other instruments, as have the other permanent member of the Security Council and I think indeed many members of the Security Council, to try to persuade the leadership in Khartoum that it is not in their interest that the UN be compelled to leave abruptly or prematurely while key CPA issues remain unresolved and while, in particular, there is an issue with the common border, and a particularly volatile and grave humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and potentially Blue Nile state.

So this is something we’re very concerned about, we’ve been focused on for quite some while. It’s not just the United States; it’s all of the leading members of the United Nations and others beyond that. And we will continue to do what we can to underscore to Khartoum that it is in their interests and the interests of the region that they not take this step. But they seem thus far to be quite determined, and this poses a great deal of worry for the security of people in Southern Kordofan for the common border, for humanitarian access, and a number of other important issues.

MODERATOR: I’m cautious of the schedule of our principals, so we have time for two more (inaudible).

QUESTION: Two quick ones. You say that it’s very obvious for the government of Khartoum what they need to do to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. But I was wondering if you could specify what exactly you expect next of them. I mean, I think they could argue that you keep changing the goalposts, and I was wondering whether you could be a little bit more specific.

And then on the conference that you mentioned for the end of September, could you tell us a little bit more about what kind of conference it is? Is it a pledging conference? Is it a brainstorming conference about how to take this further?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: As Ambassador Rice has indicated, the United States has laid out a very clear and specific roadmap for the government of Khartoum that would lead to a clear improvement in relations and include the removal of Khartoum from the state sponsor of terrorism list. That roadmap was originally conveyed to the government of Khartoum by Senator Kerry, and it has been reiterated over the last five or six months in numerous diplomatic dialogues, initially by Ambassador Scott Gration and now by Ambassador Princeton Lyman.

Clearly, the first step that must be done is the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. What we will see on Saturday with the independence of South Sudan is only one element of the full implementation of that agreement. As many of you may recall, that the CPA called for a resolution of both the problems in the South as well as in Abyei. There were supposed to be, on January 9, two referenda. One took place in the South; the other one was supposed to but did not take place in Abyei. As we have all mentioned, the issue of Abyei has not been resolved. In fact, since May 19th, the situation on the ground became worse and is only now returning to the status quo ante. It is imperative that the government of the North remove all SAF troops from Abyei, live up to its commitments in an agreement made with the South on June 20th with respect to Abyei.

But beyond that, the post-referendum issues that require immediate attention and completion are issues related to oil and transitional financial arrangements. There must be a resolution of the five remaining border disagreements along the South. There must be clarity on the issue of citizenship as well.

In addition, we have indicated to the government of Khartoum that we are prepared to review and look at the removal of state sponsor of terrorism designation from that country. But we have said that any removal of Khartoum from that list must be accompanied by full implementation of Abyei and must, in fact, meet all the criteria for the removal of the state sponsor designation under existing laws.

We are working as hard as we can with the authorities in Khartoum to make progress on these issues, but we are not yet at the end of the line with respect to full implementation of the agreement. We have not moved the goal posts. The government is clearly aware based on our verbal and written transmissions to them of exactly what is required.

AMBASSADOR STEINBERG: On the conference, the Government of South Sudan asked us to hold this conference as an opportunity for them to, two and a half months into their tenure, to show the international community a variety of commitments they’re prepared to make to be good development partners and good partners for the private sector. And so they have asked for the opportunity to present their development plans, to talk about what they’re going to be doing to keep corruption under control, to talk about how they’re going to be creating a conducive environment for the private sector, and a variety of other issues.

We’ve been working with the World Bank, with the African Union, with Norway, the United Kingdom, with Turkey and a variety of others to hold that as a two-day program. The first day is going to focus on what I’ve just described. The second day will focus on the private sector, and we’re working with the Corporate Council on Africa to put together a wide variety of opportunities for foreign investors. Again, this is a unique situation. There will be resources that are available from the Government of South Sudan, so this isn’t a question of having to need tremendous inflows of outside capital, but they do need help in this regard.

The other thing I would say is that it will also be an opportunity for us in the U.S. Government to announce some deliverables, some steps that we’re prepared to take in order to encourage South Sudan. As you may know, last year we provided some $300 million worth of assistance to South Sudan in the areas of education, housing, health care, and a variety of other areas. We’ll be announcing new plans at that point.

The other aspect I wanted to highlight vis-à-vis this conference but also more broadly vis-à-vis our development efforts in South Sudan is our emphasis on gender; our insistence that the government incorporate women into not only the delegations that they’re sending to these missions but also fully integrate gender considerations into all of their development efforts. And this is something that we stress very strongly with the government.

QUESTION: Just to go back about the designation on the terrorism list, is it under review at the moment or has the review not started yet, if there could be clarification on that? And if I could ask the same question about Darfur, how important is it to see some movement on Darfur? There is some fear that the focus on South Sudan and South Kordofan and Abyei is having less focus on Darfur. So what are your expectations from the government of Khartoum on that?

AMBASSADOR RICE: We initiated the process of examining Sudan’s status under the state sponsor of terrorism designation following the referendum. But as Ambassador Carson said repeatedly, there can be no lifting of that designation unless and until Khartoum fulfills its obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as we outlined very clearly and specifically in the U.S. roadmap that Ambassador Carson described. So that’s where we are.

With respect to Darfur, the United States has been for many years and remains deeply focused on the horrible humanitarian situation that persists in Darfur. We have been very active in every respect, most directly and consistently through the efforts of Ambassador Dane Smith to try to address and resolve not only the humanitarian but the political and security issues that remain of grave concern in Darfur. In the United Nations, we are very much focused on Darfur, on efforts to negotiate various aspects of resolution of the disagreement through Doha and other means. We have a large UN peacekeeping force on the ground in Darfur with a robust mandate to protect civilians, and we are urging that it do all it can within its capabilities to fulfill that mandate.

So by no means has Darfur been sidelined or fallen off the radar screen; quite the contrary. Unfortunately, now there are several other hot areas that require attention in parallel, but not to the exclusion of Darfur. And certainly, as we have elaborated with great specificity and in great detail, the roadmap for improved relations between the United States and the government in Khartoum, there are different stages and different elements to it, and the situation in Darfur is an important component. It is not the component that has immediate bearing on what we have been discussing, the state sponsorship designation. That’s tied to the criteria in the law, as Ambassador Carson said, as well as to performance on the CPA obligations. But there are other aspects of normalization and improvement, major aspects of normalization and improvement, that do depend on progress in Darfur.

QUESTION: Can you perhaps clarify that? Because I was under the impression – maybe it was from the last administration and maybe it’s a little bit different now.

AMBASSADOR RICE: It’s been a lot.

QUESTION: But I was just under the impression that Darfur was an issue in the terrorism list, kind of, criteria that obviously CPA was very important but that there was going to be no lifting of Sudan from the terrorism list until the situation improved in Darfur. Now, maybe it’s improved to the point where that’s not part of the criteria anymore?

AMBASSADOR RICE: I stand by what I just explained.


MS. NULAND: Good. Thank you very much to our briefers. Safe travels to Juba, and thanks to all of you.


Cornell University’s Students Help Draft South Sudan Constitution

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

October 17, 2011
By Manu Rathore

Officials from the newly formed country of South Sudan are considering, among other proposals, a constitutional draft written by four Cornell law students under the supervision of Prof. Muna Ndulo, law.

Officials from the newly formed country of South Sudan are considering, among other proposals, a constitutional draft written by four Cornell law students under the supervision of Prof. Muna Ndulo, law.

South Sudan became an independent state on July 9 after a referendum for secession from the rest of Sudan won overwhelming support in January. On July 14, South Sudan joined the United Nations as a member state.

Still, the new government faces many challenges — including writing a formal constitution — said Ndulo, who guided the law students’ project.

“The expectation would be that [the new constitution] is democratic, responsive toward the needs of southern Sudan and inclusive of South Sudan’s diversity,” Ndulo said.

The National Democratic Institute, a non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., asked Ndulo for his expertise on possible components of a new constitution for South Sudan earlier this year. Ndulo has already helped draft the constitutions of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Afghanistan.

The four students who participated were Calli Ferreira J.D. ’11, Lilian Balasanian J.D. ’11, Ejemen Ofoman J.D. ’11, and Kamilka Malwatte J.D. ’11.

Ndulo emphasized that the draft constitution was meant to serve an advisory role rather than an imposition.

“We are not deciding things for anybody. We are offering our services to say that these are the best practices,” Ndulo said. “The thing about constitution negotiations is that you have to be mindful of not prescribing.”

Ndulo also highlighted the importance of the constitution for South Sudan. Ndulo said that the formation of a new government and drafting of a constitution are positive changes to an area that has been ravaged by war for decades.

The four law students divided the work among themselves according to their varying interests in different components of the constitution. They held weekly meetings and carried out extensive research about Sudan, according to Ndulo.

“I opted to focus mainly on the constitutional provisions pertaining to the executive branch,” Malwatte said in an email. “However, input from every member of our group on every section was a key part of the project because each section had to fit into a larger constitutional framework.”

Malwatte said the students sought to adapt the best features of other countries’ constitutions to the new state of South Sudan.

“We started off by doing comparative research on the constitutions of other states in search of best practices,” Malwatte said. “Then [we] tried to refine and adapt those lessons learned to the specific historical, political and social context [of the country].”

The students came from diverse backgrounds, including South Africa, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the United States. Although it was unrelated to their selection, Ndulo said this helped provide the draft with international perspective.

Ndulo added that by participating in the “clinical study” — legal research with a direct effect on society — students would gain exposure to how a constitution is drafted.

“It is a good opportunity for students to get engaged in practical things,” Ndulo said. “They get exposed to real world issues and their interest in such international matters enhances Cornell’s impact worldwide.”

Malwatte called the project the “capstone” of her studies at the law school.

“Clinical courses that offer practical, hands-on, project-oriented experience are a great addition to the theory presented in other law classes,” Malwatte said. “I’m very grateful to have had that opportunity at Cornell.”

Repatriation of 3,000 Southern Sudanese from Sudan to Start Soon

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Khartoum – The International Organization of Migration (IOM) has completed arrangements for the transportation of 3,000 citizens of the State of South Sudan living in the State of Khartoum out of the targeted number of 12,000.
These citizens of the State of South Sudan live at open area at Al Shajara and Soba and the arrangement is taking place according to an agreement recently concluded between IOM, government and partners.
On his part, Senior Liaison – Operations Officer, Salah Osman has said the start of the trips home will begin from Al Shajarah camp for the Internally Displaced People (IDPs). All registration and medical checkup procedures for Southern Sudanese to be repatriated have been completed.
The first batch will include 3,000 IDPs who will be repatriated by train, at the rate of 8 trips for the total targeted number, six to Aweil and two to Wau. The trip will coincide with one train trip to be operated by the government of the State of South Sudan to Wau.
In a statement to Sudan Vision, Osman said IOM provides the necessary assistance for securing IDPs return to their regions in the State of South Sudan through its office in the Republic of Sudan and the State of South Sudan in coordination with Humanitarian Aid Commission at Khartoum State and the National Center for the Internally Displaced.
During a tour by SV of Shajara Camp, the scene was one of quietness with registration and medical checkup procedures for the returnees going on smoothly. However, it was noticed that tons of luggage belonging to the returnees were being piled up, something that present a great challenge for IOM.
On his part IOM Operations Officer, Mohamed El Sunni has said IOM has provided all the necessary needs of returnees who will travel by trains as well as by air for those whose health does not permit them to take the train.
He added IOM has secured the returning of the IDPs according to known standard international criteria. He added registration and medical check processes have been carried out by volunteers who have been trained by IOM.
El Sunni added that IOM has arranged with a company in the Republic of Sudan for rearranging luggage for ensuring the largest number of returnees and their luggage are accommodated in their return trips.

Government, IOM Agreement for Repatriating South Sudan Citizens

Khartoum – The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have signed agreement yesterday for repatriating about 12,000 displaced citizens of the Republic of South Sudan from Khartoum.
According to Salah Osman, Senior Liaison Operations Officer, arrangements are being made for repatriating 6,000 displaced citizens of Republic of South Sudan (RSS) stranded at Kosti harbor to Juba soon.
Osman added the agreement has been reached within the framework of completing IDPs’ voluntary return program.
He added IOM has repatriated about 116,000 IDP’s from the Republic of Sudan to the Republic of South Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 within the partnership between IOM and the National Center for the Displaced (NCD).
On his part, NCD’s director, Taj El Sir Al-Omda, has said the deplorable condition in which RSS’s citizens live at open areas in Khartoum and those stranded at Kosti Harbor is attributed to the repatriation of RSS’s citizens implemented by RSS’s Commission for Reconstruction in 2010 following the referendum voting results.
He added the Republic of Sudan’s Presidency has provided SDG 10 million to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for implementing the program in support of voluntary return according to the directive of President Al-Bashir.
Al Omda who signed on behalf of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said the stoppage of the voluntary return program is attributed to non preparation of voluntary return regions and noncompliance of donors as regard their commitment in addition to tribal conflict in RSS.
He lauded IOM’s role in repatriating about 2 million displaced persons since the signing of CPA in 2005 to South Kordofan, South Blue Nile and South Sudan.
Al Omda said about 7,000 displaced persons were repatriated in mid September this year through steamers from Kosti Harbor and that the total persons who have been repatriated through river transportation stood at about 42,792 persons.
“The total number of remaining RSS’s citizens stranded at Kosti Harbor stands at about 11,000 according to latest statistics,” he said.
On her part, IOM’s director in Sudan, Jill Helke, said they have repatriated about 14,000 persons form Kosti Harbor to Juba and other regions in RSS.
She added a number of obstructions stand in the way of repatriation trips organized by IOM, the most important of which being the tons of luggage and personal belongings  of the returnees, tension amongst returnees because of absence of information about procedures of their return and misunderstanding of the international community’s role with respect to their repatriation.
Helke attributed the slowness of repatriation process to reasons relating to IOM’s commitment to international standards relating to such operations with respect to security, health and safety matters.
She complained of the huge quantities of luggage and said IOM is not concerned with transporting such luggage since IOM is concerned with supporting the repatriation of the displaced.
However, she said the agreement has been reached recently for addressing this issue between IOM, NCD and RSS’s Reconstruction Commission according to which IOM has been allowed fixed percentage for transporting luggage provided RSS’ government should bear cost of transporting remaining luggage.
By Zuleikha Abdel Raziq, 05/10/2011

By Zuleikha Abdel Raziq, 8 hours 5 minutes ago

South Sudanese Beauty Queen Succeeds Despite Hardship

Posted: October 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Hailey Higgins
Published: October 16, 2011, 10:07 PM

Succeeding Despite Hardships
Click to watch video

SIOUX FALLS, SD – One South Sudanese woman is defying all odds and becoming a role model in her tightly-knit community.

Anyath Aluong has come a long way to where she is now. The 24-year-old came from Sudan after her father was murdered during civil unrest in 1995.

"I remember thinking why we are in this country. We don’t belong here. We don’t know the language. We don’t know the living habits, nothing," Aluong said. "But a couple years later we were speaking English and in school."

Aluong’s hard work paid off as she became the first in her family to go to college. Broadening her horizons, she entered and won the Miss South Sudan pageant last year on a whim.

But three months later, she gave up the crown for more important obligations.

"It was so hard, especially with school, you know, I was going full time with that and then you have full time work and you have your little siblings, but yeah, basically three main priorities that held me back so it was tough," Aluong said.

But hard work and sacrifice is paying off. After graduating with an associate’s degree from National American University, Aluong is starting her dream job as a pharmacy technician at Sanford Health Monday morning.

"I feel like a little girl at a candy store. I have been applying at Sanford for the longest (time). And for me to get the call and they said, ‘I think we are going to go ahead and give you the opportunity,’ I was screaming, jumping up and so excited," Aluong said.

The founder of the Miss Sudan pageant, Yar Kang, said Aluong is a shining star among the Sudanese community and an inspiration for other young girls.

“It’s a big deal for us. So like when other young Sudanese girls are like five years old, seven years old, seeing Anyath graduate and she’s working at the Sanford Hospital, this sis what makes them dream bigger,” Kang said.

"I want to be able to be a good role model, just like how my dad was before he was killed. So part of what I do to get where I am and where I am trying to go is based on where I was raised and how I was raised," Aluong said.

In the future, Aluong says she would like to go back to South Sudan and possibly set up a small pharmacy there to help those who have limited opportunities for medication.

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