Twenty years after Rwanda’s horrors, there are signs of hope for a more effective international response to future genocides—but only if we recognize the evolution in genocidal tactics. This op-ed by John Prendergast originally appeared in The Daily Beast on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Read More »
As the African Union prepares to reconvene talks between the Sudanese Government and Rebel Leaders, the stakes for peace and for civilians affected by the conflict are higher than ever. February 2014 was the deadliest month for civilians in South Kordofan due to aerial bombardment since 2011. Read More »
Addressing Root Causes of Sudan’s Wars Key to Sudan Peace Agenda
Washington, DC — As the African Union convenes talks with the Sudanese government and rebel leaders, a new Enough Project report advocates a more comprehensive and inclusive humanitarian ceasefire and an overall peace process that addresses urgent needs across Sudan’s periphery in a coordinated way. The report, “Sudan’s Tortured Peace Process,” urges African Union and American diplomats to recognize the interconnected nature of Sudan’s conflicts and pursue approaches that recognize the interests of all parties. It argues that a comprehensive approach, addressing marginalization across Sudan, can bring transformative political change that Sudanese people demand.
Sudan’s peace processes are currently segmented, with separate, ineffective frameworks for Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile). The separate structures fail to reflect the interconnected nature of the rebel coalition and the active conflicts--where a break in hostilities in one area can worsen the fighting elsewhere. As talks on the Two Areas resume in Addis Ababa, rebel leaders seek discussion of broader issues while Sudanese government officials and African Union mediators resist holistic talks. Many groups, including Sudanese civil society organizations, independent international analysts, African Union and European Union leaders, and U.S. officials have endorsed a comprehensive approach. The international community has failed, however, to commit the necessary diplomatic resources to build a broad international coalition to support such a peace process.
As violence escalates and urgent humanitarian needs increase, the divided approach to integrated problems undermines efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs.
Omer Ismail, Enough Project Sudan Advisor, says:
"The international community has done little to reject this stove-piping of Sudan’s conflicts. As conflicts in Sudan’s periphery worsen, the negotiating parties must stop pursuing this dead-end approach to the peace process that plays directly into Khartoum’s divide and conquer strategy."
To effectively advance a holistic peace agenda in Sudan, the report recommends that African Union and U.S. leaders take four critical steps:
1. African Union mediators should unify national dialogues and separate peace processes to comprehensively address conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and eastern Sudan.
2. The U.S. should build an international coalition to push for a comprehensive peace process and boost its diplomatic efforts by deploying an additional U.S. envoy.
3. American lawmakers should pass a measure to allow capacity-building support for Sudan’s opposition and civil society; and
4. The U.S. should use targeted sanctions and other sources of financial leverage to pressure combatants to pursue a comprehensive peace initiative.
Akshaya Kumar, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Analyst, says:
"A divided peace process mounts especially high stakes for civilians living in Sudan’s conflict-affected areas. This year’s rainy season is beginning early, putting millions at risk of food insecurity. An estimated four million in Sudan now face “emergency level” insecurity."
New Satellite Sentinel Project imagery provides independent confirmation of Sudan Air Force, or SAF, bombardments in the mountainous Jebel Marra area of North Darfur, where civilians have been bombed for years.Read More »
Over the past few days, Congress has been active in its response to the conflicts unfolding in both Sudan and South Sudan. In the House, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on Sudan and South Sudan. Read More »
Testimony of John Prendergast, Co-Founder of Enough Project, before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations on U.S. policy on Sudan and South Sudan given on February 26, 2014.
Today, renewed warfare in South Sudan is creating a new generation of Lost Boys. Two and a half years since winning its independence by way of a bloody, decades-long struggle strongly supported by the United States, rebel and government forces with their allied militias are recruiting young boys into their ranks. Read More »
Recent fighting in South Sudan -- marked by evident war crimes and crimes against humanity -- must be resolved through an inclusive peace process, according to an Enough Project field dispatch authored by Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast.
South Sudan Field Dispatch: Peace Still Possible Despite Apparent War Crimes
Washington, D.C.— Recent fighting in South Sudan -- marked by evident war crimes and crimes against humanity -- must be resolved through an inclusive peace process, according to a newly released Enough Project field dispatch authored by Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast. The report, based on interviews in South Sudan and site visits to places where mass atrocities appear to have occurred, documents the impact of fighting between government and opposition forces and allied militias.
The report, “Peace Must Come Soon”, documents the aftermath of violence in the towns of Bor and Juba, with eyewitness accounts from displaced civilians and others on the scene. Heavy fighting and targeted attacks have displaced over 900,000 people, and the International Crisis Group estimates that over ten thousand have been killed since fighting broke out in December.
Now, the bulk of the fighting is taking place in the Greater Upper Nile region, including in Unity, Jonglei,and Upper Nile states, comprising all of South Sudan’s significant oilfields. While the conflict was sparked by political disputes, the report states that the mobilization of forces by politicians on the basis of ethnicity has fueled and deepened inter-communal conflict. Recruitment of soldiers, including a large number of child soldiers, has continued even after the now-collapsed cessation of hostilities agreement, with a mass mobilization of Nuer militia in Greater Upper Nile and the launch of the government’s recruitment drive throughout South Sudan.
Report author John Prendergast says:
“Though the warring parties disagree strongly about the initial spark for the war, it is clear that actions taken by both is prolonging it. Mass recruitment, often on the basis of ethnicity, the use of child soldiers, ethnic-based targeting, and other actions are deepening the divides between communities and making reconciliation more difficult. It is urgent that this war ends at the negotiating table in Addis and not on the battlefield.”
As negotiations stall in Addis Ababa, the report argues for the preparation of a more inclusive peace process that addresses governance, accountability and reconciliation, security sector reform, and regional interests, citing the crucial role of civil society, political parties and regional partners in consultations and decision-making. Additionally, the report emphasizes the U.S. and international community’s role in supporting negotiations by deploying incentives and pressures to leverage the warring parties toward peace.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.