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Shortly after midnight on Thursday a column of tanks drove slowly down one of the main boulevards of Khartoum. Although residents of Sudan‘s capital of Khartoum awoke hours later to what seemed like another normal day, something significant had taken place during the wee hours. Amid a flurry of conflicting reports and wild rumors, information minister Ahmed Belal Osman announced Thursday that 13 suspects — among them senior officials — had been arrested for plotting against the state. “The government has decided to abort this plot just before the zero hour as a preventive measure to avoid entering the country into chaos,” Osman said.

The news of a coup attempt would have come as little surprise to countless Sudan watchers, who for months have watched storm clouds gather around the regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Facing armed resistance from restive ethnic groups in all corners of the country, as…

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Israel’s Airstrike on Khartoum: Part of a Broader US-NATO-Israel Military Agenda

israelus

by Mohammad Reza Haji-Karim Jabbari

The recent attack on a weapons production plant in Ash Shajara area of Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, on October 24, can have many reasons. However, irrespective of those reasons, this attack cannot be analyzed separate from the large-scale and main strategy of the United States and Israel in the Middle East and North Africa. This means that the aforesaid operation has been certainly part of the big puzzle of the United States’ and Israel’s strategy in these regions. Meanwhile, any analysis of the attack should first focus on the conditions under which the airstrike has taken place because those conditions will show us whether it has been a unique operation or not?

1. The Israeli airstrike against Sudan followed an earlier operation by the Lebanese Hezbollah in which an Iran-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) penetrated deep inside Israel. Many reports have been published on that operation, but the gist of all of them is that the operation greatly scared the inhabitants of Israel. On the one hand, it was a deterrent operation which aimed to change Israel’s calculations with regard to launching any possible attack in the Middle East region, and also posed a serious challenge to rumors about Israel’s attack on Iran. Therefore, the Israeli leaders needed to not only boost the morale and spirit of their people, but had to do the same for their military commanders as well. As a result, they had to launch an operation which would prove the upper hand of the Israeli forces both in military terms and in terms of intelligence and espionage in order to boost their people’s morale. The attack on weapons production facility in Sudan could be analyzed from this viewpoint.

2. There is also another large-scale aspect to this attack. Following the recent developments in the Middle East and in the light of the Arab Spring and the Islamic Awakening, Israel actually intended to test regional countries and reassess its regional standing in view of the aforesaid developments. This means that by conducting such a military operation, which amounted to a blatant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and also by carrying out the operation against an Arab and Islamic country, Israel intended to know what changes have been made to decision-making systems of these countries in the wake of the Arab Spring and what possible reactions these countries may show to Israel’s military operation. Unfortunately, the Arab League only showed a very feeble reaction by issuing a simple statement and this issue may embolden the Israeli regime to continue such attacks.

3. To carry out the operation, Israel needed to cross the Saudi Arabian airspace or that of Egypt. Have those countries been informed in advance? Had Saudi Arabia been especially pre-warned of the attack in view of the policy that Riyadh has been following in the Persian Gulf region and the entire Middle East? In both cases, Saudi Arabia’s responsibility will not be reduced. If the attack had been carried out in coordination with Saudi Arabia, it can be considered a really catastrophic development for the Arab world and the entire Islamic world as well. If it had taken place without Saudi Arabia knowing anything about it, then it would follow that the American military advisors who are in charge of management and training of very advanced military equipment in Saudi Arabia do not provide such information to Saudi Arabian government. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s hands are totally closed for dealing with such issues as its government does not know what is going on within its borders. In both cases, Saudi Arabia should be held to account for this incident. On the other hand, the weak statement that the Arab League has issued, which has been naturally under the influence of Saudi Arabia, clearly proves that Saudi Arabia is not willing to come under pressure for this issue. Either Riyadh wants to prevent the attack from emerging as an acute issue in the Arab world, or it is not willing to support Sudan as an Islamic country which is also part of the resistance front in the Middle East and North Africa.

4. As everybody knows, the United States and Israel have started joint military drills since last week. The drills are, per se, unprecedented in the history of Tel Aviv’s relations with Washington. A total of 1,000 American troops have already arrived in Israel while another 1,000 Israeli troops are also taking part in the maneuvers. According to some reports, 2,500 American forces have been also posted in various parts of the Mediterranean region and elsewhere in Europe. The main goal of the maneuvers is to test the readiness of Israel’s missile defense system. Therefore, the operation inside Sudan has been carried out simultaneous with the joint military drills by the United States and Israel.

5. This operation has been carried out after certain developments in the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel restarted its aerial attacks on Gaza last week after which Tel Aviv accepted a cease-fire mediated by the government of Egypt. A few days later, Egypt sent its new ambassador to Israel who presented his credentials to the Israeli President Shimon Peres along with a letter from the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi which conveyed a half poetical, half reconciliatory message. These conditions have been certainly influential in emboldening Israel to carry out the attack.

6. This operation has greatly reduced defensive abilities of Sudan at a time that the government in Khartoum needs all its ammunitions and defensive capacity to repel possible attacks from South Sudan. The country’s defense capacities have been attacked on such baseless grounds as the plant belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces, or under other ridiculous pretexts including that Sudan has been possibly using the demolished facility to build a nuclear bomb. However, the main goal was nothing but to undermine and weaken Sudan’s defense capacities.

7. Israel has embarked on a limited military operation in order to make up for the humiliation it suffered due to Hezbollah drone operation and at a time that despite intense rhetoric about attacking Iran, it lacks the practical ability to do so. In this way, Israel will be able to claim that it has dealt a blow to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas as well as Iran. The operation, however, was in fact a compensation for the humiliation that has greatly undermined military and security prestige of Israel.
8. By attacking Sudan, Israel wants to show that it is aware of every political and military movement in the region and will lose no time to react to them. Israel had already carried out limited operations in Sudan in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, it attacked a convoy of trucks in Sudan which Israeli officials claimed to have been smuggling arms into Gaza Strip to be used by Hamas.

In 2011 and under the same pretext, Israel attacked another vehicle. On the other hand, the United States attacked a pharmaceutical factory called Al-Shifa (The Cure) near Khartoum in 1998 and razed it to the ground. The American officials claimed that the plant was going to be used to build chemical bombs. Later investigations refuted that allegation. Therefore, the military attacks carried out by the United States and Israel against Sudan prove that the Americans are undoubtedly providing intelligence to Israel and are thus implied in Israel’s attacks on the Arab country. Even the Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein has noted that some elements in Sudan’s military forces have possibly played a part in providing the Israelis with intelligence relevant to the attacks.

Therefore, it is clear that a host of regional, international and domestic factors in Israel have prompted Tel Aviv to take such a step. As for domestic factors, Israel is trying to repair its tarnished military prestige through the attack. On the regional scale, Tel Aviv is trying to show that it is still capable of conducting intelligence and military operations at any point in the Middle East and North Africa. When it comes to international level, Israel is trying to prove that although such operations amount to the violation of international law, Israel does not consider itself bound to any limits when its security is at stake. However, a closer look at the operation clearly shows that due to its small scale and the lame excuse used to launch it, the operation actually indicates that Israel is currently in a weak position and this point has not been overlooked by the global community.

The point which should be borne in mind here is that the mainstream Western media such as the daily Guardian in Britain and the Washington Post in the United States have tried to connect the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and finally Iran to this operation. This measure has been taken in order to discredit Iran’s allies in the region while there has been not a single shred of evidence to prove that Iran has had any role in what was going on inside Yarmouk weapons production plant in Sudan. Nobody has been so far able to produce such evidence and it seems that incriminating Iran is mostly an excuse and a cover for what Israel has done. A close review of the remarks made by the Sudanese officials is enough to show that the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has clearly stated that the main goal of the Israeli operation was to weaken the defense abilities of Sudan as a country which is supporting Hamas. He continued by warning the Israeli regime that such hopeless measures will not prevent Sudan from supporting the cause of Palestine. On the other hand, Sudan’s minister of media has pointed to various issues stipulating that Sudan will never give up its position on the issue of Palestine, noting that his country had been attacked due to Sudan’s support for Palestine. The permanent representative of Sudan to the United Nations also stated that the aftermath of Israel’s invasion of Sudan will not remain limited to his country, but will jeopardize peace and security throughout the entire region.

Of course, the Israeli officials have noted that recent attacks on Israel from Gaza have not been carried out by Hamas, but have been actually launched by Iran. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for attacking Sudan, but no Israeli official has rejected the remarks made by Sudanese officials either. Therefore, it seems that Israel is trying to show that it is still capable of conducting operations on regional scale. The officials of Sudan have announced that they were actually planning to move Yarmouk plant from Khartoum to another region, but the Israelis had got wind of Sudan’s decision beforehand and embarked on the preemptive attack.
On the whole, Israel wants to use this very limited and actually blind operation to buy new regional credit. This is why when asked whether this operation has been carried out by Israel or not, Major General Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s diplomatic security bureau, noted that the operation aimed to boost the morale of the Israeli army. He claimed that the Israeli air force is the most prestigious among air forces of the world and has proven this more than once. The emphasis he put on the Israeli air forces was the most remarkable point in his remarks. The strange point, however, is that Sudanese officials made no effort to incriminate South Sudan for the attack while South Sudan is the main beneficiary if Sudan’s defense capacities are compromised. On the contrary, officials in Khartoum noted that recent agreements they had reached with South Sudan have infuriated Israel and the United States.

The Arab League has been also playing a very significant role in recent regional developments. In the case of Libya, the Arab League allowed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to launch military operations against the government of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The Arab League also planned to do the same in the case of Syria, but Russia and China effectively vetoed a draft resolution for military attack on Syria at the United Nations Security Council, thus foiling the Arab League’s plan. In the cases of Yemen and Bahrain, however, Saudi Arabia has been taking any unilateral measures it deems necessary to suppress popular protests in those countries. The Arab League, meanwhile, has not only refrained from making any protest to Saudi Arabia’s interventions in Yemen and Bahrain, but has also indirectly supported Riyadh’s interventionist policy.

This clearly proves that the Arab League has become a plaything in the hands of Saudi Arabia and is complying with Saudi Arabia’s policies at a time that a member state, that is, Sudan, has become target of such a large-scale military invasion. Although the invasion has been carried out by the Zionist regime of Israel, the Arab League, under the Saudi Arabia’s influence, has so far shown no serious reaction. Such double standards will certainly be detrimental to solidarity among the Arab League members in medium and long terms. Unfortunately, the international community sees the political developments in the Arab world from the viewpoint of the Arab League. Such double-standard policies have made it easy for Israel to continue its aggressive and invasive policies against a number of important regional countries even after the downfall of regional dictators without being faced with any serious protest from international community.

Mohammad Reza Haji-Karim Jabbari is Iran’s Former Ambassador to Ivory Coast 
Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD) http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/

Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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By Dr. Mercola

african child Poor African Countries Get Vaccines but No Food or Clean Water

As one of the world’s most well-known and respected voices, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a unique opportunity to call attention to important social issues and make a huge impact worldwide.

Unfortunately Gates, through his foundation, has been partnering with not only biotech giant Monsanto to hoist genetically modified seeds on third-world countries, but also with Big Pharma, to whom he pledged $10 billion to provide vaccinations to children around the world.

This is billed as a humanitarian effort to save lives, but what children in developing countries need is healthy food, clean water and better sanitation.

These are the keys to preventing the spread of infectious disease, and they are being wholly ignored by the likes of Bill Gates and other vaccine proponents – at the children’s expense!

The Aftermath of a Bill Gates Vaccine Campaign …

An American family, the Gianelloni’s, visited a village in Uganda shortly after a Bill Gates vaccine campaign swept through and discovered what Bill Gates’ money does for hungry, sick children – essentially nothing.

The family found that the children were starving, living on one meager meal a day. Their only water source was the same stagnant stream that they bathed in. They had no sewage or sanitation. But, thanks to Gates, they were now vaccinated against measles and polio. Never mind that the most pressing epidemics in the area were actually Yellow Fever, malaria, HIV/AIDs and diarrhea …

Worse yet, one little girl who had received a measles vaccine two weeks earlier was now suffering with the measles as a result! After this blogger left, thanks to her and the mission group that arrived with her, the village had a water tank and clean water system, a cow, and a year’s worth of rice and beans. You can probably understand why the blogger made this comment about Gates’ “philanthropy”:

“I don’t care who you are or what side of the vaccine philosophy you fall under, there is no logic in the world that can explain that going into a remote village and giving children who only eat one meal a day and have never had clean drinking water, a vaccine. 

Seriously? Think about it. Can you imagine walking up to this precious little girl and saying ”I know you are starving, but here is a measles vaccine instead. I promise this will make you much healthier than food or water”. It’s a scary day when simple logic no longer exists.

Food & Water, nope. Vaccines, yep. And innocent children suffer the consequences. It’s absurd.

Food, Water, Sanitation is What’s Needed to Help Prevent Disease

The most vulnerable of the world’s children are those in the poorest countries where death and disease are often a result of malnutrition and lack of adequate sanitation and clean drinking water. In many third-world countries, children are often battling some sort of infection 200 days out of the year. Vaccines can be devastating to these already immunosuppressed children, as well as to adults, because vaccines often weaken and confuse the immune system, which ultimately increases the recipient’s susceptibility to the very infectious diseases vaccines are designed to prevent.

Nonetheless, emerging vaccine markets like third-world countries will soon outgrow developed markets by hundreds of billions of dollars. Emerging markets are areas of the world that are beginning to show promise as a profitable venture for many products, including vaccines. And emerging markets – primarily in developing countries in Southeast and Central Asia, and Africa – have been on vaccine makers’ radar for quite some time.

One reason that vaccine makers are interested in these parts of the world is that that’s where most of the world’s deaths from major infectious diseases occur. The only problem has been that, until recently, making vaccines for undeveloped countries with no money to pay for them was not exactly a profitable goal for vaccine makers.

Concerned that developed countries would have little or no resources for addressing serious infectious diseases if vaccine makers continued their pull-out, the World Health Organization and the G8 – the top developed countries in the world – responded with a plan for enticing vaccine companies to stay in the business. That plan was called Advance Market Commitments (AMCs).

AMCs Guarantee Drug Company Profits

Under AMCs, developed countries make legal, binding agreements to purchase vaccines that are needed in low-income countries. The purchase guarantees a bottom line for the manufacturers. In return, the manufacturers promise to sell those vaccines at reduced prices in the countries where they are most needed.

The idea is simple: “rich” nations sign legally binding commitments to purchase and/or finance an AMC vaccine once it’s ready for market. In return for the guaranteed market and income, drug companies promise to sell the new vaccine to “poor” countries at vastly reduced prices.

To speed up the process, the World Health Organization “prequalifies” AMC vaccines in an approval process that slices years off the time it normally takes a vaccine to make it to market.

Unfortunately, legally binding, advance market commitments to purchase vaccines that are mostly needed in third-world countries could backfire on developed countries that don’t need – or want – certain vaccines.

For instance, HPV (human papillomavirus) statistics show that HPV causes 4,000 deaths from cervical cancer per year in the United States, compared to 274,000 worldwide, 88 percent of which are in developing countries. So why were the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix — which have known safety issues — introduced in the U.S. and Europe, first, instead of going straight to where they’re needed most, if not to help sell huge quantities of the vaccine at premium prices, in anticipation of it becoming an AMC?

Even Gates and a Leading Vaccine Maker Admit Clean Water is Key

Malaria is another one of the top neglected diseases that world health leaders want to address with AMCs, but the ability to resist diseases like malaria requires a strong immune system, and for that, you require good nutrition, clean drinking water, and sanitation. If we want to help people in other countries to lower their malaria rates, and rates of other infectious diseases (like infection-associated diarrhea, which is one of the most common, and most preventable causes of death among children in the developing world) it would be wise to focus on these basics first.

Infectious organisms are more likely to penetrate the bodies of malnourished children due to inadequate vitamin C, which causes their skin to break down more easily and facilitates the entry of bacteria and other pathogens. The same is true for vitamin A deficiency, another common third-world problem, which results in increased susceptibility to infection and which could be rectified in individuals for pennies a day. Also, the living conditions of third-world children are often so poor that they are exposed to inordinately large numbers of pathogens, from which they have little defense.

In order to eradicate infectious disease from a nation, you also have to first address compromised immune systems. If you hit immune suppressed children with a potent, adjuvant-loaded vaccine, you’re far more likely to create new disease, not eradicate it.

With all of the billions being poured into vaccines to “save” the children, how many water purification systems could have been built? How many sanitation facilities? How many rations of meat and fresh produce?

Even Bill Gates himself has admitted that vaccines alone don’t eradicate disease. In a Wall Street Journal article about the resurgence of polio in African countries, Gates said that’s why he is revamping his disease fight to incorporate health, hygiene, and clean drinking water programs into vaccination programs.1 Polio spreads, after all, largely through feces-contaminated water, so ignoring that major risk factor while trying to eradicate the disease is ignorant, to put it nicely.

What’s really interesting is that at least one major vaccine maker has also echoed these sentiments, as evidenced on the front page of GlaxoSmithKline’s presentation to shareholders in June 2010:2

“With the exception of clean drinking water, vaccines are the most cost-effective public health measure,” GSK said.

What if, just what if, the same amount of money that has been spent on vaccines over the past decade had been spent on sanitation facilities, toilets, healthy food and clean water instead?

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

Increasing numbers of vaccines are being introduced not only in third-world countries but also in the developed world, and it’s simply not wise to blindly depend on the information coming directly from the vaccine makers’ PR departments, or from federal health officials, agencies or foundations that are mired in conflicts of interest with industry …

No matter what vaccination choices you make for yourself or your family, it is a basic human right to be fully informed about all the risks of medical interventions and pharmaceutical products, like vaccines, and have the freedom to refuse if you conclude the benefits do not outweigh the risks for you or your child.

Unfortunately, the business partnership between government health agencies and vaccine manufacturers is too close and is getting out of hand. There is a lot of discrimination against Americans, who want to be free to exercise their human right to informed consent when it comes to making voluntary decisions about which vaccines they and their children use.

We cannot allow that to continue.

While it seems “old-fashioned,” the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand your rights under the law to make voluntary vaccine choices, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact.

Signing up to be a user of NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen you will be put in touch with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard. So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Right now, in California, the personal belief exemption is under attack by Pharma-funded medical trade organizations and public health officials trying to get a bill (AB 2109) passed that would require parents to get a medical doctor’s signature to file an exemption for personal religious and conscientious beliefs. Watch NVIC’s 90-second public service message and learn more about what you can do if you are a California resident.

Internet Resources

To learn more about vaccines, I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or state officials for making independent vaccine choices.
  • Vaccine Ingredient Calculator (VIC): Find out just how much aluminum, mercury and other ingredients are in the vaccines your doctor is recommending for you or your child.
  • Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) on MedAlerts. Search the government’s VAERS database to find out what kinds of vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths have been reported by patients and heath care workers giving vaccines.

Find a Doctor Who Will Listen to Your Concerns

Last but not least, if your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to punish those patients and parents, who become truly educated about health and vaccination and want to make vaccine choices instead of being forced to follow risky one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.

If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor (or government official), do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media, if you or your child are threatened.

That said, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate and connect with a doctor who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child, and isn’t just competing for government incentives designed to increase vaccination rates at any cost.

Read the entire article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/06/healthy-foods-not-vaccines.aspx

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9th July, 2011 – Rebecca Fowler

South Sudanese celebrate Independence Day in Parramatta, Western Sydney NSW.

A happy Southerner showing off her flags.

Today i had the honour to stand alongside my Southern Sudanese friends in celebration of their Independence Day.  The mood was electric, over 2000 Southern Sudanese living in Western Sydney made the trek out to UWS Parramatta for their day of celebration. In attendance were Elders from the local Southern Sudanese Tribes, Honorable Local MP for Parramatta Julie Owens, SPLM Chapter and many local media and journalists. The day was filled with people coming and going, chanting “South Sudan Oyeee”. Dancing outside the UWS Audatorium starting and everyone seemed to get into the mood of celebration.

Australian Born friends of Southern Sudanese were also in attendance, and I also met an Arab man from Northern Sudan who had moved to Australia and was standing alongside his Southern Friends. I was able to have a great discussion with him and many others about their lives back home in Sudan and what the future now holds for not only Southern Sudan but the North as well. Many were happy to share their tales from the war, from being displaced and their journey to Australia.

A Southern Sudanese Woman raises her Flags in celebration

Many faces were happy, smiles were everywhere, but the deep concern over the next steps is always present. In each and every speech that was made, people were congratulated but also reminded of the challenges that now face Southern Sudan in their rebuilding, the first new steps of their newly elected government GOSS, solving volatile issues such as those in Abyei, South Kordofan and Nile State as well as Darfur and upholding Human Rights and Democracy for the people.  As President Salva Kiir Myardit said in his speech “to those in Darfur, Abyei, South Kordofan and Nile State, we have not forgotten you”, and I truly hope that the rest of the world stand alongside President Kiir Myardit in his words. Freedom may have been obtained for the South, but those area’s still under dispute are far from seeing Freedom and Peace.  This MUST remain the top priority for GOSS as well as ensuring democracy and human rights will be upheld.

In the last 2 years of working with some of these Men and Women i have seen that their Courage, Determination and Faith in God is inspirational. The atrocities these communities faced are some of the worst in recorded history, but yet they do not hold revenge in their hearts, they forgive, move forward and strive to ensure they have what every human deserves, Freedom. It is in true honor these people have fought for their freedom and dignity and i am so honored to be able to work along side some of the most remarkable and passionate people i have ever met.

A Toddler stands along side his SPLM Chapter holding his Southern Sudan Flag

Congratulations to the Republic of Southern Sudan, May God bless your fertile land with abundance, freedom and happiness.

For more pictures Click –> Freeuganda.

By Refugees International
The referendum on southern Sudan’s secession from the north took place as scheduled in January of this year, with over 98% of southerners voting for an independent south Sudan. This is seen as a promise of change in the lives of southerners, who suffered through decades of war and the displacement that went with it for millions of them.

The transition to independence in July may not be entirely peaceful, however, as violent clashes continue not only in the transitional area of Abyei territory, coveted by both North and South, but also in several southern states.

Some of the clashes are indigenous disputes over land and cattle between neighboring ethnic groups, sub-groups and clans. In recent years the toll in terms of casualties and displaced is higher due to the exponential growth in the availability of automatic firearms.

Other violence appears at first glance to have nothing to do with Sudan: southern Sudanese in Western and Central Equatoria states suffer from destructive raids by the Lord’s Resistance Army, an armed opposition group from northern Uganda. The LRA now operates in a vast area straddling the borders between Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Its attacks often involve kidnapping of children to be turned into soldiers and provoke displacement in all three countries. Seemingly an outside actor, the LRA in fact received support during the war from Khartoum, which is strongly suspected of continuing that covert support even today.

In contrast, the Khartoum government is very clear in its intentions concerning Abyei: to maintain control of this oil-rich territory by assisting the cattle-herding Misseriya tribe in their fight to keep Abyei part of Southern Kordofan. Northerners argue that the territory was never part of the south – in the administrative map upon Sudan’s independence in 1956, Abyei fell within the boundaries of Kordofan. Southerners insist that it should nonetheless be consider part of the south because the Ngok Dinka majority of the settled population of Abyei is southern, indeed part of the south’s largest ethnic group.

And then there is the series of rebellions in several southern states. Seemingly based on local grievances against the semi-autonomous government of southern Sudan, the rebellions are strongly suspected of receiving support from elements of the government in Khartoum who – according to the current speculation – want at the very least to ensure that the future Republic of South Sudan is weak and divided and thereby more easily manipulated by Khartoum.

One of the latest of rebellions to spark has been in oil-rich Unity State, the scene of massive displacement and human rights violations during the war. The leader of the supposedly local uprising is none other than Peter Gadet, notorious during the war years for his leadership of a Khartoum-backed militia group that cleared thousands of people out of vast swaths of land to make way for oil installations and the pipeline. Some of the rebel leaders in other states have similarly sordid histories. Hence the impression that despite the six-year-old Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the war is making a comeback in the lives of southern Sudanese.

The U.S. government needs to up the pressure on Khartoum and Juba to complete the CPA process and, more specifically, to make the political compromises necessary to stop the violence.

By Peter Orr, Senior advocate at Refugees International

Inside Story on Aljazeera. 23 May, 2011.

Inside Story, discusses with Rabie Abdul Atti, member of the NCP and advisor to Sudan’s information minister; Eddie Thomas, an author on Sudan; and Barnaba Benjamin, Southern Sudan’s minister of information.

Freeuganda’s Comments:
I watched this Inside Story last night and i must say i was extremely frustrated with the Rabie Abdul Attie and his “skirting the issue” each time he was asked a question. There is no doubt in my mind that the Northern Sudanese Army has forcibly occupied Abeyi with military action for their own gain. This is in breach the CPA signed in 2005. Mr Attie’s words “nobody can tell the Khartoum Govt what to do” just go to show the reality of the situation. They may take on board the international pressure, yet they do nothing in order to change what they are being pressured for. They MUST immediately leave Abeyi and allow the citizens to vote in a free, fair and peaceful election. The international community need to do more than just watch this time. Bashir is wanted by the ICC and the international community must start applying pressure to those countries to whom he visits (such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda) and they allow him to roam free and do not arrest him and have him sent to Hague to face trial. I call upon all people who care about humanity, to take action. Write, Call, Protest (Peacefully) and use your FREEDOM’s to help those who have suffered at the hands of Dictators and Tyrants for decades. I challenge YOU!

Sudan’s disputed border town of Abyei is ablaze, with gunmen looting properties days after troops from the government in Khartoum entered the area, UN peacekeepers say.

The peacekeepers belonging to UNMIS, the UN mission in Sudan, said on Monday that the burning and looting was perpetrated “by armed elements” but it was not clear whether they were from the north or the south.

Omar-al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, said a “peaceful resolution” for Abyei would be found.

“We are efforting to solve the remaining issues and remove tensions in Abyei,” he said in a speech.

The developments in Abyei drew strong reaction from the US, with its special envoy to the country saying Washington would rule out dropping Sudan from a terrorism list if it continued occupying the oil-rich district.

Princeton Lyman said the “occupation” of Abyei by northern troops is “an extremely disproportionate response by the government of Sudan” to an attack on a UN convoy escorting the troops last week.

Envoy ‘optimistic’

But Lyman added that there was still hope of the two sides resolving the crisis.

“I am optimistic in this sense: These two entities – Sudan and soon-to-be independent South Sudan – need each other,” he told Al Jazeera.

“They have to collaborate for their own good, and while we’re now facing a major crisis in Abyei, we’re hopeful that the leadership, particularly president al-Bashir [in the north] and vice-president Kiir [in the south] will re-establish the spirit that they talked about … ”

Sudanese government officials in the north say their troops moved into Abyei – inhabited by two tribes backed by the south and north respectively – to drive the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) out, who they said had been occupying Abyei since last December.

The SPLA is the armed force of South Sudan, which held a referendum for independence in January and is due to become an independent state in July.

UNMIS strongly condemned the burning and looting in Abyei and called upon the government of Sudan to “urgently ensure that the Sudan Armed Forces fulfil their responsibility and intervene to stop these criminal acts”.

Hua Jiang, the chief public information officer for UNMIS, said the burning of property and looting was continuing on Monday.

She said the Sudanese troops from the north had prevented peacekeepers from “conducting our daily, routine patrol”.

“So we’re not able to get out of the compound right now to carry out our duty,” she told Al Jazeera from Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

‘Humanitarian disaster’

Thousands of civilians are reported to have fled southwards after northern SAF troops and tanks took control of the town on Saturday.

South Sudan also claims Abyei district, which has special status under a 2005 peace deal that ended 22 years of south-north civil war, and has called the occupation “illegal”.

Barnaba Benjamin, the minister of information in South Sudan, told Al Jazeera that north Sudanese troops had “illegally and unconstitutionally invaded Abyei”.

“What the Sudanese forces are doing now [is] they are looting the place; they are burning the place,” he said.

“They have made thousands of people – children, women and the elderly – a humanitarian disaster. This is what they have been doing. They didn’t find any SPLA troops in Abyei.

“Their claim that there are SPLA troops in Abyei is not true … They entered the town without any confrontation … So why are they there?

“Why are they bombing the civilian targets; the villages around? They are airlifting Misseriya Arab tribes into the territory to occupy the areas of Dinka Ng’ok.”

The nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe, which is backed by the north, grazes its cattle in Abyei. The Dinka Ng’ok tribe, backed by the south, lives in Abyei year round.

A senior official from the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the capital of the north, denied the reports of looting but called Abyei “a war zone”.

“They [troops] are not looting the place,” Didiry Mohammad Ahmed told Al Jazeera.

“We know that this place, right now, is a war zone. The army is struggling very hard to see to it that no looting happens, but nonetheless some isolated incidents had happened.

“We are doing our very best right now – working in tandem with the UN mission in the region – to ensure no looting takes place. Nothing can be traced back to our forces.”

Read the full report HERE  at – Al Jazeera English.

10th January, 2011 – Rebecca-Anne Fowler

Video from the Sudanese Australian Celebrations in Sydney last night for the start of Referendum.

The dancing and singing is amazing, these women are amazing, resiliant and so beautiful.  Thank you to the Sudanese Australian Community for inviting me to share this wonderful night with you all.

10th January, 2011 – Rebecca-Anne Fowler

The second day of referendum voting for Southern Sudanese in Australia has started again at 8am this morning. 

Last night i was invited by one of my Southern Sudanese friends William, to attend a celebration/meeting of Southern Communites after the first day of referendum voting ended.  The night was a mix of speech’s, dancing and celebration for the coming months ahead.

Speech’s were given by elders and leaders, women were dancing and singing and the mood was electric, the theme: A New Sudan. When anyone mentioned a New Sudan the place erupted into cheers, it was amazing to see the Unity of the Southern Sudanese Tribes in this room.   I myself was even called to give a speech. This was totally out of the blue and not expected. I did my best unprepared speech and got a huge round of applause. I felt so welcomed by all who attended.

It was also a great night for me to catch up with a few of my students and others whom i met at the Youth Conference in Sydney in NOV. I got to catch up with the wonderful Mr John Garang (not the late of course) and he was dressed in his military attire. He was happy to pose for a photo with one of his friends. 

After speaking with a few of the attendee’s last night, i got a brief feeling that the general consensus for this vote will be a separation. One of the speakers said “The Late John Garang fought for this freedom for us, our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who were killed in the war have fought for this for us, now it is our turn to fight for them by voting in the referendum for separation.” Words than rang so true with most of the attendee’s.

I also spoke with a former “lost boy” who whilst not going into full details of his life, i could see that it had taken a devastating toll on the life of many. This particular gentleman now works for ActionAid and is doing great things here in Australia for his own community and many other communities around the world. It is so inspiring to know that someone who has been tested in the most atrocious  of ways in life, has come through and is now giving back to community. I am inspired and at awe of these wonderful resiliant people who have come through devastating times to find some hope in their future. It simply amazes me.

This Tuesday i will be heading into the referendum centre here in Homebush Sydney and will be speaking with some Southern Sudanese on their hopes and dreams for the referendum. I feel so simply honored to be able to be a part of their lives here in Australia and to share their stories with the world is truly a blessing for me.

This year i hope to start writing a book with a few of my students, their life stories. Its going to be an amazing year for the Southern Sudanese communities and i wish them all the hope and happiness for their futures.

-Freeuganda

 

Speakers and Woman Dancing at Celebration

All Photographs Copyrighted to Rebecca-Anne Fowler. Please DO NOT Distribute WITHOUT Permission

The Canberra Registration Centre Location
Copland Building
The Australian National University (ANU)

Monday 15 Nov to Wednesday 1 Dec

Monday – Saturday
(08:00 am – 05:00pm)
Sunday
(12:00pm – 05:00pm)

The Sydney Registration Sub – Centre Location
The Waratah Room
Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Olympic Park Sydney

Parking is at (P4) on the map and trains stop at the Olympic Park station.
Mon 15 Nov to Wednesday 1 Dec

Monday – Saturday
(08:00 am – 05:00pm)
Sunday
(12:00pm – 05:00pm)

The Melbourne Registration Centre Location
Meaklim Pavilion
Melbourne Showgrounds
Enter by Gate 7
Leonard Crescent (off Langs Road)
Ascot Vale

Monday 15 Nov to Wednesday 1 Dec

Monday – Saturday
(08:00 am – 05:00pm)
Sunday
(12:00pm – 05:00pm)

For further details:

* Email ausinfo@iom.int
* Ring 1800 938 936 or
* Visit www.southernsudanocv.org

Khartoum — The ruling National Congress Party NCP on Saturday expressed its dissatisfaction with the voter registration process for the South Sudan referendum in the North saying there were clear violations that undermines the credibility of the process.

Mandoor Al-Mahdi, a senior NCP official, told the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center SMC that the Sudan People Liberation Movement SPLM, in control of the South, is exercising intimidation against potential voters in the capital and also those urging Southerners to register.The official alleged that SPLM members are present at polling stations to persuade Southerners not to register.

He added that these incidents were reported to the South Sudan Referendum Commission SSRC to rectify the situation but no action was taken.The presidential adviser and NCP figure Al-Sheik Beesh told SMC that they will not recognize the outcome of the referendum if the registration process continues in this non-transparent manner.Voter registration began on Monday for the January 2011 referendum on whether oil-producing southern Sudan should secede from the north.

It is widely expected that Southerners will choose independence.In Khartoum, registration centers were empty as many southerners who live in the Sudanese capital made the trip south to enroll or abstained from registering altogether for fear of intimidation by the ruling party in the North.

The presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie toured the registration centers in Khartoum this week and appeared visibly angry on TV saying that the low turnout was a result of SPLM instructions. He has also reportedly clashed with poll workers after they turned away a prospective voter who did not have the required documentation to register.

However, the SPLM made similar accusations to the NCP that it is seeking to pressure Southerners in the North to vote for unity through “citizens’ committees” by collecting the phone numbers of those who registered.

The SPLM’s Atem Garang said southerners were being told: “You must vote for unity when you come and vote next time.”

“It is intimidation. It is against the law,” Garang told a news conference in Khartoum. He also denied that they had asked Southerners in the North to boycott the registration process.

The southern Sudanese, we never urged them not to register because we want them to be free. When we talk about a free and fair referendum, it means when you are going to registration you must be free. We did not to talk to them to boycott the registration,” Garang said.

Around five million southerners, living in both north and south Sudan and abroad, are eligible to sign up for the referendum which could result in the African continent’s largest country being split into two.

For the south to secede in a valid referendum, there must be an absolute majority of a minimum of 50 percent for independence plus one vote, and 60 percent of those eligible must also have cast their ballots.

via allAfrica.com: Sudan: NCP Threatens Not to Recognize the Referendum Outcome.

“A very serious situation and its not a good sign that threats are being made. The north needs to remember they agree’d to split peacefully if the referendum decided separation. I pray this does not re-ignite the situation and bring about more unrest in Southern Sudan” -Freeuganda

In recent weeks there have been requests  for new Sudanese Referendum Registration Centres to be opened around Australia.  As Australia is such a vast country and therefore should have registration centres in each state.  Due to the calls for more centres, 2 new centres have been arranged and are in the process of opening in the coming days.

HR Manager, David Miche’l from the The International Organization for Migration in Canberra has confirmed this morning that new Referendum Registration Centres will be opened in Australia. Two (2) new locations have been confirmed in Brisbane, QLD and Perth, WA.

Brisbane Location is (CBD):

Hospitality Suite, Exhibition Hall 1

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Merivale St, Southbank QLD

Brisbane Registrations will be opened from  Tuesday 23rd November (an exact time frame on how long they will remain open is not yet available)

PERTH LOCATION is due to be released this week and an updated post will be submitted as soon as information is received.

For more information about the REFERENDUM in SUDAN please Click HERE

This morning i found out through one of my Sudanese Students that the registration for Southern Sudan Referendum voting has been placed on HOLD in Australia and the USA.

From what i am aware after speaking with a few other NGO’s and crisis hub, the reason for this is due to the fact that the Council are meeting to decide on whether they will open more registration centres in Australia and the USA. An urgent meeting is due to take place in the next 24-48 hours and the outcome of this will be made public and the voting registrations should then be opened.

I can only hope this is not a ploy of the north to yet again hamper efforts to hold this referendum on time. In the last few weeks, tensions have risen, Northern Bahr El Gahzal state has been bombed under “false pretenses” and reports of southerners returning to the south being abducted by northerns posing as local tribesmen.

My students today seemed very concered about this move to place the registrations on hold here and abroad. They do beleive that this could ultimately affect the holding of the referendum and without registering on time they will miss their opportunity to vote for a ‘New Sudan’.

I pray for freedom and liberties of my good friends and hope that peace can surely come to their land.

Freeuganda

 

7th November 2010;  © Copyright Rebecca Fowler

Sydney Baha’i Centre in Silverwater came alive last night (saturday 6th November) as the Bahr El Gahzar Community of NSW Youth Union held their 2nd annual Culture Day.

Invited by a student that i work with through the HARDA African Mens English Project, i was enthralled in culture the moment i walked through the doors.

Arriving at around 6.15pm i was greeted by some 500+ Bahr El Gahzar community members. Speech’s were made by community leaders and Youth leaders and songs from the homeland sung to unite the community. I was engaged in cultural dancing and song. A local Bahr El Gahzar rap group of Youth’s took to the stage and the atmosphere turned electric. As soon as these youth picked up the microphones the crowd went wild. they belted out their tune singing about a “New Sudan” and “Unity” between the Southern Sudanese. It was a great moment, part of it i was able to capture on video but due to the noise of the screams had to cut it short…VIDEO HERE

The Youth Leaders spoke to the youth of the community about how they need to use their time in Australia for good. To stick with their education and be motivated by the prospects of a New Sudan in the year ahead. Supporting the referendum in January was also high on the list, as well as keeping the youth off the streets.

As a westerner looking in on African Culture it seems we are not so different. The challenges they face with their youth here are exactly what we face with our youth. Our culture is as baffling and confusing to them as theirs is to us and yet they carry on each day with such resiliance and motivation it needs to be commended. Imagine coming from a very rural village to a major city bustling with trains, cars, traffic, traffic jams, accidents, sirens, complete and utter chaos is basically how you could describe the transition.  But it has its up side, our country is at peace, and unfortunately Sudan is not. Decades of war have taken its toll on these people and the only way to sustain their lives and culture was to leave their homeland and seek shelter in a country of peace. We are so lucky to have such resiliant visitors to our shores, let us hear of their stories, learn a bit about them and their cultures and you will find they are just sooo much like us. Family is important, community is important, love, friendship, fun, entertainment, dancing, singing, you would be utterly surprised how alike we are. Aside from skin colour, we are all similar and i really don’t know how people cannot see this.

Coming from Rural Sudan to Blacktown City of Australia must be a huge and amazing change of life and circumstances. Blacktown City is a vast city that has expanded massivly in the last 30 years. I should know, i was born here. As a local Blacktowner i have seen my town grown into a vast city, seen our vast array of bushland be cleared for Urban development, seen our infastructure fall behind due to the vast rise of population and seen the massive change in the community. The Southern Sudanese who have came here have done a remarkable job to adjust to the hustle and bustle of Australian life after years of living in war torn areas. We don’t realise being Australians how confusing our rail or bus system can be to a new Australian. How our tax system can boggle their minds and how even using our vast array of electrical knick knacks can seem like you need to take course to use it.

After my experience last night, being welcomed into the Bahr El Gahzar community i feel so completely honored and motivated. I hope that in January of 2011, A New Sudan will emerge through the referendum and my dear friends who would love to return to their homeland are able to do so as free and democratic citizens of a “New Sudan”.

FreeUganda (Apologies for the poor quality footage, my video camera is requiring a new charger cable)

HARDA (Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency) is holding our Family Wellbeing Day this Saturday, October 30th at Auburn Park, Macquarie Rd, Auburn NSW from 10am to 3pm.

Building Resilience – Good Friends help us bounce back!

There will be Jumping Castle, Animal Farm, DJ Prince 2000, Celebrity Soccer Player, Novelty Races, Halal BBQ, Drumming Workshops, Hip Hop Workshop, Information Stalls and Much More!

All are welcome to this FREE Event. for more information visit HARDA Website or call 02 8762 4225 or email harda@harda.org.au

So i know its been a real long time since i wrote a journal entry, since back in August i do believe. I was actually going to write one at the end of August but received a phone call that changed my life, we had lost one of our nephew’s in a car accident and another was seriously injured, the other 2 had minor injuries also. It was a day i will never forget and since then have taken some time to be with family and deal, learn and be there for others who need it.

Its with a sad heart i move forward in life to bring my mind out of the clouds and back down to earth….

I’ve started back at the HARDA mens english program and am learning so much from my students. One of which i found out today was “A lost boy“. It pained me to watch last weeks Foreign Correspondant report with them and hear them speak first hand of what life was like, it bought me to silent tears as i stood at the back of the room whilst 9 or so Southern Sudanese Men watched the report, all crowded over a small laptop, their resiliance and hope shone so bright right at that moment. One of my students commented “i have not seen my family in 30 years, and im only early 40’s”. How sad it made me knowing this grown man had not seen his family since a child, how much pain would this have caused. And that is not just one, but alot of them havnt seen part if not all of their family in years if not decades.

On speaking of the upcoming referendum in Sudan, they have high hopes for a new Southern Sudan in 2011, a country separate from the North. One in which their current Southern Sudanese Govt will be in control of. With the announcement of Peacekeeping troups to be placed in hotspots they are delighted that the world is watching, that people are hoping for peace in the region. They have welcomed the peacekeeping troups as they beleive the presence there will deter a new war from erupting, one at which they know all to well the concequences of.

Its with their strength and courage and determination i move my life forward to a new journey and path. This year Invisible Children Australia will be closed and free up my time to work with the Horn of Africa Refugee’s here locally in Blacktown and other local communities, i am also going to try and learn Dinka, a tribal Southern Sudanese language. I have so many projects going on in my mind and hope to see alot of them come to fruition both here in Aus and overseas in Africa.

Whilst on this journey in life im on, i’ve also been delving into the history of my family, in particular, my mothers family. I watched a documentary on Nazi occupied Holland in 1944 and it pained me to see what my Oma (grandmother in dutch) and Opa (grandfather in dutch) had to survive also. A great European country such as Holland taken by Germany in just a few hours, the hard times the people faced and how they lived. My mum also shared stories with me of what they went through and how life was for them at this time and it gave me a new strength inside, knowing my own grandmother had to survive under such hard times, hiding a deaf and mute mother and father in war times must not have been easy. With their determination for a better life, they were able to move to Australia and so began my life. It to me, was a blessing, to know that all that could have possibly taken away had my Oma & Opa not survived Nazi occupied Holland.

I’ve never really thought about it that way until now. A new strength inside to carry on in seeking peace for all human beings, others who are not as lucky as us to live in the land of such a beautiful and free country. We all have strength inside to fight for peace and for injustice, i invite you to join in the fight….

Freeuganda.

NAIROBI (AlertNet)

Written by: Frank Nyakairu

One of Africa’s fiercest rebel organisations, Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army, has denied a report that it has moved into western Sudan’s turbulent Darfur region.

A U.S.-based anti-genocide group, the Enough Project, said Ugandan rebels notorious for mutilating their victims and abducting children had found a safe haven in Darfur. But two senior members of the rebel group’s political wing in the Kenyan capital Nairobi dismissed the claims. “This is part of continued fabrications and guesswork about LRA whereabouts and we would like to dismiss this baseless report with all the contempt it deserves,” Colonel Michael Anywar, who acted as LRA military liaison, told Alertnet in Nairobi.

Led by self proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, the LRA has fought the Ugandan government since 1987. But following the collapsed of a peace process in 2008, the rebels, who were once supported by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, have since sought safe havens in DR Congo, Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan. “It’s true that Khartoum once supported LRA but that kind of support stopped in 2002 after which we chose cut those ties,” said Justine Labeja, who said he is the head of LRA peace delegation.

Analysts say that with political tensions flaring in Sudan, the LRA is likely to strike an alliance with the Khartoum government as a regional mercenary force. The cult-like group, accused of turning boys into child soldiers and girls into sex slaves, seeks to rule Uganda according to the Bible’s Ten Commandments. At the height of Kony’s war, thousands were killed and 2 million Ugandans were forced into precarious camps that dotted northern Uganda and southern Sudan for close to two decades. Both men declined to disclose the whereabouts of LRA leader Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

CALL FOR CEASEFIRE

The rebel representatives also echoed recent calls for peace talks made by a religious leaders’ group from the four countries affected by the LRA activities. “Ugandan forces need to heed to this call for ceasefire so that this war can end once and for all,” said Labeja, who says he coordinates LRA’s external affairs. But the Ugandan army, which has been fighting the LRA in Congo, Sudan and CAR, with little success, insists on a military option. “We gave LRA the best option to talk peace but they decided to squander it,” said Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for Uganda’s military.

He said military intelligence indicated the rebels had bases in CAR and southern Darfur but could not confirm any link between the LRA and its former ally, Khartoum. “They are oscillating between CAR and southern Darfur but we have no information that they are receiving any kind of help from anyone,” said Kaluyigye in a telephone interview from the Ugandan capital. Relations between Kampala and Khartoum have always been fraught as Uganda supported rebels now heading the semi-autonomous government in southern Sudan.

COULD DARFUR CRISIS WORSEN?

Darfur’s conflict surged in 2003 when the rebel groups took up arms against Sudan’s government, accusing it of leaving the mostly desert region underdeveloped. If the LRA joins the complex web of Darfur’s conflict, the scale of human suffering could increase, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) warns. “The LRA has been leaving a trail of devastation from their bases in DRC, South Sudan and CAR. If they go to Darfur, we could seen more displacement there,” said Hassan Yusuf, UNHCR’s regional spokesman based in Nairobi. According to the U.N. refugees agency, the LRA caused most of the displacement in central Africa in 2009 with hundreds of thousands uprooted.

The rebels have looted, killed civilians and abducted children from three countries, forcing many to flee their homes, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. “This is a very unpredictable outfit and it makes it very difficult to plan for humanitarian response,” said Yusuf.

via Reuters AlertNet – Ugandan rebels deny they have moved in to Sudan’s Darfur.

“Calls for ceasefire have been tried and yet the LRA have refused to sign the peace agreements. Kony must realise that now the international conmmunity is involved in this since he spread his war from Northern Uganda to surrounding countries, he will not get the “lifting” of his Warrants by the ICC. The time has come for him to be captured and tried at the hague just like Suddam hussain was tried.

Could Darfur’s crisis worsen? Yes most definately, if the LRA was to gain any support and they choose to stay in the Darfur region, this will likely cause issues, especially with the elections coming to split the nation.  The North will never want to let go of the south and the oil without a fight. This is what it comes down to; power, money and greed. Will the Khartourm give up control of such wealth and power and money? i highly doubt it, i forsee more issues ahead for those of Darfur not only by the LRA but by the political process that will soon take place. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

STATEMENT: Lord’s Resistance Army Finds Safe Haven in Darfur

KAMPALA, Uganda, JUBA, Sudan and WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress today released the following statement:

The Enough Project confirms that a contingent of the deadly Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has taken refuge in areas of south Darfur, Sudan, controlled by the Government of Sudan. The possibility of rekindled collaboration between LRA leader Joseph Kony and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – both wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, or ICC – should alarm policymakers and demands urgent international investigation and response.

The LRA originated in northern Uganda during the late 1980s. In addition to committing widespread atrocities in Uganda, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s the LRA served as a proxy for the Sudanese government in its war with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, in southern Sudan. In 2005, Kony publicly stated that the Bashir government supported the LRA as a proxy force to destabilize the south, a charge that Khartoum continues to deny despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

“The Khartoum regime’s principal tool of war during its 21-year reign has been support for marauding militias such as the Janjaweed, the Murahaliin, and the Lord’s Resistance Army,” said Enough Co-founder John Prendergast. “Facing no consequences for this destructive method of governing, it is unsurprising that the regime is again providing safe haven for the LRA. Absent a cost for this, we will likely see the LRA unleashed again later this year to destabilize the referendum in southern Sudan.”

With material support from Khartoum, the LRA quickly became one of the deadliest militias in Africa, known for gruesome mutilations of civilians and abduction of children to serve as fighters and sex slaves. Following failed peace talks from 2006 to 2008, the LRA morphed into a full blown regional insurgency with fighters in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, or CAR, and southern Sudan.

In late 2009, Enough received credible information that an LRA reconnaissance team was seeking to make contact with the Sudanese army at their base in Kafia Kingi, near south Darfur‘s border with CAR. In recent months, Ugandan forces have pursued the LRA into Congo, CAR, and southern Sudan, but are restricted from crossing Sudan‘s disputed north-south border.

Now, based on months of field research and interviews with government and United Nations officials in several countries, Enough can confirm that LRA units have reached south Darfur.

“This is a very disturbing development. The move by the Government of Sudan to provide the LRA with safe haven demands a firm, rapid, and well-coordinated response from the United States and its partners in the international community,” said John Norris, Enough’s Executive Director. “A failure to bring clear and consistent pressure on President Bashir and his allies for this latest outrage will only encourage the Sudanese government to commit further abuses, with a terrible cost for civilians on the ground.”

Also today, Enough released a strategy paper by field researcher Ledio Cakaj detailing the continuing threat posed by the LRA to civilians in northeastern Congo. The report, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: LRA Attacks and Congolese Army Abuses in Northeastern Congo,” argues that much greater efforts must be made to protect civilians from a resurgent LRA and the predatory Congolese army.

Read the report at: http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/lra-army-abuses-congo

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

SOURCE Center for American Progress

RELATED LINKS
http://www.enoughproject.org
http://www.americanprogress.org

via STATEMENT: Lord’s Resistance Army Finds Safe Haven in Darfur — KAMPALA, Uganda, JUBA, Sudan and WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —.

Drummers from Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Snow Patrol and the Police have taken part in a “Beat for Peace” film to try to prevent bloodshed in Sudan.

The film is one of a series of events being held in 15 countries calling on world leaders to do more to avoid a return to civil war.

At least two million people died in the conflict and campaigners fear the peace deal signed five years ago is at risk.

Gordon Brown has pledged to “step up” the UK’s role in peacekeeping in Sudan.

Displaced

On Saturday, Sudanese Archbishop Daniel Deng will speak at a gathering of hundreds of activists opposite Number 10.

Mr Brown, who will meet the archbishop on Monday, said: “Sudan’s recent history has been one too often marked by violence, insecurity, and poverty for its people.

“Sudan’s leaders – with the support of the international community – must not allow this also to be the story of Sudan’s future.”

Violence flared again in 2009, with more than 2,000 people killed and 350,000 displaced in south Sudan.

Read the full report via BBC News – Pink Floyd and Radiohead drummers in Sudan peace effort.

A coalition of aid agencies working in southern Sudan has called for urgent international action to save the country’s 2005 peace agreement, which it says is threatened by “a major upsurge in violence” and tensions around two key votes to be held in the next year.

“Sudan is at a crossroads,” the 10 agencies say in a report released Thursday, “and the next 12 months could determine the future of Africa’s largest nation.”

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, which ended a 21-year civil war between north and south, is “extremely fragile” the agencies add. “The humanitarian situation, already one of the worst in the world, is deteriorating; and in the eyes of most ordinary southerners, meaningful post-war development has been absent.”

In a news release issued with the report, one of its co-authors, Oxfam policy adviser Maya Mailer, warned that if violence in the south escalated even further, the situation could become “one of the biggest emergencies in Africa in 2010.”

Paul Valentin, international director of Christian Aid, called for “sustained diplomatic engagement from the international community, including Sudan’s neighbours… A return to war is by no means inevitable, but it depends whether the world heeds the warning signs of the past year and has the political will to save the peace.”

The report notes that 2,500 people were killed and more than 350,000 displaced in southern Sudan last year. “Some communities and observers say that the intensity and nature of… ethnic clashes, in particular the indiscriminate killing of women, children and the elderly, has exceeded anything seen since the end of the conflict.”

Read the full report via allAfrica.com: Sudan: Major Upsurge in Violence Threatens Peace Deal, Say Aid Agencies.