- In January, JEM entered Muhajeria, a town in south Darfur that was previously controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi branch (SLA/MM), the only Darfur-based armed opposition group to have signed the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement with the Sudanese government. Both sides engaged in fighting and the shelling of civilian areas, and government planes bombed the town killing scores of civilians and injuring hundreds, and causing the displacement of most of the town's population. In February, around 6,000 people sought safe haven around the UNAMID base in Muhajeria. The government asked UNAMID to leave Muhajeria, but it refused to do so.
Access to humanitarian aid
On 4 March, immediately after the ICC issued its warrant of arrest against President Al Bashir, the government expelled 13 international humanitarian organizations and closed down three national human rights and humanitarian organizations. The government said some of the organizations' papers were not in order and accused others of providing information to the ICC.
The expulsions removed 40 per cent of all aid workers from Sudan and threatened to have a dramatic impact on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, in the transitional areas (Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and eastern Sudan - all home to significant numbers of vulnerable people relying on humanitarian aid.
In June, the government announced that it would allow the entry and registration of new organizations and their staff. However, the three national humanitarian and human rights organizations remained closed - the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development, the Sudan Social Development Organization (known as SUDO) and the Amal Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in Khartoum - leaving a significant gap in humanitarian services and the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations in Darfur and Sudan in general. The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) harassed staff of these organizations, raided their offices and froze their assets.
Violence against women
Rape and other violence against women continued to be widespread during attacks on villages and in the vicinity of IDP camps, especially when women ventured outside. Organizations offering protection services, particularly to survivors of sexual violence in Darfur, were seriously affected by the expulsions and closures of humanitarian organizations.
Armed conflict - Southern Sudan
Armed clashes between different ethnic communities continued. More than 2,500 people were reportedly killed and more than 350,000 were displaced. The violence mostly affected remote areas. The worst affected state was Jonglei, where at least 2,000 were killed, according to UN estimates.
Attacks increased on civilians by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed group that originated in northern Uganda. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the LRA's attacks in Southern Sudan could amount to war crimes, with 27 confirmed attacks between December 2008 and March 2009.
The increase of violence across southern Sudan was exacerbated by poor rainfall, leading to a dire humanitarian situation. The lack of cultivation and access to fields, as well as the difficulty for humanitarian agencies to travel, increased food insecurity, with the threat of famine affecting an estimated 1.5 million people.
Arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill-treatment
The NISS continued to detain people arbitrarily and hold them incommunicado, particularly in Khartoum and Darfur after the ICC issued the warrant of arrest for President Al Bashir. NISS personnel raided the offices of several Sudanese NGOs, took away files and arrested some of their staff. They also arrested staff of international humanitarian organizations seen by the government as possible suppliers of information to the ICC. Human rights defenders were particularly affected by the wave of arrests and many fled the country.