Annual Report: Sudan 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Sudan 2013

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Republic of the Sudan

Head of state and government Omar Hassan Ahmed

Post-independence agreements on the sharing of oil, citizenship and border demarcation continued to be negotiated with South Sudan. Conflict continued in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The National Security Service (NSS) and other government agents continued to commit human rights violations against perceived critics of the government for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Background

Tensions between South Sudan and Sudan mounted in relation to outstanding post-independence issues. The shutdown of oil production in South Sudan in February, due to disagreements with Sudan on oil transit fees, led to an escalation of conflict. Clashes between the two armies, including indiscriminate aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on the border areas of Heglig/Panthou and Kiir Adem from late March to May and in November, led to the displacement of hundreds of people. In February, South Sudan and Sudan signed a “non-aggression” pact over their disputed border. The memorandum of understanding covered five principles, of which two clauses referred to “no cross-border operations” and “no support of proxies”. Despite the pact, border tensions persisted. On 24 April, the AU Peace and Security Council adopted a roadmap to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, which the UN Security Council endorsed through resolution 2046, calling for both countries to reach a settlement on disputes within three months.

On 27 September, South Sudan and Sudan signed several agreements on trade, oil, security and citizenship issues in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. However, at the end of the year implementation of these agreements remained pending, as did further agreements on the status of the disputed area of Abyei and the precise border between South Sudan and Sudan.

The armed conflict between the SAF and the armed opposition group Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) persisted in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In April and May, a state of emergency was declared in a number of localities in states bordering South Sudan, including areas of Southern Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar states. In August, the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N signed two separate Memorandums of Understanding with the Tripartite group (UN, AU and the League of Arab States) to allow humanitarian access to conflict-affected populations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. However, no progress had been made in delivering humanitarian assistance to the populations in SPLM-N-controlled areas by the end of the year.

The majority of displaced people from Abyei remained in South Sudan, despite the presence of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) since June 2011. Notwithstanding the deployment of a Joint Military Observer Committee for Abyei in July, talks between Sudan and South Sudan over other administrative arrangements and broader political issues related to Abyei remained stalled. In November, the UN Security Council renewed UNISFA's mandate for a further six months under resolution 2075. While the mandate has included human rights monitoring since its inception, no progress was made in carrying this out.

On 19 September, President al-Bashir issued an invitation to NGOs and political parties to attend a consultative meeting on the Constitution. The text had already been drafted by the National Congress Party and there was reportedly no consultation on the draft prior to its publication. All of the main opposition parties refused to join the consultations.

Waves of protests broke out in January and June when students demonstrated against government policies and austerity measures; security agents responded with excessive force. Hundreds of activists were arrested and many faced torture and other ill-treatment before being released.

International justice

The government remained uncooperative with the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding arrest warrants issued against President al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010, as well as against Ahmed Haroun, Governor of Southern Kordofan, and Ali Mohammed Ali Abdelrahman, a former Janjaweed militia leader, in 2007.