Today’s UN Security Council briefing on Sudan was an opportunity for Council members to uphold their responsibility to protect, condemn the military actions of the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and call for an immediate cessation of attacks on civilians. Instead, the Council maintains its silence as President Bashir’s Armed forces continue to bomb civilian areas.
“This is, as with Syria, more of the ‘wait and see’ approach favored by certain council members. What that approach has brought is additional lives lost, more refugees, and the possible destabilization of the entire region. The Sudanese government is manifestly failing in its responsibility to protect its own people,” said Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P).
For nearly four months there have been verified and credible reports of an overt pattern of war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated in South Kordofan. Individuals have been consistently targeted because of their ethnicity and perceived political affiliation. Hundreds of lives have already been lost. Humanitarian agencies have been denied access to people in dire need of help.
For 12 weeks the United States has been pushing for a UN Security Council Presidential Statement condemning the government of Sudan for its relentless attacks on civilians. Other Council members oppose the singling out of Bashir’s regime for condemnation. Thus, the Council remains silent.
The silence is all the more jarring in the face of the UN’s own position that the government of Sudan appears responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. On 7 September 2011 the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, Francis Deng and Ed Luck, plainly stated that the Sudanese Armed Forces, “have continued aerial bombardments in Southern Kordofan.” Atrocities continue to be perpetrated despite President Bashir’s assertion that his armed forces are observing a unilateral ceasefire.
Naomi Kikoler from the GCR2P said that, “There are few situations that have had as much early warning of imminent mass atrocities as South Kordofan or such a glaring failure to heed these warnings.”
Dr. Adams said, “Sudan is already the site of no less than three UN peacekeeping missions. Now is the time to step back and reflect on the nature of the regime in Khartoum and its hand in the ongoing direction of mass atrocity crimes. The UN Security Council needs to speak strongly and with one voice. The situation in South Kordofan and now also Blue Nile must not be allowed to fester. Perpetrators want silence, victims need action.”