Getting away with murder in Sudan

With the tumultuous events in Libya dominating most of the news headlines, and pretty much all of the foreign news pages in most papers today, there’s little space for reporting on other human rights abuses occurring elsewhere.

Cynics may venture that while all international attention is diverted to one country, others can get away with murder without anyone noticing. And unfortunately that’s exactly what seems to be happening in Sudan’s southern territory of Southern Kordofan. There as Al Jazeera reports, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch researchers have witnessed government planes circling over civilian areas in the Nuba mountains and dropping bombs, forcing men, women and children to flee in terror to seek shelter in mountains and caves.

According to Amnesty’s new report, more than 26 people are thought to have been killed from these bombings and more than 45 people injured since mid-June.  Thousands of men, women and children are in desperate need of aid and communities are prevented from planting crops to feed their families. These families  have been forced from their homes. They don’t have the right food, medicine, sanitation or shelter from the heavy rains.  Many told the human rights researchers that they were suffering from malaria and diarrhoea.

According to BBC News Online, The UN says some 200,000 people have fled the area, where Sudan has denied charges of ethnic cleansing.

The government has long refused to authorise relief flights to the region, with only the Sudanese Red Crescent allowed to deliver assistance.

Lots of people living in the Nuba mountains have ties with the former southern rebel movement.  Although neither Amnesty nor HRW researchers could reach the front lines controlled by the Sudan Armed Forces where the violence first erupted, we received first hand accounts from witnesses which are particularly harrowing. Some witnesses said that soldiers shot people in the streets and carried out house-to-house searches and stops at checkpoints trying to find potential supporters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).It’s an understatement to say that the situation in southern Kordofan is dire.  The level of terror spreading across the region through the actions of Sudan’s Armed Forces is reaching critical levels.  

The government of Sudan mustn’t be allowed to literally get away with murder just because the world’s gaze is currently elsewhere.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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