Most recent in GPANet.org

  • The Trump Administration Prepares the Way for Lifting Sanctions on Sudan

     

    Eric Reeves   |   August 30, 2017   |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-25Y

    The Trump administration-staffed by fools and arrogant blowhards, and without a functioning Africa Bureau at the State Department, or even an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs-gives clear evidence of preparing the way for a permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the genocidal regime in Khartoum, even as that regime continues to deny in highly consequential ways humanitarian assistance to more than two million people in Sudan. This figure includes refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad), South Kordofan (primarily in South Sudan, and Blue Nile (primarily in Ethiopia); the number is much larger if we include Eastern Sudan, where the regime has proved relentless in expelling or excluding international humanitarian organizations-see Appendix A). The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicates that well over two million Sudanese suffer from "Acute Malnutrition"; figures from UNICEF for children under five suggest a malnutrition crisis much, much larger (see | "An Internal UNICEF Malnutrition Report on Sudan and Darfur: Why have these data been withheld?" | September 5, 2014 |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-1pL/).

    The latest evidence of a determination to lift sanctions comes in the form of an August 28, 2017 statement from Khartoum by Mark Green, Administrator for the US Agency for International Development (USAID):

    In particular, we are hoping to see progress on humanitarian access right here in North Darfur. We are at a critical point in Sudan. There is still a need for life-saving humanitarian assistance, and we hope to see a successful resolution to the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas.

    Today, I will be also visiting internally displaced people, people to whom USAID and its partners are giving critical assistance. I want to underscore-America will not walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance, and we will always stand with people everywhere when a disaster or humanitarian crisis strikes, for that is who we are as Americans.

    Pious, unctuous words in defending the indefensible decision that is now impending.

    Some of those from whom the U.S. is indeed "walking away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance"

    What was not said by Administrator Green:

  • Assaults on Camps for the Displaced in Darfur: History Makes Clear They Will Increase

     

    Eric Reeves   |   August 27, 2017   |   http://wp.me/p45rOG-25W

    Two headlines from Radio Dabanga today tell us a great deal about the future of camps for displaced persons inside Darfur. The UN Security Council resolution gutting theUN/African Union "hybrid" Mission in Darfur (June 30, 2017), along with the impending permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the NIF/NCP regime in Khartoum (October 2017), provide the backdrop for what will certainly be a dramatic increase in attacks by militia forces and regular Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on camps for the displaced:

    · Darfur displaced commemorate 2008 ‘Kalma camp massacre' | Radio Dabanga | August 27, 2017 | NYALA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/darfur-displaced-commemorate-2008-kalma-camp-massacre

    On Friday, thousands of displaced people commemorated the ninth anniversary of the ‘Kalma camp massacre.' In August 2008, a group of militiamen and members of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira) raided Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala, capital of South Darfur. (See below)

    • Militiamen surround South Darfur camp, shoot student | Radio Dabanga | August 27, 2017 | NIERTETI | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/militiamen-surround-south-darfur-camp-shoot-student

    A university student was shot at Nierteti's Northern Camp in Central Darfur on Thursday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a camp elder reported that militiamen began firing into the air over the Northern Nierteti Camp for the displaced on Thursday evening. "Abdelwahab Hasan Hamid was seriously hit by bullets, and had to be taken to Nyala for treatment," he said. The elder said that a large group of militants in vehicles and on motorcycles and horses began gathering north and west of the Nierteti Northern Camp since Sunday, after one of their colleagues went missing in the area.

    [The "missing man" explanation by the militia is pure pretext: "missing" men, or livestock, are constantly being used by militia forces as an excuse for extortion or violence against IDP, who would be far too fearful to hold either Arab men or livestock in camps-ER]

    International memory on such matters is short, but the first notable attack on an IDP camp in Darfur occurred at Aro Sharow in September 2005-twelve years ago. It was unusually well-reported, as I indicated in a dispatch at the time, citing the assessment of Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Darfur (see "A Final Solution for Darfur: The View from Khartoum: Preserving the genocidal status quo works to consolidate NIF power," October 9, 2005 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-oG/):

    On 28 September 2005, just four days ago, some reportedly 400 Janjaweed Arab militia on camels and horseback went on the rampage in Aru Sharo, Acho and Gozmena villages in West Darfur. Our reports also indicate that the day previous, and indeed on the actual day of the attack, Government of Sudan helicopter gunships were observed overhead. This apparent coordinated land and air assault gives credence to the repeated claim by the rebel movements of collusion between the Government of Sudan forces and the Janjaweed/Arab militia. This incident, which was confirmed not only by our investigators but also by workers of humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the area, took a heavy toll resulting in 32 people killed, 4 injured and 7 missing, and about 80 houses/shelters looted and set ablaze.

    The following day, a clearly premeditated and well-rehearsed combined operation was carried out by the Government of Sudan military and police at approximately 11am in the town of Tawilla and its Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in North Darfur. The Government of Sudan forces used approximately 41 trucks and 7 land cruisers in the operation which resulted in a number of deaths, massive displacement of civilians and the destruction of several houses in the surrounding areas as well as some tents in the IDP camps. Indeed, the remains of discharged explosive devices were found in the IDP camp. During the attack, thousands from the township and the IDP camp and many humanitarian workers were forced to seek refuge near the AU camp for personal safety and security. (Transcript of press conference by Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Darfur, Khartoum, October 1, 2005) (emphases added)

    Many of the fires reported constantly in the camps are of an extremely suspicious nature; investigations of possible arson are never undertaken by the police, the army, or UNAMID

  • #Cholera_In_Sudan: An important dispatch from Radio Dabanga gives some sense of what is now exploding in Darfur

     

    Eric Reeves | August 22, 2017 |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-25S

    The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party in Khartoum is on the verge of securing a permanent lifting of U.S. economic and financial sanctions. This is so despite the failure of the regime to meet one of two key conditions laid down by the Obama administration in its perverse, last-minute decision to lift sanctions provisionally in January 2013: substantial improvement in humanitarian access. At the time, Obama administration UN Ambassador Samantha Power declared that there had been a "sea change of improvement" in humanitarian access: a preposterous and deeply destructively statement that was never corrected by Power herself or anyone else in the Obama administration in a position to do so. The State Department has confirmed to me directly that it has no idea what served as the basis for this claim, and that it did not represent realities in Sudan-either in Darfur or South Kordofan/Blue Nile.

    There has been none of the claimed "improvement" over the past seven months, nor signs that it will occur before the October 13, 2017 deadline for a final U.S. decision by the woefully under-staffed and ill-informed Trump administration. This is extraordinarily consequential in light of the cholera epidemic that began in Blue Nile State in August 2016 and has relatively recently reached the Darfur region.

    Vibrio cholerae is a bacterium that could be easily identified from fecal samples sent to UN WHO headquarters in Geneva

    A Radio Dabanga dispatch below, which makes clear that Khartoum still does not permit Sudanese journalists or medical officials to use the word "cholera," is ominous in the extreme, especially since the UN World Health Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have all been intimidated by Khartoum into using the euphemistic phrase "acute watery diarrhea" instead of "cholera." This is only one of the reasons there has not been a more urgent response, but it is central:

    "Nierteti's hospital faces gaps in medicines, including oral and intravenous re-hydration solutions [..]," OCHA stated. "In Zalingei hospital, there are several sanitation issues, including lack of latrines and evidence of improper solid waste management [..]."

    Suffering cholera patient; the disease can kill in under 24 hours if untreated; with treatment (primarily simple re-hydration) recovery is almost certain

  • Rewarding Policies that Starve Children in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan

     

    Eric Reeves | August 18, 2017 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-8046

    The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum has continued for over six years with its brutal, immensely destructive humanitarian blockade of rebel-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The results in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan have been devastating, and the poor harvests that seem likely this year because of weather conditions will make things much worse.

    Despite the continuation of the blockade, and despite "humanitarian access" as a key U.S. requirement for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions, the Trump administration-confused and easily strong-armed by the U.S. intelligence community-gives all signs of indeed lifting sanctions on Khartoum this coming October 13th, less than two months' time from now.

    To be sure, it was the Obama administration that began this accommodation of the regime's génocidaires, declaring in a preposterous and viciously expedient statement that there had been a "sea change" of improvement of humanitarian access in Sudan-including in this characterization of where "access" had improved both Darfur (where Khartoum continues to deny humanitarian access to roughly a third of the 3 million people the UN declares are in need of assistance) and South Kordofan.

    Obama administration ambassador to the UN Samantha Power preposterously declared (January 13, 2017) that there had been a "sea change" of improvement in humanitarian access in Sudan

    We learn how destructive the Obama administration's gross misrepresentation of access issues is in a piece from Bronwen Dachs, which appeared yesterday in The Boston Pilot; Dachs has worked as a reporter in Africa for Catholic News Service (CNS) for more than a quarter of a century.

    The entire dispatch appears below, but I highlight a moment that should bring the deepest shame to those members of the Obama administration who put in motion the move to reward Khartoum by initially lifting sanctions:

    "Here, I have shed tears watching emaciated women with babies on their backs being turned away when they get to the front of the long line because there is nothing left for them," Oliver Waindi, executive director of the Bishop Gassis Relief and Rescue Foundation, told CNS. "The suffering is as I imagine hell to be."

    "There are a lot of children dying here," Waindi said, noting that before the changed weather patterns of the past two years, "people had very little to eat, but now they have nothing at all."

    Nuba child dying of starvation

    Could there be a greater crime against humanity than to deny people in the most acute distress the most basic means of living? (See my discussion of this question in "On the Obstruction of Humanitarian Aid," African Studies ReviewVolume 54, Number 3 (December 2011), pages 165 - 74 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-I6/). And yet it continues, and all signs from U.S. diplomats and military/intelligence officials make clear that the decision will be to lift permanently sanctions on this heartless and cruel regime, one that remains on the State Department list of "state sponsors of international terrorism"-and with good reason (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-220/).

    Khartoum's Ambitions in the Nuba Mountains

  • "Recalling Lincoln in the Wake of Charlottesville," The Huffington Post, August 16, 2017

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5994d062e4b00dd984e37c2c

    By Eric Reeves

    Most Americans are now struggling simply to make sense of the reality of a president who has conspicuously given encouragement to men and women who have in common an explicit racism and bigotry of the most extreme sort. The disparagement and hatred of African Americans and Jews has come to us in such brutal and unfiltered form in the wake of Charlottesville that our sense of outrage is overwhelmed, our ability to express fully our abhorrence is hobbled by the enormity of the hatred that has come into such sharp focus.

    I offer no words of suitable outrage here, no expression of adequate abhorrence. But I would remind my fellow Americans lost in despair to recall a president who in his magnanimous and almost unimaginably courageous and tenacious determination to end slavery in our country demonstrated how great the American spirit can be when blessed with inspired leadership.

    Abraham Lincoln is at once the archetypal American icon and a source of endless historical dispute. But I find no convincing argument that Lincoln was anything but ferociously committed to ending slavery in our country. Historians will debate endlessly the pragmatic and moral elements of his four years as president; but his Second Inaugural Address seems to me to have been precisely what Frederick Douglass described it as: a "sacred effort." And it is worth our recalling that despite the omnipresence of contemptible and hateful words from our current president, his great predecessor still speaks more profoundly to us, perhaps even more so in our present grief and moral bewilderment.

    In March 1865 the Civil War was largely over-and Lincoln himself would be assassinated in April of that year. These facts give to his Second Inaugural a valedictory quality that Lincoln himself could have only vaguely intuited. But for later audiences, Lincoln's words sound enduring moral notes that make the thoughtlessness of white supremacy-and defenses of the Confederacy-painfully clear. Although both sides in the war "invoked [God's] aid against the other," Lincoln felt compelled to offer the most essential truth, even as he deliberately skirted broader judgments of his Southern foes: "It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces..." Today, most Americans find a similar "strangeness" in the assertion of racial superiority-especially when that superiority is violently asserted, as it explicitly was by the Confederacy during the Civil War-and as it has continued to inform so many attitudes towards what the Confederacy represented.

    We need look no further than these indisputable facts to understand the repugnance felt by so many at the erecting, decades later, of monuments celebrating this violent Confederate claim.

    But it is Lincoln's own assertion of perseverance that has, I believe, the deepest resonance for modern readers of this great document. At the time of the Second Inaugural some 600,000 men had lost their lives in the conflict; countless more were injured, and nearly all American families were in some way bereft or diminished by the war's unimaginable violence. And yet Lincoln would insist,

    Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God will that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty hears of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousands years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

    What should we in the 21st century hear in this archaic biblical invocation (Psalm 19) and the harsh commitment to military victory? I believe we should be reminded that there are some who have not accepted the full implications of the Union victory, and who are still willing to play the role of "bondsman." In turn, we must accept that those so willing are to be confronted with the determination to expend all that is necessary of national blood and treasure to ensure that slavery, in all its forms, shall finally have been fully subdued in our country.

    The greatest tragedy of the Trump presidency in the wake of Charlottesville is that we have seen the prospect of the revived "bondsman"; and we have heard the "bondsman" encouraged by equivocation and disingenuousness on the part of the chief executive of the United States.

    Many find the biblical fervor of Lincoln's Second Inaugural strange. But what cannot be strange to us is the lifelong, passionate moral response to human suffering that animates every word of this great American document. And should we need guidance in responding to the suffering that far too many would again inflict on the descendants of slaves, we would do well to recall how much Lincoln felt we as a nation must be prepared to sacrifice to end the moral catastrophe of failing truly to believe that "all men are created equal."

    [Eric Reeves is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Smith College]

     

     

  • Darfuri Refugees in Eastern Chad: The Most Invisible Casualties of the Darfur Genocide

     

    Eric Reeves     |   August 8, 2017   |   http://wp.me/p45rOG-25G

    African/non-Arab refugees from violence in Darfur began to flee to eastern Chad well before the date conventionally used to mark the outbreak of large-scale violence in Darfur itself, February 2003-fourteen and a half years ago. The Massalit in particular were victims of brutal attacks by Khartoum-sanctioned militias in the 1990s, and they have suffered particularly severe and concentrated human destruction and displacement. This is true even within the ghastly context of Khartoum's genocidal counter-insurgency in Darfur, beginning in earnest following the successful rebel attack on the El Fasher airbase in April 2003.

    Hundreds of thousands of African/non-Arab Darfuris remain trapped as refugees in twelve main camps in eastern Chad, unable to return because of the massive insecurity that continues to prevail in most of Darfur-insecurity that will only increase with the severe reductions in the UN/African Union "hybrid" Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). On June 30, 2017 the UN Security Council renewed the mandate for UNAMID, but-at Khartoum's behest-reduced the military presence in Darfur by 44 percent and the police presence by more than 30 percent.

    Perhaps, then, it should not be surprising that Sudan Tribune today reports the following:

    · Sudanese refugees say they want to settle in Chad | August 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63192

    Over 500 Sudanese from West Darfur state who have recently moved into eastern Chad told the UN refugee agency they have no intention to return to their homeland. In an update on the refugee situation in Chad released on 7 August, the UNCHR Chad said some 112 families, 512 people have arrived the village of Katarfa in eastern Chad on Saturday 29th July 2017. The Sudanese refugees, "mainly women and children are from the Massalit ethnic group, told the UN aid workers they fled their village, Terbebe or Terbiba near the border with Chad, following a surge of violence after a clash between a Massalit farmer and a cattle herder.

    In a report about the refugees in Chad released on 31 July, the UNHCR says there are 319,512 Sudanese refugees generally residing in 12 camps in the eastern part of the country since 2003.

  • Shifting My Communications, Commentary on Sudan Issues

     

    Eric Reeves   |   August 2, 2017   |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-25C

    For a variety of reasons, my primary commentary on events in SudanSouth Sudan, and the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains) now appears on Twitter and Linked-In. Commentary is primarily included within "screen shots" of the day's most important stories, at least from my perspective (my Twitter name is "SudanReeves").

    Current emphasis is on the cholera epidemic that has swept across Sudan over the past year (#Cholera_In_Sudan)-an epidemic that the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum refuses to acknowledge. Moreover, the regime has intimidated the UN humanitarian community into silence; indeed, there has been to date no effort publicly acknowledged either to confirm or disconfirm the presence of Vibrio cholerae, an extraordinarily contagious disease that can kill in less than 24 hours in the absence of re-hydration in critical cases. (See my "Open Letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the UN's World Health Organization" | http://wp.me/p45rOG-25t )

    Instead of longer analyses, I now post-almost daily-a wide range of commentary; and with the advantage of "screen shots," I have the ability to incorporate within the cited text commentary of my own, often well in excess of the 140-character constraint of Twitter/Tweets. News stories are primarily from Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga, but from other important reports and accounts as well. Today I am highlighting the new report on the "Two Areas" from the Enough Project, addressing a critical issue of divisions within the opposition to NIF/NCP tyranny ("A Question of Leadership: A Dangerous Crisis in Sudan's SPLM-N," by Suliman Baldo). If the leadership in South Kordofan and Blue Nile leaders cannot be reconciled, it spells the end of military resistance to Khartoum's offensives, which will surely resume when the Trump administration lifts U.S. sanctions on Khartoum in October 2017, something it has clearly signaled it wants to do (see comments by the shameless Steven Koutsis, U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Khartoum:

     

    I will occasionally "re-cycle" previous, more lengthy analyses from the past couple of years that seem to me to be of continuing relevance, or the basis for noting changes or related developments-e.g., mortality and displacement in Darfur, military activity by the SAF and/or RSF, aerial bombardment of civilians and humanitarians, Khartoum's continuing relations with and support of radical Islamic militants, regime corruption and gross mismanagement of the Sudanese economy, and-centrally-humanitarian access, the denial of which has made of the cholera epidemic a national catastrophe.

    For those interested in searching the contents of my website's Archives (going back to January 1999, although this website did not come into being until 2003), I recommend using either Google or Bing, with the "cache" function activated (the search engine on my website, while having some advantages, has no "cache" function). For an autobiographical/biblographical snapshot, see | http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves/.

    For a variety of reasons as well, my focus for some time has been on Sudan, not South Sudan. I find it simply impossible to keep fully abreast of issues in both countries, as they continue to diverge historically following the secession of South Sudan six years ago. I would, however, call attention to an "Open Letter to Salva Kiir" of June 2013, signed by myself, Ted DagneJohn Prendergast, and Roger Winter, warning of the disastrous consequences of a continuing refusal to address serious issues of military violence, corruption, and governance. The entire letter appears below and was delivered to President Kiir over six months before the catastrophic events of December 2013; I am aware of no comparable public warning coming from any quarter, despite the anticipatory "insights" claimed by many after the fact. (The letter was published in Sudan Tribune, July 7, 2013 | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47220 )

    I hope to stay active in the cause for a just peace for all of "greater Sudan" for as long as possible. As many of my readers are aware, a fourteen-year battle with leukemia and its grim, often highly debilitating consequences have left me, as I approach 70 years of age, without the stamina and resources I might wish to have. A highly compromised immune system has prevented my traveling again to any part of greater Sudan, including the Nuba Mountains, which I came to love immediately on traveling there in January 2003.

    Occasional lengthy analyses will continue to be published on this site, but they will be very occasional indeed. I will send a link via Twitter and Linked-In when this is the case.

    Salaam,

    Eric Reeves | Senior Fellow, Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

    *************************************

    June 24, 2013

    His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit,

    President of the Republic of South Sudan
    Office of the President
    Juba, South Sudan

     

    Dear President Kiir:

    We write to you, individually and collectively, as friends of South Sudan-longstanding friends who have committed more than two decades of our lives to the great cause of a just peace for the people of South Sudan. We have lobbied government officials, student organizations, media and nongovernmental groups to build a strong constituency for South Sudan in the United States. We have done our best to highlight the suffering of the people of South Sudan during the long civil war, and to offer our perspectives on the difficult road to completing a true peace.

    Some of us have communicated our concerns with you individually and confidentially in the past, always as friends.  At this moment, our friendship dictates that we express our concerns about the increasingly perilous fate of South Sudan. From our various vantages, we have all come to conclude that without significant changes and reform, your country may slide toward instability, conflict and a protracted governance crisis.  As friends, it is our responsibility to express our serious concerns directly and to offer constructive suggestions for the way forward.

    We must first state that over the past several years-but the last six months in particular-South Sudan government security forces have engaged in a campaign of violence against civilians simply because they belonged to a different ethnic group or they are viewed as opponents of the current government.

    This violence is shocking and has included rape, murder, theft, and destruction of property. We are particularly concerned about the evidence emerging of abuses by government forces in Jonglei.  These terrible crimes occur because government forces believe they have the power to act with impunity.

    We joined you in your fight against these very abuses by the Khartoum regime for many years. We cannot turn a blind eye when yesterday's victims become today's perpetrators.  We were deeply encouraged by the statement by President Kiir on May 17, 2013:

    It is a sad day for South Sudan to see and receive reports about abuses carried out by ill-disciplined elements of our own armed forces.  Many of our comrades fought and died to achieve freedom and justice for our people.  It is important that we honor that sacrifice.

    At the same time, these atrocities are not isolated incidents but among many deliberate measures taken by soldiers on the instruction of senior commanders and government officials. Some may argue that the failure here lies in the chain of command, but the evidence makes clear that these orders are indeed coming from senior commanders. We urge you to take swift and decisive action against not only those who carried out these heinous acts, but those who gave the orders.

    And there must be justice.  Crimes by government officials often go unpunished.  Many attacks against civilians, including the killing of foreign businessmen, a teacher from Kenya, South Sudanese journalists, and many others, have gone unpunished.  We have authoritative reports that government security forces have abused those who allow themselves and their cars to be searched.  Many people, including government officials, have faced harassment and have been beaten up by security forces.  Again, no one has been held accountable.  This inevitably creates a climate of impunity.

    There are also many South Sudanese and some foreign nationals languishing in prison, a large number of them facing death sentences.  Many of these did not receive a fair trial because the justice system is riddled with incompetence.  We strongly urge that the government immediately issue a moratorium on all executions until these cases are reviewed and those convicted given a fair and transparent trial.  We further urge you to abolish the death penalty in South Sudan, as more and more countries are doing.

    None of this will happen unless the Government of the Republic of South Sudan engages in profound reform.  After almost nine years of self-rule, the government is still failing to meet the basic needs of its people.  Despite claims that vast sums have been expended on investment in infrastructure, there is very little to show in the way of roads, medical services, and education for millions of South Sudanese who greeted the prospect of independence with eagerness and hope.

    Those who have benefited-who have become wealthy by misappropriating government funds-have often sent their families outside South Sudan, their children to private schools abroad, and have obtained the best medical services available in the world.  This occurs while ordinary citizens who remain in South Sudan cannot afford even basic health services or modest educations for their children.

    Corruption is at the heart of the many problems facing South Sudan.  In a remarkably short period of time, the name of your country has become synonymous with corruption.  As President Kiir declared in a letter to his ministers and senior officials:

    The people of South Sudan and the international community are alarmed at the level of corruption in South Sudan.  Many people in South Sudan are suffering, yet government officials seem to care only about themselves.

    And yet to date, not a single government official has been tried on corruption charges.  Again, the absence of justice encourages a climate of impunity, and makes halting corruption all the more difficult.  This is the light in which we have examined the findings of the World Bank, which after a long investigation presented to the Ministry of Justice-almost a year ago-presents clear evidence of massive corruption.  And yet the Ministry of Justice has not yet prosecuted a single individual.

    The Office of the President in the past several months has ordered two important investigations and has suspended senior officials, including two Federal Ministers, from office pending the completion of the investigation. Widespread outrage at the extraordinary levels of corruption and at those who are benefiting from that corruption is very high and continues to grow.  This is the source of potentially serious civil unrest, just as it was in the Middle East and North Africa over the past few years.

    OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

    These problems cannot be resolved overnight, but an immediate commitment can be made to re-shape what now seems a dangerous and crisis-filled future for South Sudan.

     

    • The Ministry of Justice must be revamped and key personnel who have enabled corruption and crimes against civilians to go unpunished must be removed.
    • All senior army officials should be put on notice that attacks on civilians are completely unacceptable and will be severely punished up the entire chain of command.
    • Existing alleged human rights abuses should be fully investigated and prosecuted.
    • Clear oil infrastructure priorities should be set, especially now in light of a financial picture that is extremely grim. The fact that there are no refineries in the South, no oil storage facilities, and nothing in the way of progress towards a southern oil export route reflects an absence of planning and has left oil revenues at the mercy of the National Congress Party regime. As evidence from the past two years has made clear, the regime in Khartoum is perfectly willing to engage in duplicitous negotiations, commit to agreements in bad faith, and simply renege on agreements whenever it wishes, even if it punishes its own failing economy. All this could have been predicted from past behavior, and must certainly guide thinking going forward.
    • Schools, medical services, clean water, and roads must top the list of priorities of internal spending. Until the people of South Sudan have ready access to education and health services-services that will need a transport infrastructure-they will be exceedingly vulnerable to disease, and will have little chance to contribute to a modern economy. And without a functional agricultural sector, South Sudan will always be dependent on others.
    • South Sudan confronts serious external security threats, and will almost certainly do so as long as the current regime controls Sudan. Nevertheless, the army must begin to make plans to be trimmed substantially, made more efficient, and receive training in international human rights law. Security is paramount, but that security will be squandered if the army does not become more responsive to the needs of its people and to its broader obligations to protect the rights of civilians.
    • The demands here are great, we well understand. But unless you begin to address them now, the tasks will only grow greater. Again, as friends of South Sudan, we urge you to confront these challenges on an urgent basis, and with all possible resolve.

    Sincerely,

    Roger Winter, Eric Reeves, John Prendergast, and Ted Dagne-Friends of South Sudan

    CC: The Honorable Riek Machar Teny, Vice President

    The Honorable James Wani Igga, Speaker

     

    -- 

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purch

     

     

  • The International Community is Playing Games with the Question of #Cholera_in_Sudan

     

    The International Community is Playing Games with the Question of #Cholera_in_Sudan

    Eric Reeves   |   July 27, 2017   |   http://wp.me/p45rOG-25v

    The International community is playing games with question of #Cholera_in_Sudan. Almost a year into the epidemic, why have we seen no laboratory tests confirming OR disconfirming the existence of cholera in Sudan? The UN's World Health Organization in Geneva could quickly provide laboratory analysis of stool/fecal samples from Sudanese victims of what the Khartoum regime insists all must call "acute watery diarrhea." Why is there only silence from the UN organizations most responsible: WHOOCHA, and UNICEF? How can we not conclude that these agencies and the UN leadership have been threatened, and in turn intimidated, by the génocidaires who make up the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime?

    Not to be outdone by the feckless UN agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development today (July 27, 2017) joins in the chorus that continues to say only "acute watery diarrhea," thereby contributing to the delay of urgently needed medical supplies to Sudan's stricken populations.

    [ Concerning these supplies, see my July 24, 2017 "Open Letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the UN's World Health Organization" | http://wp.me/p45rOG-25t/]

    "As of July 7, [2017] health actors recorded more than 23,200 cases of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) since August 2016, accord to the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Sudan (GoS) Ministry of Health (MoH)." (USAID, July 27, 2017)

    More than 23,000 recorded cases-and much of the data has been screened by the Khartoum regime. What about the un-recorded cases, especially in those areas of DarfurSouth Kordofan, and Blue Nile that continue to be denied humanitarian access? What about the grossly inadequate humanitarian presence in Eastern Sudan? Why should we not assume that a figure for "recorded cases" promulgated by the regime's "Ministry of Health" is anything but a small fraction of the actual cases? If the regime won't permit the word "cholera" to be used, why should we expect that figures offered by the same regime will have any integrity at all?

    I have previously stressed that cholera is easy to diagnosis in a laboratory were stool/fecal samples of victims in Sudan provided. But of course it is also the case that if somehow the disease running rampant in Sudan is not cholera, this fact could just as easily be confirmed by labs in Geneva. Why does the UN's World Health Organization not provide us with laboratory test results of multiple stool/fecal samples from victims of "acute water diarrhea" in Sudan?

    At this late date, there is only one answer and it is very unflattering of international resolve to take seriously the vast medical crisis that has been sweeping across Sudan for almost a year.

    As the rainy season in Sudan reaches its peak, conditions for the spread of cholera are terrifyingly propitious...

    -- 

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purch

     

     

  • An Open Letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the UN's World Health Organization United Nations Office at Geneva | Palais des Nations, 1211 | Genève, Switzerland

     

    July 24, 2017

    Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

    The mandate of the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) could hardly be clearer; in the words of the Organization:

    Our primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations' system.

    Our goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Working through offices in more than 150 countries, WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

    And yet this impressive mandate is daily made a mockery of by WHO's refusal to refer to the cholera epidemic raging in Sudan by name. Neither your organization nor the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will refer explicitly to the fact that what you continue to call "Acute Watery Diarrhea" is in fact cholera, Vibrio cholera-a fact established by laboratory tests in Sudan.

    What is most troubling in the present crisis is WHO's failure to confirm the findings of Sudanese labs tests in Geneva, using stool samples appropriately transferred from Sudan. As you well know, this is entire practicable; by failing to conduct such laboratory tests, you are grossly failing in fulfilling your mandate. Of more immediate consequence, you are failing the people of Sudan, who have suffered so much at the hands of the current regime.

    The practicability of laboratory testing of stool samples in Geneva has been confirmed to me by several physicians, including an infectious disease specialist at a major American research hospital:

    "Cholera is easy to diagnose unequivocally in stool samples by bacterial culture.  Many labs across the world can easily do this using a sample shipped to them.  However, this would require special conditions for shipping (e.g., specimen has to be collected and stored in a special fluid called transport media to keep the bacteria alive)." (email received July 24, 2017)

    Why has such an "unequivocal diagnosis" not been rendered by WHO, given the massive spread of cholera in Sudan since August 2016? To be sure, the Khartoum regime has made clear that it will punish Sudanese journalists and health officials who dare to use the word "cholera," and no doubt threats have been issued to WHO, demanding that you be complicit in silence about this terrible disease. The regime's motive is transparently a desire that the "reputation" of Sudan not be compromised by associations the regime perceives would inhere in any accurate designation of a disease that is clearly out of control. But the effect of WHO's silence is to ensure that Sudan has not received international medical resources necessary to combat cholera-preeminently massive supplies of re-hydration equipment; medical epidemiologists as well as specialists in treating cholera epidemics; and water/sanitation equipment and engineers.

    By yielding to the Khartoum's regime's threat, you are complicit in the failure to respond to a disease that currently threatens many hundreds of thousands of Sudanese civilians-and is currently active in twelve Sudanese states.

    As you are no doubt aware, the current National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime-which came to power my means of a military coup in June 1989-is guilty of continuous assaults on its own people for almost three decades. Among the most barbaric means used in serial genocidal counter-insurgencies has been the thoroughly documented denial of humanitarian assistance to desperately need civilians-in Darfur, in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, in Blue Nile, and in South Sudan during the long civil war. Eastern Sudan has also been systematically denied critically needed humanitarian resources.

    Equally well-documented are the Khartoum's military assaults on humanitarians-most recently and notoriously, bombing of hospitals in South Kordofan (MSF-twice-in Frandala, as well as the repeated bombings of Mother of Mercy Hospital near Kauda in the center of the Nuba Mountains). Bombings and assaults on humanitarian sites were commonplace during the North/South civil war (see http://wp.me/p45rOG-Pv/).

    Your silence about what is clearly a massive cholera epidemic in Sudan is reprehensible. Your failure to transport stool samples from victims in Sudan to Geneva for official confirmation of cholera makes you fully complicit in the terrible suffering and dying that continues to spread, out of control, with daily new reports confirming that this is indeed a cholera epidemic.

    The inevitable history that will be written of this epidemic will surely cast you in an unforgiving light.

    Sincerely,

    Eric Reeves

    Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights | https://fxb.harvard.edu/people/eric-reeves/

    -- 

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purch

     

     

  • “Sea Change of Improvement in Humanitarian Access” in Sudan? Where’s the Evidence

     

    "Sea Change of Improvement in Humanitarian Access" in Sudan? Where's the Evidence 

    Eric Reeves | July 15, 2017 |  http://wp.me/s45rOG-8021

    If there has been a "sea change in improvement in humanitarian access" in Sudan, as the outgoing Obama administration claimed in justifying its initiation of the process for lifting U.S. economic sanctions on the genocidal Khartoum regime, why do we continue to see headlines such as these on such a regular basis? Is the absence of humanitarian presence in these areas of Darfur a lack of capacity on the part of the UN and international nongovernmental humanitarian organizations? Or, as a number of INGO's report, is it because Khartoum still restricts access to many hundreds of thousands of people? To ask the question is to answer it. And why is there still no yielding by Khartoum on humanitarian access, especially food, to starving civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile? Why is the continuing humanitarian embargo so rarely mentioned? By the U.S., the UN, the African Union, and other international actors of consequence.

    In the case of the UN, the failure is compounded by the refusal of the UN World Health Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and UNICEF to use the word "cholera"-this in deference to the sensibilities of the Khartoum regime, which perversely refuses to use or allow use of the word "cholera." The health consequences of this shameful acquiescence are massive and growing.  Resources to address the country-wide cholera epidemic are most conspicuously absent in Darfur:

    · Malnutrition cases increasing among Darfur IDPs: official | Sudan Tribune | July 14, 2017 (NYALA)

    http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article62990

     

    A growing number of children and elderly are malnourished at Darfur camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the reduction of food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), said IDPs official. In its weekly bulletin on 24 June, the U.N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said a recent survey conducted by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) found critical levels of acute malnutrition in Jebel Marra.... The humanitarian official at the Darfur Refugees and IDPs Association Salih Idris told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that "malnutrition cases among children and the elderly are growing continuously."

    The world well knows that not nearly enough food is being provided to many hundreds of thousands of children throughout Sudan, especially in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile; the failure to gain access is a failure to confront the Khartoum regime over its various strategies and tactics for denying access.

    · Cholera update: Displaced people in Darfur especially vulnerable | Radio Dabanga | July 13, 2017 | DARFUR / SOUTH KORDOFAN / EL GENEINA / TOKAR | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/cholera-update-displaced-people-in-darfur-especially-vulnerable

    On Monday six people died at Kabkabiya hospital in North Darfur of cholera, while on Tuesday the isolation centre reported 18 new cases of the disease, bringing the total number of hospitalised cases to 28. More deaths and infections have been reported from across Sudan. The Coordinator of Kabkabiya camps told Radio Dabanga that four of the dead were displaced persons residing at El Salam, Midan El Kheil and Hay El Salam camps, while the other two were residing in the western and northern areas of Kabkabiya. The Coordinator said that the Minister of Health of North Darfur visited the isolation centre in Kabkabiya hospital on Tuesday. On Tuesday the number of hospitalised cases of cholera at the medical isolation centre of camp Zamzam in North Darfur amounted to eight. The Coordinator of Zamzam camps told Radio Dabanga that the patients are suffering of lack of light in the isolation centre. He pointed out that there is only one medical assistant for all infection cases in the hospital. He said the local authorities have not responded to their repeated demands to spray the camp and specify the health centre for cases of cholera.

    Cholera breeding grounds such as this are increasingly common during the current rainy season in Darfur

    • Woman dies giving birth, care lacking in Jebel Marra | Radio Dabanga | July 14, 2017 | DERIBAT | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/woman-dies-giving-birth-care-lacking-in-jebel-marra

    A women died in labour in a village near Deribat in East Jebel Marra on Wednesday. There was no adequate medical care or an ambulance available. The woman died in Talba, north of Deribat, in the most mountainous area of Darfur. One of her relatives told Radio Dabanga that there was no adequate medical care, or an ambulance to transport her to El Fasher. "There has been a lack of health facilities in Jebel Marra recently. This causes an increase in the mortality rates of pregnant women and women in labour in this area," he said. Medical sources reported that health services are "entirely absent" in large parts of East Jebel Marra, while the government of South Darfur continues to deny medics access to the area.

    In 2015, the federal Ministry of Health in South Darfur reported it has the highest maternal mortality rate in Sudan, without the government being able to reduce the figures.

    Conditions in many locations for displaced persons in Darfur remain appalling for lack of humanitarian access and resources

    • Darfur's East Jebel Marra devoid of health services, 30 die of cholera | Radio Dabanga | July 10, 2017 | DARFUR / NORTH KORDOFAN / EASTERN SUDAN | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/darfur-s-east-jebel-marra-devoid-of-health-services-30-die-of-cholera

    Medical sources in South Darfur reported that more than 30 people died of cholera and at least 50 others have been infected in East Jebel Marra locality during the first week of July. The disease has spread to Liba, Jasu, Fugouli, Rakona, Dolda, Sawani, Duwo, and Fina, they said. The sources confirmed that health services are "entirely absent" in large parts of East Jebel Marra, while the government of South Darfur continues to deny medics access to the area. They called on the federal health authorities, the international community, especially the World Health Organisation, to act to allow health actors access to the locality to save the lives of people.

    Darfur, Kordofan

    In North Darfur, eight people died of cholera in the Kabkabiya camps for the displaced over the weekend. The coordinator of the Kabkabiya camps reported that two children died on Friday, four adults died on Saturday, and two on Sunday. He said that there are 16 patients currently being treated in Kabkabiya Hospital. A number of patients recovered and left the hospital. The hospital of Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur, is receiving at least five cases of cholera daily. In the area of Labado two cholera cases were reported, a doctor told this station.

    The medical isolation centre of the El Baraka administrative unit in Sheikan locality in North Kordofan received two cholera patients last week.

    • Cholera update: Nine die in West Darfur camp | Radio Dabanga | July 7, 2017 | MURNEI / SHEARIA / KABKABIYA / SENNAR | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/cholera-update-nine-people-die-in-west-darfur-camp

    Nine people died of cholera in Murnei camp in West Darfur this week. Three people died in Kabkabiya on Wednesday. In Murnei, nine displaced people died, and at least seventeen others were infected with cholera, the head of the camp reported on Sunday. "The disease begun to spread in the beginning of this month, but intensified, with four patients who died on Monday." On Wednesday, two people infected with cholera died in Murnei. The next day three cholera patients passed away. "The total number of hospitalised cholera cases amounted to seventeen people, among them patients who are in a life-threatening situation."

    East Darfur

    One person died of cholera and four others were infected at Khazan Jadeed area in Shearia, East Darfur, on Wednesday. Omda Jaafar told Radio Dabanga that the medical isolation centre has seen eight patients die from cholera since the disease broke out in the area on 6 June.

    He said that so far there had been 102 cases of cholera. 88 people recovered from the disease. Fourteen are still being treated. "I am concerned about the increase in the number of cases because of the residents' dependence on drinking water, which is unsafe."

    North Darfur

    Three people who were infected with cholera died on Wednesday in Kabkabiya. The number of dead in the local hospital has risen to eighteen patients. Six others were also hospitalised that day. The patients come from Wadi Bari village, a witness told Radio Dabanga.

    Yesterday, one of the sheikhs of Zamzam camp, south of El Fasher, reported that they received two new cases, two women of 27 years and 37 years old.

    -- 

     

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purch