February 13-19, 2015
Compiled by Kitty Shepard
1. Increased bombing in the Nuba Mountains
2. Sudan obstructs United Nations from conducting report on mass rape claims
3. Polling date decided for Sudanese elections
4. Increased censorship and seizing of newspapers in Khartoum
5. Bashir emphasizes support for Islamic constitution
6. South Sudan recruiting child soldiers
7. USA lift modify sanctions on Sudan
Children Killed as Sudan increases Bombing Raids 15th February 2015, Nuba Reports
- The report details intense bombing attacks that have been carried out by the Sudan Air Force.
- The report emphasizes the intensification of bombing on civilian populations.
- President Bashir supporting new "Decisive Summer II" campaign which is geared towards eliminating the rebel forces before the scheduled election in two months.
- Another area where military presence and action has intensified is South Kordofan. This area has a high civilian population which have become victim to the state campaign of oppression. • The Nuba mountains have become a refuge area were civilian populations seek refuge in the landscape in an attempt to escape the bombings. • "Children Killed as Sudan Increases bombing Raids” is the video to company the video, which shows graphic images of bombs being dropped in civilian areas and casualties in result of this.
USA criticises Sudan for obstructing UN inquiry into mass rape 15th February 2015, Dabanga Radio
- Samantha Power, a permanent representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, contests the UN's obstruction to the investigation of allege mass rape in the Darfur region.
- This is in reaction to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which stated that 221 women and girls had been raped by Sudanese soldiers in Tabit over a period of 36 hours.
- As the Sudanese government have blocked international media access to the country, the report is crucial to the insight it provides on the state of human rights in the country. A member of the HRW team Philippe Bolopion, informed international media that gaining access to personal testimony and validated sources was not challenging, and could not be used an excuse to prevent UN action against Al Bashir's state. • The Sudanese Deputy Ambassador to the UN further denied the accusations of mass rape and emphasized the speeches and reports of western media as enforcing untrue accusations. • The UN in reaction to this was to reinstate the Panel of Experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee with a deadline of 12 March 2016. The objective of this panel is to monitor activity in Darfur and make sure the Sudanese government adhere to UN sanctions.
Sudan’s electoral body announces polling dates 15th February 2015, Sudan Tribune
- The elections are scheduled to take place 13 to 15th April and will be counted on the 16th April. The final results will be announced on 27th April in Khartoum after all votes are collected and counted.
- The National Elections Commission (NEC) clarified there will be 7133 polling stations with 11 election committees involved.
- Mukhtar Al-Asam NEC chief will implicate: consultations of the various parties; the standardized budget and ensure parties access to national media.
- 85 million ballot papers will be printed for national and local constituencies
- Recent reports have described the Sudanese government’s position as uncooperative, as they have requested the elections take place after implementing a transitional government. The NEC are enforcing the constitution in an attempt to resolve political tensions.
- There are two recorded campaigns to support a poll boycott by the: National Consensus Forces (NCF) an opposition alliance and Reform Now Movement (RNM) an opposition party.
- The NEC are following a harsh line with the constitutional requirements for the elections in hope of securing a cooperative government where active changes can be made.
Sudanese press 'massacred' in Khartoum 15th February 2015, Dabanga Radio
- Sudan's security force have taken control of fourteen key publications with no statement from the authorities explaining why.
- Key institutes of Sudanese media have been seized as well as two social magazines.
- Local sources including a founder and director of Hurriyat, an independent newspaper, have said that there is large scale corruption within the Sudanese authorities and that journalists are being targeted in NSSI attacks.
- A statement from the government responding to the allegations stated that the raids are justified by law and are to prevent undermining sovereignty of the state.
- National Council for Press and Publications an organization which sets the standard of journalism in Sudan have condemned the raids and referenced the Press and Publications Act of 2009 which is in place to target problems which the Sudanese government listed.
- Reporters Without Borders have reported that Sudan is 174 out of 180 countries analyzed for their freedom of press index. It is the second highest country in Africa to have limited and oppressed freedom of press.
Sudan's Bashir reiterates adherence to Islamic constitution 16th February 2015, Sudan Tribune
- In a speech given this week the Sudanese president al-Bashir emphasized the importance of the Islamic Constitution in Sudan.
- The address was at a meeting between Sudanese state and religious authority.
- The meeting was to discuss the drafting of a constitution which united all areas of society in an Islamic model state.
- The head of the National Congress Party (NCP) al-Bashir explained the west must recognize Sudan's dedication to an Islamic model. He elaborated further describing the role of western aid organizations as corrupting the society from achieving this goal.
- The relationship between state and religious authority has become an important aspect of the elections as rebel forces have voiced their support for separate administrations due to the multicultural population.
South Sudan: Government Forces Recruiting Child Soldiers February 16th 2015, Human Rights Watch NGO
- The reported activity is taking place in Malakal, Upper Nile State.
- Both parties involved in the conflict have recruited underage boys to join their forces a direct violation of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
- The United Nations carried out a successful operation to free 3,000 child soldiers in January.
- One of the main perpetrators is a former militia leader Olony who has been on large recruiting missions in various towns.
- Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) had eliminated the process and in 2013 made a statement forbidding the practice for using children soldiers but this was short lived, as when the conflict resumed children were utilized for military purposes.
- Malakel is an extremely unstable town with the local authority in a constant flux of change.
- The UN base located on the outskirts to the town holds 20,000 displaced people. The government recruit or forcefully take teenage boys to recruit them.
- Opposition leader Riek Machar signed a commitment with the UN representative for children in armed conflict to ensure the prevention of children being violated, especially to prevent their involvement in warfare.
Khartoum praises Washington’s easing of economic sanctions 18th February 2015, Sudan Tribune
- The American Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is softening the sanctions placed upon Sudan to allow communicative technology to enter the country.
- This aim is to encourage civilians connecting to the outside world and emphasizing the importance of free speech.
- It’s in an attempt to mobilize the citizens into the global community and create external connections in Sudanese society.
- Foreign Minister of Sudan Ali Karti stated that these revised sanctions demonstrates that Sudan has rights which have to be fulfilled and that this was the first step in recognizing them.
- Karti also expressed his willingness to encourage the dialogue between Sudan and Washington.
- The recent seizure of newspapers and censorship on media outlets has pushed the committee to revise the sanctions due to the severity of these censorship measures.
- A collective of young entrepreneurs, businessmen and local religious and political leaders were present at a meeting to determine the effectiveness of introducing more connective technology into the country.
Darfur rebels claim 23 kills in West Jebel Marra 19th February 2015, Radio Dabanga
- The claims have been made by the Sudan Liberation Movement (SRF) led by Abdel Wahid.
- The statement details conflict focused in areas between Golo and Sorenq in West Jebel Marra where 14 government soldiers and members of militias have been killed.
- The rebels claimed authority over the government forces and detained their weapons and supplies.
- The government forces have since fled to find refuge in the Golo area.
- Since there has been continued aerial bombing in Sorenq with no prevention to avoid non-combatants.
- There is a government military base located west of Jebel Marra which has been described as the target for the rebel forces.