What's Needed to Bring Full Benefits of Peace to Sudan
The International Rescue committee warns that there is much that could threaten the fragile peace process in Sudan.
• It is likely that localized conflict will initially increase in the south as power balances between factions and militias are disrupted.
• The rights of internally displaced people in many areas of Sudan are not respected or protected, raising serious concerns for the safety of millions of displaced people anticipated to begin returning to their homes in south Sudan in the immediate future.
• Arriving returnees, including millions of refugees, will place increasing strains on limited resources in southern communities already suffering from poverty, lack of basic services and proliferation of landmines.
• Perhaps most seriously, armed conflict and extensive human rights abuses continue in many parts of Sudan, including Darfur, West Kordofan and the Beja areas of the northeast, threatening to destabilize the north-south peace.
The peace treaty’s long-term success will require the following steps, according to the IRC:
1. Both the Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement must adhere to their commitment to relinquish authoritarian control in favor of democracy.
2. They must also abide by pledges to ensure that marginalized groups receive an equitable distribution of wealth and development and provide for their inclusion in governance.
3. Civil society initiatives must be supported and strengthened, enabling freedom of movement, speech, association and religion.
4. Throughout Sudan, people must be informed about the provisions of the peace agreement so they become aware of and can monitor their new rights.
5. Displaced persons and refugees must be able to return home voluntarily, in safety and with dignity. The new government must commit to monitoring and ensuring their security and protection.
6. A priority must be placed on rehabilitation of and access to basic services and reviving means of livelihood.
7. Representative, accountable and responsible local government must be developed as soon as possible in all areas of Sudan, and in the south in particular.
8. International organizations and leaders must meet their commitment to support implementation of the accords, provide ongoing leadership, coordinate assistance and provide adequate resources for a strong peacekeeping mission.
9. Concrete and long-term solutions must be sought urgently to end the escalating conflicts and extensive human rights abuses in Darfur and the Beja areas of the northeast. Particularly in Darfur, the parties involved must respect the ceasefire and resume negotiations now to resolve grievances. It is hoped that the north-south peace process will serve as a template for these negotiations and lead to an end to the Darfur crisis.
The International Rescue Committee has been providing humanitarian assistance in Sudan since 1981 with extensive programs throughout the country. The IRC is one of largest humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur and is one of two groups providing aid in the troubled Beja area of northeastern Sudan. The IRC has been working to improve the lives of Sudanese people for more than two decades. We remain committed to helping them realize their dream of just peace and development. On January 9, they came one giant step closer to this goal.