UN renews mandate of its human rights commission in S. Sudan

March 24, 2018 (JUBA) – The United Nations renewed the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for a period of one year.

A general view of participants during the 29th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 July 2015 – (UN Photo). Link to image.

Established in 2016, the Commission has to conduct independent investigations into alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in the war-torn country.

The investigation UN panel which has to provide its findings to the hybrid court for South Sudan, to be established in cooperation with the African Union, submitted its first report on 6 March 2017 and the second on 13 March 2018.

The 37th Human Rights Council session in Geneva concluded on Friday its works with the adoption of a resolution extending the mandate of UN Commission in South Sudan.

Adopted without a vote, the resolution said deeply alarmed by the report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, noting that some of the human rights violations may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The United States introduced a resolution on South Sudan that the Council adopted with broad cross-regional support, said the State Department in a statement released on Friday.

“We worked closely with South Sudan, members of the African Group, and other member states to ensure the text was adopted by consensus,” said the statement.

Washington further hailed South Sudan’s support for the resolution adding that Juba “reaffirmed its commitment to continue cooperating with the Commission and UN bodies and mechanisms”.

South Sudanese, regional and international human rights groups called on the Council members to renew and strengthen the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan pointing for the importance of its role to achieve justice and to end impunity.

“The HRC should also strengthen the resolution to make explicit that the mandate of the Commission includes the identification of individual perpetrators, with a view to enable future prosecutions,” they further requested.

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In South Sudan, ‘the body of Christ is bleeding,’ bishop says

Child in South Sudan. Credit: John Wollwerth/Shutterstock. Link to image.

.- On Friday an ecumenical delegation from South Sudan met privately with Pope Francis and again invited him to visit the war-torn nation, which they said is in desperate need of hope as the situation becomes more dire.

“We are here as an ecumenical body…we came as Christians to show that the body of Christ is bleeding,” Bishop Paride Tabani told CNA March 23.

The people, he said, “[need] hope. They need healing, they are crying for peace, which cannot be brought by arms, but by love, by a sense of compassion, a spirit of love and forgiveness which God has shown to us, especially now.”

“We would like that this Easter would also be a resurrection of people from their suffering.”

Tabani, Bishop Emeritus of Torit in South Sudan, was part of a 9-person delegation from the Council of Churches of South Sudan (SSCC) who met the pope in a private March 23 audience at the Vatican.

Members of the delegation included bishops and leaders of different Christian denominations in South Sudan, including Catholics, Anglicans and Presbyterians, among others. They updated Pope Francis on several joint initiatives of the council to provide humanitarian aid and prompt international leaders to intervene in finding a solution to the conflict.

In a March 23 press briefing after the meeting, Rev. James Oyet Latansio, secretary of the SSCC, described the meeting as “familiar,” and said they sat and talked with each other about a variety of issues.

South Sudan has been plagued by civil war for more than four years. The conflict has split the young nation on several fronts, dividing those loyal to its President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former vice president Reik Machar. The conflict has also bred various divisions of militia and opposition groups.

Discussion at the Vatican meeting focused largely on the humanitarian crisis and the situation of the more than 2 million South Sudanese refugees who have fled to surrounding countries, as well as the need to fill the post of deceased bishops, some whose dioceses have been vacant for years.

They also touched on when a possible papal trip might take place. Francis had intended to visit the war-torn nation last year alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. However, the trip was postponed due to security concerns.

According to the delegation, the pope expressed a strong desire to go, but gave no specific date.

In his comments to CNA, Bishop Tabani said the pope “is willing to go, but there have been negative reports and even in the Vatican…they told him the situation is not so good.”

According to Tabani, the situation on the ground is so desperate that people are nearly begging the pope to come as a sign of hope and consolation. He said that during their meeting, he reminded Francis how St. John Paul II in 1993 visited Khartoum in the midst of a violent genocide.

“That gave hope to the people, and then people became very courageous,” Tabani said, adding that with more than 2 million people are living as refugees, now is the time for another papal visit.

“People are dying from hunger, the economic situation is really bad…the people are eager to have consolation, and they are asking ‘when will the Pope come?’” he said, explaining that in the meeting, Pope Francis told the delegation that “my heart is bleeding for the people in South Sudan,” and asked them to pray that the conditions would change, allowing him to come.

More than 2 million civilians have fled the country in the four years since violence broke out. Neighboring Uganda has so far taken in more than 1 million refugees from South Sudan, leaving resources strained.

In comments to CNA, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Guru, Uganda, who was also part of the ecumenical delegation that met the Pope, said the situation is out of control. Many people had to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and the majority of refugees, who face a worsening humanitarian crisis, are women, children and elderly.

“You have the youth who don’t have enough food, they don’t have enough medical support. What they get is the minimum. Some have died of malaria, some have died from other things like cholera, and then they don’t have the facilities to prepare the children for the future, education,” he said.

Odama said the Ugandan government is willing to help and has pitched in with some NGOs, but lacks the resources to sustain the increasing influx of refugees while also supporting their own citizens who live in poverty.

In northern Uganda near the West Nile area, there are more than 300,000 people living in one camp, he said, explaining that this area “is the most difficult, because the government of Uganda has found itself in a certain level that it cannot afford, because its resources are also limited.”

“So to care for its own citizens and at the same time for refugees, it becomes very heavy. This is where the biggest challenge is.”

Both Bishop Tabani and Archbishop Odama voiced gratitude to Pope Francis for holding the Feb. 23 day of prayer and fasting for peace in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria.

They also asked that the pope appoint more bishops, because many bishops have died and none have been re-appointed. Tabani, who retired early to launch a project aimed at providing education to refugees and promoting peaceful coexistence, said his successor died five years ago and has not been replaced.

Tabini said that upon hearing their requests, Pope Francis did not immediately make any promises or guarantees. “He just listened,” the bishop said, adding that “it’s good to be a good listener…this is what I like.”

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Salva Kiir’s gestapo mentality

FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2018

By Duop Chak Wuol

It was a common perception in Adolf Hitler’s Germany that working as an assassin for the notorious Nazi’s secret police, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), was a noble career in the Deutschland. It is now clear that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has adopted Gestapo-like tactics to terrorize the people of South Sudan. Kiir’s use of a Gestapo against his critics, political opponents, and civilians is not just wrong, it is hauntingly familiar and a threat to the very existence of South Sudan.

Most politicians like to make bold political statements, proclaiming better days ahead for their citizens or countries even when they know their promises are unjustified—or, rather, absurdly imaginary. This is also the case in the minds of many ruthless tyrants. In Kiir’s mind, it is all about killing anyone who refuses to abide by his cruelty, imposing an ethnic reign, looting state resources, and blaming it on unidentified culprits or unknown gunmen whom he owns. This is exactly what Hitler did when he conducted a brutal campaign against those he believed to oppose to his leadership. It should be clear to the people of South Sudan that Kiir is a modern admirer of Gestapo methods who believes that he can kill with impunity and remain untouchable.

There are many similarities between Kiir’s unknown gunmen and the Gestapo’s assassins. For many years, Kiir’s unknown gunmen have terrorized, arrested, tortured, kidnapped, and killed people, and yet none of the assassins have ever been put on trial. The reason why Kiir did not use his submissive Judges to punish members of his killing squad is the fact that he is the one who employed them to commit atrocities on his behalf.

What intrigued me about Kiir is the fact that he likes to accuse people who he disagrees with of wrongdoing. He believes that anyone who refuses to abide by his brutality is wrong and that such a person deserves punishment. For example, Kiir, with the help of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, orchestrated a scheme to make his rivals look as if they were working on a plan to topple his government. He put his plan in motion on December 15, 2013, by accusing them of plotting a coup, presenting groundless evidence to support his self-managed claim, and then turning around to blame them for being the ones who started the war by attempting to remove him from power. This was, in fact, a colossal lie. Kiir later used this misleading allegation against his opponents the morning following the outbreak of war. He declared that his then-deputy Dr Riek Machar, along with many senior leaders of the Sudan People’s s Liberation Movement (SPLM), planned a coup against his government and that some of the plotters were detained. Kiir also demonstrated this seemingly blame-the-victim strategy in July 2016 after he colluded with Taban Deng Gai to try to assassinate Machar at Juba one (J1). Most South Sudanese were shocked when they saw Kiir accusing Machar of starting the J1 fighting. Kiir’s policy of blaming the victims is the same tactic Hitler used against his rivals.

The recent politically motivated death conviction of former Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, and South African William John Endley has exposed Kiir’s deceit in a stunning way. The decision by the court proves that Kiir’s mentality is no different from the former Nazi leader, who was very good at targeting his critics. Kiir, through his sycophantic Judges, alleged that Dak committed treasonous acts and that Endley was a spy for the rebel leader Machar. Kiir then falsely blamed the two men for being the masters of their legal troubles — troubles that were carefully fabricated at J1 and given to a Kangaroo court in Juba to punish the men. All the charges labelled against both men were unreasonable in merit. The truth is that Mr Dak was a critic of Kiir’s regime and Mr. Endley was simply an ordinary South African who happened to be a friend of Machar. In a logical sense, Juba’s tyrant does not want anyone who likes Riek Machar. The man has developed a very serious hatred towards Riek Machar. His hatred for the rebel leader has reached the level of madness. Kiir’s policy of rewarding the killers and punishing the victims reminds me of an ancient King who is so consumed by the fantasy of wanting to make people embrace his cruelty, justify his atrocities, and glorify his madness.

The real reason behind the convictions was simply an attempt by Kiir to tell his critics that he is capable of punishing anyone who criticizes his leadership — this is exactly how Hitler operated through his Gestapo-managed courts. Kiir’s decision to use a court to punish Dak and Endley is probably the biggest act of hypocrisy to ever be committed in South Sudan. There are many people who have carried out far more serious crimes than Endley and Dak, and these people are still working for Kiir’s government. So, if Kiir wants to punish people, he could have started with his tribal militiamen who massacred innocent Nuer civilians in December 2013, crooked elites, and former ministers who looted hundreds of millions of dollars. Salva Kiir is simply not a national leader as I indicated in some of my preceding writings. His actions will be an indisputable living testimony in the history of South Sudan. The man is simply too destructive for the country. For instance, prior to the outbreak of the war in Juba, Kiir became increasingly brutal, visibly enraged, spoke out in a tribally-motivated tone, and publicly recalled past divisive events. This was a dangerous move displayed by the very person whom the people thought was their leader. I believe Kiir’s political opponents also contributed to what was then a looming political tragedy by not speaking out against his divisive language. All these actions led Kiir to falsely accuse his rivals of planning a bogus coup, which resulted in a spate of targeted killings in Juba — it was a gruesome display of his leadership that went down in history as his biggest political blunder.

The South Sudanese tyrant has turned the country into a graveyard for greedy empires. It is good to remind people that the empires in question are Uganda, Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco, Kenya, and Eritrea. There is no doubt in my mind that these nations are the main investors in Kiir’s atrocious regime and benefited from the ongoing war, all in complete disregard of humanity. The leaders of these greedy countries are fueling the conflict by dressing up in sheep’s clothing, crying peace, and shedding crocodile tears. Kiir always likes to accuse his critics of treason and other crimes, but he is the one who should be accused of committing treasonous acts because he has sold South Sudan to these greedy kingdoms. Salva Kiir has no feeling for any loss of life unless such a loss poses a direct threat to his own life. Kiir is a cold-blooded leader who would kill, smile, and then blame the victim. What I find puzzling about his tyrannical mindset is that he does not recognize the fact that those who feel oppressed by his leadership have the right to fight for their rights; be they cultural, social, economic, or political rights. It is worth mentioning that many dictators who persistently oppressed their citizens ended up facing serious ramifications. This is what happened with Hitler: he announced that those who opposed his leadership had no reason to live, yet he ended up being the victim of his own brutality. If this is what Kiir wants, then he must publicly declare that he is the enforcer of a 21st century Gestapo and that he has decided to deny the South Sudanese much-needed democratic changes. Kiir is now the obstacle to the democratization and development of South Sudan. The only reasonable thing for him to do now is to denounce his destructive leadership and vacate the presidency.

Salva Kiir’s leadership is built on the ideology of a tribal supremacy. He empowers ethnic ideas created by the hooligans of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), deceives everyone in his inner circle, and robs the people of South Sudan from their national pride by cunningly changing the constitution to legitimize his tyranny. The sheer size of his crimes is appalling for any reasonable person to comprehend. If there are people who still support Kiir’s Nazi mentality, then I would argue that allowing him to continue ruling the young nation will be a bonanza for his viciousness. The Republic of South Sudan is now a modern version of a Gestapo-run state where everyone is expected to think sycophantically. The South Sudanese must not allow Kiir’s Nazi mindset to give birth to a Gestapo baby with a “kill with impunity” statement written on its forehead.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

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South Sudan says U.S. oil sanctions will undermine search for peace

MARCH 22, 2018

JUBA (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions on 15 South Sudanese oil operators will work against efforts to restore peace and stability in the nation, the government said on Thursday.

The sanctions, which were announced on Wednesday, will require companies and government bodies to apply for special licenses to do business in the United States, an action designed to increase pressure on President Salva Kiir to end the conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

“These measures are viewed by the Ministry of Petroleum as counterproductive to the shared mission of the Republic of South Sudan’s and the United States’ governments to bring peace and stability to South Sudan,” the ministry said in a statement.

It pledged to work with the U.S. Department of Commerce “to remove these restrictions and resume normal relations with the U.S.”.

South Sudan has been torn by civil war since 2013 when fighting erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and those loyal to then-Vice President Riek Machar. The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, slashed oil production and driven about a third of the population of 12 million from their homes.

Earlier this month, activists accused the government of funneling cash from the state oil company to militias responsible for atrocities and attacks on civilians.

Announcing the sanctions, the U.S. State Department also said the government and corrupt officials were using oil revenue to buy weapons and fund militias.

Washington has already placed sanctions on South Sudanese military and political figures, and in January imposed an arms embargo to try to halt the flow of weapons into the country, signaling that it had lost patience with the warring factions for ignoring ceasefires.

Last year, the government said it planned to more than double oil production to 290,000 barrels per day in fiscal 2017-2018.

South Sudan is the most oil-dependent country in the world, with oil accounting for almost all its exports and around 60 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

The government said on Thursday it will encourage more investments in the petroleum sector.

Petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth extended an exploration and production sharing agreement with Petronas of Malaysia [PETR.UL] for six years.

The deal covers blocks 3 and 7 in Unity oilfield which have been shut down due to the conflict. The government said it had secured a commitment from Petronas to resume operations soon.

“Bringing back production at Unity and other fields, and increasing production overall, are the priorities of this ministry,” the minister said in a statement.

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US restricts trade with South Sudanese oil firms

2018-03-21 21:58

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Washington – The United States imposed restrictions on Wednesday on exports of US technical support to the South Sudanese oil industry, warning that it is fuelling the bloody civil war there.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said exporters will henceforth need a license to export, re-export or transfer US technology or equipment to 15 “South Sudanese oil-related entities.”

The names of the companies will be added to a US Commerce Department list on Thursday, but South Sudan’s oil is largely exploited though joint ventures between state-owned Nilepet and Chinese, Indian and Malaysian firms.

“The listed entities are a source of substantial revenue for the government of South Sudan,” Nauert said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the South Sudanese government, and corrupt official actors, use this revenue to purchase weapons and fund irregular militias that undermine the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan rather than support the welfare and current emergency food needs of the South Sudanese people,” she alleged.

“We call on the region and broader international community to join us in limiting the financial flows that fuel the continuing violence in the country.”

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in July 2011 after many years of independence struggle against the Khartoum government of Sudan, but soon fell into infighting of its own.

Now, after more than four years of civil war, the government is broke and hyperinflation – which peaked at around 500% in 2016, decelerating to 155% in 2017 – has sent prices soaring.

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Sudan signs African free trade agreement

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March 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Wednesday was among 44 African leaders who have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an agreement that would lead to the continent being a free trade zone.

During the opening session of the African Union Extraordinary Summit on the AfCFTA in Kigali on Wednesday, 44 countries signed the agreement that officially made the continent an open market for all Africans.

Also, 43 countries signed the Kigali declaration while 27 countries including Sudan signed the protocol of the free movement of people.

The declaration is meant to boost trade between African countries and encourage local beneficiation and manufacturing.

The historic AfCFTA is seen as a move towards deepening African economic integration.

It is noteworthy that al-Bashir and his accompanying delegation had arrived in the Rwandan capital on Tuesday to take part in the extraordinary summit.

The Sudanese delegation included the State Presidential Minister Fadl Abdallah, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, Minister Commerce Minister Hatim al-Sir Ali and Director General of the President Office Hatim Hassan Bakhit.

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Cows in the classroom: inside South Sudan’s cattle camp schools

MARCH 19, 2018

MINGKAMAN, South Sudan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the early morning, smoke from burning cow dung rose over hundreds of animals sleeping tightly side by side, with children dotted between them, warming their hands in the smoke, their faces covered in white ash to fend off flies and mosquitoes.

The cattle camps – where South Sudan’s nomads migrate to find pasture during the December to May dry season – are some of the world’s most remote, nestled between the arms of the Nile in Lakes State’s swamps.

“My days are busy,” 24-year-old Mary Amal told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, standing between hundreds of cows and holding her baby, Gok, in her arms.

“I came here with my brother to take care of our cows and I’m expected to clean up the camp’s cow dung and prepare food, while also taking care of my eight-month-old daughter.”

The camp was full of children who work as herders, cooks and cleaners. For many, it was also their first chance to learn to read and write, calculate sums and learn about hygiene.

Aid agencies are starting to provide mobile education in the remote cattle camps amid fears that South’s Sudan’s latest civil war is creating another “lost generation” of uneducated adults and country risks becoming a failed state.

“The cattle camp is like a village,” said Amal. “We have our tents here, we have small shops and even a church. It’s important to have a school here too.”

The United Nations (U.N.) estimates almost three-quarters of the adult population is illiterate – one of the highest rates in the world – and three-quarters of children are out of school.

Tens of thousands of people have died and 4.5 million people have fled their homes since clashes between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar broke out in the oil-rich new country in 2013.

 LIFELINE

South Sudan’s cattle camps are not only a cultural tradition, but provide a lifeline for millions in the world’s youngest country, enabling them to trade and store their wealth as hyperinflation has rendered the currency almost worthless.

In the camps, everything evolves around the animals – their milk provides nutritious meals for children, manure lights fires and urine is used as a disinfectant hand and face wash.

Education rates among young pastoralists are particularly low because they are often on the move, the U.N. says.

Teachers receive training, textbooks and a solar-powered radio with pre-programmed lessons on basic subjects, relevant to them, as well as practical life skills, said Ezana Kassa of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Many of them have never before received formal education,” said Kassa, who manages the project, adding that adults also learn about livestock production, disease control and literacy.

The camp is several hours away from the town of Mingkaman, accessed by trekking through thick bush, swimming through a muddy, stagnant river and then walking over a vast open field.

Miles from any village, it has three informal teachers and almost 100 students, who crouched on the floor with a small chalkboard in front of them and hundreds of white, big horned cows behind them.

“I was trained to become a mobile teacher and now teach every morning once the cattle have been released for grazing,” said Abuoch Madit Awur, who lives in the camp and teaches for several hours each day, sitting in the dust.

ONLY CHANCE

Only a fifth of the students are girls and their progress is often erratic due to their workload and monthly menstruation.

“Attendance is generally low among women,” said Maker Maker, livelihood officer with Norwegian People’s Aid, another partner in the project, who trains the cattle keepers.

“Many take long trips to the village to pick up more food in the market. During their periods, women always stay at home … It’s a big problem.”

Amal, 24, is learning to read and write for the first time.

“I’ve never been to school in my life. I grew up working in the household and later got married,” she said.

While her days are long, she is determined to learn.

“This is my only chance,” she said. “When I found out about the camp’s school, I immediately decided to attend. I get up even earlier now so I can get my work done and study at night.”

She felt ashamed talking about her menstruation, but said she does not attend school while on her period.

Susan, another student, who declined to give her full name, said she sits by the river for days when she is menstruating.

“I don’t like that I have to miss school,” she said. “We don’t have pads or a spare change of clothes. That’s why I stay by the river where I can wash.”

Out of hundreds of camps across South Sudan, only about 10 have a school, with about 100 students each.

Keeping the schools running is not easy. Children are brought to the camp to work, not to go to school, and women are expected to provide food, said Maker.

“It’s a slow progress but my students are encouraged,” said teacher Awur.

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Israel court suspends plan to deport African migrants

March 16, 2018

Migrants in Israel protest against deportation [Twitter]. Link to image.
Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled against a controversial government plan that would see tens of thousands of African migrants who entered the country deported, according to BBC News.

A group of migrants from Eritrea and Sudan petitioned the court earlier this year after they were offered $3,500 and a plane ticket to leave Israel voluntarily by the end of March, or face detention and forced expulsion.

The government now cannot deport migrants until the court receives new information on the plan, the Supreme Court said yesterday.

The news comes amid reports that five prominent US Zionists have sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him against the mass deportation scheme, warning that it could cause “incalculable damage” to the image of Israel around the world. The authors included, Rabbi Marvin Hier, who offered a prayer at the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

According to figures from Israel’s Immigration and Absorption Authority, some 55,000 African migrants and asylum-seekers currently reside in the country, roughly 90 per cent of who hail from either Sudan or Eritrea.

Read: Canada raises concerns over Israel’s mass deportation of Africans

Most of them arrived in Israel — via Egypt — during the period from 2006 to 2013 before a security fence was erected along the border between Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Israel is known for describing migrants as “infiltrators”.

housands of African asylum seekers protested outside the Rwandan embassy in Israel [File photo]. Link to image.

Since 2012, Israel has deported about 20,000 African migrants and asylum-seekers who illegally entered the country. The majority do apply for asylum in Israel, but it is rarely granted, with only ten Eritreans and one Sudanese national granted official refugee status, out of 13,764 asylum applications submitted as of July.

With both Rwanda and Uganda insisting that they will not welcome asylum-seekers deported from Israel, the UN refugee agency UNHCR asserts that Israel should now properly review their status and consider them for asylum within Israel.

At the end of last month, hundreds of African migrants in Holot detention centre started a hunger strike in protest of Israel’s disputed policy, after seven Eritreans were jailed for refusing to leave the country.

In January, Israeli pilots made headlines after they refused to fly planes that were forcibly deporting African migrants back to their countries of origin.

“There is no way that I, as an air crew member, will take part in flying refugees/asylum seekers on their way to a destination whose chances of survival after reaching it… are close to zero,” wrote pilot Shaul Betzer on his social media account.

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EU donates 8m Euros to UNICEF South Sudan

UNICEF says children continue experience extreme suffering as a result of conflict in South Sudan and remain vulnerable to disease outbreaks (Photo: F. Noy/UNHCR). Link to image.

March 17, 2018 (JUBA) – The European Union (EU) has donated 8 million Euros (about $10 million) for the thousands of children facing life-threatening conditions as a result of the conflict in South Sudan.

The funding, it stated, has been used to provide psychosocial support, life-saving vaccines as well as nutritional supplements.

In the area of nutrition, the ECHO funding has reportedly enabled over 160,000 children be treated for severe acute malnutrition.

“We are very grateful for the continued support of the European Union, who remain one of our most crucial partners in responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.

“With these funds, we have been able to assist some of the most vulnerable children in the country, enabling them to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives,” added the official.

Last year, with the support of the EU and other key donors, UNICEF and partners were reportedly able to immunize over 1.8 million children against measles, provide nearly 300,000 children with psychosocial support and admitted 206,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition into therapeutic feeding programmes.

Since 1992, the European Commission has partnered with UNICEF to reach populations affected by emergencies with life-saving aid.

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Sudanese opposition reiterates calls for genuine inclusive dialogue

SUNDAY 18 MARCH 2018

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March 17, 2018 (PARIS) – The opposition umbrella Sudan Call Saturday has accused the government of reneging on the Roadmap Agreement signed in 2016 and renewed its rejection of the government-led national dialogue process.

The alliance, which gathers political and armed opposition groups, met in Paris from 13-to 17 March to discuss a joint position on the African Union-brokered roadmap and chose the National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi as the chairman.

According to a joint statement released at the end of the 4-day meeting, the opposition groups discussed the roadmap agreement and agreed that its importance lies in the fact that “it is the only document signed between the parties to the conflict in Sudan with the support of the regional and international community” which cosigned it as witnesses.

“But the Sudanese regime shunned all its commitments, as it used to disavow pacts and promises.”

The Roadmap agreement was brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) between the government and a number of political and armed opposition groups providing to stop the war and hold an inclusive dialogue between the warring parties.

The opposition statement stressed that the roadmap was based on the African Union Peace Security Council resolutions 456 and 539, which call to implement confidence-building measures including stopping the war and ensuring freedoms to create a suitable atmosphere before the process.

“The Sudan Call forces have confirmed they have no truck with the (regime-led) dialogue or the implementation of its outputs,” emphasized the statement, adding they seek an equal political process to achieve a just peace, democracy and citizenship without discrimination.

The Sudanese government proposes that the opposition groups directly join the constitutional process, based on the outcome of the government-led dialogue process, after the signing of peace agreements on Darfur and the Two Areas.

Malik Agar the leader of one of the SPLM-N factions told Sudan Tribune that they sent a letter to the African Union mediation including a detailed position on the roadmap. He said they are now ready to meet the mediation and they expect an invitation at any time.

Last January, the opposition groups declined to attend a consultation meeting with the mediation to denounce the arrest of opposition leaders inside the country after a series of protest against the rising prices in the country.

The meeting was attended by Sarah Nugdalla who was among the few opposition leaders to come to the meeting directly from Khartoum. Also, the SPLM-N al-Hilu didn’t take part in the opposition gathering.

MAHDI CHOSEN AS CHAIRMAN

The meeting unanimously elected Sadiq al-Mahdi as the Chairman of the Sudan Call Leadership Council.

“His task is to supervise, plan and manage the work of the Sudan Call and its representation in the various forums,” said the statement.

Minni Minnawi, Sudan Liberation Movement leader, has been selected as the secretary-general and he should be assisted by two deputies. The leaders of the other groups, including Agar, Justice and Equality Movement leader Gibril Ibrahim and Omer al-Digair of the Sudanese Congress Party are members of the leadership body.

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