News / Africa

Activists Urge Stronger US Policy Toward Two Sudans

While negotiations stall between the two Sudans on many issues that threaten their coexistence, activists and analysts are urging a stronger U.S. policy.  The U.S. government was instrumental in bringing about the creation of South Sudan in July, but since then it has been facing criticism for not doing enough to help. 

Disputes over payments have led to a shutdown of oil production from landlocked South Sudan through Sudan’s oil pipelines and facilities.

Sudan has warned it will strip the citizenship of an estimated 700,000 people who the government considers southerners.

Large parts of the Sudan-South Sudan border have yet to be defined.

A referendum which was supposed to take place to determine the status of the disputed Abyei region has been postponed indefinitely.

For many U.S.-based activists and analysts, though, the biggest problem is the ongoing violence on both sides of the border, committed by ethnic militias, security forces and former rebels.

Republican Congressman Frank Wolf recently wrote a letter in which he alerted President Barack Obama to a video highlighting alleged atrocities perpetrated by Sudan’s security forces against civilians in the Nuba mountains.  The Sudanese military has also launched attacks against suspected rebels and sympathizers in the Blue Nile region.  

Sudanese artist and activist Elshafei Mohamed staged a two-day hunger strike last year outside the White House to alert U.S. authorities to the situation. He feels frustrated by the U.S. government response.

“They are not acting and people now, they are suffering," said Mohamed.  "People there are dying.  I am not sure why they are waiting.  I hear a lot of things but when I compare them to what is going on, on the ground, it is really a big issue.  It is not about talking.”

Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Smith College, says the United States should boost South Sudan’s military to deal with both internal and cross-border violence.

“If we are going to have security, anything like secure borders, if we are going to provide security for these restive regions where there are long-standing ethnic tensions, we have to increase the transport capacity and the communications capacity in ways that the Obama administration have not prioritized,” he said.

Amir Idris, a Sudan expert at Fordham University, says U.S. diplomats spent so much time helping South Sudan become a country after decades of conflict, that it would be a shame for the post-independence phase to unravel so quickly.

“It seems to me if there are no solutions to these problems, South Sudan will not be able to embark on a successful economic development and, at the same time, these kinds of conflicts, these proxy conflicts, may spread in South Sudan and also destabilize the south and make the process of building the nation and the state a very complicated process,” said Idris.

Analysts say, with the current uncertainties, both governments have been cracking down on internal dissent, restraining the work of journalists and human rights activists in the south, while arresting hundreds of protesters in the north.

In recent statements, U.S. officials have urged the two countries to increase efforts in finding a solution to a dispute over oil transit fees.  They have also called on the government of Sudan to open up humanitarian access to conflict areas in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, saying there was a risk of famine.

In the 2013 proposed budget he sent to Congress, President Obama included the possibility of debt cancellation for Sudan, as well as large amounts of aid for South Sudan, if the two countries make progress both internally and with each other.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More