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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid