News / Africa

Amnesty: UN Did 'Nothing' to Protect Civilians in Sudan's Abyei

A machinegun-mounted truck manned by members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) drive past burning businesses and homesteads in the center of Abyei, central Sudan in this handout photograph released by United Nations Mission in Sudan on May 28, 2011
A machinegun-mounted truck manned by members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) drive past burning businesses and homesteads in the center of Abyei, central Sudan in this handout photograph released by United Nations Mission in Sudan on May 28, 2011

Amnesty International says United Nations peacekeepers failed to protect civilians during fighting this year in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan.  The rights group is calling for the new U.N. peacekeeping force currently deploying to the area to do a better job. 

In May of this year, Sudanese armed forces and allied militias stormed Abyei, set homes on fire, looted stores and forced anybody healthy enough, to flee for their lives.  More than 100,000 people were displaced.

All of this violence is reported to have place in the presence of a U.N. peacekeeping force called UNMIS.

“They did nothing, for whatever reason.  Whether it was because they had a lack of staff or insufficient equipment, you know, we don't know. But what is clear is that they allowed that to happen -- the entire population of Abyei to be driven out,” Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Advisor Donatella Rovera said.

In a new report, Amnesty alleges that UNMIS failed in its mandate to protect the civilian populations of Abyei.  Citing former UNMIS staff, the report says, in the days after the Sudanese forces overran the area, “UNMIS could only undertake limited patrols under Sudan military escort and without leaving the vehicles.”

Officials from the former peacekeeping force could not be reached for comment.

A new U.N. peacekeeping force is deploying to Abyei.  Known as UNIFSA, the mission has a similar mandate, instructed to use “all necessary means” to protect civilians threatened by violence.  At full strength, the force will employ 4,200 peacekeepers.

Rovera says Amnesty hopes UNIFSA will be more successful than its predecessor for the sake of those displaced by fighting. “People are desperate to go back to Abyei to rebuild their lives. For that to happen, they need some security. And that's why we're calling on the U.N., whose peacekeepers are there, to step up efforts to provide the security that the civilian population will need to go back,” she stated.

Rovera and other Amnesty officials recently visited the camps where Abyei's former residents are living. The group says some people have started to go back to Abyei to check on conditions there, but that most do not feel it is safe enough to return permanently.

Reports that land mines having been planted there, both by Sudanese and Southern Sudanese allied forces, pose another serious concern.

The dispute about Abyei, claimed by both Sudans, is one of the major unresolved issues between the two nations, following the South's declaration of independence, earlier this year.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid