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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid