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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid