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Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)

South Sudan became independent on 9 July 2011. Since southern independence Sudan has been combating rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has been ongoing in Sudan's border state of South Kordofan and since September 2011 in the border state of Blue Nile, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The Government of Sudan has refused repeated requests by the United States Government, the United Nations, the African Union, the League of Arab States, nongovernmental organizations, and others to allow humanitarian access to the conflict areas.

In an appalling repetition of history, the Sudanese government deployed similar brutal tactics in a bid to crush an armed rebellion in another part of Sudan, this time Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (Two Areas), where the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) had taken up arms in protest at Khartoums neglectful rule. Once again, civilians, mainly women and children, were caught in the cross-tire as the Sudanese Armed Forces and associated militias wage war.

In an effort to drive the population from their land through fear and starvation, the Government of Sudan blocked humanitarian assistance into the Two Areas, targeted civilians through indiscriminate aerial bombardment and ground attacks, and carefully timed offensives designed to disrupt the planting and harvesting seasons. The United Nations estimated that close to one million people have been displaced or severely affected by violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. Independent experts warned that parts of Southern Ker-dofan and Blue Nile faced a very real prospect of a man-made famine by April 2013.

In its 25 January 2013 communique, the African Union demanded that the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N cease hostilities, grant humanitarian access and adhere to a clear timeline for direct political talks. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2046 warning the parties of consequences, possibly including sanctions if their demands were not acted upon.

Two years after the conflict in the Two Areas began, the civilian population continued to bear the brunt of continued fighting and blocked humanitarian access. In SPLM-N held areas, indiscriminate aerial bombardments and shelling by GoS regularly kills civilians and prevents survivors from planting any crops or harvesting whatever meager yields they might have, thus depriving them of sustenance and livelihood. SPLM-N attacks against the Government of Sudan forces in areas still occupied by civilians have also contributed to further displacement and disruption. In both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, the needs are vast and increasing. The simple lack of food is increasing the vulnerability of local populations and forcing them into refugee camps to obtain basic life-supporting assistance. Both sides must refrain from indiscriminate shelling in civilian areas.

International humanitarian agencies lacked access to SPLM-N controlled areas due to restrictions on cross-line access established by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the failure of warring parties to agree to a humanitarian access arrangement. The combination of continued restrictions on humanitarian access, reduced access to food, health care and income, loss of family assets, reduced access to cultivation, and continued market disruptions is devastating. Under these circumstances, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) expected food security conditions to deteriorate in SPLM-N-controlled areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states to emergency levels, which means at least one in five households during the June-to-September lean season would experience large food consumption gaps resulting in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality.

While UN agencies had been granted some access to GoS-controlled areas, access to SPLM-N-controlled areas in the Two Areas remained officially closed for international aid agencies and NGOs. This harsh policy violates the rights of more than one million people to receive urgently needed humanitarian assistance. Limited lifesaving humanitarian assistance provided through indirect support to Sudanese actors continues to delay the most extreme effects of these tactics by both parties but is no replacement for the full unfettered access by the UN.

By June 2013 both Khartoum and SPLM-N voiced support for a one-week ceasefire between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the SPLM-N, as proposed by UNICEF and the United Nations, to allow the World Health Organization to implement a polio vaccination campaign targeting more than 160,000 vulnerable children in SPLM-N-controlled parts of the Two Areas. With the rainy season approaching, it was vital that both sides--the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-Napprove these vaccinations for children who desperately need them.

The Sudanese government held the rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) responsible for stalling negotiations on the Two Areas accusing the latter of setting unrealistic demands. Sudans foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, expressed his regret on 11 July 2015 over the SPLM-Ns "unrealistic demands and intransigence" in the Two Areas talks. He said that some of those demands could be described as mere wishes,

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Page last modified: 05-08-2015 19:56:33 ZULU