Two senior United Nations human rights officials today called for the immediate end to Sudanese Government air attacks on civilian populations that are reportedly continuing in Southern Kordofan state, resulting in further killing and displacement.
“We remind the Government of Sudan of its responsibility to protect its populations – irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation – from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” said Francis Deng, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Edward Luck, Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.
They noted that a preliminary report last month by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) found that attacks against civilians as a result of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement – North (SPLM – North) may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Reported violations included extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, enforced disappearances, attacks against civilians, looting of civilian homes and destruction of property, as well as massive displacement.
The two experts urged the Government to investigate the alleged crimes and hold accountable all those responsible, including for their incitement.
“If the Government is unable to do so, it should allow a prompt international investigation into the ongoing attacks against the civilian population in Southern Kordofan,” they said, voicing grave concern. Already last week Mr. Ban already called for an immediate end to the fighting and for access for humanitarian agencies to the affected areas.
According to independent sources, the SAF have continued aerial bombardments in Southern Kordofan, particularly in the Nuba mountains region. Latest reports indicate that the violence has spilled over into neighbouring Blue Nile state, resulting in tens of thousands of civilians fleeing to neighbouring states and across the border into Ethiopia.
Southern Kordofan borders the newly independent South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan on 9 July.