In January, there were two discussions in the United Nations Security Council that are important to Refugees International’s work. The discussion on Somalia was particularlydisappointing, but we were pleased that the UN Security Council is finally looking at how to respond to the escalating violence in south Sudan.
The escalation of violence in south Sudan should serve as a wake-up
call at this critical point in time. Five years ago this week, the
government in Khartoum and rebel leaders in south Sudan ended a long
and bloody civil war with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. Today, with one year left to go before a referendum on
southern independence in 2011, the outlook is grim. Last month, the
Khartoum government cracked down on protesters and detained senior
members of opposition parties.
Women’s groups in Khartoum are working together to push for reform of north Sudan’s criminal laws on rape and adultery. Despite all of the difficulties that they face, they are taking positive steps forward and using the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence to launch their campaign.
The long awaited release of the new US policy on Sudan outlines several key points that lay the framework for lasting peace there. With a focus on a comprehensive approach to Sudan, the US administration recognizes the importance that peace in Darfur, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and border safety play in establishing and maintaining stability for the people of Sudan. It is refreshing to see a US strategy that takes a holistic approach, recognizing the commitment made to all Sudanese people and the strength of US leadership in the international community.