KHARTOUM, (Sudanow)- The Government of Sudan in last late February made public the results of the humanitarian survey of the areas affected by the rebellion that erupted in South Kordofan last year and, in coincidence, preparations are taking place for conducting a similar survey in the Blue Nile State which was experiencing similar armed rebellion circumstances last August. Despite the importance of the survey, in which distinguished international organizations took part, it was not subjected to an in-depth information analysis to demonstrate its long-term significance.
The joint survey of the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan was conducted during January 27 – February 10 and its final results were announced on March 23. The results showed that the affected people were 151, 000 in number out of whom 101,000 returned to their home villages with the remaining 49,972 stranded on the fire-line fringes, representing 11% of the 2,508,268 population, according to the 2008 census. The results also showed that the humanitarian aid provided to the State reached 7,811 metric tons and the families that received humanitarian aid in the State numbered 28,500. The survey of South Kordofan covered nutrition, water, education and health in 53 villages based on the population density.
The Government of the Sudan asked the international organizations (IOM, UNICEF, WFP, WHO) and the United States to approve the results of the survey but the latter showed some reservations, including non-access of the teams to some areas. The UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator in Sudan, Marc Keats, suggested that the survey planned to be conducted by the international organizations,which were last February permitted to enter South Kordofan, covers all areas affected by the conflict, both government- and SPLM-N-controlled areas. Keats added: “We firmly believe that the UN and other independent and impartial humanitarian organization have a vital role to play for meeting the needs of all Sudanese civilians affected by the fighting.”
For its part, the Government of Sudan stipulated that some foreign organization would be permitted to return to South Kordofan on condition that the international personnel remain in the State’s capital Kadogle and offer aid to the affected people only through the national organizations. Minister of Social Welfare and Securities Amira al-Fadil said at the press conference that was called for presentation of the results of the joint survey that the Government decision prohibiting the foreign organizations from direct distribution of the aid to the affected people or setting up camps was based on the experience it gained from the Darfur crisis.
Stressing that the Government is responsible for the country’s nationals, the Minister said found out that some international organizations went beyond their mandates and intervened in matters that impair the country’s national security. The Government, as a result, deported 13 foreign organizations which were operating in Darfur in March 2009, following a warrant of arrest issued by International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor against President Omar al-Beshir based on testimonies offered by personnel of those organizations which, according to the Minister, later on admitted that they “have deviated from their humanitarian role to political tactics.”
The Last Rebellion Stronghold:-
As a result of the Government military pressures and crushing victories against the rebel movements in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, especially the Blue Nile, some international parties feared defeat of the last strongholds of the rebellion and, consequently, failure of their betting for a protracted rebellion in Sudan. Since the eruption of the rebellion in Kadogle in June 2011, the United States has assumed “a tricky” position that does not exceed “generalization”, stopping short of declaring a frank denunciation of the rebellion against the State and, instead, held the Government of Sudan responsible for perpetrating crimes there, thus offering “a political cover” to the rebellion.
The United States has of late heightened its tone and caution of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe by the advent of last March if the Government of Sudan did not reverse banning entry of the foreign organizations in the region to offer humanitarian aid to the people in need. The US then threatened that it would deliver aid on its own even without approval of the Government of Sudan.
The US attitude was taken as “a sheer election maneuver”, as the organizations, lobbies and the pressure groups hostile to the Sudan or allied with the rebels contest in the heated electoral campaign for giving the American opinion a negative image of the situation in Sudan, emphasizing that atrocities are being committed in absence of action by the US Administration which, according to those groups, is responsible for rescuing and supporting the oppressed peoples as being circulated by the neo-conservatives who believe in the notion of the protection responsibility and legitimacy of intervention, in a selective manner and under humanitarian pretexts.
When the rebellion failed in achieving its ambitions of taking control of Kadogle and making of it another (Benghazi) from which it could move on to Khartoum, coupled with the political and military defeat inflicted upon the SPLM, and after failure of the methods of intimidation and temptation to soften the position of the government which had the situation on the ground shift in its favor, the Arab League, African Union and United Nations presented the Government and rebels an initiative for opening humanitarian corridors for delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected people.
However, it seems that no guarantees were made available to mitigate fears by the Sudanese Government that the initiative might be a cover-up for proving different forms of support to the rebellion which is dying in bed. Moreover, nobody would trust commitment by the rebels to a ceasefire, reckoning their previous violation a ceasefire unilaterally declared by President Omar al-Beshir and their repeated violations.
Some observers believe that the Government has now placed the ball in the loan of the initiators, as; it has, in principle, permitted entry of some humanitarian organization in the State under specific conditions and has conducted a humanitarian survey that produced an image that was totally different from the one that was circulated by the Western media.
The survey did not show the existence of infectious diseases and the availability of the health services in 59% of the surveyed villages of dense population from which others of less density benefit. It also showed that the children suffering from malnutrition constitute 13.1% of the children under five; which the food security was satisfactory, while the water services were available to 86% of the people of the localities.
The survey indicated that the humanitarian situation was under control and did not fall under the normal rates even under the circumstances of the war that took the state by surprise and the unexpected occurrence of emergency humanitarian needs.
Other observers believe that the survey that has recently been conducted in South Kordofan is an indicative of a plan for Sudanization of the voluntary action in the country, a plan announced by President Beshir early this year. The preliminary agreement by the international organizations that the national organizations carry out the direct distribution constitutes a major concession snatched by the government in favor of its positions and policies. The humanitarian organizations, especially the Western ones, believe that their personnel alone should undertake the humanitarian operations, even if there is no need for that, reflecting an imperialist tendency some circles still propagate.
Officials of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) expect the process of Sudanization of the voluntary action would come to a conclusion by 2017 after capacities of the national organizations are built and partnership are found for establishment of humanitarian networks that, beside the national organizations, include international humanitarian organizations which are free of the political ends of the big powers.
The rise of the renascent economies, particularly the group that includes India, China, South Africa, Russia and Brazil in addition to other regional countries, like Turkey and Indonesia, whose economic and political influence increasingly grow, led to the rise of a growing humanitarian role known as “the new donors”. Statistics show the progressively increasing rates of contribution by those countries in the humanitarian operations at the international level. The humanitarian action has become a mainstay of the foreign policy of those countries, leading to shrinking the role of the big powers led by the United States and the Western countries in favor of a multi-pole humanitarian system that is in the offing.The new donors may fill in the gap created by the rebels by attempting to prolong the conflict, on one hand, and waging sporadic assaults, on the other, causing considerable population displacement, in addition to procrastination by the Western organizations which give priority of the political considerations over the principles and ethics in providing humanitarian aid, even during emergencies.
(***) report compiled by the Sudan Media centre (SMC)