New Field Dispatch Highlights Attacks on Civilians in Sudan’s Blue Nile State

Posted by Annette LaRocco

In a new Sudan field dispatch, “Refugees Provide Details of Attacks in Isolated Blue Nile State,” the Enough field team documents accounts of refugees fleeing violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. Refugees recounted the brutality of Sudan’s military tactic of targeting civilians as well as shed light on the reasons for the influx of nearly 35,000 refugees into South Sudan’s Upper Nile state over a three-week period from late May to early June. 

In late June 2012 Enough traveled to Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile state, South Sudan. In Batil the Enough team conducted over a dozen interviews with refugees. These individuals all recently crossed the border from the Sudanese state of Blue Nile.

The refugees provided valuable insights from inside Blue Nile state, which has been intentionally isolated from the outside world by the government in Khartoum. Since the beginning of hostilities in Blue Nile, which began in September of 2011, Sudan has severely curtailed independent reports coming out of Blue Nile and has denied all humanitarian aid organizations access to civilians remaining in South People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, controlled areas.

The interviewees described harrowing experiences of fleeing from aerial bombings, destruction of private property, shooting of civilian populations, as well as abduction, detention, and abuse of civilians. One man from the village of Taga said, “[The soldiers] were shooting guns, they set houses on fire. They did not differentiate between civilians and soldiers. They shot everybody.” These testimonies echo the experiences of the thousands of refugees from Blue Nile who have fled into Ethiopia. The Enough Project compiled their accounts of atrocities in November 2011.

Sadly, Sudan’s military campaign targeting civilians is not used exclusively in Blue Nile. Civilians in South Kordofan state have been similarly targeted since June 2011.

Amid the Sudanese government’s ongoing brutality, the rights of Sudanese citizens in Blue Nile and South Kordofan must be protected. To that end and in light of the human rights violations occurring in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, the Enough Project submitted a communication to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, or ACHPR, in April 2012. The communication requests that the ACHPR declares that Sudan has violated the rights of Sudanese civilians, officially alert the African Union to the actions of the Khartoum regime, and take all measures within the commission’s power to protect civilians from “irreparable damage.” The field dispatch notes:

These actions [by the Sudanese government against civilians]constitute violations of the rights of Sudanese from Blue Nile and South Kordofan as provided for in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international human rights and humanitarian law conventions to which the government of Sudan is a party, as well as international law.

Enough encourages the commission to accept the case and begin proceedings against the government of Sudan.

Read the full dispatch, “Refugees Provide Details of Attacks in Isolated Blue Nile State