“When Will it Stop?”

Sudanese women carry water in the town of Kadugli in the northern state of South Kordofan in 2011 (AFP/File, Ashraf Shazly)

Sudanese women carry water in the town of Kadugli in the northern state of South Kordofan in 2011 (AFP/File, Ashraf Shazly)

SUDAN

The name Sudan comes from “bilad al sudan,” Arabic for “the land of the blacks.” Yet, we are bearing witness to a systematic strategy of ethnic cleansing employed by the Khartoum government against the people living in the Southern Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains State.

“They said that they want to finish off the black people; they said they want to kill them all,” – Elizabeth Kafi, a 22-year-old Nuban who said she was kidnapped in December by Sudanese uniformed soldiers.

The Sudanese government has denied all international relief to both Blue Nile and South Kordofan, starving more than half a million people and creating massive civilian displacement under the pretense of suppressing armed rebels in the Nuba Mountains. Ahmed Haroun, wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity in Darfur, now governor of South Kordofan, is employing the same strategies used in Darfur: starving “the enemy” into submission, preventing aid groups from reaching refugees, and bombing towns with aircraft and unleashing “soldiers” to rape, pillage, and kill.

With the deteriorating horrific conditions in these extremely tense border towns, this crisis is a pressing humanitarian emergency! Once again civilians are the ones suffering and privy to barbaric aerial attacks and accelerated death tolls. When will it stop? Pre-Independence, during conflict, post-Independence, post-peace treaties, genocide continues.

During Kristof’s coverage of the horrific situation, he saw a 4-year-old girl at a feeding center weighing only 22 pounds and deplorably this is only the beginning. Reports warn that when food runs out in the Nuba Mountains in two or three months, there will be mass starvation and mounting death tolls.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

“We voted for peace, but all we got was more war. When are they going to stop killing us?” Human Rights Watch interview with a displaced person in Minova.

Protests confronting the controversial November 28 elections won by incumbent President Joseph Kabila continue as “the brain” behind the presidency and the adviser that put him in power, Augustin Katumba Mwanke dies in a plane crash. Church leaders were at the forefront of the protests but were confronted with tear gas and arrests. The demonstration, called the “March of Christians” was also paying tribute to a protest 20 years ago in Kinshasa that killed more than 30 protesters. Now nearly two decades later, little has changed.

“The arrest of priests, nuns and a human rights activist in Kinshasa, along with the closure of three radio stations, are dangerous developments” The Carter Center said Friday.

BURMA

Potential leeway from the Burmese election commission traces the campaign trail as they lift the ban on political rallies. The ministerial order restricting campaign rallies was lifted just hours after the pro-Democracy candidate, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party complained its campaigning for upcoming parliamentary by-elections was being stifled. In addition, the Burmese government has said it will “seriously consider” accepting observers from neighboring countries to monitor elections taking place in April. I wonder if we can hope for some positive transformations this time around or if this is just a strategic attempt to appease the current situation with the elections looming close by.

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