This paper is a collaborative effort between the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) and the National Human Rights Monitoring Organisation (NHRMO). Field research was carried out by an anonymous researcher and the staff of NHRMO. Dr. Lucy Hovil, Senior Researcher at IRRI, was the primary drafter of the report, with input and support from Olivia Bueno, Andie Lambe and Yotam Gidron of IRRI. The team would like to express their gratitude to all those who participated in the study.
“WE JUST WANT A REST FROM WAR” INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE RIGHTS INITIATIVE
The ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan (SK) and Blue Nile (BN) states, while massively under-reported, has had devastating consequences. Widespread aerial bombardment of rebel held civilian areas by the government of Sudan (GoS) are a hallmark of the conflict, and more than 3,000 bombs – on average three a day – have fallen since April 2012.
Monitoring on the ground has shown that bombings coincide disproportionately with planting and harvesting cycles, as well as market days, suggesting a deliberate plan to decimate the local economy. Despite its disruption of agricultural production and access to markets, the GoS refuses to allow Humanitarian access to these areas, citing fears that such aid would be used to support rebel fighters. With increasing numbers being displaced from their homes, and humanitarian access all but cut off, the ability to survive grows more precarious by the day.
As a result, 1.7 million people – roughly half of the population of the two states – have been displaced, and food insecurity has reached crisis levels for many of those who remain.
Living with the daily threat of aerial bombardment, of GoS land forces breaking through the rebel Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) frontline, and a chronic lack of food and medicine, the resilience of this population is being severely depleted. Meanwhile the international community remains, for the most part, silent.
This report highlights the voices of those civilians living in the midst of this conflict. Based on 52 qualitative interviews in three counties in the rebel held areas of SK, and building on the findings of a trusted team of human rights monitors who have been working to monitor the impact of the conflict on civilians since the current round of conflict started in June 2011, the report highlights both the devastating impact of the conflict on every aspect of people’s lives, as well as the resilience and
resistance of the civilian population who are living through it.