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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Sudan: Policy Proposals, 1

Sudan: Policy Proposals, 1
Date distributed (ymd): 010320
Document reposted by APIC

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+


This posting contains two recent policy statements on Sudan, one from the Canadian Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group and the other the executive summary of a new report from the Sudan task force of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading center-right Washington thinktank. Another posting today contains a critique of the CSIS report. This posting also includes brief excerpts from other reports: Christian Aid on "Oil and War in Sudan, One World on independence for Southern Sudan, and Human Rights Watch on new internal conflict in the South.

The posting begins with a cover note from Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action.

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Oil Rush a Key Obstacle to Peace

The world's longest war grinds on in Sudan, with increased bombing of civilians by the Khartoum government, massive civilian displacement linked to oil development, new government-manipulated fighting among groups in the south, and continuation of slave-raiding as one of the human-rights abuses encouraged by Khartoum. With predictions of displaced people at risk of famine rising towards the one million mark, relief agencies face both shortages of funds and the inability to reach people cut off by fighting.

All the reports in this and the next posting agree that new and much stronger international efforts for peace, at different levels, are essential. Without an end to the war, these abuses will only continue. But peace efforts will be futile if built on illusions. "Constructive engagement" with the minority regime in Khartoum, which remains the principal architect of war and obstacle to peace, will only promote further intransigence. The oil revenues that finance the government's war efforts should be shut off and their resumption tied to a timetable for achieving a just peace.

Much else needs to be done, of course, to increase the chances for peace. Promotion of human rights and democracy in the North as well as the South is an indispensable ingredient for peace, not just a goal to be postponed until after a settlement (see last year's Kampala Declaration of Sudanese civil society - But if Washington under the Bush administration, as well as Ottawa and Stockholm, regard pressure on the oil industry as 'out-of-bounds,' their statements in favor of peace will ring empty.

Salih Booker


Statement by the Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group

February 13, 2001

Note: The Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group (SIARG) is a forum of 22 Canadian organizations with programming on Sudan. For the text of SIARG's letter to parliament, see
Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (Canada):

Constructive Engagement with Sudan Is Not Working
NGOs Recommend Change in Direction

One year ago, the Harker Report on human rights violations in Sudan was released, and the Government of Canada embarked on a policy of "constructive engagement" with the Government of Sudan and Talisman Oil, a Canadian oil company that is in business with the Government of Sudan. Today, members of the Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group (SIARG) claim that the policy of constructive engagement has not been successful, and they are asking for a change in direction to support the people of Sudan. In Sudan, like China, Canadian financial interests have been given priority over the security and human rights of the people of Sudan, in the name of "constructive engagement."

In a letter to Members of Parliament, SIARG claims there is scant evidence of positive results from Canada's current policy, while there is abundant evidence that life for the people of Sudan is worse than it was one year ago. Among others, they cite the following facts:

  • The number of bombardments of civilian targets has dramatically increased in the last year, according to an independent report by the U.S. Committee of Refugees. In November, for example, 14 bombs were dropped on a school, forcing children to flee into the bush. This happened within kilometers of Talisman's expansion project. These actions violate international laws and the recent Security Council Resolutions 1261 and 1314 on Children and Armed Conflict that Canada pushed forward. Little action has been taken by the Government of Canada on this matter.
  • An IMF report shows that the Government of Sudan has dramatically increased its military expenditures since it began to receive oil revenue, while investments in the crucial area of agriculture and food security have not increased.
  • The Government of Sudan scuttled implementation of the agreement it signed at the Winnipeg Conference for War-affected Children to secure the release of the abducted children from Northern Uganda, who are enslaved in Sudan by the Lord's Resistance Army. Over the past ten years, they have been used by the army of the Government of Sudan in raids against communities in the South.
  • The IGAD Peace Process is not working because the parties in the conflict do not take it seriously, in spite of Canada's investment in a permanent secretariat. Sudan's current leader, Omar al Bashir, has publicly stated that they intend to use the oil revenues to purchase more weapons and win the war, not negotiate a just settlement with the opposing forces in Southern Sudan.

The war in Sudan has already claimed over two million lives and forced more than four million people to leave their homes. More people have been impacted by this conflict in the last decade than all the wars in the Balkan region combined, but the world at large has turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Sudanese.

Control over oil resources has become a focal point for the conflict, along with demands for separation of the state from Islamic religious laws and self-determination for the people in Southern Sudan.

One sign of hope in Sudan is growing peace efforts by civil society organizations. These include the "people-to-people" peace process launched by church leaders in Southern Sudan, and the struggling efforts of human rights groups in both the North and the South to hold their government accountable. They hoped the Harker Report would help their cause, but Canada's failure to act on it undermines their heroic efforts. These people are consistent in their message that oil development now scuttles hopes for peace. Canada's policy is inconsistent in that it supports peace building through CIDA and then undermines it with trade decisions that fuel increased conflict.

Members of SIARG propose a shift in Canada's foreign policy to support the people of Sudan. This would include:

1. High level diplomatic initiatives by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to hold the Government of Sudan accountable for human rights violations should include public statements. A strong and consistent campaign should be pursued in the international arena to stop the serious human rights abuses. These include violations of the Geneva Conventions for conduct during war, the Convention on the Rights of the Child which applies during conflict, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and more specific international laws against torture, slavery, genocide, displacement, and denial of access to humanitarian assistance.

Earlier this year a strong, public campaign by non-government organizations (NGOs) and friendly governments stopped Sudan from getting a seat on the Security Council. Greater transparency in the diamond trade in Sierra Leone resulted from a public campaign by governments and NGOs; the same approach should be applied to Sudan.

2. Provide greater support for civil society peace initiatives and greater balance to Canada's presence in Khartoum by increasing support for sustained, independent, human rights monitoring in the areas where oil development is taking place and publicly releasing these reports.

3. Consider supporting United States' initiatives to prevent oil development from contributing to the conflict. The Sudan Peace Act, proposed earlier this year, includes measures to cut off access to capital markets for investments in Sudan. Proposing similar measures in Canada would help in Canada's desire to build good relations with the US Congress.

4. Commit to introducing new legislation to deal with "militarized commerce" and mandate the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs to hold public hearings on what should be included in a new law that would provide effective tools to hold all Canadian companies accountable for complicity in contributing to armed conflict.

5. Publicly report on the failure of Sudan to keep the agreements it made in Winnipeg on behalf of children and aggressively seek international support to secure the release of the children abducted from Northern Uganda and stop the bombings of schools, health centers, and other places where children gather.

The Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group includes a variety of Canadian development, peace, and human rights organizations that work with counterparts in both North and South Sudan.

U. S. Policy to End Sudan's War
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Executive Summary
[full report available on]

Although the policy debate on Sudan encompasses a myriad of issues, the CSIS task force concluded that the central problem on which virtually everything else hinges is the devastating war that has raged in Sudan since 1983. Now is an opportune and appropriate moment for the United States to join actively in a strong multilateral push, in collaboration with interested European powers, to end Sudan's internal war. A sine qua non to any future progress is the cessation of the government of Sudan's aerial bombardment of civilian humanitarian sites in the south.

Sudan continues to matter significantly to U. S. interests - on human rights, humanitarian, and security grounds. Washington cannot afford to ignore Sudan's extreme circumstances, rooted overwhelmingly in Sudan's 18- year internal war.

The new administration is well positioned to take a fresh look and move beyond a policy of containment and isolation that has made little headway in ending Sudan's war, reforming Khartoum, or ameliorating Sudan's humanitarian crisis and gross human rights abuses. Realistically, the only viable course to end Sudan's war and see progress in other critical areas is through a hard-nosed strategy based on diplomacy, heightened engagement with all parties, enhanced inducements and punitive measures, and concerted multilateral initiatives.

In the past two years, Sudan's rising oil production has shifted the balance of military power in the government's favor at the same time that significant internal rifts have surfaced in Khartoum. The surrounding region is in flux in its relations to the Sudan conflict, and it has become clear that competing regional peace initiatives hold no promise. In this fluid context, the United States possesses significant leverage. Among major powers, it is the lone holdout in renewing a dialogue with Khartoum. Equally important, it is the principal backer, in humanitarian and diplomatic terms, of the southern Sudanese opposition, recognizes the south's moral cause, and will not countenance the military subjugation of the south.

In brief, the task force recommends that the Bush administration exercise leadership on Sudan:

  • Concentrate U. S. policy on the single overriding objective of ending Sudan's war.
  • Actively join with the UK, Norway, and Sudan's neighboring states in establishing an international nucleus to press forthwith for serious and sustained talks between Khartoum and the southern opposition. Its aim should be to end the war as the central means to restore fundamental human rights, stability and improved democratic governance, and regional security. This extra- regional initiative will be essential to move beyond the stasis surrounding regional peace initiatives.
  • Build this new extra- regional initiative on prior agreement by the Sudanese government and the opposition on the Declaration of Principles as the basis of negotiations.
  • Seek first to reach agreement on the creation of an interim arrangement - a 'One Sudan, Two Systems' formula - that preserves a single Sudan with two viable, self-governing democratic regions, north and south.
  • Devise enhanced multilateral inducements and pressures that move both sides to participate in peace negotiations in good faith.
  • Catalyze the launch of a high- level international plan for a viable selfgoverning south, including commitments of substantial bilateral and multilateral resources toward its eventual realization.
  • Assign top priority in negotiations to early, mutual confidence-building measures; improvements in human rights and humanitarian access; revenue-sharing mechanisms; clarification of the north- south border; definition of regional and central powers; and international guarantees.
  • Resume full operations of the U. S. embassy in Khartoum, including the expedited appointment of an ambassador, and preferably a high- level, fully empowered envoy.
  • Aggressively seek the successful conclusion of ongoing U. S.- Sudan negotiations on terrorism.

Other New Policy Reports on Sudan (brief excerpts)

Christian Aid
The Scorched Earth: Oil and War in Sudan

In Sudan, oil and war are inextricably linked. For this reason Christian Aid, which has been working for 30 years in Sudan, and its partners, recommend that:

  • Oil companies directly involved in oil in Sudan, such as Talisman Energy and Lundin Oil [of Sweden], should immediately suspend operations until there is a just and lasting peace agreement.
  • Companies such as TotalFinaElf, which own concessions in Sudan but are not yet operational, and those which have invested in the Sudanese oil industry, should refuse to take any further steps to begin operations or supply equipment until a peace agreement is reached.
  • BP, Shell and other foreign and institutional investors in Sinopec and PetroChina, two subsidiaries of CNPC, should divest their holdings.
  • The Government of Sudan should cease its abuse of civilians and breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law. It should publish reports of the use of oil revenue to demonstrate that it is used to benefit people in all of Sudan, north and south.
  • The SPLA should also cease its breaches of international humanitarian and human rights laws.
  • The UK government should take steps to put in place strong and enforceable regulation of transnational corporations to ensure that they cannot be directly or indirectly complicit in human rights violations.

OneWorld US Special Report
Independence for Southern Sudan?
[see also One World US home page

A study prepared by Dunstan M. Wai, an exiled Southern Sudanese scholar.

The two main points argued here are that it is time for world leaders to focus on a solution for the Sudan, and the solution must involve self-determination for the Southern Sudanese people. It is the contention of his paper that U.S.- and all external - involvement should be aimed at brokering an end to the conflict and a referendum allowing southern Sudanese to choose between remaining part of the Sudan or becoming a separate nation.

Humanitarian Disaster in Southern Sudan
Human Rights Watch Writes to US Secretary of State
March 1, 2001

Despite the complexity of the situation in southern Sudan, early and skillful U.S. diplomatic intervention could make a significant difference in sparing the lives of tens of thousands of civilians. The Nuer-Nuer fighting, a war within a war, for now overshadows the civil war in ferocity of fighting and cost in civilian lives. But it is also very integral to the civil war, which since 1983 pits the Khartoum government against marginalized peoples, particularly Africans in the southern third of the country.

The current crisis also involves the unraveling of the Wunlit agreement, signed in 1999 and enthusiastically endorsed by the U.S., which put an end to years (1991-99) of Dinka-Nuer cross-border raids. These raids involved thousands of civilian casualties, large-scale theft of cattle, abduction of women and children, and destruction of hundreds of villages. Attacks on civilians and the ruin of the pastoral economy were the immediate cause of the devastating 1993 famine in southern Sudan, in which tens of thousands perished. The current fighting follows the same pattern, and recurrence of famine is almost inevitable unless immediate action is taken.

As usual, a key actor in the current violence among southerners is the Khartoum government, which arms whichever factions and militias are fighting the SPLA. The Khartoum strategy of divide and destroy has worked extremely well in the past, keeping southerners split - Dinka from Nuer, and Nuer from Nuer. Accordingly, Wunlit was the government s worst nightmare, and its disintegration serves Khartoum well. By provoking divisions among Nuer and other southerners, Khartoum can develop the rich oil resources that lie beneath Nuer territory.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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