Article written

  • on 18.09.2012
  • at 10:27 AM
  • by Staff

South Kordofan: activism, resilience and sacrifice 0

Sudanese women’s rights organisations that fled South Kordofan last year are rebuilding their networks, and women like Jalila Khamis Kuku are detained for speaking out about the atrocities committed against the Nuba people. They need our attention and support, says Amel Gorani.

It has been 14 months since the women’s rights organisation Ru’ya had its offices ransacked and records destroyed in the wake of the attacks by the Sudanese military on Kadugli, the capital of the state of South Kordofan.  Ru’ya’s staff fled to Khartoum where many of them were harassed and faced security threats.

A few months later, they were forced to flee again, this time outside the country. Since then, they have been working to resume their work in support of communities in and from South Kordofan. Having lost their registration as a non-governmental organization in Sudan, Ru’ya has now been registered as Vision Association in the newly independent country of South Sudan, and has been reconnecting with displaced and refugee groups from South Kordofan. Working in the Yida camp where tens of thousands of refugees are now living, they have been documenting the atrocities committed by the government of Sudan against its own citizens in yet another war targeting the Nuba people of South Kordofan, and in their fact finding report ‘Juba and Yida refugee camp visit’ they describe the dire situation the Nuba refugees now face as they struggle to access  food, water, livelihood, health and education in their battle to survive.

The catastrophic humanitarian situation facing the Nuba Mountains refugees in South Sudan and those displaced in Sudan has elicited relatively little attention in the international media, and near total cover up and denial in Sudanese state media. The Sudanese government has banned international aid and development organizations from entering and operating in the conflict zones and has prohibited the setting-up of camps for internally displaced populations. Few organizations have had access to the populations in the war zones and Ru’ya’s report represents the first needs assessment to be carried out by an indigenous Sudanese organization in Yida camp.  The report provides testimony about the destruction and massive displacement caused by the systematic aerial bombardment waged by the Sudan Armed Forces on villages in the Nuba Mountains. The attacks targeted civilians as well as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Thirty entire villages were  forced to flee the war and cross the border to seek refuge in South Sudan. 3,097 unaccompanied children have come to Yida, out of which 818 are girls. Many of them have lost their parents in the ongoing war or have been separated from their parents during the fighting. The number of refugees arriving at Yida and other refugees camps in South Sudan is still growing daily. There are no income-generating activities or means of earning a livelihood in the camp.

The staff of Ru’ya have themselves become refugees working to rebuild their lives and continue their mission against enormous odds. Refugees in the Yida camp told Zeinab Blandia, the Executive Director of Ru’ya that “if nothing else and even if you were unable to bring any material aid and only brought yourselves, that is enormous moral support and invigorates us. It shows us that we are not forgotten and that someone out there cares.”

Many refugees from South Kordofan fled to Juba, the capital of South Sudan and are trying to start-over there. The women refugees have established social solidarity funds where the women pool the little hard-earned resources they have to contribute weekly to a rotational fund that goes to help the members of the fund. Some use the funds to buy a bed, a mattress or perhaps some cooking utensils, as they try to slowly rebuild their lives after having lost everything.

Continue reading on Open Democracy

By Amel Gorani

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi