Sudan: Election Observation and Some Wishful Thinking

By Jennifer Smith
Like many others, Refugees International has been watching the Sudanese elections process closely, eagerly awaiting feedback from the various electoral observer missions. Preliminary statements coming out of some of the missions are fairly disappointing. The focus seems to be less on providing an objective assessment of how the process measures up to international standards, and more on excusing certain actions because of low expectations and a political desire for the elections to be seen as a success.

Southern Sudan: Security Gaps Compromise Civilian Protection

By Limnyuy Konglim
Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and less than a year away from the referendum on southern independence, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) still needs to make substantial progress in reforming the security sector and its ability to protect civilians. The pastoralist and farming communities of Sudan have a history of conflict with one another due to competition for grazing land and water for their cattle.

Southern Sudan: The Quest for National Identity

By Limnyuy Konglim

With the southern Sudanese referendum for independence less than a year away, it is a bit puzzling that the south is not overcome by an overwhelming sense of nationalism. It is true that on the eve of the national elections, the increasing number of independent candidates has fractured southern political parties that were previously utilized as national rallying bases.

International Women’s Day: Not an afterthought

By Melanie Teff
This International Women’s Day, I took a moment to consider the many varied points of view that I heard from and about women during our recent Sudan mission. Their stories are applicable to the situation of many women living in crisis situations around the world.

Washington Circle: Hope and Fear in Southern Sudan

By Briana Orr
When Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of Dave Egger’s best selling novel What is the What speaks, he allows long pauses between sentences during which you can almost hear his audience holding their breath. On Tuesday night, Refugees International’s Washington Circle featured Valentino as part of a panel discussion on “The Year of Sudan: What Lies Ahead” at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Water: A matter of life and death

By Jennifer Smith
When my colleague Melanie Teff and I visited Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan states a few weeks ago, we spent a lot of time hearing and talking about water. Sudan had been experiencing a drought, and harvests had yielded far less than normal. People were worried. The international community was worried. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it was increasing its expected number of beneficiaries for food aid in south Sudan this year from 1.1 million to 4.3 million people, a massive increase.

South Sudan: Pointing Fingers, Placing Blame

By Joel Charny
The Financial Times headline sounds the alarm: “Fury at unspent funds for Sudan.” It seems that donor governments are furious at the World Bank for spending only $181 million out of the $524 million in donated funds from the fund it manages to support the recovery and development of local communities in south Sudan.

RI’s Second Annual London Circle

By Eileen Shields-West
Refugees International launched its “Year of Sudan” at historic Walpole House, on Chiswick Mall overlooking the Thames, last Tuesday, February 9. The house, which is famous for its depiction in William Thackery’s Vanity Fair, was filled to the brim with over 90 guests to hear Africa Editor for the Economist, Richard Cockett, interviewed by acclaimed Sudanese-born anchor of BBC’s World News Today, Zeinab Badawi.

UN Security Council: Progress on Sudan, Stagnancy on Somalia

By Michelle Brown

In January, there were two discussions in the United Nations Security Council that are important to Refugees International’s work.  The discussion on Somalia was particularlydisappointing, but we were pleased that the UN Security Council is finally looking at how to respond to the escalating violence in south Sudan.

Southern Sudan: The Trouble with UNMIS

By Erin Weir
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, announced that the U.S. is … “very concerned that UNMIS take on board and fully implement the portion of its mandate – the critical portion of its mandate – that relates to the protection of civilians.” Ambassador Rice did not, however, elaborate on what the United Nations Mission in Sudan, otherwise known as UNMIS, could do to make protection a reality.
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