Letter to UN head, US president on aid to Sudan’s war-affected areas

A group of more than 100 international and Sudanese organisations and individuals have written a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama in which they request them to take action to facilitate “safe, unhindered and immediate access of the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel to deliver equipment and supplies and to assist conflict-affected civilian populations” in Sudan.

A group of more than 100 international and Sudanese organisations and individuals have written a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama in which they request them to take action to facilitate “safe, unhindered and immediate access of the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel to deliver equipment and supplies and to assist conflict-affected civilian populations” in Sudan.

Text of the letter in full:

December 7, 2015


H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon 

Secretary General of the United Nations 

New York, NY 10017


President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

RE: Unhindered Assistance from Multiple Locations for the Two Areas and throughout Sudan

Your Excellency and Mr. President,

In light of the impasse at the 10th round of peace talks in Addis Ababa between the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N, we believe it is critical to recognize that it is a violation of international law to block humanitarian aid to innocent civilians living in conflict zones. Therefore, no party to the conflict should prevent the international community from providing humanitarian aid to the people affected by conflict in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, commonly referred to as the Two Areas, of Sudan, or any other area within Sudan.

According to multiple UN General Assembly Resolutions, UNOCHA, and the ICRC, humanitarian actions are founded on four guiding principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. These principles provide the foundation to establishing and maintaining access to affected people in a complex emergency such as armed conflict. If humanitarian assistance relief actions do not follow these principles then the entire operation puts the victims of conflict at risk and humanitarian assistance can become a weapon in furtherance of armed conflict.

Since June 2011, the Government of Sudan has persisted in an aerial campaign to bomb the people and villages of the Two Areas, with attacks consistently having no military objective. Recent reports indicate the government is preparing for renewed fighting in the Two Areas with the delivery of new military equipment and reinforcements and the announcement by the Defence Minister to Parliament that the Two Areas “will be liberated through a massive military operation”.

Aerial bombardment has terrorized the civilian population, killed, maimed and injured thousands, displaced over a million people, and intentionally destroyed crops, the primary food source for the civilian population. At the same time, the Government of Sudan has effectively refused to allow humanitarian assistance into the Two Areas, often putting forward conditions that make providing humanitarian assistance impossible.

Article 7 of the Rome Statute, the founding legal statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), sets forth crimes against humanity as including inhumane acts of intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. Further, other international criminal tribunals have rendered convictions based on similar principles. In its judgement of [Radislav, RD] Krstić, the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found that the blocking of aid convoys was part of the “creation of a humanitarian crisis,” which, combined with crimes of terror and forcible transfers, incurred individual responsibility for inhumane acts and persecution as crimes against humanity. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also interpreted the Geneva Conventions and their protocols to prohibit states from unwarranted refusal of humanitarian access and assistance in conflict zones.

Specific to Sudan, UN Security Council Resolution 2046 strongly urges the parties to comply with international humanitarian law and the guiding principles of emergency humanitarian assistance for safe, unhindered and immediate access of the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel to deliver equipment and supplies and to assist conflict-affected civilian populations. The African Union Peace and Security Council has repeatedly urged the parties to respect human rights and International Humanitarian Law and to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need.

During the peace talks in Addis Ababa, the government of Sudan indicated that it would allow cross line humanitarian assistance to be provided from government-controlled areas, meaning that the government would be involved or would be perceived to be involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the same people it is violently targeting, a clear violation of the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence the people of the Two Areas have a right to enjoy.

For obvious reasons, the people of the Two Areas do not trust the government of Sudan, and many parts of the population may well refuse to accept assistance that emanates from government-controlled areas. This will make assistance coming solely from government controlled areas ineffective and will undermine the very result that the international community is hoping to create.

We urge the United States, the United Nations, and other interested parties to stop the ongoing crimes against humanity in the Two Areas and throughout Sudan by upholding international humanitarian law that ensures the unhindered delivery of assistance from multiple locations by the international community so that the people of Sudan can receive the life giving assistance that they so sorely need.



Blue Nile Association for Peace and Development USA

Commission for Protection of Civilians and Human Rights – Blue Nile, Sudan

Funj Youth Development Association ( FYDA) – Blue Nile, Sudan

Sudan’s Peace and Development Centre – Blue Nile, Sudan

National Human Rights Monitors Organization – South Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains, Sudan

Nuba Christian Family Mission

Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group USA

Nuba Mountains Centre for Strategic Planning and Dialogue – London

Nuba Mountains Civil Society Organisation Alliance – Sudan

Nuba Mountains Civil Society Organization Union – USA and UK

Nuba Mountains International Association – Australia, Canada, USA, Egypt

Nuba Mountains People's Foundation – UK

Nuba Mountains People's Media Abroad

Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad (NMSA) – UK and Ireland

Nuba Mountains Union of Associations and Organizations – Africa

Nuba Moutains International Association – Lebanon

Nuba Now – UK

Nuba Vision Coalition, Inc.

Civil Society Initiative – Signatory to Sudan Call Alliance

Sudanese Solidarity Committee – Khartoum

ACAVIE (Asociación) – Spain

Arab Organizations Coalition for Sudan ( ACS) – Cairo, Egypt

Association du RIF pour développement – France

Collectif Urgence Darfour – Paris, France

Darfur Association in Uganda

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre – Geneva

Darfur Solidarity Group – South Africa

Darfur Union in the UK and N. Ireland

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project – Uganda

Human Rights Organization and Development (HUDO) – Uganda

International Refugee Rights Initiative – Uganda

Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention

PAX for Peace – The Netherlands

People4Sudan – Geneva

Society for Threatened Peoples – Germany

Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) – Uganda

Waging Peace – London

Act for Sudan

Humanity United

United to End Genocide

African Freedom Coalition

African Soul, American Heart

American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (AFRECS)

Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development

Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan

Carl Wilkens Fellowship

Catalyst Schools Projects

Christian Solidarity International – USA

Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action

Colorado Episcopal Foundation

Darfur Action Group of South Carolina

Darfur and Beyond

Darfur Interfaith Network

Darfur Peoples' Association of New York

Darfur Women Action Group

Genocide No More – Save Darfur

Genocide Watch

Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide

Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)

Idaho Darfur Coalition

International Justice Project

Investors Against Genocide

Jews Against Genocide

Joining Our Voices

Long Island Darfur Action Group

Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

Mercy Beyond Borders

Never Again Coalition

New York Coalition for Sudan

Northwest Bronx for Change

Nubia Project

Operation Broken Silence

Our Humanity in the Balance

Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition

Project Expedite Justice

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition

Society for Threatened Peoples

Stop Genocide Now

Sudan Advocacy Action Forum

Sudan Human Rights Network

Sudan Unlimited

Sudanese Marginalized Forum-USA

The African Services Coalition of South Carolina

The Elsa-Gopa Trust

The Institute on Religion and Democracy

Unite for Darfur Org.

United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association

Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI

Voices for Sudan

Abdelrahman Mohamed Gasim, External Relations Secretary, Darfur Bar Association, Sudan

Ahmed H. Adam, Visiting Fellow, Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University

Dr Albaqir A. Mukhtar, Director El Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment & Human Development (KACE), Khartoum, Sudan

Andrew Natsios, Former US Special Envoy to Sudan, George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

Baroness (Caroline) Cox, House of Lords and CEO, HART

Dr Amin Mekki Medani, Human Rights Lawyer, Former Special Representative for the United Nations for Gaza, Bosnia and Lebanon

Dr Gregory Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch, Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention, George Mason University

Dr. Pascale Hatcher, Associate Professor, Faculty of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Dr. Samuel Totten, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Dr Ellen J. Kennedy, Executive Director World Without Genocide, William Mitchell College of Law

Eric Reeves, Sudan Researcher

Gill Lusk, Journalist specializing in the Sudans, London, UK

Dr Hamid E. Ali, Associate Professor of Public Policy, The American University in Cairo

Helen Fein, Board Chair, Institute for the Study of Genocide

Henry C. Theriault, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Worchester State University, Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International

John Weiss, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University

Caceres-Neuffer Genocide Action Group

Khalid Kodi, Adjunct Professor, Boston College and Brown University

Lord Alton of Liverpool, Member of the All Party British Parliamentary Group on Sudan, Professor of Citzenship, Liverpool John Moores University

Mukesh Kapila CBE, Former Head of the UN in Sudan, Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester

The Reverend Ronald D. Culmer, St. Clare's Episcopal Church, Victoria Sanford, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Lehman College, Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies, Doctoral Faculty, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Wendy James, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Oxford University