The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have forcibly relocated more than 25,000 Ingessana people from the Bao region in Blue Nile between April and July. The relocations to other parts of the state are part of a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing designed to weaken opposition to the SAF’s armed offensive in the region. Blue Nile in Sudan’s south, along with neighbouring state South Kordofan, has been subjected to a concerted SAF aerial and ground assault since 2011.
South Kordofan residents at a makeshift UN camp near Kadugli. Amnesty International released a report on August 3 detailing horrific war crimes committed against the people of South Kordofan by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and its militias.
Results for Sudan’s parliamentary and presidential elections, held between April 13 and 15 and extended for a further day after low voter turnout, will be announced on April 27. Yet no one doubts the return to government of President Omer al-Bashir and his National Congress Party.
Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) persisted with April 13-15 national elections, despite widespread condemnation of the process from inside and outside the country. Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup, contested the presidency among 15 mostly unknown candidates. The election was boycotted by opposition groups. They have called for an inclusive consultation process to resolve the country’s substantial problems, establishing a transitional government, and immediately ending the repression of dissent as prerequisites for free and fair elections.
December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the horrific Bhopal gas disaster. It also marks 30 years of relentless struggle for justice by survivors. The city of Bhopal, capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was the site of a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation. UC became a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals in 2001.
On March 18, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services confiscated the entire print run of Al Midan, the Sudanese Communist Party's newspaper. This was the third consecutive issue to be censored by the NISS. The March 18 Sudan Tribune said: "Sudanese authorities routinely confiscate copies of newspapers as a punishment for publishing contents critical of the government. The measure is intended to inflict financial damage on the already hard-pressed papers."
In the early hours of February 17, about 1000 police and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officers conducted a violent raid of Khartoum University’s student dormitories, arresting more than 300 students. Most were released later that day. Two students are missing, suspected kidnapped by the NISS. Some of the arrested students told a Sudan Human Rights Monitor press conference that police had used racist verbal abuse against students and many were beaten.
Seven months after South Sudan declared independence from its northern neighbour, Khartoum continues to undermine the struggling new nation. On January 20, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) government of South Sudan took the drastic measure of shutting down its entire oil production. Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) regime had been demanding enormous fees for transporting South Sudan’s oil to Port Sudan in the north for export.
Thousands of children starting preschool in NSW this week will be charged fees of up to $40 a day for the first time at government-run preschools. Last year, Premier Barry O’Farrell’s government introduced fees without consultation for the 100 preschools run by the Department of Education and Community Services (DEC). Most are attached to public schools. Many parents had already accepted a preschool place for 2012, or even enrolled their child, before learning that the previously free classes would attract daily fees.
United Nations-African Union joint special representative Ibrahim Gambari said in Khartoum on September 15, that attacks in Darfur were down by about 70% over the past three years thanks to the peacekeeping efforts. However, a September 16 statement by Hussein Abu Sharati, a spokesperson for Darfuri refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), angrily rejected the claims. He said the government “still commits genocide in Darfur” and that people are unable to return to their homes because it is unsafe.
Two months after the secession of South Sudan, Khartoum’s ruling elite is making no retreat from the strategy that eventually forced the country’s division. This strategy includes marginalisation and neglect of the outlying regions; the forced imposition of Khartoum’s right-wing Islamic, pro-Arab agenda on Sudan’s culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse population; and brutal repression of dissent. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) is waging wars on several fronts, from Darfur in the west to the states along the new southern border.
The federal Labor government released a discussion paper, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, on June 22. It suggests the continuation of much of the NT intervention after the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation expires next year.
More than 100,000 people have been displaced and countless numbers killed in the north Sudanese government’s latest offensive in the region bordering south Sudan. South Sudan is set to formalise its secession on July 9 after a near-unanimous vote for independence in the January referendum.
If you are a cow destined for someone’s dinner plate, the federal Labor government won’t send you to Indonesia without a guarantee you will be treated humanely. But if you are an asylum seeker risking your life to reach Australia by boat in a desperate attempt to escape war, poverty and persecution, the government will send you to Malaysia with little regard for your welfare.
Coalition leader Tony Abbott wrote to PM Julia Gillard in March calling for a bipartisan approach to Aboriginal issues and a “second intervention” in the Northern Territory. He flew to Alice Springs in late April to further these calls. June will mark four years since former PM John Howard launched the Northern Territory Emergency Response — or NT intervention.
When climate change deniers took to the streets in March against the federal government’s proposed carbon price, some of this country’s most notorious shock jocks were leading the way. Chris Smith, talkback host on Sydney commercial radio show 2GB, was a major promoter of the March 23 rally outside Parliament House in Canberra. The rally was littered with signs featuring misogynist slogans and bizarre rebuttals of the existence of climate change. Everyone you’d expect at a conservative reunion was there, from opposition leader Tony Abbott to former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.