LOCAL ISSUES Updated March 30, 2009
Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement
After about 10 years of low-intensity guerrilla warfare in Eastern Sudan, during which the eastern rebels allied themselves with the SPLA and the Darfur rebels and received support from Eritrea, the GoS and the Eastern Front, composed of the Beja Congress and the Rashaida Free Lions, signed the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement on 14 October 2006. Eritrea mediated the negotiations and hosted the signing and celebration of the Agreement
The Agreement reflects the principles agreed upon in both the CPA and the DPA and highlights the concepts of a united, independent and sovereign State, one that is multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-racial, and where the recognition and respect for diversity are the basis for national cohesion. Respect and promotion of human rights, political pluralism, peaceful transition of power through fair and free elections, and sustainable development are fundamental within a federal system of government with equal and effective participation of women.
Background to Agreement
The predominant characteristics of the Eastern region (Red Sea State, Kassala State and El-Gedaref State) are ethnic diversity and political and economic marginalization. Like other peripheral regions of the Sudan, the majority of Eastern people have been neglected by the central government and isolated from economic and political participation due to the domination of the Sudanese state since independence by riverine-based elites.
With a population of nearly 4 million, principally low-density rural inhabitants that are pastoralists or agro-pastoralists, the region displays an uneven distribution of wealth. The economy is based primarily on large-scale agriculture and the activities of Port Sudan, where an oil pipeline terminates its trajectory across the Eastern States. Both are significant sources of state revenue and make the East one of the country's wealthier regions. However, although these economic activities profit the few who own the farms and port companies and provide a steady income for employees, they represent little benefit to the nomads and small-scale farmers in the rural areas. The Red Sea State has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country, with a per capita income of just $93 in 2004, according to one household survey.
Agricultural schemes have a long history in Eastern Sudan, where the Tokar delta has been planted with cotton since the 1860s, and the British established the Gash scheme in 1924 and the Ghamdambaliya scheme in Gedaref in 1945. Although these large mechanized farming projects provide considerable income for certain sectors they have also undermined traditional lifestyles and migration routes resulting in a weakened capacity of the tribal nomads to survive the fluctuations of their environment and eco-system, such as the major droughts and famine occurring over the past two decades. Pastures and livestock have been decimated and food insecurity and chronic poverty have reached crisis proportions.
Social and Ethnic composition
The major ethnic groups of the Eastern Sudan are the Beja, who are pastoralists or agro-pastoralists and include the Bishariyyn, Hadendwa, Amar'ar/Atmaan people, the Beni Amer, often included among the Beja, however with different linguistic roots and cultural characteristics who reside on both sides of the Eritrea / Sudan border, and the Rashaida, Bedouins who entered Sudan from the Northern Arabian Peninsula during the 19th century and still move across the borders as traders and/or smugglers.
The Shukriyya, farmers and pastoralists who were granted land by the King of Sinnar during the Funj kingdom (1504-1821), are currently the largest Arab tribes in Gedaref. The urban areas of Kassala, Port Sudan and Gedaref have mixed populations where Sudanese from Khartoum and other parts of the country have migrated, many of whom are government administrators and businessmen. A strong urban / rural divide exists, ethnically, socially, politically and economically.
The Beja Congress was established in the 1950's and has since been an active political force in the region with changing alliances over the years between the DUP and the NDA, and evolving into an armed force in the 1990s. The Eastern Front was formed in 2005 when the Beja Congress joined forces with Rashaida Free Lions. Although the Beja Congress was inherently a political organization reticent to resort to arms there was a strong feeling in the East that as democratic institutions were non-existent and the NCP would not allow change through political channels, it would have to be fought for militarily.
The Wali's, or Governors, of the states are not elected locally but are appointed by the central government. They therefore do not represent the majority population nor are they accountable to those they are meant to represent. The tribes have their own traditional structures and authorities, or Nazirs, who interact politically with the Walis as well as resolving conflicts among the tribes.
The struggles in Eastern Sudan have involved a wider participation than just the signatories to the ESPA, in part due to alliances with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). According to some analysts in 2005, Eritrea supported the JEM in establishing a presence in Eastern Sudan with about 2,000 troops, mainly Darfurian migrants resident in Gedarif. However with the signing of the ESPA the Eritreans requested the withdrawal of JEM forces.
Looking more broadly at the Horn of Africa, the enduring volatile political situation in Somalia is a real threat not only to the ESPA, but to the stability in the whole region. Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan are involved in the Somali situation, and these countries are vital for political and military stability in the region. Analysts have claimed the ESPA was largely a bi-product of a larger process of reconciling the governments of Sudan and Eritrea and restructuring the security architecture of the Horn.
The unpredictable relationship between Sudan and Eritrea also constitutes a threat to the ESPA. Since 1993, Sudan-Eritrean relations have experienced periods that bordered on open war at various stages.
For almost 45 years since the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) launched an armed struggle on what was then the Sudanese-Ethiopian border, regimes in Khartoum, Addis Ababa and later Asmara have supported one another's dissidents. The ESPA calls for an end to the support but it will be some time before it can be ascertained whether the commitment to that provision is sincere. Experience in the Horn of Africa is that even when governments stop supporting each other's dissidents, they do not disband them, understanding only too well how quickly conditions and relations can change. Moreover, given the widespread allegations that the NCP has not followed through on its commitments under the CPA and the DPA, where it is confronting much stronger armed groups, there are doubts as to its sincerity in implementing the ESPA.
Current Status of Peace Agreement
The principal merit of the agreement is that it brought the war to an end and averted a more serious humanitarian crisis in Eastern Sudan. However, eighteen months after the signing little progress has been made towards its implementation. According to insiders, internal debates within the Eastern Front delayed the naming of officials to enter government posts. According to the UN Secretary-General (S/2007/500), only after high level bi-lateral discussions in Asmara, three leaders of the Eastern Front were appointed to senior level posts in the GoNU in May 2007, and in June of that year others were appointed as deputies to the National Assembly. Although the Parties acknowledged in January 2008 (S/2008/64) that implementation mechanisms had been established and the Eastern Sudan Rehabilitation Fund would begin executing projects in 2008, it was also noted that full implementation of the agreement would require further work. According to news reports, in March 2008, the Eastern Sudan Rehabilitation Fund Board, chaired by the GoS, approved a number of projects to be implemented through 2008. The GoS committed to implement the relevant ESPA provisions and had 275 million Sudanese Dinar budgeted for 2008.
Concerns expressed over the ESPA revolve around the issues of the inclusion of Gedaref State in the same categories as the Red Sea and Kassala States, the absence of clear modalities for implementation of the agreement and representation of the different ethnic groups in political office. Many groups in Gedaref resent giving the Hadendowa, Beni Amir and Rashaida (marginal in Gedaref in terms of numbers) greater power than that of other significant groups. Suggestions have been made for the creation of an East-East Dialogue to bridge ethnic divisions and rivalries created first by the war, and then by the peace process.
Other analysts question how the $600m development fund can be equitably managed by a board chaired by NCP, and that a necessary focus of a democratic process should be voting out the NCP - if and when elections are permitted.
Some observers note the absence of international or regional powers as guarantors of the ESPA and believe that without international participation there is no guarantee that the government will abide by the provisions of the Agreement. ?The agreement was brokered by Eritrea, which hosted and facilitated the negotiations. There are already some who argue that Eritrea pressured the Eastern Front to sign. However others believe that due to antipathy felt by the NCP and the Eritrean government towards the United Nations and the USA, their exclusion made it possible to sign these agreements within the relatively short time frame they did.
Although regional and national elections are stipulated in the CPA, there is growing concern that the lack of interest demonstrated by the NCP and the SPLM in the elections might jeopardize whether or not they will take place as scheduled, and if they will be free and fair. The success of the ESPA is dependent upon democratic transformation, and many believe, an electoral defeat of the NCP. According to some, the signing of this agreement may extend the life of the government for a few years. Not only does the achievement of another peace agreement marginally increase the stature and legitimacy of the NCP, and demonstrate its responsiveness to international and SPLM/A pressures, it also eases tensions with Eritrea and has permitted the transfer of troops from the East to Darfur. The Eritrean government was also a major beneficiary of the agreement through limiting the numbers of the SAF in the East and to disband the SAF allied armed groups along the Eritrean border. Security has been elevated on this front at a moment when tensions continue between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The open border should also ease economic pressures in the country.
In her analysis of stability and development in Southern Kordofan, Sara Pantuliano identified both structural and immediate causes. Pantuliano considers the most important structural causes to be the following:
Several observers have pointed out that the "three areas" protocol of the CPA, as well as its aftermath, have created immense resentment and controversy among many Kordofan residents. As Kordofan continues to suffer from an attention deficit, and without peace dividends, the dangers of renewed violent conflict and humanitarian crisis in the region are real and acute.
The implementation of the CPA in Southern Kordofan has been subject to numerous delays, in particular as regards the formation of the state government and institutions. The lack of integration between the NCP and SPLA at various levels of state government has solidified the existence of parallel mechanisms and institutions and fostered the progressive isolation of former SPLM areas, which have turned into separate cantonments and has hampered relief and recovery efforts, complicated by limitations on freedom of movement of government authorities and NGOs. The massive return of IDPs and refugees (an estimated 600,000 throughout the region) has exacerbated the lack of services and infrastructure in these areas. 
Delays in the redeployment of forces and the proliferation of armed militia have also weakened stability in the area. Some SPLA units have moved south of the 1-1-56 line and others have gone to assembly areas to await 'redeployment', but many still remain in former SPLM strongholds within Southern Kordofan. The integration of Other Armed Groups (OAG) such as the PDF into the SAF also continues to create tension, as the PDF demands absorption into the SAF and compensation for the years of fighting alongside the Sudanese army. There is a perception that both the SAF and the SPLA are arming local groups, respectively Arab nomads and the Nuba people.
The International Crisis Group, in its recent full fledged report on the situation in South Kordofan warned that both Nuba and Misseriya communities have become increasingly intolerant and frustrated at their marginalization by the CPA parties and the lack of peace dividends, to the extent that they could well resort to armed insurgencies if their needs are not met soon.
In response to the volatile situation in the region, UNMIS has re-aligned its force and established a strengthened presence in Southern Kordofan and Abyei, improved security of the El Obeid Logistics Base through the deployment of a quick reaction force, and extended monitoring and verification activities through the establishment of new team sites.
Much like the other peripheral regions of Sudan, groups in northern Sudan have long had their grievances with Khartoum, driven by the familiar claims of political and economic marginalisation. Nubian leaders claim their culture is at risk and want help resisting "Arabization" policy from Khartoum.
In northern Sudan the government moved forward with construction of two major hydropower dams in Merowe and Kajbar, despite protests from local communities and human rights campaigners. The Merowe dam was officially inaugurated by President Bashir in March 2009. The construction of the Merowe dam has already displaced over 10,000 people, and has been hotly contested by the Manassir and the neighbouring Amri and Hamadab. All three communities will lose their traditional homelands. Numerous negotiations have failed to address adequately their demands for resettlement and compensation, leading to tension and clashes in which civilians have been killed and arrested by security forces.
The second project is further north, around Kajbar, which will affect thousands more and threatens to submerge parts of the ancient Nubian homeland, much of which was already lost when Egypt completed the Aswan High Dam in 1964. It faces near unanimous opposition from the Nubian community.  The evolving situation and human rights and humanitarian concerns are highlighted in the regular reporting by the UN Secretary-General on Sudan to the Security Council.
Human Rights Issues
The human rights situation in Sudan, and in particular in the Darfur region, continues to be catastrophic. Throughout the country violations are systemic, with many incidents of arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture, unfair trials and the absence of freedom of expression.
On 28 November 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on human rights violations committed by security forces and both aligned and non-aligned militias in Southern Sudan and Darfur, implicating them in extrajudicial killings; torture, rape, and other cruel, inhumane treatment or punishment by security forces; arbitrary arrest and detention; interference with the judiciary and denial of due process; obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement. Security forces and militia were also accused of harassment of IDPs; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse, including sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Darfur; discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities; and forced labor, including child labor, by security forces and both aligned and non-aligned militias in Southern Sudan and Darfur.
The large scale and ongoing grave and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur are well documented, with numerous reports of very serious human rights violations and abuses. Victims of sexual and physical violence often described their attackers as members of the Sudanese Armed Forces or armed militias, with the great majority of the violent crimes going unpunished as arrests and prosecution of perpetrators are rare. The UN has accused Sudanese security forces of indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing of civilians. In Khartoum, the Sudanese national intelligence and security service (NISS), military intelligence and police have been found responsible for human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and use of excessive force. Political detainees, Darfuris and others from marginalized areas, as well as students are routinely subjected to ill-treatment.
At least 10,000 inhabitants of the northern Nile valley were forcibly evicted from their homes and land as water levels rose after the closure of the Merowe hydropower dam in July 08. Residents who remained in the area had opposed governmental relocation plans. They were not offered alternative housing in line with the agreement they had reached with the authorities, and have received neither compensation nor adequate humanitarian
assistance. Demonstrations are regularly met with excessive force and in June 2008, during a peaceful march in connection with protests against the Kajbar Dam in Northern Sudan the police killed four demonstrators and arrested dozens of others. Detainees, including journalists, were held incommunicado for up to 10 weeks and warned not to report on the subject.
Political repression in Sudan is routine. In July 2008, the President of the Umma Party Reform and Renewal and other political figures were arrested with supporters, including many former army officers, and accused of planning a coup. The authorities issued an order forbidding the press to discuss the matter in the press. Similarly, Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the Popular Congress Party, has been arrested on numerous occasions. Most recently, Sudanese security officers arrested Turabi on January 14, two days after he urged Beshir to surrender to the ICC, saying he thought the head of state was "politically culpable" for crimes committed in conflict-ridden Darfur. 
The GoS also continues with its harsh policy of clearing "slums" that house families fleeing to Khartoum in search of security and employment. Numerous previous clearances have steadily pushed primarily non-Arab populations further from the center of Khartoum, now to locations that are over 20 kilometers south of the capital. 
In Southern Sudan, clashes between different militias continued, often resulting in killings of civilians or abductions. People continue to be arbitrarily detained, sometimes as hostages for other family members. Partly because of a shortage of lawyers, many people have been convicted without defense lawyers. A number of death sentences were passed but no judicial executions were known to have been carried out.
During the past four or five years, the issue of civilian insecurity or protection was more often raised in the context of the war in Sudan's Darfur region, and understandably so given the dramatic humanitarian emergency that has unfolded there since 2003. Civilians in southern Sudan and the transition areas, however, also face challenges and threats to their well-being, if not lives. This sub-section provides a brief overview of some of the more pressing security concerns for civilians in southern Sudan, including the three transition areas, and in Darfur along with their related consequences on the well-being and safety of these populations. Many of these issues are discussed in greater detail in the mission-specific sections, so this overview is meant to set the stage for those later sections.
Southern Sudan's security landscape is extremely fragile. The highest profile threat facing civilians in southern Sudan's border areas with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) come from the long-standing presence of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Recently, this threat has grown more deadly. In September 2008, LRA attacked villages in the DRC and an SPLA camp in Sakure, Western Equatoria State, killing two civilians and abducting 14, including 12 children. Their attacks intensified in the weeks before their leader, Joseph Kony, was scheduled to sign a peace agreement but did not appear (the third such failed attempt). In December 2008, the Ugandan army, supported by the Central African Republic, Congolese and Southern Sudanese armies launched a coordinated offensive, Operation Lighting Thunder, against the rebels. However, the attacks continued and by mid-January 2009, rebel attacks killed over six hundred Congolese civilians and an estimated 50 Southern Sudanese, abducted hundreds more, and caused thousands to flee their homes in Sudan.
External rebel movements are not the only armed forces civilians in Southern Sudan need to be worried about. Very weak rule of law institutions and insufficient attention by GoSS authorities to rule of law issues have given rise to an environment of impunity, particularly for soldiers who view themselves as "liberators" of the South and above the law. In this environment, soldiers and other security forces commit serious crimes, often opportunistically, against civilians. The crimes include beatings, robbery, intimidation, land-grabbing, and sexual violence. Soldiers and renegade soldiers from the SPLA also contribute to insecurity with infighting or by crimes against civilians for personal gain. The Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) lacks resources and training to effectively provide security. In their absence, GoSS officials, who are almost all former military themselves, turn to SPLA soldiers to manage security threats. The soldiers are untrained in civilian law enforcement and often undisciplined.
On a general level, all civilians would be vulnerable to the risks inherent in the collapse of the CPA and a resumption of war between the North and South. In this light, the slow and uneven pace of CPA implementation is a particular long-term concern and highly symbolic measures such as the behind-schedule creation of Joint Integrated Units are worrying indicators.
In more immediate terms, civilians in the three transitional areas remain under more urgent threats from left-over unresolved issues from the CPA process. In this part of the country, North-South tensions fuel a simmering tensions and outright conflict over the disputed areas of the 1956 border, such as oil-rich Abyei. Tensions between the parties to the CPA increased after the northern National Congress Party rejected the finding of a boundaries commission, formed in accordance with the Abyei Protocol of the CPA. The commission found that the ethnically southern Dinka Ngok communities had a legitimate claim to the area of Abyei and adjacent oil fields. Following SAF and SPLA troop build-ups and months of skirmishes in the area, clashes between the two forces erupted in May 2008, killing scores of civilians and causing at least 60,000 to flee from their homes.
In addition to these "uniformed" threats emanating from Sudanese security forces or attacks by the LRA, many southerners' security and livelihoods are affected by localized communal fighting, often linked to competition over land, livestock, or other resources. Large numbers of weapons remain in civilian hands, turning many disputes violent and deadly.
Armed criminal groups and renegade soldiers with unknown affiliations also present security threats in many parts of Southern Sudan, committing various abuses against civilians. For example, according to a report issued by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly's Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Committee, groups of renegade soldiers known as "forgotten warriors" attacked civilians in Upper Nile, looting homes and raping females. Large numbers of underpaid soldiers who lack training in their peacetime police-oriented role also represent a threat to security by committing human rights abuses and other crimes. Meanwhile, communal conflict persists in the form of cattle rustling and inter-communal conflict over land use and ill-defined payam and county boundaries.
Regardless of the source of the insecurity, the consequences are depressingly familiar for civilians. People are still dying violent deaths in the South or are seriously injured and the long-term health of people is weakened. Economic development and recovery are stunted or blocked altogether in some of the most desperate parts of Sudan and people, both residents and returning refugees are pushed to becoming de facto IDPs, unable to settle and build their lives. This is not a viable foundation for long-term peace and development in Sudan.
As the CPA process moves forward in fits and starts, some potential flashpoints are looming that might have serious consequences for civilians in the transition areas and South:
Sudanese civilians living in the three Darfur states have lived in dangerous and harsh conditions since the outbreak of the war in 2003. As conflict has evolved over the past six years, very few people in Darfur have been immune to the various sources of danger and violence that have plagued this troubled region of Sudan.
The danger comes in a number of forms and has affected people living both inside and outside IDP camps. Direct causes of insecurity include the war itself, in which thousands of civilians have died, and its related off-shoots such as increased criminality, heightened tribal/ethnic tensions and increased cross-border violence between Chad and Sudan. For the civilian populations living in the dozens of IDP camps throughout the Darfur states, insecurity is not lessened because of the easy accessibility to the camps enjoyed by both government and rebel agents and the threats camp residents (especially women) face when they venture out of the camps for food or fuel collection.
Indirectly, the war has threatened the health and well-being of civilians through the loss of regular food sources, health care, homes and livelihoods, the damage done to the local economy. Cumulatively, these consequences of the war have taken far more lives than the war's targeted violence and ensure that the civilian populations who initially survived raids or battles may face equally lethal threats in the aftermath regardless if they manage to stay in their homes or join the ranks of IDPs so long as the conflict continues.
 Situational Report, ISS - 20 November 2007, Author: Munzoul A. M. Assal and Samia A. M. Eastern Sudan: Challenges facing the implementation of the peace agreement in Gedaref State
 Pantuliano, Sara - Comprehensive Peace? Causes and Consequences of Underdevelopment and Instability in Eastern Sudan, NGO Paper, Sept 2005
 Situational Report, ISS
 Pantuliano 2005
 Young, John - The Eastern Front and Struggle Against Marginalization, The Small Arms Survey, 2007
 Tanner, Victor and Tubiana, Jerome, Divided They Fall, The Fragmentation of Darfur's Rebel Groups, Small Arms Survey, 2007
 Young 2007
 Situational Report, ISS
 Young 2007
 Sudan, eastern rebels sign peace deal, 14 Oct 2006 17:12:00 GMT, Reuters
 UNMIS Media Monitoring Report, 26 March 2008, (http://www.unmis.org/english/2008Docs/mmr-mar26.pdf)
 Situational Report, ISS
 The Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement: Taking Stock and Moving Forward, by Dorina Bekoe, October 2007 - USIP
 Young 2007
 Situational Report, ISS
 Young 2007
 Young 2007
 See Alex de Waal, Focus on Kordofan, 3 August 2008, (http://www.ssrc.org/blogs/darfur/2008/08/03/focus-on-kordofan)
 International Crisis Group, Sudan's Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?, Africa Report N145, 21 October 2008
 Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan, S/2009/61, dated 30 January 2009
 Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan (S/2009/61), dated 30 January 2009
 See, Tenth periodic report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Sudan Arbitrary arrest and detention committed by national security, military and police, 28 November 2008, OHCHR.
 See, Report of the Secretary-General on the deployment of the
African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (2009/83), dated 10 February 2009, available at http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/sgrep09.htm
 See, Eleventh periodic report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Sudan (Killing and injuring of civilians on 25 August 2008 by government security forces: Kalma IDP camp, South Darfur, Sudan), dated 23 January 2009, OHCHR, available at http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/11thOHCHR22jan09.pdf
 See, Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan (S/2009/61), dated 30 January 2009
 Sudan - Amnesty International Report 2008, Human Rights in Sudan, found at http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/sudan/report-2008
 Sudan - Amnesty International Report 2008, Human Rights in Sudan, found at http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/sudan/report-2008
 See, United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan, S/2008/662, 20 October 2008.
 See, "DR Congo: LRA Slaughters 620 in 'Christmas Massacres', Human Rights Watch news release, 17 January 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/17/dr-congo-lra-slaughters-620-christmas-massacres.
 See, the CPA, chapter IV.
 See, Abyei Boundaries Commission Report, July 14 2005, http://www.sudanarchive.net/cgi-bin/sudan?e=--and-TX-abyei-1025-10-1-0-abyei&a=d&cl=search&d=Dl1d18 (accessed February 2, 2009). See also, International Crisis Group, "Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Beyond the Crisis," Africa Briefing No. 50, March 13, 2008, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5329&l=1 (accessed February 2, 2009).
 See, Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Committee, Report on situation in Upper Nile, 11-23 September 2008, on file with Human Rights Watch.