Maandelijks archief: september 2011

Pronk: West turns a blind eye to Sudan slaughter

Dit interview met voormalig VN-gezant in Sudan (2004-2006) Jan Pronk maakte ik voor Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

The Western world is turning a blind eye to the slaughter in the Sudanese region South Kordofan, says former UN Special Representative in Sudan Jan Pronk. He led the UN peace-keeping operation in Sudan from 2004-2006. According to Pronk, it’s time for the United Nations Security Council to act.

How do you explain the current crisis in South Kordofan?
Jan Pronk: “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement has led to the independence of South Sudan this summer. But not everything has been settled in the peace treaty, in particular, the status of three specific areas in Sudan inbetween the north and the south: Abyei, the Nuba Mountains – or South Kordofan – and Blue Nile.”

“After South Sudan became an independent state, these three areas more or less ended up in a vacuum. The struggle continues, mainly in Abyei and the Nuba Mountains. Abyei is the area where the war between the north and south began. The rebels in South Kordofan, continue to fight for independence.”

Is a new genocide taking place?
Jan Pronk: “The northern forces are killing people on a large scale. We shouldn’t be asking whether or not they are carrying outs acts of genocide in South Kordofan. We need to stop the violence and the slaughter now!”

“The Southerners are being bombed and killed. The northern forces are using more or less the same tactics as they always did in the south: killing people in villages, bombing villages, killing people on horseback – exactly what they did in Darfur and continue to do in Darfur. The same tactics!”

What should the international community do to protect these people?
Jan Pronk : “I’m afraid that the West at the moment is turning a blind eye to what’s going on in South Kordofan, because the West is afraid to irritate al-Bashir. They need al-Bashir to maintain some stability over the implementation of the 2005 peace treaty. They need him to respect the independence of South Sudan.”

“The South doesn’t give much support to the populations of these three areas because they are afraid that if they give support to these people – military or political – it will be the start of a new war between the north and the south.”

So what about the United Nations?
Jan Pronk: “We should definitely do something. What is happening at the moment is not in accordance with the peace treaty. The United Nations Security Council should take steps to continue working with the peace force UNMISS (United Nations Mission in Sudan) and give it a chapter seven mandate, which means a mandate to protect people against the will of the leaders over there. That’s a decision that has to be taken by the Security Council.”

“But you first have to put the issue on the agenda of the Security Council. I know it’s difficult because the Chinese and the Russians are perhaps very good friends with al-Bashir. But the Americans are also very good friends with al-Bashir. That means that the Europeans should put the issue on the agenda.”

“It’s difficult because at the moment there are so many issues on the agenda of the Security Council. I can understand that some countries say: It’s too much. We cannot deal with everything. But they have to understand that not dealing with issues like this also makes them responsible for the victims of non-action.”