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Date Mon, 09 Dec 2002 13:34:36 -0800

November 25, 2002

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Hate, Discrimination Responsible For War In Sudan

Title - Sudan: The Continuing Costs of War
Publisher: World Vision Inc
Author: Kate Almquist.
Volume: 28 pp  (Policy Papers Issue No.3)
Year: 1999

NAIROBI (AANA) November 25 - The eruption of the war in Sudan can be traced 
to 1955. For in 1955 in the month of August barely four months after 
independence the Southern Sudanese, who are Christians, went up in arms 
when the government attempted to unify the country under Islam.

This feeling of animosity can be further traced to the colonial times when 
the British undertook to develop the North at the expense of the South. The 
South has thus been made to feel inferior to the North and often have no 

This pugnacious atmosphere continues to fuel the current war making 
attempts at peace fruitless. In 1972 some sort of peace was negotiated 
known as the Addis Ababa Agreement granting independence to the South.

The hate and discrimination was pent up for a while but would later erupt 
in 1983. This is when President Jafar Nimeiri imposed the Sharia law on the 
South opening up old wounds and spiraling the country once again into war.

The war in the Sudan can thus be divided into two phases. The first war 
occurred between 1955 and1972, followed by the second war from 1983 to the 
present. This makes it one of the longest running civil wars in the

The civil war has witnessed multiple abuses of human rights. To further the 
policy of Arabisation the North has embarked on a trail of torture, rape of 
women, forced conscription and slavery among other atrocities on the South.

The economy also suffers and the government continues to neglect the South 
in its development plans. As a result fertile land in the South is left 
idle and much of the irrigation goes to the North.

The government is also accused of using the oil revenues to finance the war 
whose costs are estimated to be US $1 million daily. Its present oil 
production is 10,000 barrels but this will increase to 150,000 barrels when 
operation will be at full potential. It is only left to imagine how the 
government will use the revenue generated.

The Sudan war does not lack a political dimension. For the government 
continues to insist on Sharia law and anything less than this will be seen 
as a failure while the South is divided among its leaders making it 
impossible for any peace to be achieved.

The policy paper singles out Riek Machar, Kerubino Bol and John Garang as 
the leaders whose desire for power has left the South divided. "Who's 
paying the price for the war?" is a chapter showing the people of Sudan as 
the losers in the war.

Over two million people have died and a million others displaced. The 
majority of these deaths are blamed on the government who bomb innocent 
civilians and, by turning a blind eye to the development of the South, 
inadvertently caused the deaths of over 250,000 lives during the famine of 

The position of aid agencies is also questioned. The international 
community allocates US $1 million daily in humanitarian aid. This is 
similar to the amount the government spends in financing its war effort.

This situation threatens to make the aid agencies aloof to the Sudan 
because their attempts at alleviating the suffering are thwarted by the 
government's war finances hence aid agencies are comparable to a man trying 
to fill a basket with water which is an impossible and burdensome task.

The government is also accused of dictating to the aid agencies by denying 
relief flights to rebel held provinces. This has led to malnutrition and 
consequently death. What role aid agencies play in the Sudan is 
increasingly becoming a fundamental question.

It is pertinent therefore that autonomy is granted to the aid agencies to 
avoid a situation where the international community becomes helpless, 
immune and accustomed to the suffering of the Sudanese.

Now after more than two decades of fighting and more than two million 
deaths it is relevant to ask again whether any peace is possible and more 
pertinently the rationale in continuing with the current war.

After numerous treaties and ceasefires the situation is far from conducive 
to peace. The paper acknowledges this fact but without being pessimistic 
singles out the efforts of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development 
(IGAD) in its attempts to negotiate peace.

It is rightly credited with facilitating peace talks and the near adoption 
of the Declaration of Principles DOP by the warring parties would have 
offered a brighter future for Sudan. Contrary to their objectives the 
obstinate government is instead seeking other forum for discussion thus 
avoiding dealing with the fundamental issues affecting the Sudanese people.

The issues include religion, identity and self-determination. The cost of 
the war is already too high and unless a deal is negotiated the war will be 
reduced to a war of statistics and coupled with an aloof international 
community a human catastrophe beckons. This is an ominous prospect!

Reviewed by George Mboya


Landmines Clearing Operation Face Serious Hitches

Malawi's communities occupying the common border with Mozambique are living 
in fear. They are traumatised by the sight of the victims of anti-personnel 
landmines. According to the Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation, Malawi 
does not have a budget for mine action, while the army, despite having the 
engineering capacity, is not carrying out any anti-personnel mines

By Hobbs Gama

eports say an estimated 1,000 kilometres of the border on the Malawi 
territory is littered with landmines some ten years after the end of the 
civil war in Mozambique.

Guerrilla fighters planted the mines at random making it difficult for 
security personnel to take note of the "danger zones" of the so called 
"no-go areas".

People in the border districts of Mulanje, Ntcheu, Nsanje and Machinga 
recall of the killings by the mines and that their pleas to community and 
traditional leaders to do something about the "monsters" hiding beneath the 
ground awaiting to claim more victims have not bore fruit.

"I was fishing in Muloza river with my friend a few weeks ago when he 
spotted a small glittering object.

We were so interested, mistaking it for a toy," recounts Alberto Manueli of 
Muloza village in the border district of Mulanje with Mozambique.

Manueli says the toy exploded, killing his colleague while he suffered 
acute shock and stayed in hospital for a week.

Malawi's Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHHR) which is part of a 
landmine monitoring research network of NGOs has just released its report 
explaining the landmine situation for Malawi.

It is working in collaboration with the Ministries of Justice, Foreign 
Affairs and Defence, while the police and civil society have been called 
upon to support and sensitise communities in danger areas along the border.

Malawi ratified the 1997 International Mine Ban Treaty but not much is 
being done to remove the mines due to a host of limiting factors.

Presently, domestic legislation is lacking in de-mining provisions as the 
Ministry of Justice is currently carrying out a review of the law to 
provide for a coherent policy on de-mining. There are no funds set aside by 
government on its budget to facilitate the clearing exercise.

At the international level, the country is still lagging: Malawi did not 
take part in the Third Meeting of State Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty held 
in 2001 and in January this year in Nicaragua because of what officials 
term as logistic problems.

The treaty prohibits countries from manufacturing, stockpiling, transfer 
and use of anti-personal landmines and is currently facing the daunting 
challenge to check production of the dangerous weapons by such big 
countries as the US, Russia and China which are yet to ratify international 
conventions like the Ottawa Convention on Prohibition of the Use, 
Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Mines.

CHHR civic education coordinator, Undule Mwakasungula regrets the fact that 
Malawi does not have a budget for mine action, while the Malawi Army, 
despite having the engineering capacity, is not carrying out any 
anti-personnel mines activities.

He says while work is on to review, assess and amend legislation his 
organisation has teamed up with other NGOs and the government to solicit 
funds from donors to conduct a survey of the suspect areas, map them, 
evaluate the impact of landmine risk on civilians, civic education on the 
dangers and the general mining operations.

In some areas such as Mukumbura in the southwest, where the country shares 
a common border with Zimbabwe, some villagers claim the mines there were 
planted by the former Southern Rhodesia rebel government of Ian Smith who 
was fighting the nationalist guerrillas who were using that area as their 
supply base from Mozambique.

"We are not yet sure of the exact location of the landmines and we only 
rely on the cooperation of communities to alert police of any detected 
dangerous devices," says Mwakasungula urging for the spirit of community 

A landmine is cheap to buy - anything from US $3 to US $30. However, the 
Canadian Landmine Foundation states that to remove an anti-personal 
landmine can cost as much as US $1,000.

The foundation estimates that there could be about 60 to 100 million 
landmines in the ground worldwide, and an average of 26,000 people are 
killed or injured each year by the mines.

For the cash-strapped government of Malawi, it is indeed a nightmare to 
remove the mines while people in the danger areas, who mostly rely on 
farming activities and livestock rearing were not able to engage in their 
activities as freely as desired.

The situation is no better in neighbouring Mozambique where despite the end 
of the civil war between the incumbent Frelimo government and the Renamo 
rebels, the mines still lurk ominously beneath the earth. In this country 
mines were also being laid from the 1960s during the war between guerrillas 
and the Portuguese colonial rulers.

The provinces of Inhambane, Zambezia, Sofala and Nampula are infested with 
mines disturbing farming business. So far mines have claimed more than 
10,000 victims and continue to cause terror a decade after peace was

In some areas such as Mukumbura in the southwest, where the country shares 
a common border with Zimbabwe, some villagers claim the mines there were 
planted by the former Southern Rhodesia rebel government of Ian Smith who 
was fighting the nationalist guerrillas who were using that area as their 
supply base from Mozambique.

Arthur Verissimo, director on the National Institute for De-mining admits 
people were impatient with the delay to clear the mines but asserts that 
de-mining is a gradual process and requires a lot of funds that can only be 
sourced with the help of donors.

"We have not lost all hope however as the numbers of deaths from the mines 
has been on the decrease for the past few years," says Verissimo. He adds 
that most of the areas are yet to be marked and mapped as the work continues.

Experts warn that de-mining exercises will continue to be a frustration 
unless the large manufacturers of anti-personal mines were encouraged to 
stop production.

The other issue of concern is funding. Such countries as Angola and 
Afghanistan, which harbour one of the largest quantities of the mines, were 
finding it difficult to clear them awaiting donor response.

Tighter Trade Controls For Wood, Marine Life

A two-week conference of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora CITES concluded last week after 
adopting decisions that promote wildlife conservation through various 
strategies involving strict protection, trade regulation and sustainable 
use. The meeting was attended by some 1,200 participants from 141 
governments as well as numerous observer organisations.

he key to global wildlife conservation in the 21st century will be to craft 
solutions that meet the specific requirements of each species and its 
specific circumstances, according to Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary-General 
of CITES, whose secretariat is administered by the United Nations 
Environment Programme UNEP.

"CITES is well-placed to contribute to the conservation of a wide range of 
plants and animals through its rigorous system of trade permits and 
certificates, its ability to limit commercial trade when it proves 
detrimental to a species, and its support to national conservation and 
enforcement departments in developing countries," he said.

Among the high-profile decisions taken here was the listing of mahogany - 
which produces extremely valuable timber - on CITES' Appendix II. This 
listing requires each of the mahogany range states to ensure that all 
exports are sustainable and covered by CITES export permits.

"It is highly significant that after 10 years of discussion, the Parties to 
CITES have agreed to regulate the trade in Latin American mahogany," said 
Wijnstekers. "The well-tested control measures developed under CITES will 
prove invaluable for discouraging illegal trade. This decision will also 
benefit local and indigenous communities who have lost out to the illegal 

Another critical decision reached in the final hours of the meeting was to 
list the whale shark and the basking shark on Appendix II. This is widely 
considered a landmark agreement as CITES has not traditionally played an 
important role in global fisheries.

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, measuring up to 20 metres 
in length and weighing up to 34 tonnes. The listing proposal cited the 
species' declining numbers and the role of continued international trade in 
whale shark meat, fins, and liver oil.

The basking shark is highly migratory and is hunted for its meat and fins. 
Large numbers are also caught and killed accidentally as by-catch.

The conference also added 26 species of Asian turtles to Appendix II. Many 
turtles from South, Southeast and East Asia are traded in significant 
quantities for regional food markets, Asian traditional medicines and 
international pet markets.

Their numbers have been dwindling in recent years, and the newly listed 
species are vulnerable or endangered throughout their ranges. There is 
extensive evidence of illegal trade, but turtles are also harvested for 
subsistence consumption. Habitat loss is another major threat to their 

The trade in seahorses will also now be regulated for the first time. 
Seahorse populations seem to have declined dramatically over recent years 
owing to commercial trade, by-catch in fisheries, coastal development, 
destructive fishing practices and pollution.

To meet the growing demand for traditional medicines, aquarium pets, 
souvenirs and curios, at least 20 million seahorses were captured annually 
from the wild in the early 1990s, and the trade is estimated to be growing 
by 8-10 percent per year. All 32 seahorse species will now be listed in 
Appendix II.

Three rare birds from Central and South America - the yellow-naped parrot, 
the yellow-headed parrot and the blue-headed macaw - have been transferred 
from Appendix II Appendix I.

This means that no commercial trade will be permitted. This stricter 
regulation reflects concerns that the birds' numbers have continued to 
decline in recent years due to trade and habitat loss.

A number of threatened species in Madagascar - one of the world's most 
species-rich countries - will also receive stronger protection. They are 
the flat-tailed tortoise, various chameleons, a burrowing frog, and the 
Madagascan orchid.

The meeting also agreed to set a zero quota for commercial trade in the 
Black Sea population of bottlenose dolphins, which was already listed 
onAppendix II. These dolphins have declined greatly in recent years due to 
hunting, pollution and other stresses.

Building on an earlier consensus amongst most African elephant range 
states, CITES also agreed on a rigorous regime for controlling any eventual 
trade in ivory stockpiles.

It conditionally accepted proposals from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa 
that they be allowed to make one-off sales of 20, 10 and 30 tonnes, 
respectively, of ivory.

The ivory is held in existing legal stocks that have been collected from 
elephants that died of natural causes or as a result of 
government-regulated problem-animal control.

The agreement requires any future one-off sales to be supervised through a 
strict control system. The sales cannot occur before May 2004 to provide 
time for baseline data to be gathered on population and poaching levels and 
for the CITES Secretariat to confirm whether any potential importing 
countries can effectively regulate their domestic ivory markets and are 
thus eligible for importing the ivory.

The aim of these controls is to prevent any illegal ivory from entering 
into legal markets and to discourage an upsurge in poaching.

Another protection built into the system is that trade can be suspended if 
the CITES Secretariat and Standing Committee find either an exporting or an 
importing country to be in non-compliance. In addition, trade can be 
stopped if there is evidence that trade negatively affects elephant 
populations in other regions of Africa.

Two monitoring systems that have been established to track the illegal 
killing of elephants (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants, or MIKE) 
and illegal sales of ivory (Elephant Trade Information System, or ETIS) 
will be critical to ensuring that countries relying on tourism are not 
harmed by ivory sales from countries that also rely on trade.

Still other decisions seek to strengthen domestic conservation of 
threatened or endangered species already controlled by CITES, including 
bears, the tiger, sturgeon, and the Tibetan antelope.

The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention was 
held during November  4 - 15. It was attended by some 1,200 participants 
from 141 governments as well as numerous observer organizations. COP 13 
will be held at the end of 2004 or in the first half of 2005 in Thailand.

(* The article above was prepared by Patricia L Jacobs, Associate 
Information Officer, UNEP)

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