Sudan Tensions/Abyeui Oil Region
Independent Films, Web Series, Politics
(Pictured in this film report are efforts at calming tensions. Also, included is Government official Ahmed Haroun, who is indicted by the International Criminal Court and UN has been criticized for flying him to this meeting PLEASE SEE IN PRODUCTION NOTES ARTICLE FROM NY TIMES & THE UN "STORYLINE" on subject. While the overall voting in South Sudan is going smoothly tensions have been reported in the outskirts of Abyei, including in the town of Makeer, an oil rich region which is holding a concurrent referendum on whether to join the North or South. Disagreement remains there over how the vote should take place. Urgent meetings have been called between Abyei and South Kordofan security committees which have included traditional leaders. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said that the stalemate in the region is cause for alarm.
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
As voting began in Southern Sudan today (9 January), tensions have been reported in the outskirts of Abyei, including attacks in the town of Makeer.
The oil-rich Abyei region was meant to hold a concurrent referendum on whether to join the North or South, but an agreement on the modalities for such a vote has not been reached.
A hurriedly called meeting between Abyei and South Kordofan security committees, which included traditional leaders, discussed the current situation and the recent clashes.
After the meeting, Chief of Abyei Administration, Deng Arop Kuol, spoke to the press.
SOUNDBITE (English) Chief of Abyei Administration, Deng Arop Kuol:
“We have agreed also that the two parties, and especially the leaders from Ngok and the Misseriya should begin to cease hostile, you know, kind of statements being given to the media.”
The Governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, also spoke to reporters.
SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ahmed Haroun, Governor of South Kordofan:
“We are fully willing to save the lives of our people and to save the security and peace in this sensitive stage of our national history. We will be in intensive contacts to establish mechanisms to help to overcome any crisis that may arise.”
The number of casualties resulting from the renewed violence remains unknown.
In a recent statement UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that the continuing stalemate over Abyei and the Abyei referendum is a cause for alarm.
U.N. flew indicted war criminal to Sudan meeting
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* Ahmed Haroun is indicted for war crimes in Darfur
* UN says his presence was needed to reconcile tribes
By Patrick Worsnip
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan last week flew a man indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court to a peace meeting in the flashpoint Abyei region, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
The mission, known as UNMIS, transported Ahmed Haroun, a Sudanese provincial governor, to Abyei last Friday for a meeting to try to reconcile feuding tribes, officials said.
At least 36 people have died in clashes between the Arab nomad Misseriya and the Dinka Ngok, linked to Sudan's non-Arab south. The violence coincided with a week-long referendum in the south on independence from Khartoum.
Oil-rich Abyei is close to the Sudan's north-south border and is the subject of a dispute over which side it will belong to if, as expected, southerners vote to secede.
The Hague-based ICC issued international arrest warrants in 2007 for Haroun, a former state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia leader Ali Kushayb for helping to organize mass killings in Sudan's western Darfur region. Sudan is not party to the ICC and has refused to hand over either man.
Asked about the decision to help Haroun, who is currently governor of Southern Kordofan province which surrounds Abyei, attend the meeting, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the Abyei clashes were threatening to turn into a wider war.
"And so, Governor Haroun was critical to bringing the Misseriya leaders in Southern Kordofan to a peace meeting in Abyei to stop further clashes and killings," he told reporters.
Abyei's chief administrator, Deng Arop Kuol, said on Sunday Haroun had promised to set up a committee to handle Misseriya-Dinka disputes in the future.
The ICC is not a U.N. body and the United Nations is not a signatory to it but has promised under an agreement with the court to cooperate with it.
An opinion issued by the U.N. office of legal affairs in 2006 said contacts between U.N. representatives and people indicted by international courts "should be limited to what is strictly required for carrying out U.N. mandated activities."
Nesirky said the assistance given to Haroun was in accordance with the mandate of UNMIS to provide "good offices" to the northern and southern parties in Sudan "to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations."
But Richard Dicker, an ICC expert at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said, "I have real concerns. Ahmed Haroun is a charged war criminal linked to the worst abuses in Darfur."
"The question I have really is was there no other means for Ahmed Haroun to make it to the meeting," Dicker told Reuters.
"I think the U.N.'s posture should be of keeping a distance from him. I think the U.N. should be held to a high standard with regard to their flying Haroun to a meeting. There needs to be a high threshold of necessity." (Additional reporting by Opheera McDoom in Khartoum; Editing by Todd Eastham)
Year of Production: 2011
Length: 2 minutes
Sudan Tensions/Abyeui Oil Region by DiplomaticallyIncorrect is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License.
- Tom Osborne, UNTV
- Muhamed Sacirbey