The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Sudan’s border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting between the army and insurgents has intensified, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Those fleeing the area are in urgent need of food, shelter and medical care, but international aid agencies are unable to access vulnerable populations. About 417,000 people in all have uprooted from their homes, according to the latest United Nations’ estimates.
Fighting broke out in June between Sudan’s army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-Northern Sector in Southern Kordofan, which borders newly-independent South Sudan. In September, the violence spread into neighboring Blue Nile state. Both Sudan and South Sudan have accused each other of supporting rebel movements in each other’s territory. In a rare direct confrontation, their militaries clashed earlier this month in Jau, a border area claimed by both governments.
In talks with the Khartoum government, the United States has expressed its deep concern over the ongoing violence against civilians caught in the middle of the fighting. The U.S. has made it clear that the Sudanese government’s desire for the U.S. to rescind its designation of Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and the sanctions that such a designation entails, will not be granted until Sudan meets the necessary statutory criteria and until the situation in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan improves. This includes providing sufficient and sustained international humanitarian access to those displaced and the end of all aerial bombardments in these two states.
The government of Sudan only risks further isolation if it does not take the steps needed to alleviate the serious human suffering in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.