The Sudanese government continues its long-standing policy of attacking civilians. In addition to the ongoing crisis in Darfur, forces under the command of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir have carried out attacks against civilians in the disputed Abyei territory, and the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Throughout its offensives, the Sudanese government continues to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity against its own civilians. In 2011, more than 500,000 Sudanese civilians were driven from their homes by government action and that number continues to grow in 2012. Indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground attacks are preventing farmers from planting crops in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and denial of international humanitarian aid has set up a crisis that is nearing famine conditions.
Since the 1989 overthrow of the Sudanese government by a military coup led by current President Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese government has regularly deployed troops, tanks, and local militias against its own citizenry. During the second phase of the Sudanese Civil War, Sudanese government forces bombed civilians in the Nuba Mountains and forcibly cleared civilian areas to facilitate oil exploration. The government also empowered local militias to attack civilian supporters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) across the country. The combination of combat tactics and conflict-induced famine led to the death of an estimated 2 million Sudanese during the 22-year long Civil War (1983-2005).
In 2003, the Government of Sudan responded to a rebellion in the Darfur region of Sudan and began a genocidal campaign against civilians killing over 300,000 and displacing over three million Darfuris. As the crisis in Darfur continues in its ninth year, attacks by the Sudanese government and its proxy militias continue, particularly in the inaccessible Jebel Marra area. Civilians remain at risk of attack by Sudan Air Force planes, soldiers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and their allied Janjaweed militias, and other armed actors operating in Darfur. Over 2 million Darfuris remain displaced.
In January 2011, according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the SPLM and the Government of Sudan, southern Sudanese held a referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly for southern independence. South Sudan officially became a country in July 2011. However, several issues including border demarcation and an agreement over oil remain unresolved and threaten a return to war between the North and South.
The status of the region of Abyei, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, remains contested and was invaded by the SAF in May 2011 displacing 113,000 people. Two states that remained in the North but with rebels who had previously fought with the South, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, were then attacked by Sudanese forces in July and September. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), SAF forces targeted civilians on the basis of their political identity, and indiscriminately killed civilians throughout the state. Nearly 500,000 have been displaced by fighting, the bulk of whom do not have access to humanitarian aid due to Sudanese government restrictions. Those attacks have continued, marked by indiscriminate aerial bombardments, ground attacks, and actions which the United Nations has said may amount to crimes against humanity.
Reports on Sudan