November 9, 2012
A Letter from the Nuba People

November 5, 2012

Dear Leaders of the International Community,

We write to you from inside the Nuba Mountains and on behalf of the men, women and children who have waited in vain for your help.

Since June 2011, we have been under constant attack by the Bashir regime.  Hundreds of bombs have dropped on us, and missiles as well as attacks by soldiers and militia are a constant threat.  In the last two weeks, bombardment by the Khartoum regime has increased intensively.  Since Friday, October the 26th, the bombardment has become more brutal and covered more than a dozen of our villages.  Many people have been killed, and livestock and several houses and fields of crops have been burned and destroyed.  The intense bombing has begun again this week and it is a daily activity in the area.

As it is well known to you, we do not have access to food, medicine, healthcare and other basic necessities.  We look around at what is left of our homes and see our family and friends weak from hunger and disease.  Everywhere we look, we see children, the elderly and other vulnerable people lying on the ground helpless.  The number of people dying from starvation and disease is disturbing and increasing.  It is very hard for us to explain to our children what is happening when they ask us, “Does anyone in the world know what we are going through? Why is it that no one cares about us?”

For 17 months, we have been hearing you talk about us.  We’ve heard you say that our situation is critical and that you are gravely concerned; however, we have almost given up hope that your words mean anything. 

We are aware of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and the work done by the UN in coordination with the African Union and League of Arab States to secure a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for our area (Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile.  We have heard about the latest AUPSC Communiqué dated October 24, 2012 that we understand will inform your actions on our behalf, and we want you to understand what we have heard and how it makes us feel.

Less than 10% of the communiqué addresses what has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.  The communiqué spells out the priorities of the AU (and therefore the UN), and we are sad to learn that saving our lives – urgently addressing a critical humanitarian crisis - is clearly not a priority.

While UNSC Resolution 2046 demands an end to aerial bombardments and all hostilities, the AUPSC Communiqué fails to acknowledge the conditions we are forced to endure on a daily basis and it fails to acknowledge who is responsible for imposing those conditions on us.  The Communiqué does, however, recognize the “difficult circumstances” faced by Bashir and commends him for his courage and statesmanship in reaching agreements with South Sudan and regarding Abyei.  This is very difficult for us to understand.  We do not understand why a leader who fails to implement existing agreements and therefore requires additional intervention by the international community in order to avoid a war that he would start should be commended.  If Bashir is facing difficult circumstances, they are the result of his own making and frankly, we would like him to be in our situation and just test what we are going through for 17 months in the Nuba Mountains.  If Bashir lived in the Nuba Mountains, he would understand the meaning of “difficult circumstances.”

We also do not understand why Bashir should be rewarded with financial assistance, debt relief and the lifting of sanctions as outlined in the Communiqué.   As stated earlier, Bashir bombed our villages as he was signing agreements.

Unlike UNSC Resolution 2046, the Communiqué fails to provide deadlines or outline consequences if Bashir continues to attack us and continues to block humanitarian access.  The Communiqué does urge the AUHIP to “undertake a lessons-learnt exercise” and so we respectfully submit the observation based on our own experience and based on Bashir’s behavior since UNSC Resolution 2046 was put into place on May 2, 2012, that Bashir does not comply with agreements.  The Communiqué does include a November 10, 2012 deadline for convening negotiations regarding political negotiations between Bashir and the SPLM-North based on the June 28, 2011 Framework Agreement, but given the complexity of political negotiations that should encompass the entire country, this deadline will have no impact on our desperate situation.  Deadlines and conditions related to access for humanitarian aid must be separate from the political process and must be prioritized above all else. 

While we appreciate your commitment to remain “actively seized on the matter”, we are worried – based on our experience – that your commitment will not save our lives and the lives of our children who have suffered long enough.  Our question remains unanswered, why doesn’t anyone care about us? We have a right to be protected from a brutal government and to be rescued from genocide.  We have a right to have access to food and medicine like everyone else in the world.  Innocent lives are being taken day and night including children, women, and the elderly right before our eyes and the world’s silence is unbelievable.

We have much to offer our country, the continent and the world.  The Nuba Mountains are beautiful and we are remarkable people.  We enjoyed six years of peace after the signing of the CPA, an agreement that was the result of strong Sudanese, African and international leadership.  That same combined level of leadership is required today.  We welcome the appointment of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and we urge her to visit us this month with a shipment of food and medicine.

Thank you for considering our concerns and we hope you will stand on our behalf and do everything possible – even if Bashir does not allow it - to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to our areas for our people.

Best regards,

1-      Stephevanos Jaralnabi Angalo, Omdorain Locality

2-      Alamin Kharif Bari, Delami Locality

3-      Jibreel Ismail, Alboram Locality

4-      Zaki Khalifa Tawor, Kadugli Locality

5-      Ahamed Abaala, Haiban Locality

6-      Khamis Soba, Deleng Locality

7-      Salieh Alias dalum, Lagawa Locality

8-      Nur Aldeen Jumma Almahadi, Abujabiha Locality

9-      Adam Alnugra Ahamed, Talodi Locality