Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, October 27, 1998 Published at 03:38 GMT

World: Africa

UN told to push for end to Sudan's war

Agencies say 2.5 million people face famine

Four major aid agencies have urged the UN to take a more active role in ending Sudan's civil war, saying aid alone will not solve the disasters that have cost 1.5 million lives.

They warned another 2.5 million people faced famine and said the humanitarian crisis had reached an ''unimaginable and extraordinary level of tragedy".

The United Nations and the Security Council have largely stayed out of the political aspects of the war, focusing mainly on humanitarian relief.

[ image: The SPLA has extended its ceasefire in the south west]
The SPLA has extended its ceasefire in the south west
But Care International, Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontiers and Save the Children told the council that aid was not enough.

"Sudan's warring factions use civilians as human shields and as strategic military resources," the agencies said.

They called on the UN to "generate a forceful and positive lobby for peace" that would include shuttle diplomacy, followed by summit level meetings and a full time special representative for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the area.

"Humanitarian assistance alone, in a political vacuum, will not solve Sudan's problems nor stop the next famine. What we need is the political will to end the war," said Guy Tousignant, secretary general of Care International.

Oxfam's British director, Dr David Bryer, said Sudanese society was so weakened that further humanitarian disasters were inevitable.

Call to extend ceasefire

Sudan's 15-year war, one of the longest conflicts in Africa, pits the mainly Moslem, Arabic north against rebels who want autonomy for the mainly Christian and animist south.

The government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) recently extended a ceasefire until mid-January in the Bahr el-Ghazal area.

But the agencies said it should be broadened throughout southern Sudan or it might only allow warring parties to use their troops for fighting elsewhere.

Currently the only forum to bring the two main combatants together is the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, known as Igad, which meets infrequently in Ethiopia.

The four agencies said that Igad meetings achieved little ''for the fundamental reason that both the government and the SPLA act as though their interests are served better by war than peace".

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

16 Oct 98 | Africa
Sudan seeks opposition talks

01 Oct 98 | Africa
Princess sees famine relief at work

02 Jul 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
(Mis)reporting Sudan's famine

28 Apr 98 | Analysis
Sudan: Background

Internet Links

National Democratic Alliance

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief