Calling for Aid: The Cry from Sudan

By Li, Linda | Harvard International Review, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Calling for Aid: The Cry from Sudan


Li, Linda, Harvard International Review


A peaceful Sudan was the lofty goal of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on January 9, 2005, between the northern government of Sudan and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). More than a year afterward, the situation in the country seems unpromising at best. Darfur remains one of the most troubled regions in the world, with frequent eruptions of violence from rebel groups against the government. Humanitarian crises abound as large numbers of internally displaced people and refugees return home to communities suffering from rape, property destruction, robbery, injury, and death. With suitable and adequate international pressure, the Sudanese government must ensure the rightful political development of the country while outside agencies promote peacekeeping and humanitarian aid.

The historic conclusion of the CPA ended over two decades of Africa's longest civil war, a conflict between the non-Arab populations of southern Sudan and the Arab-controlled government. The CPA's terms serve the interests of both southern and northern residents. The main provisions of the treaty arranged for the autonomy of southern Sudan followed by a referendum, the fifty-fifty share of oil revenue between the Government of South Sudan and the National Congress Party (NCP), the merging of armed forces between the north and the south, and the distribution of jobs in the government according to certain established ratios. Despite the formation of the new "Government of National Unity" and the signing of a new constitution, the commitments delineated in the treaty are empty if the ruling party does not carry them out.

Indeed, the ruling NCP has done little to improve the situation in southern Sudan. Dominated by the National Islamic Front (NIF), the NCP has expanded the role of the African Union and NATO in peacekeeping in the region while the new constitution has set the wheels of democratization in motion. However, without a sustainable economy to support its reconstruction, southern Sudan is stagnating. This seems to be precisely the goal of the NIF. It has reserved authority over two ministries, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry for Mining and Energy, which together control the incomes from the oil fields. Though southern Sudan accounts for 90 percent of the country's total oil production, it receives less than the 50 percent of the profits guaranteed under the CPA. …

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