The Nuba have the right to survice

Sudan Catholic Information Office
Sudan Monthly Report, July 1996

For the last 10 years, the Nuba people have faced a systematic genocide perpetrated by the Islamic government in Khartoum. Innocent women and children have continually been captured by government forces, tortured, raped, enslaved and even killed in a bid to Islamize the Nuba people and erase any trace of their rich culture.

"Most people are now Muslims and the Nuba traditions have been erased: No more bracelet and stick fights, no nudity, no body paintings, and instead of a council of elders, there is a sheikh", wrote a recent Church report on the situation of the Nuba.

The first official reaction to the appeal came from Ms. Emma Bonino, European Commissioner for Humantarian Aid. On 26 June 1996 she wrote to the promoters:
"The European Commission is fully aware of the extremely serious humanitarian crisis existing in various areas of Sudan. Recently I saw in person the difficulties met by the international humanitarian action because of the obstacles of delivering relief to the people in some of the most affected areas.
For this reason I express together with you the wish that the international community would find as soon as possible the modalities to open up, in all the areas where there are emergency situations, corridors and areas where relief and relief workers would act freely, protected by any kind of violence, intimidation or political conditioning".

The promoters have in addition appealed to any group of goodwill to join in the struggle for the betterment of lives of victims of Sudan's 13-year-old civil strife.

SCIO is a signatory of the appeal. Here is the text.


To the attention of the Secretary General of United Nations, Boutros Boutros- Ghali, Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Yasushi Akashi
Having considered the grave violations of humanitarian law and human rights obligations under international laws perpetrated by the Sudanese government and documented by the Special Rapporteur, G. Biro and other international non- governmental organisations (African Rights, "Facing genocide: the Nuba of Sudan", London, 1995, two video documentaries: "The Nuba: Sudan's secret war", BBC, London, July 1995; "I Nuba del Sudan", Comunita Nuova and Amani, Milan, April 1996) special attention must be drawn to the situation of human suffering of the Nuba Mountains populations;

deeply concerned about the Sudanese Government's policy of dismemberment of the civilian Nuba people with discrimination, forced displacement of persons, intimidation and torture, summary executions, rape of women and grave violence against children, with the aim of destroying the ethnic identity of the Nuba;

deeply alarmed that access by Nuba civilian populations to humanitarian assistance has been impeded, although the joint statement of 15 Sept. 1992 between the U.N. and Sudanese government affirms "...the critical importance of access to all people in need of humanitarian assistance wherever they may be" (G.A., res. 48/147);

recalling the ongoing efforts of the United Nations and its special programme Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) and the efforts of other humanitarian organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide humanitarian relief to the Sudanese in war affected areas and recalling the persistent refusal of the Sudanese government to authorize the extension of OLS relief programmes also to rebel held areas of the Nuba Mountains.

The humanitarian non-governmental organizations of the Campaign for Peace in Sudan (Italy), MISSIO, (Germany), AFRICAN RIGHTS (U.K), Africa Faith and Justice Network (USA), Catholic commission for Justice and Peace (South Africa), SCIO and KOINONIA (Kenya)

Invite the Secretary General to bring to the attention of the appropriate organs of the United Nations - especially the Security Council - the situation of the Nuba people, requiring urgent humanitarian intervention to prevent a situation of genocide;

Encourage the United Nations to ensure the establishment of relief corridors (G. A. Re. 45/ 100), with or without the agreement and co-operation of the government of Sudan, and to ensure the immediate free access of humanitarian organizations and U.N Sudan relief programs to the Nuba Mountains to provide humanitarian assistance to civilian populations and victims of the civil war;

Emphasizing that it is essential to put an end to the repeated grave violations of recognized international human rights in the Nuba Mountains, to the indiscriminate bombing and raiding of civilian villages, to the denial of the most basic needs;

Request the United Nations Security Council to exercise, given the inaction of the Sudanese Government (G. A. res. 43/131), its right to intervene in the domestic affairs of Sudan for humanitarian reasons and, as needed, to use the instruments provided by the Chapter VII of the Charter (S. C. res. 688) to ensure the right to life to the Nuba people (art. 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1966; art. 12, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, art. 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

End of the appeal text


June 15, 1996, a SCIO staff member, Fr. Kizito, four church workers and a French Journalist based in Nairobi, Mr. Jean Helene, correspondent for LE MONDE and RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL, went for a relief mission to the Nuba Mountains. Fr. Kizito visited on foot the areas of Kauda and Lubi, about 70 km from the Teberi airstrip where they landed. People there had not seen a priest, and a white person, for the last 15 years, and Christians of all churches as well as Muslims gave him an extraordinarily warm welcome.

June 30, in the afternoon, the government garrison of Aggab, about 30 km from Teberi, started to shell in the direction of Teberi. The following day a heavily armed military party of about 25 vehicles and 1,000 soldiers moved our of Aggab with the evident intention of going to Teberi. With a series of ambushes the SPLA forced them to divert to Debi, about 12 km from the airstrip. Friday 5 July, the government soldiers were under SPLA siege in Debi.

July 4, the group of church workers listening to Radio Omdurman at 3.00pm heard praises for the Nuba who are living in peace and co-operating with the government. They had to keep the volume of the receiver very high, to be able to hear in spite of the explosions of the shells falling not too far away.

July 6, an aircraft came to collect the church workers. Few minutes after it landed heavy shelling started from Debi. The first shell missed the aircraft by less than 100 meters. In spite of this the aircraft was able to leave. Only Mr. Jean Helene was left behind, since he was visiting some distant areas.

July 10, an Antonov bomber flew over Regifi, Lugi and Teberi, dropping 12 bombs, fortunately without causing any victim.

July 17, an aircraft with Fr. Kizito went to pick up Mr. Jean Helene, in a provisional airstrip some 50 km from Teberi.

In the meantime Khartoum government insists that there is no problem and no war on the Nuba Mountains, and that the SPLA is not present.