“The Final Betrayal of Sudan: Obama administration’s lifting of economic sanctions; UN Ambassador Sa

The moral hypocrisy, the mendacity, and the sheer foolishness of the Obama administration’s claim that there has been a “sea change” of improvement in Khartoum’s facilitating of humanitarian access in Sudan is staggering. This isn’t some shading of the truth; this isn’t slightly disingenuous; it is a bald lie.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, claims there has been a "sea change" of improved humanitarian access in Sudan

A humanitarian with extensive experience on the ground in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan made this clear in a communication to me today, noting:

“there's been absolutely no change in humanitarian access [in the Nuba Mountains—suffering under Khartoum’s humanitarian embargo for over five and a half years]. Not a single grain of sorghum nor one tablet of medicine has entered Nuba from any of the usual humanitarian agencies.” (email received January 17, 2017)

The same is true for hundreds of thousands of people in Blue Nile, also under humanitarian embargo for over five years.

What has been the effect of these humanitarian embargoes—still in place because the international community refuses to put sufficient pressure on the Khartoum regime to compel their lifting?

One example of many: the South Kordofan/Blue Nile Coordinating Unit | Flash update #13 – 2nd March 2016: Emergency in Kau-Nyaro-Warni area (Southeastern Jebel, South Kordofan State): An estimated 65,000 people are in urgent need of assistance.

Starving child in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan---denied all humanitarian access by the Khartoum regime

The "Special Bulletin: Food security situation in Warni and Kau-Nyaro" released by the Food Security and Monitoring Unit (FSMU), reports levels “of food insecurity unprecedented” in their regular monitoring of the Two Areas.

As many as sixty four percent (64%) of households in the area are severely food insecure; and a further thirty six percent (36%) are moderately food insecure (total 97%). This degree of food insecurity is not without its manifestations. Two hundred and forty two (242) people are reported to have died between July and December 2015, in the 8 villages assessed, 145 of which were attributed to lack of food. Almost 10 percent of those who died from lack of food were under the age of five.

The households assessed had no food available to eat for an average of 16 days (out of the last 30 days). For an average of 10 days in 30 they went a whole day and night without any food. All households reported having no remaining food stock from the current harvest and are consuming wild foods, including wild roots and green leaves, as their main food source.

High levels of insecurity around the area have prevented people from accessing land to harvest during the last agricultural season. This, along with low levels of rainfall and insufficient seeds, has contributed to the poor harvest. Insecurity has further deteriorated with the beginning of the new season of fighting. Fear of attacks by government-supported militias was assessed as the most prevalent factor preventing people from moving out of the area, and the main limiting factor when searching for wild foods. As quoted in the report, people “preferred to stay put and die, rather than undertake moving."

Nothing has changed in the months since this assessment; conditions only worsen because Khartoum’s embargo continues to block food aid. Moreover, in Sudan generally UNICEF estimates that there are 2 million children under five in Sudan who are either severely or acutely malnourished ( http://sudanreeves.org/2014/09/05/an-internal-unicef-malnutrition-report-on-sudan-and-darfur-5-september-2014/ ). This staggering figure is a direct result of the gross mismanagement of the Sudanese economy by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime.

And in Darfur, the fact that humanitarians now have access to Golo town (in the Jebel Marra region of Central Darfur)—while important—doesn’t begin to make up for the denial of humanitarian assistance in countless areas of Darfur, including the Sortony camp for persons displaced from Jebel Marra during the massive 2016 offensive: Radio Dabanga reported the same obstruction by Khartoum-backed militias in May of 2016:

Militiamen's road block causes water shortage in Sortony, North Darfur | May 23, 2016 | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/militiamen-s-road-block-causes-water-shortage-in-sortony-north-darfur

…and then again in October of 2016:

North Darfur militiamen halt water for Sortony | October 24, 2016 | SORTONY, North Darfur | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/north-darfur-militiamen-halt-water-for-sortony

So severe were the shortages caused by Khartoum’s militia blockades that the UN was forced, at great expense, to airlift many displaced persons to camps near el-Fasher, capital of North Darfur. The Jebel Marra assault entailed some of the most brutal and comprehensively destructive tactics used by Khartoum during the the entire genocidal counter-insurgency, including the use of chemical weapons; and it was directed overwhelmingly against civilians.