The Aegis Trust invites all supporters to sign this petition and join Sudanese refugees walking at 1.30pm Saturday 30 June from Lancaster Gate to Downing Street to deliver a letter to David Cameron calling for assertive diplomatic action to secure humanitarian access to all areas of Sudan affected by conflict – particularly the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan.
The Sudanese Government is blocking international aid from reaching hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes in the two areas by fighting and Government bombardment during the past year. These people are now at increasing risk of starvation.
“When Aegis visited the Nuba Mountains earlier this year, I witnessed for myself the flight of women and children from Sudanese Government bombers and saw captured anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs which had been used against civilians,” says Dr Kapila. “Bold measures are needed to secure humanitarian access to the hundreds of thousands who not only continue to suffer the daily threat of bombardment, but are now at risk of starvation. The situation in the Nuba Mountains is the World’s worst forgotten crisis, and it’s time the British Government showed some leadership on it.”
Many of those walking on Saturday – including Baroness Cox, founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief trust (HART) – will go barefoot in solidarity with people displaced from their homes across Sudan.
“I recently visited camps along the Sudan border, where there are now at least 150,000 refugees, with 1000 sometimes arriving in a single day, many ill, having walked for seven days without adequate food or water”, says Baroness Cox. “With the arrival of the rainy season last month there is little access for emergency food supplies.”
Even as the crisis escalates in the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains, 2.5 million people remain displaced from their homes in Darfur and 300,000 are living as refugees in Chad. An increase in violence in Darfur, the blocking of humanitarian aid and the denial of visas to humanitarian organisations means many more civilian lives are at risk.
Zaki Samwiil, a representative of Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad (NMSA), says: “The main purpose of the walk to Downing Street is to stand in solidarity with all marginalised communities of Sudan but in particular with those in the Nuba Mountains who are currently facing aerial bombardment by their own government. By conducting this walk we hope to exert pressure on the UK government to take some serious practical measures in order to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those most vulnerable in the region.”
The Aegis Trust, Humanitarian Aid Relief trust (HART), Nuba Now campaign, Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad (NMSA), Waging Peace, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and Darfur Union in the UK and Ireland are all supporting the walk on Saturday, which will coincide with an international day of action following recent anti-government protests in Khartoum.
The date marks the 23rd anniversary of Omar Bashir taking power in Sudan. The Sudan Government has vowed to crack down on protests in the country and a number of activists have been detained. The protests began with students using the #SudanRevolts hashtag on Twitter.
Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, says: “Securing humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile should be one of Britain’s highest international priorities. Innocent people are dying for lack of it. Far more will die if it isn’t secured quickly. Piecemeal action on Sudan isn’t enough anymore though. It’s the only country in the World governed by an indicted genocide suspect, yet nations including the UK continue to conduct business as usual with Khartoum. Britain should set an example by downgrading diplomatic relations with Sudan – especially if unhindered aid access is not immediately granted to the hundreds of thousands now running out of food.”
The letter to be delivered to the Prime Minister’s office has already been signed by more than 400 people and will be delivered by Baroness Cox, together with representatives from the Nuba Mountains and Darfur.
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