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December 2007 - Posts

Presidential Advisors Affirm Beginning of New Stage

Khartoum, Dec. 27 (SUNA) - The Presidential Advisor, Andrew Makor, has affirmed his keenness after taking oath Thursday to dedicate himself to work for the interest of Sudan. In a press statement to SUNA after his oath taking Thursday, among three Presidential Advisors of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Makor said that the coming stage necessitates adherence to seriousness, cooperation, unity, credibility, honesty and Shura (consultation) to realize the aspired goals. He stressed the importance of living up to the national responsibilities and working to confront the problems and challenges that are facing Sudan. The Presidential Advisor of the SPLM, William Ajal Deng, also affirmed that the coming stage requires awareness about its importance and commitment of all parties to perform their roles and responsibilities for implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the welfare of the nation. Deng said that the oath taking of the SPLM ministers marked the beginning of a new era of joint work and cooperation between the SPLM and the National Congress to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and to surpass differences in compliance with the recent agreement between the two partners. Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the SPLM and Cabinet Affairs Minister, Pagan Amum, affirmed in a statement the end of the crisis between the two partners. He said that the ministers of the SPLM are now joining the national unity government with a new spirit and high morale toward implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Amum said that the SPLM ministers will work together with the national unity government to achieve peace in Darfur, and to boost the peace process, security and the democratic transformation all over Sudan. MO/MO

The President of the Republic boosting the spirit of brotherhood

Khartoum, Dec. 27 (SUNA)- The President of the Republic Field Marshal Omar Al Bashir on Thursday called on all parties to the Government of National Unity to work for building a strong and unified homeland and boosting the spirit of brotherhood among the people. The President has pointed out in a statement before the extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers on Thursday in which all representatives of the political parties in the Government of National Unity took part following the de-freezing of the SPLM participation that the Sudanese people have proved their capability to overcome difficulties through dialogue and without any foreign assistance, stressing that there would be no return to war in the country. The President has expressed his hope that the session which was held at the Council of Ministers on Thursday would be a spring point for more action and contribution, adding that the period in which the SPLM froze its participation was a time for evaluation and for weighing the positive and negative aspects in the performance of the Government of National Unity. The President reaffirmed the desire of the parties to the government to achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people, boost stability, peace and prosperity for the Sudanese people. He commended the good spirit that prevailed during the session of the Council of Ministers in its new formation. The Assistant to the President of the Republic, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, has meanwhile expressed his happiness the National Congress and the SPLM have overcome the crisis and expressed hope that session would be a new start for moving towards achieving development and prosperity. The Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Pagan Amum has expressed appreciation for the confidence the President has shown for appointing them in those posts in the Government of National Unity and commended the nomination made by the First Vice President of the Republic Salva Kiir. The Minister pointed out that their participation in the Government of National Unity would be an addition for the building of the Sudan and for strengthening of confidence and achieving stability and working together with all parties in the Government of National Unity to achieve the higher aspirations of the Sudanese people. The Ministers representing the political parties involved in the Government of National Unity have expressed happiness for the convening of the meeting of the Council of Ministers calling for further action to give an impetus to the peace process. The Governor of the state of Gezira, General Abdul Rahman Siral Khatim has meanwhile addressed the meeting on behalf of the governors who took part in that session expressing the happiness of the Sudanese people to see the council of ministers meet in t he spirit of reconciliation and expressed hope that all difficulties would be overcome towards building a strong and prosperous homeland. MA/MA

Newly-appointed ministers and state ministers take oath of office

Khartoum, Dec. 27 (SUNA) - The ministers and state ministers of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) who were appointed by republican decrees Wednesday in the Government of National Unity took oath before the President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir Thursday. The oath-taking ceremony was attended by First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Chief Justice Jalal-Eddin Mohamed Osman and a number of officials of the state. President Al-Bashir announced welcome of the Government of National Unity during the swearing in ceremony at the Republican Palace of the new ministers of the SPLM, affirming that all will work for unity, peace and stability. Minister of Cabinet Affairs Pagan Amom, on his part, affirmed that they will work with their brothers in the National Congress and the other political parties for building peace, implementation of the agreement and reconstruction of what had been destroyed by the war. Press Secretary of the President of the Republic Mahgoub Fadl Badri pointed out that the priorities of the coming stage would be implementation of the schedule of the six-member committee in implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement besides reconstruction of what had been destroyed by the war. BT/BT

Presidential Advisors Sworn in Thursday

Khartoum, Dec. 27 (SUNA)- The new Presidential Advisors from Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Mansour Khalid, Andrew Makor, and William Ajal Deng, were Thursday sworn in before the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, in the presence of the Chief Justice, Jalal-Eddin Mohamed Osman. After the oath taking ceremony, the Presidential Advisor, Mansour Khalid, said that the oath taking marked termination of the accidental crisis that had occurred between Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress in the past period. He said that the two parties will be devoted to carrying out work in the aspired manner. Khalid said that the two partners have reached a comprehensive road map that dealt with various aspects and created mechanisms and reactivated the already existing mechanisms according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), adding that these mechanisms would help overcoming any obstacles in the future. MO/MO

Dr. Al-Sadik Al-Hadi Al-Mahdi sworn in as Presidential Advisor

Khartoum, Dec. 27 (SUNA) - Dr. Al-Sadik Al-Hadi Al-Mahdi took oath before the President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir as Advisor to the President of the Republic. The swearing in ceremony was attended by Chief Justice Jalal-Eddin Mohamed Osman. Dr. Al-Sadik affirmed to SUNA his keenness on boosting the state's efforts during the coming period for enhancing the peace, stability and development process. BT/BT

Peace brings boom to south Sudan

Two years after a deal was signed to end the long conflict in southern Sudan, bulldozers and diggers are hard at work transforming Juba, a town of mud huts and dirt roads, into what could soon be a 21st Century international capital.

Bulldozers in Juba
Juba has become a huge building site
Long-time southern rebel leader John Garang told a signing ceremony in Nairobi on 9 January 2005 that true peace would only come with economic development.

He died in a helicopter crash later that year but in the roads around his steel framed mausoleum in Juba, Mr Garang's dream of lifting southern Sudan out of poverty is still alive.

A plume of dust surrounds the heavy duty machinery on the track that leads from the airport to parliament.

Six months ago the whole of southern Sudan had just 10km of tarmac road.

Thanks to a multi-million dollar contract, Juba alone will soon have over 60km.

Electricity pylons are being erected and new water and sewage systems are planned for later in the year.

Oil money

"We can be proud of what we've achieved so far," says south Sudan's Vice-President Riek Machar.

"Before we could do anything we had to set up a government, a civil service and to establish accounting and financial procedures."

Mary Sufu
I feed my children now with food that they didn't even know about before
Mary Sufu
Though it started work without basic infrastructure, the southern Sudanese government does have money.

As part of the peace agreement with the north, the south gets 50% of Sudan's oil revenue.

At the moment that means about $800m a year.

But not much of that cash has reached Bulluk-A primary school.

Ragged white tents in the dusty playground now serve as classrooms to many of its over 2,000 pupils.

High prices

Encouraged by the peace deal, hundreds of thousands of southerners have returned to their homes but the education system simply can't cope with the influx of children.

"These children instead of sitting on the floor bring stones so they don't get their dresses dirty," says teacher Mary Sufu with an exasperated smile.

Schoolchildren sitting on stones
Children use stones as chairs in their tent school
As if learning with no desks, tables or textbooks wasn't hard enough, Ms Sufu's class of 180 children are also grappling with a syllabus that is being changed from Arabic to English.

Just down the road from Bulluk-A is Customs market where Ms Sufu shops for her five children.

During the civil war, government-controlled Juba was surrounded on all sides by rebel forces and food had to be flown in from Khartoum.

The food at Customs market was expensive and most of it in tins.

The opening of roads to Uganda and Kenya has changed everything.

"There's plenty of food now in the market and it's cheap," Ms Sufu says as she shoves sweet potatoes and pineapples into her plastic bag.

"I feed my children now with food that they didn't even know about before."

It's not just fruit and vegetables that are coming across the border in trucks.

Independence

Ugandans and Congolese have established a presence in a market once dominated by northern traders.

map
Motorbikes, mobile phones, cheap electronics and beer are all selling well to eager Juba residents.

"The prices are high, we're getting a lot of profit," says one bare-chested trader as he plays a board game with his fellow Ugandans.

"A generator here costs 4.9 million shillings ($2,500), we buy it in Uganda for 2.9 million($1,600)."

At the moment the south governs itself but remains part of Sudan.

Under the terms of the peace agreement a referendum on independence will be held in 2011.

If Juba's boom continues, that could encourage a vote for independence and the city completing its remarkable transformation.

Sudan have shuttle government
SPLM leader Salva Kiir (l) with President Omar al-Bashir
Talks between Salva Kiir (l) and President al-Bashir were crucial
Sudan's power-sharing government is to shift every three months from Khartoum to the southern town of Juba as part of the peace process, officials say.

The move is part of an agreement to improve relations between the predominantly Muslim north and the Christian and Animist south.

The ex-rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement is to rejoin the government two months after pulling out.

More time has also been allocated to resolve outstanding issues.

A key sticking-point was the demarcation of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region.

The SPLM secretary general, Pagan Amum, said in Khartoum he was hopeful the peace agreement was back on track, and that the dispute over Abyei would be resolved soon.

All outstanding issues had been resolved apart from Abyei, he said.

"We are hopeful that by Saturday there may be a solution - we are hopeful," he added.

Leaders' meeting

The BBC's correspondent in Khartoum, Amber Henshaw, says many people feared Sudan was on the verge of sliding back into the brutal 20-year civil war that ended in 2005 and cost the lives of 1.5 million people.

Map of Sudan

But the SPLM agreed to end its boycott after its leader Salva Kiir met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

They agreed the three-month rotation as well as funding for a census and a timetable to pull out troops either side of Sudan's north-south border.

One official added the move to Juba would be a symbolic gesture at first "as the facilities [there] are still run down".

Mr Amum said that SPLM ministers would be instructed to return to government.

The unity government will also set up a development commission to speed up road links between the more developed north and the south, which has little infrastructure after the long war.

Under the peace deal, the SPLM leader is also national vice-president.

There are currently 10,000 UN peacekeepers in South Sudan.

Sudan harvest Cecafa talent

Sudan celebrate wining the 2007 Cecafa Cup
Sudan celebrated winning the Cecafa Challenge Cup
The Sudanese side that were recently crowned Cecafa Challenge Cup champions, will provide 10 players for the Nile Crocodiles' African Nations Cup squad.

The team, comprising mainly youth players, defeated Rwanda 4-2 on penalties to lift the regional title.

Coach Tagel Abbas says the players were so impressive during the 11-team event they could now travel to Ghana.

"We have already identified great talent to reinforce our senior team," Abbas told BBC Sport.

"All the strikers (Modather Eltaab, Eltahir Hamad Musa, Sufian Salim and Abdelhamid Amarria), the goalkeeper (Akram Salim) will be promoted to the senior team.

Sudan's Abdelhamid Amarria
Amarria will join the Nile Crocodiles' Cup of Nations squad

"Defenders Ahmed Elbasha, Khalid Hassan, Zriab Hussein and midfielders Saifeldin Ali Idris, Nasredn Omer will also join the provisional squad.

"This team started preparing one-and-a-half months ago.

"They have so far played a total of eleven matches, including six in the Cecafa championship, together as a group.

"And match after match they have improved - they are now able to cope with all situations," he added.

The coach said the team will set up a brief training camp in Khartoum before heading to Spain.

While in Spain, they are scheduled to play Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Morocco before heading to Ghana.

Sudan are in Group C alongside Cameroon, Egypt and Zambia.

Sudan claim Cecafa title

Sudan celebrate wining the 2007 Cecafa Cup
Sudan celebrated winning the Cecafa Challenge Cup

Sudan won the Cecafa Challenge Cup in Tanzania by beating Rwanda 4-2 on penalties after the two sides were locked at 2-2 after extra-time.

The Sudanese scored the opening goal when Abdelhamid Amarria outsmarted two Rwandan defenders to head home his sixth goal of the tournament from a cross from Saifldin Ali Idris.

Amarria is one of only two senior players in a mainly second-string Sudan team at the East and Central African championship and finishes as the tournament's top scorer.

Sudan extended their lead just 20 seconds into the second half when Madther Eltaab outpaced two Rwandan defenders to slot home a high ball direct from the kick-off.

Rwanda pulled a goal back two minutes later when Olivier Karekezi passed for Haruna Niyonzima to finish off a good move.

The pressure from Rwanda continued and on 59 minutes the DR Congo-born Abed Mulenda levelled matters with a diving header from just inside the area.

Sudan's Abdelhamid Amarria
Sudan's Abdelhamid Amarria was the top scorer at the Cecafa Cup

Both sides were cautious in extra-time with Rwanda dominating but failing to score to send the game to penalties.

Sudan converted all their four penalties through Gabir Balla, Abdelrahman Ibrahim, Omer Nasradin and keeper Akram Salim.

Rwanda's penalties were converted by Manfred Kizito and Olivier Karekezi while Ismael Nshinamagara and Elias Ntaganda both missed the target.

Tagel Abbas, the Sudan coach, said after the game: "We're happy to have won a tough game and as I said, the boys have been improving day after day.

"From here ten players will join the senior team for the African Cup of Nations training camp in Spain."

Rwanda coach Josip Kuze felt his side deserved more from the game.

"We lost on penalties although we deserved to win, that's football, it a good achievement for us reaching the final," he said.

"We're now going to prepare this young team for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers."

Sudan reached last year's Cecafa final in Ethiopia, where they lost to guest team Zambia - who were only allowed to take home the prize money leaving the Sudanese with the trophy.

Meanwhile Uganda clinched third place with a 2-0 win over Burundiwith Hamisi Kitagenda got both goals for the Cranes.

Salva Kiir congratulates Al-Bashir on Eid Al-Adha

Khartoum, Dec. 17 (SUNA)- President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir has received a congratulatory cable from First Vice President of the Republic, President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Chairman of SPLM Salva Kiir Mayardit on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha. The First Vice President said in his cable to President Al-Bashir that he would also like to avail this opportunity to congratulate Southern Sudan's Muslims on the occasion. Salva Kiir Mayardit added that it is also a source of great pleasure to all the Sudanese people that the celebrations of Eid Al-Adha and Christmas coincide this year as well as that of the New Year. BT/BT

Burundi reach Cecafa last four


Abdilhamid Amerria
Abdilhamid Amerria scored a brace to put Sudan through to the semis
Tanzanian police fired teargas canisters to disperse angry fans after the host nation lost 2-1 to Sudan to crash out of the Cecafa Challenge Cup.

Abdilhamid Amerria scored both goals for Sudan in the quarter final, while Nizar Khalfan missed a crucial penalty for Tanzania, to see Sudan's B-side go through.

Burundi will be waiting for Sudan in Wednesday's semi final, after they swept aside Eritrea 2-1.

Tanzania dominated the early exchanges before falling behind on 10 minutes, when Abdilhamid Amerria put Sudan in the lead.

After conceding, the Tanzanians threw everything forward and their pressure paid off on 25 minutes, when Danny Mrwanda drew level with a strike from the edge of the six-yard box.

Sudan, who have come with a second-string team, were kept under pressure but managed to break on a counter-attack to restore their lead 10 minutes later through Amerria.

The Tanzanians started the second half strongly and managed to make numerous incursions into Sudanese territory but could not find the back of the net despite a host of clear-cut chances.

With six minutes to go, second-half substitute Vincent Barnabas made a solo run into the Sudanese danger zone and was brought down for a penalty.

But Khalfan stepped up and smashed his kick into the hands of the Sudanese goalkeeper Akram Salim to end Tanzanian hopes.

The Tanzanian team were jeered by the home fans, while the Sudanese were cheered.

The police had to escort the team out of the stadium and were forced to fire teargas to disperse fans who invaded the pitch.

Meanwhile, Burundi came from behind to beat Eritrea 2-1 in their quarter final.

Berhane Aregaye put Eritrea in the lead after four minutes but second half strikes by Allain Ndizeye and Calude Nahimana secured Burundi's passage to the semi final.

South Sudan dangers still lurking

Sudan's former southern rebels have said they will rejoin the national coalition government, ending one of the biggest political crises to hit the country since the end of a two-decade civil war. However, Sudan specialist Gill Lusk writes that a return to war remains a possibility.

Villagers in southern Sudan
South Sudan is slowly recovering after 21 years of war
The crisis over the 2005 peace deal may have been staved off in the short term - but in the longer term it may well decide the future of the Sudan.

This is far more than a disagreement over the details of implementation between the two signatories to the January 2005 agreement: the dominant party, the National Congress (NC, still widely known as the National Islamic Front), and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The importance of the crisis is quite simply because the SPLM/A wants the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to succeed and the NC wants it to fail.

The crisis broke officially in October 2007, when the SPLM pulled out of the Government of National Unity (GNU), which was formed as part of the CPA.

The agreement gives the SPLM 28% of ministerial portfolios in the GNU in Khartoum, along with senior political and civil service posts.

In practice, though, the NC controls far more than the high-profile SPLM jobs would suggest.

The National Congress knows that if it genuinely shares any power, it will lose all power
SPLM ministers in the GNU have been virtually powerless, as many have long privately admitted and as the southern leader, Salva Kiir Mayardit, complained when he withdrew his ministers from the GNU last October.

This goes beyond the reluctance of an incumbent ruling party to give up plum positions: the NC knows that if it genuinely shares any power, it will lose all power.

Contrary to the image it projects abroad (with some success, especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds), it is widely detested by northern Sudanese, not just by southerners.

Independence

It also knows that if the CPA is properly implemented, southerners will vote for independence in the referendum scheduled in the south in 2011.

All governments feel threatened by a loss of part of their territory; a regime that seized power in a coup in June 1989 in order to bring the "Salvation Revolution" to Sudan - ie its own, militant, expansionist version of Islam - is threatened to the core of its being.

Compounding this is the fact that most of the estimated 500,000 barrels per day of oil that ensure the Islamist regime's financial security are pumped from the south.

map
The threats of a return to war, made by both sides, are therefore not idle.

Salva Kiir, who is national (first) vice-president and president of the semi-autonomous Government of South Sudan (GOSS), accuses the NC of wanting to start the war again.

After 22 years of the second north-south war, 16 of them against the NIF-NC, southerners in general know full well that Khartoum is capable of restarting the war when it chooses.

The late SPLM/A leader, who signed the CPA for the SPLM/A, John Garang de Mabior, repeatedly said that the SPLM's armed forces were the south's only real "guarantee" in the CPA.

The SPLA has acted accordingly. Though there have been many complaints of soldiers not being paid and of the slowness of its transformation into a national army, training and organisation have pushed ahead, much of it with United States' assistance.

The SPLA has been rearming after the often makeshift supplies of the guerrilla war.

Mr Salva's trip to China last year, originally seen as on behalf of Khartoum, was later viewed also as a military shopping spree and as the south's second bid for a foreign policy beyond its traditional friends in Uganda and Kenya - the first being the US.

Ready to fight

President Salva lacks the charisma of Mr Garang and the outside world has often seen him as neither politician nor academic, but a slightly awkward man with a penchant for dramatic hats.

However, SPLM insiders long knew him as an experienced soldier, with a reputation for integrity, intelligence and an ability to help reconcile politically or ethnically warring groups.

Sudanese soldiers
President Bashir says the north is ready to fight
He is skilled at getting potential troublemakers into the big tent but is also capable of evicting those causing problems.

Southern Vice-President Riek Machar (for long an NC ally and recently deprived of his GOSS ministerial portfolio) and Lam Akol (recently ejected as GNU foreign minister for being too fond of the NC) have both felt the force of Mr Salva's judgement.

In his usual quiet but direct way, Mr Salva has left the NC in no doubt that if Khartoum triggers war again, he will respond.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has equally left no doubt as to the regime's readiness to fight again.

In November, he told an anniversary gathering of People's Defence Forces (PDF) that the "mujahideen" should mobilise for "jihad".

The PDF, an NIF invention, consist largely of militia subjected to particularly zealous Islamist indoctrination.

Many have been active in the most brutal of the slaughter, rape and scorched earth operations in Darfur and some previous Janjaweed militia have been incorporated into the PDF.

Infiltration

The angry November address by Mr Bashir will have reminded southerners of the most brutal years of the war in the early 1990s, when torture was commonplace and northern armed forces in the south were spearheaded by cannon fodder expecting to be "martyrs", which they mostly became.

For northerners, it is a reminder that the party does not entirely trust a regular army whose ranks it has been unable completely to "Islamise" and which Mr Bashir was originally appointed to keep in hand.

Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir
Salva Kiir accuses the Khartoum government of wanting war
The NC will use not only military means to keep control of the south.

Nationally, its main policy instrument since it took power has been a range of security organs, some in the form of "charities" or companies.

Before the CPA, it used militias to attack the SPLA and terrorise villagers, including Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, which it is still believed to back.

The NC is expert in infiltration and subversion: it spent years patiently infiltrating the northern political, economic and administrative system in preparation for its 1989 coup.

Since the CPA, it has found it hard to do this in the resolutely southern nationalist south.

Nevertheless, it can still find enough southerners willing to help it to exploit local grievances over the slowness of improvement in living standards, including through disinformation and verbal attacks on the SPLM.

The NC regime is responding to the CPA crisis with the delaying tactics it uses so successfully while continuing to block the kind of negotiation or mediation that are the currency of conflict resolution.

Yet Western, African and Arab governments continue to talk as if talking would solve the problems.

However, based on each party's actual aims, any assumption that either prefers a "bad peace" to war seems overly optimistic.

Darfur rebels 'win major victory'
Jem rebels
It is the second major attack in a week claimed by the Jem
Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region say they have inflicted a major defeat on the Sudanese army in an attack on a convoy near the border with Chad.

The rebels said they had defeated two battalions, capturing 29 soldiers, 32 vehicles and a number of heavy weapons.

Sudan's army confirmed a clash outside el-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, but denied suffering heavy losses.

More than 200,000 people have died in the conflict between rebels and pro-government forces in Darfur.

International mediation efforts have repeatedly failed to stop the violence.

A 26,000-strong UN peacekeeping force is due to deploy in Darfur next year.

'Two battalions defeated'

Abdel Aziz el-Nur Ashr, a Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) commander, said his forces had captured a lieutenant-colonel and three other officers.

BBC map

 

"We defeated two battalions and chased them to within 7km [4 miles] of el-Geneina," he told Reuters news agency.

In an unconfirmed claim, he added that the Jem had also attacked Sudan's Defra oil field for a second time, shutting down its pumping station.

This is the second time in a week that Jem rebels have said they have inflicted a heavy defeat on government troops, the BBC's Adam Mynott reports from Nairobi.

They said their forces had attacked an army garrison in Kordofan in central Sudan last Tuesday.

Again, the Sudanese government denied the claims.

A rebel report that they had taken over a Chinese-run oil field was denied by the Chinese embassy in Khartoum, which did, however, confirm there had been fighting.

Within the next few weeks the first contingent of a UN-African Union hybrid force is due to take over peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

But it still lacks vital equipment it needs and there are continuing differences with the Sudanese government about various operational procedures, our correspondent notes.

Sudan reach Cecafa last eight


Burundi-Tanzania game
Burundi's Hassan Hakizimana shields away Tanzania's Danny Murwanda (right)

Sudan completed the quarter-final line up at the Cecafa Cup on Saturday after forcing a 0-0 draw with Ethiopia in Dar-es-Salam.

The results means Sudan finish second in Group C on two points with Zanzibar topping the group on four points.

Three-time winners Ethiopia, who lost their first match 3-1 to Zanzibar, joined Somalia and Djibouti in the tournament's exit chamber.

Meanwhile, Burundi finished top of Group A after drawing 0-0 with Tanzania in Saturday's other game.

The Cecafa Cup's tortuous group stage is now complete and the identity of the eight quarter-finalists is clear.

Burundi will play Eritrea on Monday for a place in the last four before Sudan take on Tanzania.

The other game in the quarter final will see Uganda facing Kenya on Tuesday while Zanzibar take on Rwanda.

Freedom from hunger is not an optional human right


Photo: IRIN
Eradicating malnutrition is a priority for world leaders, says Action Against Hunger
NEW YORK, 12 December 2007 (IRIN) - The world has the technical ability but lacks the political will to eliminate global hunger, a scourge afflicting one in eight people that is as much a violation of human rights as torture, according to a report by the NGO,
A main tenet of the study, the Justice of Eating – the Struggle for Food and Dignity in Recent Humanitarian Crises, is that the right to food is an inextricable part of the basic set of freedoms embodying human rights that are collectively the minimum conditions necessary for the realisation of human dignity.

 “They [human rights] are not like pick-and-choose menus where we can say ‘Oh, let’s just address torture or let’s just work for the ending of slavery’,” co-editor Samuel Hauenstein Swan said.

 “If the right to food is to be considered as important as the other human rights … then we must take the steps necessary to enforce it, much as we have begun to prosecute the crime of genocide,” the report states.  

The study addresses the destruction of livelihoods in Darfur, Sudan; unstable markets in Niger; HIV/AIDS in Malawi and Zambia; and the daily struggle of families fighting for food in the coffee lands of Ethiopia.

In each case, it finds that acute malnutrition is entirely avoidable with the correct strategies, including a combination of increased foreign assistance, financial investment, trade policies preferential to developing countries, and a tempering of economic liberalisation and the deregulation of food markets that have seen the reduction of subsidies to farmers and herders. “The freedom to eat must take precedence over excessively ‘free’ markets,” it states.

 “This book presents a powerful indictment of the local institutions, national governments, international agencies and policies that allow hunger to persist in the contemporary world,” Stephen Devereux, a research fellow at the Institute of Development at the University of Sussex, writes in the foreword.

Call to arms

Hauenstein Swan termed the report a call to arms to ordinary citizens to demand that their leaders act. “Despite winning some battles in the fight for human rights and universal dignity, rates of both chronic and acute malnutrition among children under age five remain extremely high. We hope that this report will help create increased commitment from the international community towards preventing and addressing malnutrition,” he said.

“Such increased commitment can only come about if the citizens of the world demand that their leaders make the fight against child malnutrition a political priority. History is filled with examples of ‘ordinary people’– rather we should call them ‘everyday heroes’ – successfully pressuring policymakers to more genuinely and courageously confront human tragedies. We can, and must, summon the same kind of deep empathy and resolve to demand our leaders fight tirelessly the winnable war against child malnutrition.”

The report cites the lack of “emotional comprehension” as perhaps the primary problem in mustering an all-out effort to defeat global hunger, which is estimated to afflict 852 million people, many of them in Africa.

While death from war, or from famine, as in Ethiopia in 1984, grabs the media’s attention, mobilising international relief efforts, the daily grind of longer-term but just as lethal malnutrition, passes under the international radar. “Perhaps the brutality of living with hunger, day in and day out, is harder to grasp, to visualise, to feel,” it says.

Political will

Stressing that a moral commitment by political leaders and private citizens to eliminate hunger must be underpinned by considerable financial assistance, the report dismisses the argument that the funds are lacking, noting that in the United States both the Iraq war and reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina demanded hundreds of billions of dollars in funding that had not been budgeted. “Yet when they became political priorities, the government found the money,” it adds.

As Hauenstein Swan said at the report’s New York launch: “Once the political will is there, the rest will follow.”  

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