Baroness Cox debates Sudan in the British Parliament

January 23rd, 2013

Baroness Cox debates Sudan in the British Parliament

Following HART’s recent visit to Sudan, HART CEO Baroness Cox raised in Parliament the issue of the bombardment of civilians and denial of access to humanitarian aid in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions of Sudan, and asked what further representations have been made by the British Government to the Government of Sudan regarding these issues.

On Tuesday, Baroness Cox asked the British Government what further representations have made to the Government of Sudan, regarding the bombardment of civilians and denial of access to humanitarian aid. She spoke on her recent trip to Blue Nile and South Kordofan, “where I witnessed daily aerial bombardments by the Khartoum Government that directly targeted civilians with 500 kilogram and incendiary bombs, destroying villages, markets and schools, inflicting death and injury on women and children, forcing thousands to hide in caves with deadly snakes and to die from hunger and disease with no health care; and causing nearly 200,000 refugees to flee to camps in South Sudan”

Baroness Cox went on to ask whether the government would be assisting with the provision of aid to these regions, commenting that:  “Our NGO, HART, has used reliable ways of sending food and medical supplies to people dying of hunger, injury and disease. In response to the reluctance of other donors to send life-saving aid, one local doctor emphasised that:

“Deliberately to refrain from sending life-saving aid can be construed as a crime against humanity”

Despite the British Government pressing for negotiation between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, Lord Wallace commented “that the two presidents meet and say that they have agreed and that matters will now be implemented-and then too little has happened”and that the Government is working with others, such as the AU and the UN, in order to “bring as much pressure to bear as we can”. Furthermore, the Lord insisted that caution was necessary as “this conflict is taking place across the great dividing line between the Arab world and the black African world […] this is an area where we have to engage actively but carefully.”

Baroness Cox also spoke out during a debate on the international promotion of freedom of religion and conscience. She highlighted the fact that “the faith tradition now suffering the most widespread and systematic violations of religious freedom is Christianity. It is estimated that there are at least 250 million Christians suffering persecution today, from harassment, intimidation and imprisonment to torture and execution.”

Baroness Cox gave the examples of two areas in which HART works: Nigeria and Sudan. She asked what initiatives the British Government would consider, concluding that The need for action is urgent. Those suffering oppression look to those of us who have the privilege of living in freedom to use that freedom to promote and protect theirs.”


Access the full debates by following these links:

Sudan Question in the Lords:

(film, starts at 2:37pm) http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12299

(text)  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130122-0001.htm#13012247000357


Debate on religious freedom (including a section on Sudan):

(film, starts at 8:05pm) http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12299

(text) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130122-0002.htm#13012264000104


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