Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad
Suleiman Musa Rahhal
Chairman of Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad, London, United Kingdom
United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations
11th UN Session, Geneva, Switzerland, July 1993
Distinguished Members of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations
Distinguished Members of Observer Governments
Brothers and Sisters delegates of Indigenous Populations
My name is Suleiman Musa Rahhal.
On behalf of the indigenous Nuba people of the Sudan, I would like to congratulate you Madam Chairperson and the Distinguished Members of the Working Group for the completion of the draft declaration. Also Madame Chairperson, if you allow me, I would like to send my greetings and thanks to the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Boutros Boutros-Ghali and all members of United Nations for declaring 1993 Year of the Indigenous Populations, in recognition of their rights as members of the world community.
It is indeed an honour to address this honourable house and the members of the international community on this occasion. This is the first time in our long history of struggle for survival that the voice of the Nuba people is to be heard in this large UN assembly and across the world.
Today, as we know, in many member countries of the United Nations, there are 300 millions Indigenous Peoples whose basic and fundamental rights are being systematically denied through the use of violence, suppression, forced assimilation, forced imposition and indoctrination, forced dispossession and exploitation.
For all these reasons I appeal to you Madam Chairperson and to the Distinguished Members of the Working Group to double your momentous efforts in order to speed up the process of finalizing the draft declaration, upon which the future and the survival of many indigenous people around the world depends.
Madam Chair person
I believe that at present there is no international law that can protect and defend the collective rights of the indigenous Nuba people of Sudan, whose identity and cultural heritage, one of the oldest in Africa is facing virtual extinction. It is therefore, Articles, 3, 11 and 24 are of significant importance which will undoubtedly give people like the Nuba the right of self-determination and the right to maintain and develop their culture and the over all control over their lands.
It is now clear former colonial policies are responsible for much of the misery that besets the Indigenous Peoples in the world today. At Sudan’s independence in 1956, the Nuba people were given on a plate by colonial administration to Sudanese Arabs who, in effect became their colonial masters. If it had not been for the colonial policies, the Nuba people would probably not find themselves today victims of genocide, repression, exploitation and ethnic cleansing.
It’s our hope that the international community and Britain in particular as the former colonial power, will recognize its moral duty and obligation to set right some of the past injustices and offer practical and normal support to the Nuba people.
Today, my people, the Nuba, the Indigenous people of central Sudan are fighting for their collective rights. We are fighting for our basic political rights, socio-economic rights; the rights of cultural autonomy; the right to be Nuba; the right to have control over our lands; territories and finally the right of self-determination.
The Nuba Mountains region in Central Sudan is a home for over two millions Nuba people has been sealed off from the outside world, while the whole villages are devastated by helicopter gunships, bomber aircrafts and armed Arab militias. Survivals are forced into relocated camps in the harsh desert where hunger and diseases are rampant. International aid agencies are denied access to bring relief to the area. Women in camps are raped and children abducted and subjected to indoctrination to strip them of their cultural identity
The Nuba land have been taken over by the government and are now been sold to politically powerful merchants farmers to extend the mechanized agricultural schemes. Educated Nuba have been arrested and murdered by the security agents.
Jihad or holy war has been declared against the Nuba and the government is now using Jihad as means of nation building up to destroy its own people.
Recent visit by the British Member of Parliament Baroness (Caroline) Cox between 6 -13 of this month who visited the area, indicated that the situation regard to human rights violations is still a cause of major concern.
We hope that in this year of the world’s Indigenous Peoples the international community and in particular the United Nations will take more positive and serious practical measures to alleviate the sufferings of the indigenous Nuba people and the people of Southern Sudan. We appeal to them to provide immediate protection and support to those people whose very survival, like my own people, the Nuba of Sudan, is much threatened and facing virtual disappearance.
We specifically appeal to the United Nations:
- 1. To intervene and to create safe havens in the Nuba Mountains in order to protect the lives of the Nuba people in South Kordufan;
- 2. To put pressure on the Sudan Government to allow humanitarian aid and international non-governmental organizations to go to the Nuba Mountains area;
- 3. To put pressure on the Sudan Government to withdraw all military forces from the Nuba Mountains region;
- 4. To ensure that the Sudan Government stops the forced relocation of the Nuba people of Sudan;
- 5. To put pressure on the Sudan Government to end the civil war which threaten the lives of millions of peoples in Sudan and to find the last and just peace in Sudan.
- 6. To exert its influence on all military, political and religious factions in Sudan to reach a political settlement to the present war, and to ensure that any resolution to the conflict contains measures recognizing the rights of the Nuba and all other indigenous peoples of the Sudan.
Suleiman Musa Rahhal
Chairman of Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad