Sudan’s permanent mission to the UN has denied allegations of slavery in Sudan, saying the claims have “played upon lazy assumptions to raise public outrage”.
“Sudan reiterates that no slavery is being practised in its territory. It deplores and denounces in the strongest terms these allegations about slavery in the Sudan,” the mission said in a statement received by IRIN on Wednesday.
“The reality is that the unfortunate inter-tribal clashes over water and pastures results occasionally in regrettable habits of one tribe abdcucting members of another as a reciprocal retaliatory measure.”
The statement said Sudan was party to all major international conventions against slavery, adding that article 20 of the country’s constitution stipulates that “every human being is free of subjection to slavery or slavery-like practices anywhere at any time.”
The mission called upon the international community to question the “integrity and impartiality” of information disseminated by the NGO Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and UNICEF findings on slavery in Sudan.
Meanwhile, ICRC is working to trace the families of some 210 unaccompanied children currently in Wau, Bahr al-Ghazal, an ICRC spokesman in Khartoum told IRIN. He said Red Cross messages were being sent to government, as well as non-government areas of Sudan, as part of efforts to locate the relatives of the children, who were displaced by conflict in the area last year.
An ICRC press release said the ICRC had registered 349 unaccompanied minors in Wau since November 1998. Some of those registered have since been reunited with their families without ICRC assistance, while others are too young to provide sufficient information about their backgrounds to enable family-tracing efforts to begin, the spokesman said.
ICRC reunited an eight-year-old boy in Wau with his father in Aweil last month, the first ICRC-organised family reunion in the country in more than four years.