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Sudan declares state of emergency on South Sudan border

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] issued a resolution Sunday declaring a state of emergency in areas near the border with South Sudan and suspending the constitution. The move follows the arrest Saturday of four people whom the Sudanese claim were arrested for aggression against the north in the contested Heglig oil fields. Those claims have been denied by representatives from Michem Demining which employed two of the men to conduct landmine removal efforts within South Sudan. The emergency declaration [AP report] imposes a trade embargo on South Sudan and grants authorities in the area increased authority to arrest and detain beyond those of the Sudanese constitution.

The Republic of South Sudan was recognized as an independent country [JURIST report] in July, making it the world's 193rd nation. In February 2011 al-Bashir, who campaigned against secession, issued a formal decree [JURIST report] accepting the result of the referendum. However, tensions between the newly independent country and Sudan remain high. The UN has been closely monitoring the violence and providing humanitarian relief [UN News Centre report] to victims of attacks in South Sudan but has called on the government to take control of the situation. In November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an investigation [JURIST report] of an aerial bombing of a refugee camp in South Sudan by an Antonov plane often used by northern Sudan. In June 2011 a UN official denounced continued human rights abuses [JURIST report] against civilians in the region. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs [official website] and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos [official profile] said that the UN knows of more than 70,000 people who have been displaced by the conflict, many of whom are subject to violence and targeting due to their ethnic heritage.

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