Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tortured, but Not Silenced

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
An early test of the next president’s moral courage will come as he decides how to engage two Sudanese people named Bashir.

One is President Omar al-Bashir, who faces indictment for genocide by the International Criminal Court. The other is Dr. Halima Bashir, a young Darfuri woman whom the Sudanese authorities have tried to silence by beatings and gang-rape.

In 10 days, Halima’s extraordinary memoir will be published in the United States, at considerable risk to herself. She writes in “Tears of the Desert” of growing up in a placid village in rural Darfur, of her wonder at seeing white people for the first time, of her brilliant performance in school.Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, August 30, 2008

UN rights official condemns 'disproportionate' Darfur camp raid

GENEVA (AFP) — The office of the top UN human rights official Friday condemned Sudan's "disproportionate and excessive" attack on a displaced persons camp in Darfur that killed more than 30 people, including seven children.

Thirty-one people were killed in Monday's attack, all bar one by gunshot wounds, in the Kalma camp near Nyala in southern Darfur, said Yvon Edoumou, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

One woman died after falling into a ditch whilst trying to flee the shooting, he said.

In total seven children, 11 women and 13 men were killed in the attack which also left 54 people wounded, he added.

"The matter is still under investigation," Edoumou said.

Sudanese authorities describe the Kalma camp, home to around 80,000 people including representatives of some rebel groups, as a den of outlaws and armed robbers hoarding weapons, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and stolen goods.

Tensions in Darfur have heightened since the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court last month formally asked judges to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Peace in Sudan as important as justice - UN's Ban

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 28 (Reuters) - It is important that victims of any war crimes in Darfur get justice but peace is equally crucial for the remote part of western Sudan, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

Last month, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, asked the court's judges to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes committed in Darfur.

Moreno-Ocampo accused the Sudanese leader of orchestrating a campaign of genocide beginning in 2003 that had killed 35,000 people outright and at least another 100,000 through starvation and disease, with another 2.5 million forced from their homes.

In a bleak new report on the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, Ban said it was important to seek justice for any crimes committed in Sudan but made it clear that justice was not the only top priority.

"The international community also has the responsibility to seek agreement on the equal importance of peace and justice in trying to meet the needs of the people in Darfur," Ban said in the report. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sudanese government raided Kalma refugee camp

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - International peacekeepers criticised Sudan on Tuesday for using "excessive, disproportionate" force in a raid on a camp for displaced persons in Darfur that left more than 30 dead.

The unusually harsh statement from the joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeepers accused Khartoum of breaking a Darfur peace agreement by using guns against displaced people armed mostly with "sticks, knives, and spears".

Armed Sudanese police and soldiers raided South Darfur's Kalma camp in the early hours of Monday morning, claiming they were searching for weapons and suspected rebels and bandits.

Sudan state media published a statement from South Darfur state's Security Committee saying armed camp residents had started the shooting, and that police had been forced to fire back. The statement insisted only five police and seven residents had been injured in the clashes.

But Darfur rebel leaders and Kalma residents told Reuters the Sudanese forces opened fire on people in the camp, then continued to build up their forces around the settlement on Tuesday. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden on Darfur

Barack Obama has selected Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware to be his vice presidential running mate, choosing a veteran senator with a strong foreign policy background. What he can do to help solve Darfur crisis?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A wrong theme for the Beijing Olympics

17 August 2008
By Taban Abel Aguek

August 16, 2008 — "One World, One Dream" as the theme for the Beijing Olympics, though only in words, is as beautiful as the Bird’s Nest Stadium where the ceremony for the world sports was officially opened; but ironically it reflects exactly the opposite of what China portrays in the world.

Unless the theme is confined to suit sports only, there is no way one would believe that China could both be a perpetrator of love and peace and at the same time the mentor behind the war and genocide in Darfur. This proved beyond all doubt that China has opened its doors for the world’s Olympics not in beautiful colors but also in forms of an attractive wording to make up a theme that will put a curtain on the face of the world.

In terms of sports Beijing Olympics bring joy to hearts of many people around the world. However, sports are a little fraction of total humanness. For the world to be driven to Olympics with one dream, with China as the driver is not worthy. It has been clear that the world has never been one for China and is not one even as it hosts Olympics and enticing the world with a nice theme, to many people, is only one of the coloring flavors added to the Olympics. It is a paradox that one China cheers up athletes in Beijing and at the same time, cheers up the killing of the innocent people of Darfur. So how can the world be one for people in Darfur and what dream do they have?

Thicker than the Beijing wall, China is the main country that the Sudan Government uses to lean on as it commits all atrocities against human rights. Sudanese oil finds it way to China only to flow in rivers of blood in several parts of Sudan. When the President of Sudan went to China in the year 2006 for the Africa-China summit, he stood up and stated so ignorantly that the number of deaths in Darfur was a mere 10,000 people, not 200,000 as claimed by the media. Surprisingly, the government of China could not question Al Beshir, the president of Sudan, if it was not a disaster for a government to kill 10,000 people in a space of three years when they are the same people whose lives are entrusted to it to secure and manage with utmost care. Instead, China felt that was far too little than it articulated for the guns it sent to Sudan. If that is the meaning of one world, then the dreams are very many and parallel.

Today there is talk of all niceties between China and Sudan of a relationship that was long in the grave, recently resurrected 50 years after the discovery of oil in the South of the Sudan. There was no such relation before, and the most genuine thing about such affair is that the two countries, China and Sudan, needed a story to explain the revival of their intimate friendship because oil alone portrays more of a bloody deal than a mere economic affair. Sudan lost friends in the West and Europe, and another, not only as a substitute but also a defender in mistakes it may commit or have already committed was more presented in China as a rising super power and a rival to the West. The arms and veto that are both possessed by China are important aspects that make the value of the Sudanese oil something that is less than a business commodity, though Chinese relation is akin to a Chinese spare part, usually, that can not complete a round of a journey.

During the UN Security Council resolution 1607 that demanded the deployment of about 23,000 strong peace keeping mission in Darfur, it was China that first raised a hand against it and the main barrier against all the sanctions that Sudan was suppose to shoulder. In June 2006, after having secured assurance of protection from the China, the president of the Republic of the Sudan announced that he would lead war against the international peace keepers than be a head of state of a nation that was falling under what he described as a new colonization. He warned that because of this neocolonialism, Sudan, if it went to war with the West, would have been another Iraq in Africa; but again forgot to declare himself another Saddam. Yet, it was the same man and his Chinese allies that colonized Sudan more than ever before. Sudanese die everyday from Darfur in the West, Kasalla in the East and the whole of the South because of China supported government in Khartoum. It is the same China that supplies this rhetoric government with arms for purpose dividing one world into so many different suffering classes, with others living in vulnerable camps and slums, that today changes not in heart but in words for mere beauty and attraction.

After the Olympics I will be one of the people that will have their ears wide open to listen to China. The war in Darfur needs the intervention of China. The world has opened its paths to China and the only way it must pay back to all the people around the world is peace in Darfur.

Still this is a big doubt. China lives in its own world and has one dream: to be the world super power – if it matters that it should be at the expense of the poor innocent Africans so much the best. There is nothing that China can not do to achieve this status and the Beijing Olympics is one of the projects set to drive them to this target. For China to be a super power counts more than gold medals and more than half the Sudan – guess which half. Skeptics are never bad people. China will have to convince the world in action, not in words at the end of the Beijing Olympics that the world is one and dream is good for the people of Darfur.

Taban Abel Aguek
email: agaj_preciouson@yahoo.com

Darfur onslaught 'to clear way for Chinese oil hunt

A major offensive involving 300 Sudanese government battlewagons intended to clear space for Chinese oil exploration in Darfur's far north has begun, according to rebel commanders who have come under attack.

Oil companies have been waiting for the Government to secure the region before starting work on seismic surveys.

The claims of fresh fighting come after Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese President, embarked on a two-day peace mission to Darfur last month, promising investment and inviting rebel leaders to talks.

His visit took place days after the International Criminal Court's prosecutor accused him of genocide, murder and crimes against humanity.

Suleiman Marajan, a commander with one faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, said yesterday that the Government had lied to the world with its message of peace.

“The Government of Sudan has attacked our places with 300 vehicles. They have been here for three days protecting Chinese oil workers,” he told The Times by satellite telephone from North Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sudan 'launches attack in Darfur'

Sudan's government has launched a major offensive against rebel bases in the far north of Darfur, two rebel factions have said.

A commander from a faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) said about 270 vehicles and 500 Janjaweed fighters were involved in the attack.

Nine rebels and nine civilians had been killed, he said.

An army spokesman declined to comment. The government has previously denied links to Janjaweed fighters.

A commander from the Abdul Wahed faction of the SLA, Sulieman Marajan, told the BBC that the Janjaweed had attacked on camel and horseback.

He said the attacks were part of a plan by the government to destroy all of the rebel bases in northern Darfur, adding that he believed rebels from neighbouring Chad were taking part in the operation.

Chad has accused Sudan of harbouring and supporting Chadian rebels. Analysts say the two countries are fighting a proxy war using each other's rebel forces.

Oil exploration

The Sudanese army now controlled the area around Wadi Atron, near the border with Libya, the SLA commander said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, August 11, 2008

Darfur Olympics: Day 4 of 8: Darfur and China

For the past five years, Beijing has been the most important economic and diplomatic supporter of the regime in Sudan, which is slaughtering its own unarmed citizens.

In today's webcast, at left, Mia talks about the Beijing Games against the backdrop of the refugee camp. Read & watch more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Victims of Genocide in Darfur: Past, Present, and Future

By Eric Reeves,

Deteriorating humanitarian conditions and access, amidst deepening insecurity, present unprecedented threats to civilians previously displaced or affected by ethnically-targeted violence

Despite what amounts to a humanitarian “news black-out” mounted by UN officials in Khartoum, a host of indicators suggest that Darfuris have entered the most perilous season of destruction since the advent of major humanitarian operations in summer 2004. Significant malnutrition is already in evidence according to numerous confidential reports from the ground in Darfur and from well-informed humanitarian officials. This occurs as the population in need of food grows by approximately one million human beings during the current rainy season/hunger gap. Prospects for harvests in the fall are gloomy, and this follows the disastrous harvests of last year, especially in South Darfur and North Darfur.

Food prices have increased by 150% in some areas. Because Khartoum refuses to escort UN World Food Program convoys in sufficient numbers, WFP is still unable to provide full rations to individuals weakened by more than five years of conflict. Other threats to civilians include a growing lack of potable water, diminished access to primary medical care, and a continuing climate of violence and impunity, threatening not only vulnerable civilians but humanitarian workers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Victims of Genocide in Darfur: Past, Present, and Future

By Eric Reeves,

Deteriorating humanitarian conditions and access, amidst deepening insecurity, present unprecedented threats to civilians previously displaced or affected by ethnically-targeted violence

Despite what amounts to a humanitarian “news black-out” mounted by UN officials in Khartoum, a host of indicators suggest that Darfuris have entered the most perilous season of destruction since the advent of major humanitarian operations in summer 2004. Significant malnutrition is already in evidence according to numerous confidential reports from the ground in Darfur and from well-informed humanitarian officials. This occurs as the population in need of food grows by approximately one million human beings during the current rainy season/hunger gap. Prospects for harvests in the fall are gloomy, and this follows the disastrous harvests of last year, especially in South Darfur and North Darfur.

Food prices have increased by 150% in some areas. Because Khartoum refuses to escort UN World Food Program convoys in sufficient numbers, WFP is still unable to provide full rations to individuals weakened by more than five years of conflict. Other threats to civilians include a growing lack of potable water, diminished access to primary medical care, and a continuing climate of violence and impunity, threatening not only vulnerable civilians but humanitarian workers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur Withers as Sudan Sells Food

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

ED DAMER, Sudan — Even as it receives a billion pounds of free food from international donors, Sudan is growing and selling vast quantities of its own crops to other countries, capitalizing on high global food prices at a time when millions of people in its war-riddled region of Darfur barely have enough to eat.

Here in the bone-dry desert, where desiccated donkey carcasses line the road, huge green fields suddenly materialize. Beans. Wheat. Sorghum. Melons. Peanuts. Pumpkins. Eggplant. It is all grown here, part of an ambitious government plan for Sudanese self-sufficiency, creating giant mechanized farms that rise out of the sand like mirages.

But how much of this bonanza is getting back to the hungry Sudanese, like the 2.5 million driven into camps in Darfur? And why is a country that exports so many of its own crops receiving more free food than anywhere else in the world, especially when the Sudanese government is blamed for creating the crisis in the first place? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bring the Olympic Dream to Darfur

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Dpc0UbjLtU0rs1ZDsger%2FdLE4nDI8uII

Darfur Olympics

http://www.darfurolympics.org/do/images/do_header_1_r1_c1.gif

Friday, August 01, 2008

Statement from Sudanese Civil Society in Europe

Statement from Sudanese Civil Society in Europe

The Prosecutor of International Criminal Court in The Hague indicted Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Sudanese regime sought for support against the indictment mainly from Arab and African nations to escape the justice. Sudanese embassies in United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium and France jointly galvanized a group of Sudanese to rally at ICC against the indictment of Al Bashir on Saturday 02 August 2008. To guarantee a high number of participants, Sudanese embassies used whatever necessary to stimulate or compel the Sudanese residing in EU nations.

The rally that Sudanese embassies intend to organize is no more than a deliberate insult to the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan.

We call on all civil society activists in EU nations to counteract against the Sudanese- coordinated rally on Saturday. All Sudanese are invited to demonstrate at ICC in support of the ICC's decision to indict the suspect of gross crimes against mankind. We believe that justice will be done for the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity without only by International Criminal Court and applying international law in cases of heinous crimes.

For more details, please contact the following:
Netherlands
+31 642330058
+31 617583546

France
+33 642070471

Belgium
+32 472372137
+32 485698155

UK
+44 7961213421

Italy
+39 32894554