Sunday, July 26, 2009

Artistic expression to the situation in Darfur

Holocaust scholars praise Uganda for stance on Darfur

By Cnaan Liphshiz,

Uganda's decision to block Sudan's president from attending a conference in Uganda this weekend drew praise from leading Holocaust scholars from around the world, who support Omar al-Bashir's isolation for his role in the Darfur genocide.

The scholars - including Yad Vashem Professor Yehuda Bauer and the president of Genocide Watch, Gregory H. Stanton - signed a petition praising the move.

"During the Holocaust, the international community failed to act," said cosignatory Dr. Rafael Medoff.

"By contrast, Uganda's action helps isolate Sudan's president and shames the Arab and African countries that have given him red-carpet treatment," concluded Medoff, director of the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which organized the petition.

Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in Darfur, had planned to attend the Smart Partnership conference in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, today until the recent announcement by Uganda Foreign Minister Henry Okello that Bashir could be arrested if he showed up.

In recent months, Bashir has visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, all of which ignored the ICC warrant for Bashir's arrest. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sexual violence against Darfuri-women out of control

J.E. Robertson

Life for women in Darfuri refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad is extremely hard. Many have no access to any public authority that will investigate violence against women, and medical facilities are scarce to non-existent. While rape is rampant, and has allegedly been used as a “weapon of war” by the Khartoum backed militia engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, women are seldom able to find safety in seeking help from local authorities.

Uprooted from their homes, often relegated to ad-hoc communities where male elders are dispersed or involved in conflict, women victimized by corrupt camp guards or Sudanese police or militia risk serious physical attack or punishment for reporting rape. The Darfur refugee crisis has exacerbated the crisis levels of violence against women, and ongoing conflict and an apparent government cover-up campaign help to conceal the crimes.

The Nobel-prize-winning human rights and medical aid group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has been investigating the proliferation of accounts of brutal treatment of women in the camps. One woman told the group “I was raped in the camp in 2007 by a man with a knife at night. I am very sad. I told this to the sheikha, but they didn’t find the man who did it. My new husband doesn’t know that this happened to me.” She also said Chadian soldiers now raid camps at night, but she was lucky to have evaded being raped, so far.

Another woman told PHR:

There is no food. I am suffering. They only give us a little bit of sorghum. How can I be happy? I think a lot about my country. I don’t think I’m sick, but I think a lot about what happened. The sadness has entered into my heart.

Sometimes, I go to look for wood. But if I see anyone on the way, I go back to the camp. They yell at me, “Leave the wood.” There’s only me on my ration card, so I don’t get enough wood.

I live here with my husband and grandchildren and daughter-in-law, the wife of my son who was killed. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Why Did The Slave Trade Happen?

Has the black man learned from the humiliation of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade? No, we haven’t! Are we perpetually locked in the act of dehumanizing each other for the betterment of other races? Yes, we are! These questions and answers kept ricocheting through my mind when Barack Obama visited Ghana and as part of that highlighted the shame and guilt that the perpetrators of slavery never felt. Having a church sitting right on top of the dungeons, these people worshipped right on top of people they were subjecting to inexplicable conditions.

But who will you blame for slavery? It feels to me like the black person will do anything to humiliate his own kind to satisfy people of other color. To think that African chiefs will hunt their own down and give them off to slavery, not knowing what will be their fate in a completely strange land still puzzles me! And mentioning this brings to mind the way the African Union (AU) is shelving and protecting the president of Sudan, Oumar Al-Bashir. He is being accused of crimes against humanity in Darfur by the international community, yet he is allowed to go free by the AU, in the name of African peace. What is peaceful about methodically supervising the killings of innocent people and the raping of defenseless women by the Janjaweed militia in Darfur? Over 200, 000 people have been killed or displaced under the watch of this devil called Oumar Al-Bashir. Raed more >>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Darfur people may be left out of Sudan election: U.N.

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - When Sudan holds its first democratic elections in over two decades next year, people in the conflict-ravaged region of Darfur may be left out, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Friday.

"The contested census, large-scale displacement and volatility -- particularly in the area bordering Chad -- create enormous risks that the people of Darfur will not be in a position to participate in the electoral process," U.N. under-secretary-general Alain Le Roy said.

"This would further disenfranchise millions already disempowered by conflict," he told the U.N. Security Council, adding that the election results will have an "enormous impact" on the distribution of political power in Darfur where millions of internally displaced refugees live in camps. Read more >>>>

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Secretary-General deeply concerned by violence in West Darfur

Source: United Nations Secretary-General

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the increasing violence in West Darfur and along the Chad-Sudan border.

The Secretary-General is disturbed by reports that bombs dropped by Chadian aircraft have struck locations in the vicinity of Umm Dukhum in West Darfur on 16 July. These events put the lives of Sudanese civilians at risk and could increase the tensions between the two countries. The Secretary-General condemns the incident and takes note that the Government of Sudan has rightly responded through diplomatic means. He urges both Governments to show restraint and make greater efforts to improve their relations.

The Secretary-General is also gravely concerned by the reports of bombings by the Government of Sudan on rebel positions in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur, which took place on 18 July. He calls on the Sudanese Government and all parties to the conflict to cease military actions, comply with Security Council resolutions in this regard and to commit to a cessation of hostilities. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Al-Bashir Backers Just as Guilty

By E Nkosi,

UGANDA should be commended for agreeing to arrest Sudanese President Hassan Al Bashir for committing genocide if he steps foot on Ugandan soil.

It is tragic that the recent gathering of African leaders at the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya, decided to side with dictators and not the victims of the brutality of some of the continent’s leaders.

The fact that the leaders see nothing wrong with the holocaust in Darfur can only suggest that they are as guilty as Sudan’s President. South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute and that is why Al Bashir was not able to travel for President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration.

We need more countries with the courage of Uganda and South Africa in order to put a stop to the abuse of Africans by their so-called leaders. It is a pity that the initiative should come from outside the continent. If African leaders serve the interests of the people as opposed to their own personal agendas, they would have welcomed the Rome Statute. Read morev >>>>>>>>>

Monday, July 13, 2009

Uganda willing to arrest al-Bashir for war crimes


KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda said Monday it would arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he enters the country, an unusual stance after a summit of African leaders denounced the international arrest warrant against al-Bashir.

Henry Oryem Okello, Uganda's minister for international affairs, spoke after meeting with the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, in Kampala.

Police "will ensure that he is arrested" if al-Bashir arrives, Okello said.

Ocampo added: "It is a legal obligation for Uganda to arrest Bashir if he comes to Uganda."

Earlier this month at an African Union summit, Africa's leaders criticized the International Criminal Court and refused to extradite al-Bashir, who has been indicted for crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Sudan welcomed the move, and other Africans said it was a signal that the West should not impose its ways on Africa. But several African leaders appeared to strongly disagree with the AU statement, and Benin Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ehouzou said Sudan's neighbor and antagonist, Chad, objected to the wording. Read more >>>>>>>>

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ICC asked to charge Bashir with genocide

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, July 8 (UPI) -- Prosecutors have asked the judges of the International Criminal Court to reconsider their decision not to charge Sudan's president with war crimes.

The prosecutors filed an appeal Monday, the BBC reported.

In March, the judges issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir. The charges included war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor for the court, argues he and his colleagues assembled evidence showing the Sudanese state was mobilized to destroy three tribal groups in Darfur for at least six years. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Botswana shows up SA on AU ‘reprieve’ for Bashir

SOUTH Africa has been upstaged by Botswana breaking ranks and condemning an African Union (AU) decision not to co-operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its indictment of Sudan’s president.

Botswana’s criticism was the strongest by an AU member country since the resolution in favour of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was passed last Friday at the summit chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

SA let the resolution pass despite being a signatory to the convention on the ICC, and has now tied itself into a diplomatic conundrum. By remaining silent on the AU resolution, SA gives tacit approval to Bashir’s flouting of his indictment, the first against a sitting head of state. SA is obliged to assist in the arrest of Bashir. Read more >>>>>

The AU summit decision enables Bashir to travel across Africa without fear of arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity as set out by the ICC.