Sunday, December 25, 2011

Genocide in Darfur remains critical

by Brandt Gelman

Daniel Solomon, a junior at Georgetown University and national student director of STAND (the student-led division of United Against Genocide), traveled to Pittsburgh this past weekend to impart one message: The genocide taking place in Sudan “is not over.”

Speaking at local venues during his stay in Pittsburgh, Solomon, a Jewish student leader, captivated audiences with his wealth of knowledge on the issues taking place in the Sudan and his immense enthusiasm to inspire a means for global change.

He addressed audiences at the Hillel Jewish University Center and Congregation Beth Shalom.

One driving factor behind Solomon’s trip to Pittsburgh was the area’s commitment to widening STAND’s influence on a global level. With core chapters at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Solomon was anxious to connect with many young adults who share the same passion as he does to create change within our world.

“The change we want to take place is not something that can happen overnight,” Solomon said. “It is great to see how many students have the desire to commit to organizations such as STAND, to help bring change to the world.” Read more: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ICC prosecutor: Sudanese president’s ‘destiny’ is to face justice for alleged war crimes

UNITED NATIONS — The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s “destiny” is clear: he will face justice for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said it took 18 years to arrest all 161 people indicated by the U.N. tribunal prosecuting war crimes in former Yugoslavia, and al-Bashir will eventually be arrested and handed over to the ICC.

“International justice is here to stay,” he told a news conference after briefing the U.N. Security Council. “It will take time but the destiny is clear. He will face justice.”

Moreno Ocampo said all countries — including Sudan — have a legal obligation under the Security Council resolution that referred the Darfur conflict to the court in 2005 to arrest al-Bashir and two other Sudanese indicted by the ICC.

Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman disputed Moreno Ocampo’s allegations of war crimes against Sudanese officials, stressing that Sudan is not a party to the Rome statute that established the court “and we do not recognize the ICC.”

Moreno Ocampo said that at the closed Security Council meeting there was “full support for arrest warrants issued” by the court.Read more >>>>>>>>

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Darfur: Civil Society Organizati​ons submit letters to UN, EU and The Internatio​nal Criminal Court

15 December 2011

Civil Society Organizations urge UN, EU, AU and AL
to help ICC implement UNSC resolution 1593

Your Excellency,

UN Security Council referred the investigation of atrocity crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in March 2005 (Resolution 1593). Since then The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, conducted investigations which resulted in the indictment of 7 people including Darfur movement leaders and the president of The Sudan.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants for the arrest of Sudan's president and other senior government officials. To date, none has appeared before the Court. The Court does not have the ability to arrest them. It is the responsibility of the member states of the United Nation to honour the resolution adopted by The Security Council.

We thank the Chief Prosecutor for his efforts during the last nine years and we are looking forward to cooperating with the new Chief Prosecutor of the court in relation to the situation in Darfur, the Sudan.

We the undersigned civil society organizations urge member states of The United Nation, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League to fully cooperate with The International Criminal Court to implement its mandate and prosecute those indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

The undersigned:

A.I, Secretary-General
Kassab Refugee Camp, Kuttum, Sudan

Hussain Begira, Chair person
Darfur Union, UK & Ireland

Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director
Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre, Switzerland

Ahmed M. Mohamedain
Darfur Union, The Netherlands

Adeeb Yousif, Executive Director
Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO), USA

Darfourie Association in French (ACDF), France

Mohammed Esmail, Executive Director
Darfur Committee Association (DCA), South Africa

Abdelhadi Abakr, Chairman
Darfur Call, The Netherlands

Ahmed Haroun, Chairman
Darfur Association, Norway

Sabir Abu Saadia
Darfur Solidarity Group, South Africa,

Mahjob Abdalla
Darfur Diaspora Association – Canada

Abdalmageed S. Haroun, Chairperson
Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), USA

Mohamed A Muhagir, Financial secretary
Association of Darfur Reporters and Journalists, Netherlands

Niemat Ahmadi, President and Founder
Darfur Women Action Group, USA

Abdelaazim Tabag, Secretary of Communications
Darfur Association, Belgium

Mohamed Suleiman
Darfuri Activist, California, U.S.A

Mohamed Adam Al-hassan, Executive Director
Social Peace Initiative for Darfur (SPID), Netherlands

Mustafa Siry Suliman
Journalist, Manchester UK

Gibril Hamid
Darfur Friedens- und Entwicklungs-Zentrum, Switzerland

Friday, December 02, 2011

ICC Prosecutor Presents New Case in Darfur

Today the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requested Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
The evidence allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in previous warrants of arrest for Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb issued by the Court on 27 April 2007. Mr. Hussein was then Minister for the Interior for the Government of Sudan and Special Representative of the President in Darfur, with all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. Mr. Hussein delegated some of his responsibilities to Mr. Harun, the Minister of State for the Interior, whom he appointed to head the “Darfur Security Desk.”
The crimes were perpetrated during attacks upon the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar Localities of West Darfur. The attacks followed a common pattern: the Government of Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including Militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of 4 million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million remain in camps for Internally Displaced Persons.
In the “Prosecution v. Harun & Kushayb” case, Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled that Local Security Committees coordinated these attacks. They were supervised by State Security Committees which reported to Mr. Harun, who in turn, according to the evidence, reported to Mr. Hussein. “The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians”, said Moreno-Ocampo.
“Moreover, the evidence shows that directly and through Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the Militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of the Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes,” said the Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor considered that Mr. Hussein should be arrested in order to prevent him from continuing with the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

After careful consideration, the Office of the Prosecutor has decided to publicly seek a warrant against Mr. Hussein to encourage further public focus on Government of the Sudan policy and actions, and promote cooperation in taking action to arrest Mr. Hussein and the 3 other individuals subject to ICC warrants, as established by UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005).

The Prosecutor emphasized that Mr. Hussein is presumed innocent and will be given full rights and the opportunity to defend himself. Pre-Trial Chamber I will review the evidence and make a decision on the Prosecution’s request.
This is the fourth case of the International Criminal Court in Darfur. To date, ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb - for crimes against humanity and war crimes; warrants of arrest against Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and summonses to appear for rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda for war crimes.

The Prosecutor will brief the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur on 15 December 2011 at UN Headquarters.

For more information:
Florence Olara
OTP Public Information Officer
+31 70 515 8723 (office)
+31 65 029 4476 (cell)

Pesident Omer al-Bashir trepidation over arrest

By Steve Paterno,

December 1, 2011 — Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir in March of 2009, just overnight, the dictator became prisoner within the confines of his own country, as he risks apprehension in any case he travels abroad. In search for solution, the regime then mounted fierce diplomatic campaign to circumvent the ICC authority and have charges leveled against President al-Bashir be dropped. These alleged charges are horrendous. They are ten counts in total, ranging from crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; for the ethnic cleansing that President al-Bashir is waging in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Unfortunately, the regime’s diplomatic bid didn’t render any considerable support that it desperately needed. Instead, the regime is only able to win the sympathy of a handful of insignificant and reluctant allies, who are toothless to foil ICC legal proceedings, which is taking the life of its own, with devastating toll against President al-Bashir’s reign.
Cornered, President al-Bashir had no choice but ended up considering to limit his visitations to those only few countries he thinks are sympathetic to him. Even then, those limited visitations come with surmountable risks. For example, President al-Bashir was invited during the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma in May of 2009, and the same officials who invited him, warned that if he ever showed, they will be forced to lock him up. This is also a similar case in Uganda, where President al-Bashir was invited on several occasions, but the potential for his arrest is left open. In all these incidents, President al-Bashir dropped the invitations all together, for fearing the obvious.
In some of President al-Bashir’s daring trips, he miraculously survived near arrest scares. The regime in Khartoum is always afraid of the danger that President al-Bashir’s plane would likely face midair flight diversion in some of the hostile airspace, which will eventually lead into his detention. He actually came too close to facing this scenario in June of this year when he was flying from Iran en route to China, only to encounter refusal for passage through the airspace of countries ready to arrest him. When President al-Bashir’s flight was diverted back into Tehran, his Chinese sympathizers were uncomfortably at lost and those in Khartoum confirmed their worst fear.

Those in Khartoum also happened to discover midair flight diversion was not the only danger President al-Bashir faces when he decides to travel abroad. For example, in one of President al-Bashir’s trips to Ethiopia, he was stuck inside his plane at Mekele Airport, because the airport crew could not bring the boarding ladder on time. The anxieties of President al-Bashir and those of his entourage were further exacerbated when they caught a sight of a plane bearing USA flag taxing near them. Their expressed mood was of “severe panic” that it was the end. Even though this was a false alarm, the tyrant never takes chances in these situations, knowing too well his ultimate fate.

President al-Bashirs other defiant trips are just outright embarrassing, such as in 2009, in Qatar where the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declined to sit next to President al-Bashir at a banquet organized for Arab and South American states summit and Argentinian President refused to take a group photo that included President al-Bashir. Who in their right sense could accept the offer to feast next to an infamous international fugitive with bloods of innocent lives on his hands or even be in the same photo with such a character.

The isolationism of President al-Bashir is further amplified by the wave of Arab Spring, which witnessed some of his fellow Arab-Islamic military dictators dramatically losing power, such is in the case of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who is currently rotting in prison or the Libyan Colonel Maumar Gaddafi who was chased down the streets of his own hometown of Sirte and then smothered to death.

Kenya is one of the latest countries that deprived President al-Bashir of his limited freedom of travel. In 2010, President al-Bashir made a controversial trip to Kenya in order to attend a signing ceremony of Kenyan constitution. The visit put Kenyan government in awkward position as it received condemnations from all over the world. As a result, the Kenyan local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) petitioned the court to rule on the arrest warrant against President al-Bashir. Just this week, the Kenyan high court issued a landmark ruling, ordering the minister of internal security to immediately execute the arrest of President al-Bashir should he set foot in Kenya again. This ruling is significant not just because it bars President al-Bashir from traveling to Kenya, but it also sets legal precedent for justice loving people throughout Africa to compel their governments to execute the arrest warrant of international fugitives like President al-Bashir through the court system.

Although the regime in Khartoum is trying to downplay the significance of the Kenyan high court ruling, President al-Bashir took the matter upon himself by expelling Kenyan ambassador from Khartoum and recalling back Sudanese ambassador from Nairobi. Khartoum’s severance of diplomatic relation with Nairobi comes in wake of East African Community (EAC) denying Sudanese application of trying to join the community—the indication that Sudan is being immensely plunged into the abyss of isolationism. Sudan needs to do many things for it to join the family of nations, and among those things it could do is getting rid of President al-Bashir once and for all.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir: Kenya issues arrest warrant

A Kenyan court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in Darfur.

The ruling came after Kenya allowed Mr Bashir to visit in August in defiance of an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for his arrest.

The judge said he should be arrested if he "ever set foot in Kenya" again, the AFP news agency reports.

Kenya is a signatory to the treaty which established the ICC in 2002.

But like most African countries, it has refused to enforce the ICC warrant. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, November 25, 2011

Darfur: The Genocide the World Got Tired Of

Amidst precarious humanitarian conditions, human security is increasingly threatened in Darfur—by Khartoum’s military as well as by variously re-cycled militia forces, and in particular by the increasingly savage Abu Tira (Central Reserve Police). The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a conspicuous failure, and yet continues to represent the entirety of international efforts in confronting the “responsibility to protect” acutely endangered civilians

Eric Reeves
November 24, 2011

News coverage of the Darfur region of western Sudan, including eastern Chad, has all but vanished. Were it not for the efforts of the Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga, two extraordinary journalistic enterprises by Sudanese in the diaspora, Darfur would be largely reduced to the feeble visibility provided by media releases from UNAMID (the UN/African Union peacekeeping force in the region). These stultifying, self-serving dispatches convey nothing of the continuing violence and destruction that afflict Darfuris, both in the camps and rural areas, as well as in towns. The victims continue to be overwhelmingly from the African tribal groups of the region, who make up the vast majority of the more than 2 million people who remain uprooted, most from the most intense phase of Khartoum’s genocidal counter-insurgency effort (April 2003 into early 2005). During the past eight and a half years, some 500,000 people have died from violence or the consequences of violent displacement.

Insecurity and deprivation also define the lives of the Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad, most of whom fled early in the conflict. There, as Human Rights authoritatively established with reports in 2006 and 2007, Khartoum pursued ethnically African Darfuris with Antonov bombers, and turned loose their savage Janjaweed militias (see especially “‘They Came Here to Kill Us’: Militia Attacks and Ethnic Targeting of Civilians in Eastern Chad,” January 2007 and “Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad,” February 2006). And yet eastern Chad is, if possible, even less visible than Darfur. But the crisis there continues to be enormous: the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates this year that there are some 285,000 refugees who remain near the Chad/Darfur border; these people are no closer to safe returns in substantial numbers than they were five years ago.

The figure for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Darfur has been badly politicized, particularly by the UN’s Georg Charpentier, who lowered the UN estimate for IDPs from 2.7 million to 1.9 million in July 2010—justifying this only on the basis of a footnote reference to a report by the International Organization for Migration that did not exist, and still is not complete (the undertaking is in partnership with the UN World Food Program as part of an overdue re-registration effort in the camps). This was utterly disingenuous on Charpentier’s part, as is the consistent UN suggestion that the population of IDPs is equivalent to the populations in the camps. This is not so. It should be noted first that camp are populations highly fluid, especially during agriculturally important times of the year, and especially if lands abandoned are in walking distance. But the status of many other displaced persons is even more ambiguous, and a great many people have taken shelter with host families or villages, often far from their homes. This is an enormous population that has never shown up in the census calculations of IDP numbers based solely on camp registrations (this is true of the Darfuri refugee population in eastern Chad as well). To omit the figure for displaced persons not in the camps—without even acknowledging that this population exists, and that it is very substantial—is but another form of disingenuousness on the part of Charpentier and the UN/AU joint special representative for Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria.

Security for these displaced persons remains appallingly inadequate. Despite Gambari’s fatuously self-serving public claims, UNAMID is almost completely dysfunctional in protecting civilians. Certainly Darfuris are uniformly scathing in their assessment of UNAMID’s performance and protection abilities. It is true that large-scale armed conflict between Khartoum (along with its Arab militia allies) and the rebel groups has declined in recent months; but we have seen such declines a number of times over the past eight years, and invariably fighting has resumed (moreover, two ominous recent reports indicate that dry season fighting may be about to begin). Khartoum has for the present re-deployed a great many of its military air assets to el-Obeid (North Kordofan), to South Kordofan, and to Blue Nile—including a newly expanded air field near recently captured Kurmuk (southern Blue Nile). This expansion includes helipads for combat helicopters, both gunships and troop-ferrying aircraft. From these locations, Khartoum’s military aircraft are engaged in what all accounts suggest is daily bombardment and aerial attacks on civilians, including refugees from South Kordofan who have made it to South Sudan.

Reduced fighting in Darfur, almost certainly temporary, thus gives the world an excuse to pretend that UNAMID is somehow an adequate international response to the violence and continued displacement; in fact, it is yet another in a long line of obscene failures to make the “responsibility to protect” something more than a feel-good exhortation. It is worth noting that since UNAMID officially took up its mandate on January 1, 2008, almost 1 million Darfuris have been newly displaced, according to figures from the UN High Commission for Refugees. This vast number in itself makes nonsense of Charpentier’s claim that the number of IDPs may be reduced by over 800,000, a claim that Khartoum delights in.

The realities of human security in Darfur are simply not represented in any meaningful fashion by a thoroughly intimidated UN; this in turn offers special representative Gambari the opportunity to make any number of absurd claims about the success of the mission he now oversees, and which he clearly hopes to use as a stepping-stone in his career (much as his disastrous performance in Burma won him appointment by Ban Ki-moon to his present position). But the causes for concern are many, and the daily violence experienced by Darfuris, even without major fighting or regular aerial bombardment, needs some meaningful accounting. There should be, for example, major concerns about the mercenaries who have returned to Darfur from Libya, with their substantial weaponry. These men could easily become an additional source of insecurity for civilians, but UNAMID has said nothing that suggests it even perceives a threat.

Further, the epidemic of rape that has stalked Darfur for more than eight years continues; Radio Dabanga provides continuing accounts on this immensely destructive phenomenon, which is rippling cruelly through families and generations. (See below for a compendium of recent reports on the continuing outrage of widespread rape, including the rape of girls, with no accountability.) Camps continue to be attacked, rural farms seized, civilians casually murdered, and arson is deployed more frequently as a means of destroying key institutions, including schools.

The Central Reserve Police, or Abu Tira, are now Khartoum’s primary instrument of destruction and intimidation, and they operate throughout Darfur with total impunity, sustaining a climate of fear and violence that at once endangers humanitarian operations and presents intolerable threats to civilians. Julie Flint offers a perspicuous overview of this force

“A gendarmerie officially under the Interior Ministry, although more likely at the behest of the [former] National Intelligence and Security Service of Salah Gosh, the Central Reserve Police has become increasingly active in the conflict in Darfur (and neighbouring Kordofan). Some analysts believe this is a result of the reduced effectiveness of the Popular Defence Forces, a paramilitary group that has taken on a political dimension that makes it more useful as a political rallying tool than a fighting force; others link it to restrictions imposed on Sudan Armed Forces by the Darfur Peace Agreement. In 2004, the Central Reserve Police opened a training centre in Musa Hilal’s Misteriha barracks in North Darfur.” (“Beyond ‘Janjaweed’: Understanding the Militias of Darfur,” Small Arms Survey [Geneva], June 2009)

It was Musa Hila, the most notorious of the Janjaweed leaders, who announced in 2004 the ambition that still animates Khartoum’s efforts in Darfur: “change the demography of Darfur and empty it of African tribes.”

None of this is suggested anywhere in UNAMID’s representation of conditions in Darfur.

“Peace for our time”? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore and his foreign minister Dijibril Bassole offered rare defense by African politicians of the International Criminal Court (ICC) work in the continent.

November 9, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore and his foreign minister Dijibril Bassole offered rare defense by African politicians of the International Criminal Court (ICC) work in the continent.
The two officials made the remarks at The Hague where they attended a seminar on international justice, peace and crisis management held Wednesday at the Peace Palace. The event was organized by the Swedish embassy to pay tribute to late UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjold who was killed fifty years ago in a plane crash.
They emphasized the need to change the negative perceptions by Africans toward the ICC.
"There is a misunderstanding, a misapprehension when it comes to the cases launched by the ICC on the continent," Compaore said at the seminar.
"It is our duty to sensitise Africans... We must continue to convince them that such a court is essential," he added.
The Hague based court came under fierce attack from the African Union (AU) in the aftermath of the arrest warrant issued for Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir in 2009 charging him with war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.
The continental body issued resolutions instructing members including those who ratified the Rome Statute of the court to ignore their obligations and not apprehend Bashir should he visit. So far Kenya, Chad, Djibouti and Malawi have allowed that to happen.
A similar directive was made with respect to late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was charged by the court last June.
AU officials particularly its commissioner Jean Ping have also slammed the fact that all cases handled by the court so far are in Africa and accused the ICC of double standards.
Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ivory Coast have asked the ICC to launch investigations into crimes committed on their territories.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2005 and 2011 referred the situation in Darfur and Libya respectively to the world court under a chapter VII binding resolution.
It was only the case of Kenya where the ICC prosecutor used his authority to launch investigation in a member state after top officials in the East African nation expressed their desire that he makes this move.
Compaore and Bassole said it was not surprising that ICC cases are all in Africa.
"When there are thousands of victims, it is impossible to handle for our national jurisdictions," Compaore argued.
"We all know the majority of crises take place in Africa” Bassole said.
"Many African countries believe that the ICC was a tool from the Western world against African countries," he added. "There’s a perception to be changed."
The ICC is the world’s only independent, permanent tribunal with the jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Bassole also used the opportunity to deny that his country ever offered refuge to Gaddafi despite the arrest warrant.
"No, we did not offer asylum to Gaddafi," he said. "And if he had asked asylum in Burkina Faso, we would have proceeded exactly as the president indicated, knowing that we are a member of the ICC and that we have recognized the national transition council at that time."
"We are part of the ICC with all resulting obligations," Bassole added. "If a perpetrator of crimes is indicted as part of ICC, we can’t protect this person. We fully obey to the obligations derived from our membership of the ICC”.
Bassole who was the chief joint mediator for Darfur, acknowledged in his remarks today the impact of Bashir’s warrant on his work.
"In my position of Joint Chief Mediator, I had to observe neutrality, in the interest of the process. Any statement from me, in favor of the proceedings would have been rejected strongly by the Government. In the other hand, the armed movements would have condemned any attitude against the proceedings," he said.
"The two institutions [AU and UN] that have mandated me to find a political settlement to the Darfur conflict, namely the AU and the UN, had different reactions and approaches toward the arrest warrant against President Bashir”.
"I don’t want to give any details here, but it is obvious that it was very difficult to work under two institutions that had different attitude vis-à-vis the arrest warrant".
Bassole also appeared to suggest incentives to Bashir to finalize the Darfur peace process and implement the recently signed agreement.
"If there is a need to encourage President Bashir, I think that this way deserve to be explore," he said without elaborating.
The UNSC has refused to take on request by the AU to consider a 12-month deferral request for Bashir’s warrant.
The Sudanese government lobbied several UNSC members this year to table the motion but so far no formal consultations have taken place in New York

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Darfur: Darfur civil Society awarded Mr Pronk a Certificate of Appreciation

October 29, 2011 (The Hague, The Netherlands) - During the events of Africa Day held at The Hague in The Netherlands on October 29th 2011, Darfur Civil Society Organizations awarded Mr Jan Pronk with a Certificate of Appreciation for his outstanding work in coordinating humanitarian assistance to the people of Darfur and facilitating a peace agreement for Darfur from 2004 till 2006.

Mr Pronk was a special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Sudan between 2004 and 2006. He was declared persona non grata by the Government of Sudan because he had a meeting with rebel commanders in October 2006 wherein he got them to consent to a policy of not attacking government targets. Before conveying this message to Khartoum, government forces bombed the areas where he met the rebel leaders. He said this as betrayal and indifference to a peace process. The Sudanese government was not amused and shortly declared him as persona non grata.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Obama administration must act now to stop Darfur’s genocidal mastermind, Omar al-Bashir

By Tom Andrews,

The man wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court is getting away with murder. Again. And, again, we are failing to do anything about it.

Perhaps in today’s political climate – an economy in trouble, skyrocketing unemployment, criticism of U.S. foreign policy decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan and a heated election on the horizon – it’s unrealistic to expect the United States to act on a conflict half way around the world that is receiving little public attention. By failing to act, however, the Obama administration is making it easier for a murderous head of state to continue killing innocent men, women and children with impunity.

Sudan’s president and architect of the Darfur genocide, Omar al-Bashir, began aggressive attacks on civilians in Sudan’s border regions this summer while Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was applauding Sudan for allowing the south to secede and create the Republic of South Sudan.

Sudanese forces have driven half a million people from their homes throughout Sudan this year. United Nations reports indicate the likelihood of ethnic cleansing in Abyei, and war crimes and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan. We suspect similar atrocities are occurring in Blue Nile. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sudanese Genocide Attention Fatigue?

By Austin Bay

Remember Darfur, site of the genocide in Western Sudan? Two years ago, in August 2009, the then-United Nations peacekeeping force commander claimed the war in Darfur had "effectively ended." He argued that major attacks had declined to the point that he thought the war would soon be over.

This month, September 2011, the U.N. issued a press statement that said attacks had declined 70 percent since late 2008.

Which, given the continued bloodletting, is an awkward way of saying that the war really isn't over. And it isn't. The Sudanese government -- meaning the Islamist Sudanese government seated in Khartoum, for there is now a separate South Sudan -- still occasionally employs heavily armed militias as proxy forces to attack, kill and disperse Darfuri civilians. Sudan's air force still launches air raids on rebel forces in Darfur and indiscriminately drop bombs in holdout rebel villages.

There are two reasons attacks have declined. The first is that the northern Sudanese government has driven several hundred thousand pro-rebel Darfuris from their land. They are now either dead or in refugee camps.

The second reason: The northern government is now engaged in several other wars against Sudanese civilians or former Sudanese civilians. In May, about six weeks before South Sudan became independent, Sudan attacked and occupied the Abyei area, a disputed border zone between the two nations. Over 100,000 people fled south to escape the northern attack. After U.N. sponsored negotiations, both sides agreed to let Ethiopia deploy a peacekeeping force in Abyei. Ethiopia, which borders both Sudans, does not want to see the north-south confrontation expand into a wider regional war. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sudan army attacks Darfur villages, 7 killed

KHARTOUM — The Sudanese army attacked two villages in North Darfur, killing seven of their inhabitants, a spokesman for one of the region's main rebel factions said on Friday.

"Last night, government troops attacked two villages in North Darfur, in the area of Seraf Umra. Seven residents were killed and a number of people fled the villages," Ibrahim al-Hilu, a spokesman for the branch of the Sudan Liberation Army led by Abdelwahid Nur, told AFP.

He said the fighting was ongoing.

The Sudanese army spokesman was not immediately available for comment, and the UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) had no information on the violence.

UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari said last week that fighting in Darfur had dropped sharply between January and July and that the number of people living in camps for the displaced appeared to have dropped to 1.7 million, down by 1 million from the worst point in the conflict.

He said the peacekeeping force was still facing problems gaining access to some parts of Sudan's war-torn western region due to restrictions imposed by the Khartoum government and armed groups. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, September 23, 2011

Darfur: Government-Backed Forces Commit Atrocities

Mornei/Garsila — A refugee from West Darfur's Mornei camp sustained serious injuries in the head on Wednesday after suffering an attack from armed men in military uniforms.

The injured was rushed to the hospital for treatment, one of her relatives told Radio Dabanga. The victim was stopped by the gunmen, suspected to be government-backed militia, while she was on her way back to the camp from a farm.
The armed men attempted to rape the refugee and when she resisted, they beat her fiercely with rifle butts and bayonets, which led to severe head injuries and wounds on her chest and neck.

She had to undergo an emergency surgery because of the serious nature of her injuries, the relative said.

On the other hand, refugees from the camps in Garsila, West Darfur, complained on Wednesday of frequent attacks by drunk government troops.

The incidences were reported to have taken place in Jebalin, Hardeba and Jeddah camps in Garsila. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sudan: Governent Negotiating Purchase of Missiles From North Korea

Washington — The Sudanese government has been secretly conducting negotiations with North Korea for the purchase of medium-range ballistic missiles, short-range missiles, and anti-tank missiles, according to a leaked US diplomatic note. The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the cable marked secret that Washington has information that in 2008, Sudan was negotiating a weapons deal. "We want to raise this information with Sudanese officials, urge them not to engage in missile-related cooperation with North Korea, and emphasize that such a deal would be a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1718" the cable reads. The UN sanctions imposed in 2006 include a ban on trade in nuclear and missile technology with North Korea, as well as an arms embargo. They also banned trade with a number of North Korean firms and called for asset freezes and travel bans on some North Korean individuals. "In addition, we want to note that the ballistic missiles North Korea sells, such as Scud and No Dong systems, are considered to be Category I missiles by the multilateral Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) because of their range and payload capabilities, and because they are inherently capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As such, Sudan should consider that its acquisition of WMD-capable ballistic missiles would be destabilizing to the region and negatively affect the international community's perception of Sudan's commitment to maintaining peace with the Southern Sudan". "Sudan should consider the effect of the acquisition of such ballistic missiles on neighboring countries. Sudan's purchase of ballistic missiles would be destabilizing to the region and a particular concern to neighbors within range of the missile. These countries would obviously question whether they were the intended targets of these weapons and whether Sudan intended to use these missiles to attack them". Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Darfur: Janjaweed leader slams VP Taha Nafie, blames NCP for Darfur crimes

September 3, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – A suspected leader of the notorious Janjaweed militias in Darfur was apologetic over the crimes committed in Sudan’s Western region but blamed it on the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and a core group of Islamists within it, a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable discloses.
The document says that on September 23, 2009 the U.S. Charge d’affaires (CDA) Alberto Fernandez attended a Ramadan Iftar held by Darfuri-American activist and prominent Arab tribal leader Walid Madibo who is also a USAID implementing partner.

In attendance also was Musa Hilal who is described by several rights groups and eyewitnesses as one who led terror campaign against the African tribes in the war ravaged region.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) imposed travel and financial sanctions on Hilal and three other individuals in April 2006. The US president George Bush issued an executive order enforcing similar sanctions on them.

At the event Fernandez met one-in-one with Hilal which was described as the third meeting of its kind with a U.S. official.

Hilal told the U.S. diplomat that the Arab tribes were manipulated by a hysterical Khartoum afraid that Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader John Garang was seeking to open a new front in Darfur just as negotiations reached their final stage on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

"I was let out of prison and was angry at the world. My tribe had been attacked. Khartoum armed me and pushed tribal vengeance into something worse" the tribal leader was quoted as saying. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Call for release of all imprisoned journalists in wake of president’s announcement

Reporters Without Borders welcomes President Omar Al-Bashir’s announcement during a meeting with journalists on 27 August that he intends to free all the journalists imprisoned in Sudan, but we call for this decision to be extended to all media workers and for it to be carried out without delay.

The announcement was followed yesterday by the release of Gafar Alsabki Ibrahim, a journalist with the Arabic-language daily Al-Sahafa, who had been detained since 3 November 2010. But Abdelrahman Adam, an employee of Radio Dabanga, and six of the station’s other employees, who have been detained since 30 October 2010, were not freed.

“Gafar Alsabki’s release is obviously good news but the authorities must also free Radio Dabanga’s employees and must go further by dropping all the charges against them,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We should also not forget that the past few weeks have been marked by confiscations of newspapers and a return to prior censorship, measures that violate media freedom. If Sudan wants to be seen as a country that respects freedom of expression, it really must put a stop to such practices.” Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur refugee encounters compassionate counsellors on YU Counterpoint Israel program

Written by Avraham Zuroff

JERUSALEM – You can easily spot Yismael among the other immigrant campers. He carries a notebook and incessantly jots new words that he learns in English and Arabic. Unlike his fellow campers who periodically visit their parents who live in Israel, Yismael hasn’t seen his parents for two years – his parents live in a refugee camp in Chad.

Yismael decided to flee his war-torn homeland of Darfur two years ago. Yismael, who was then 16, trekked from Darfur to Libya to Egypt and finally Israel. He was the youngest of a group of 15 friends who fled Darfur.

In the thick of the night, Yismael and his companions crossed over the Egyptian border, but they were detected. Yismael dropped his knack sack containing his sole personal belongings and started running. During the pursuit, the Egyptian border patrol shot and killed three of his companions.

But Yismael had no time to mourn the death of his friends. He continued with his odyssey trekking more than 2,000 kilometres by foot without food or cash and arrived at the Israeli border, only to be detected by Israeli troops. They subsequently incarcerated him and his friends for two weeks.

The Israeli authorities gave political asylum to Yismael and a year later placed him at the Yemin Orde youth village in Carmel.

“I want to return to Darfur when there will be peace,” Yismael told the Jewish Tribune, speaking in fluent Hebrew. Although he isn’t Jewish, Yismael dons a kippa when participating in daily prayers and enjoys the Torah lectures at the youth village. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UN mission to remote area of Darfur finds thousands in need of aid

As many as 400,000 people living in a remote and mountainous part of Sudan’s troubled Darfur region need urgent humanitarian assistance, according to a United Nations assessment of an area that has been largely cut off for two years because of ongoing conflict.
A week-long mission to the west of Jebel Marra, led by the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) and including several UN aid agencies, wrapped up on Sunday after team members distributed food, medical supplies and relief items to communities in the area.

Oriano Micaletti, the head of UNAMID’S humanitarian protection strategy division, said assessments conducted by the mission team confirmed that about 400,000 people are displaced in the Jebel Marra area, which straddles the three states in the Darfur region.

“They have received very limited assistance during the last few years and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid,” he said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Omar Hassan al-Bashir Up to Genocide Again?


Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, is a genocide extraordinaire. If medals were given out for such activity, he’d be going for the gold.

In the early to mid 1990s, under Bashir’s leadership, the Government of Sudan (GoS) perpetrated genocidal actions in the Nuba Mountains, largely by starving people to death and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the victims. Not a decade later, Bashir and his henchmen committed genocide in Darfur, carrying out a scorched earth policy that resulted in an estimated 400,000 plus deaths, over two million internally displaced persons, and another 275,000 plus refugees. More recently, just over the past two weeks, Bashir’s soldiers and militia carried out at least crimes against humanity, if not genocidal actions, in the Nuba Mountains.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for the atrocities perpetrated in Darfur, is purportedly furious that the people of South Kordafan refuse to acknowledge the recent election of Ahmed Haroun as governor. Not only do many in the state (which borders the new nation of South Sudan) perceive the election as having been rigged, and thus stolen from the highly popular Abdul Aziz, a former commander of the Sudan Peoples Army, but they are outraged that a man wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on over 40 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for atrocities perpetrated in Darfur is still free and allowed to run for office. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, June 11, 2011

16 Members of the Zaghawa Tribe Summarily Executed and Buried in Mass Graves in North Darfur

(9 June 2011) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) today expressed grave concerns about the reported summary execution of 16 members of the Zaghawa ethnic group and the subsequent attack on a community leader attempting to investigate the incident.

On 1 June at 8 AM, a militia comprised of roughly 100 people on horses, camels, and in three landcruisers invaded the ethnically Zaghawa villages of Laminah, Terling and Hella Sheikh Khatir, Abu Zeriga area, near Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur. The militia, led by Ibrahim Abu Dur, is allegedly one of many created by the North Darfur government in December 2010 to attack ethnic Zaghawas in Khor Abeche and Shangil Tobaya following the dissolution of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

Militia members engaged in widespread looting of property and livestock, including seven Murah, a local term for herds of 100 head of livestock. Twenty one residents managed to trap the militia as they made their way out of Laminah and Terling and recover two of the stolen Murah. Eyewitnesses reported that this group of residents attempting to secure their property and livelihood was apprehended by personnel in Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) uniforms and militia members supported by military aircraft as they returned to Laminah and Terling. Nineteen members of the group were arrested and taken to Um Kaja village in Eastern Shangil Tobaya, roughly 2 kilometres away.

Sixteen members of the group were summarily executed by firing squad, including Omar al Abkar, 42, the Principal of Abzoraga Primary School. Those killed include:

•Mohamed Wadi Ibrahim Ganee, 42, Zaghawa, farmer
•Adam Wad Ibrahim Ganee, 38, Zaghawa, farmer
•Abdelrahman Dosa Sharif Dhani, 22, Zaghawa, farmer
•Khatal Khater Ghani, 45, Zaghawa
•AsehifAlshikh Tobaik, 71, Zaghawa, a Community Leader of Al Omana village
•Omar al Abkar, 24, Zaghawa, the principal of Abzoraga Primary School
•Guja Ahmed Nour, 42, Zaghawa, farmer
•Nouredain Seneen Idriss, 36, Zaghawa, farmer
•Eltayab Hassan Ibrah, 54, Zaghawa, farmer
•Nouradein Jalab, Zaghawa, farmer
•Khalid Musa Hamsa, Zaghawa, farmer
•Ibrahim Sharief Iman, Zaghawa, farmer

Three others, Adam Ahmed Arabi, Jamal, and Mubarak Yousif Idriss, managed to elude execution. They are currently being held at Shangil Tobaya military camp. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Artist Nadia Plesner wins case brought By Louis Vuitton

What a year for artists and copyright laws: Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and now Nadia Plesner. Who? Nadia Plesner, the Danish artist who was taken to court for copyright infringement by luxury, artist-employing brand Louis Vuitton for the image of an emaciated child holding one of their distinctive patterned handbags in her painting "Darfurnica" (pictured).

On Wednesday Eyeteeth reported that a European court (contradicting their recent anti-art stance) had ruled in favor of Plesner in a lawsuit brought by the luxury brand over her use of their Audra handbag in the "Guernica"-referencing, Darfur awareness-raising painting. Louis Vuitton sought a penalty of €5,000 for every day that the image appeared on Plesner's website, which, as of right now, amounted to €485,000 (they began tallying her fee in late January). The brand also wanted the court to prevent Plesner from ever displaying the work online, or in the European Union (as well as another of her works that was the subject of a 2008 case).

Instead, the court in The Hague sided with Plesner stating, via Google Translate (of this article), that: Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


■Many financial institutions invest in PetroChina, a company which, through its parent, CNPC, provides Sudan's government with revenue that has been helping fund the Darfur genocide for years. The conflict has claimed 300,000 lives and left millions homeless. With a billion-dollar stake in PetroChina as of January 2011, JPMorgan Chase is one of its largest investors. On May 17, JPMorgan Chase shareholders have the opportunity to vote for genocide-free investing. How would you vote?
■Click here or on the image on the left to see the full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal from May 11, 2011, or click here for the pdf version.

■The full text of the shareholder proposal, "Proposal 10 - Genocide-free investing" as listed in the proxy statement, is included at the bottom of this page. The resolved clause of the proposal states:

"Shareholders request that the Board institute transparent procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in management's judgment, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights. Management should encourage JPMorgan funds with separate boards to institute similar procedures."

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Group of Darfuri journalists complains about "irresponsible management style" at Netherlands-based Radio Dabanga.

Association of Darfur Reporters & Journalists, 3 May 2011, via Ground Report: "Radio Dabanga started broadcasting into Darfur from Hilversum [the Netherlands] since December 2008 primarily because of [Sudanese] government censorship and crackdown on independent media. Because of, among others, Radio Dabanga, the Darfuri people realized that the international community has not forgotten them and their suffering. Thanks to the commitment of Dutch, other European and international friends, the voiceless people of Darfur started to have a voice in Radio Dabanga. However, this historical initiative is starting to collapse due to irresponsible management style of Radio Dabanga that continues to exclude the Darfuri journalists from every policy of Radio Dabanga. This irresponsible management style has not only damaged the effectiveness of Radio Dabanga but it has also endangered the lives of Darfuri journalists in The Sudan. Radio Dabanga management opened a studio in Khartoum. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Bloody Sideshow in Sudan

By: Rebecca Tinsley.

As another wave of ethnic cleansing, rape and killing sweeps Darfur, those following the dramatic events in the Middle East and North Africa should reflect on the fate of six million civilians trapped in Sudan's bloody sideshow.

This might sound familiar: eight years ago, on April 25th 2003, a group of rebels rose up against the corrupt and brutal Arab regime that had oppressed and impoverished them for decades.

The regime in question was Sudan's National Islamic Front (NIF). The rebels attacked a military airfield at El Fasher in Darfur, humiliating the NIF which reacted by systematically slaughtering defenseless civilians, village by village.

The United Nations estimates 300,000 people died as a direct consequence of this act of defiance. According to Human Rights Watch, the NIF government, aided by their proxies, the Janjaweed militia, destroyed ninety per cent of non-Arab villages in Darfur.

However, there was no concerted international response; no jets were dispatched to bomb government tanks and protect civilians. Instead, survivors fled from their ruined homes, salvaging what they could carry, trying to reach refugee camps, where they remain to this day. The UN believes there are still two and a half million displaced Darfuris. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, May 02, 2011

Darfuri Journalists en Organisations Furious on Radio Dabanga Leadership

Press Release: May 2nd, 2011

Darfuri Journalists en Organisations Furious on Radio Dabanga Leadership

Since the outbreak of the war in Darfur eight years ago, voices of the victims of the conflict remained absent and suppressed due to government restriction and censorship on press freedom in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular. The GOS has shut down the BBC World Service Trust radio project, suspended the FM broadcasts of Radio Monte Carlo in October2010 and refused to grant the United Nation and African Union Peace keeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) permission to set up a humanitarian FM radio station.
Radio Dabanga started broadcasting into Darfur from Hilversum since December 2008 primarily because of government censorship and crackdown on independent media. Because of, among others, Radio Dabanga, the Darfuri people realized that the international community has not forgotten them and their suffering. Thanks to the commitment of Dutch, other European and international friends, the voiceless people of Darfur started to have a voice in Radio Dabanga.
However, this historical initiative is starting to collapse due to irresponsible management style of Radio Dabanga that continues to exclude the Darfuri journalists from every policy of Radio Dabanga. This irresponsible management style has not only damaged the effectiveness of Radio Dabanga but it has also endangered the lives of Darfuri journalists in The Sudan. Radio Dabanga management opened a studio in Khartoum. That led to the arrest of Radio Dabanga workers and other activists on October 30th, 2010, other fled to Uganda and still other are missing within Sudan.
The Dafuri journalists in Hilversum who protested against this irresponsible action have been threatened by the management, some are dismissed and others are threatened with expulsion from The Netherlands.
On the eve of International Press Freedom we appeal to the Dutch people, the Dutch Government, the donors, the friends of the Darfuri people and the international community to rescue Radio Dabanga for the sake of the Darfuri people and their freedom.
After all it is the Dutch, European and other friends money and moral support that made Radio Dabanga a possibility. We, as Darfuri journalists and Darfur community in the Netherlands, are truly grateful for the hospitable and generous Dutch people and their government for their stand against injustice in the world; and especially in The Sudan. We are very grateful for their support for freedom of expression, freedom of press in Sudan and Darfur.
We are confident that they will continue to support us in our struggle for transparency, democracy and freedom of expression first and foremost within the entity Radio Dabanga and for our peoples in The Sudan.


Association of Darfur Reporters & Journalists

Darfur Union

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Biden says 'great concern' over Darfur security

WASHINGTON — US Vice President Joe Biden has expressed "great concern" that security conditions in Darfur "continue to deteriorate" just months before Sudan is to split into separate states, the White House has said.

Biden's comments were made during a White House meeting with former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is chairman of the African Union's special panel for Sudan.

"The vice president underscored the importance of ensuring the establishment of two viable states in Sudan after the south's independence in July and stressed that a resolution to the situation in Darfur must be part of that process," according to an official readout of the meeting.

Also attending the meeting were former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, and former Burundi president Pierre Buyoya, both of whom are members of the Sudan panel.

On Darfur, Biden "expressed great concern that security conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate and are further aggravated by important restrictions on peacekeepers' and humanitarian workers' access to vulnerable populations," the statement said.Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CRS resumes work in Darfur

Catholic Relief Services is resuming operations in Western Darfur more than two months after evacuating its staff. Earlier, the government had asked CRS to leave because it said it could not guarantee staffers’ security. CRS remained in Darfur in 2009 when the government expelled 13 other aid agencies.

If CRS had closed its program, more than 400,000 people would have been without food.
More than 70,000 people have fled fighting in Darfur, increasing the numbers of displaced.

The agency’s work in Darfur began after two insurgent groups largely aligned with African farming communities formed to fight what they claimed was the region’s historical marginalization from the Arab-dominated central government, as well as to lay their claim for a rightful share of the region’s mineral wealth.

The government responded by arming Arab nomads, ostensibly to counter the threat of the insurgency. Yet Arab militias — known as Janjaweed, or “devils on horseback” — also turned their weapons against innocent civilians.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

School club raises funds to help sister school in Darfur

The members of Together Against Genocide, a student club at Palm Beach Central High School under the direction of social studies teacher Maureen Holtzer, have taken on a lofty project. Their goal is to raise $57,000 in two years to fund its sister school, the Aboutalib B School in Goz Amer refugee camp, in Darfur as part of the Dream Team Project.

The idea to sponsor a sister school was brought to Holtzer by TAG member Javier Suarez. The group, which Holtzer founded in 2008, has always raised money to help fund genocide awareness programs.

"This is just another way to help," she said. "It is about a school building another school."

The $57,000 will fund the building of the schools as well as fill it with all needed supplies, said TAG president Kim Lopater, a senior. As part of the sister school programs students from both schools will be able to interact with each other through photos, video clips and letters that will be posted on a special social network site. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sudan suspends Catholic aid group's work in Darfur

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has suspended the work of the humanitarian agency Catholic Relief Services in West Darfur state, accusing it of distributing Bibles, a local aid official said on Saturday.
It was the latest in a series of restrictions on foreign humanitarian agencies in Darfur, where eight years of conflict have led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began.

"The work of CRS has been suspended in West Darfur after there was an accusation that they had been distributing Bibles," Mohamed Awad, head of the government's Humanitarian Aid Commission in the state, told Reuters by telephone.

Darfur is almost entirely Muslim. Awad said Bibles had been found in refugee camps and schools and the governor had ordered an investigation which showed they had been handed out by CRS.

He said a final decision had yet to be made on CRS operations in the state. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Darfur citizens need protection

Last month, approximately 80 San Antonio area residents gathered to watch “The Last Survivor,” a documentary that presents the stories of four genocide survivors and their struggle to make sense of tragedy.

The showing of the film was timely, taking place on the very day that citizens of south Sudan began voting in a referendum to determine whether to become an independent country. This vote, in which an estimated 99 percent of the population voted for independence, is the culmination of a process put in place by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended 22 years of civil war that resulted in 2 million deaths. The United States was instrumental in negotiating the CPA; it is important that the U.S. and its international partners remain engaged as post-referendum issues such as wealth sharing and border demarcation are worked out. There is significant risk of a return to violence if the international community looks away at this critical time.

In spite of all they have gone through, the people of South Sudan may be lucky compared to those in Darfur. The conflict in Darfur began during the time when significant attention was turned towards South Sudan as the CPA negotiations took place. Recently, as the world has turned to put the focus on the referendum in the south, violence in Darfur has once again increased. In December, over 32,000 Darfuri civilians were forced to flee from their homes because of aerial attacks by the government of Sudan and clashes between the government and rebel groups. In 2010, an estimated 300,000 civilians were displaced in Darfur. Over one-third of the population is living in internally displaced persons camps. Survivors face severe shortages of food and clean water.

The new U.S. Special Advisor to Darfur, Ambassador Dane Smith, must address these recent atrocities and make it clear to the Sudanese regime that violence targeting civilians will not be tolerated and will not lead to normalized relations with the United States. Ambassador Smith must push for unfettered access for peacekeepers and humanitarian workers throughout Darfur to support and protect the millions of civilians uprooted by the violence. Protection of civilians in Darfur is a key stepping stone toward eventual peace and new negotiations which can permanently end the crisis. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

New Satellite Images Reveal Continuing Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur, Amnesty International Says

WASHINGTON - February 2 - New satellite image analysis released today shows that while international attention is focused on the South Sudan referendum, grave violations of human rights continue in neighboring Darfur. Images secured by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) and analyzed with partners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show irrefutably that civilians were targeted in the Negeha region of south Darfur with whole villages burned to the ground as recently as December. According to Amnesty International, in December alone, more than 20,000 people were displaced by government attacks, including in Dar Al Salam, Shangil Tobaya and Khor Abeche displacement camps in north and south Darfur.

Scott Edwards, AIUSA Advocacy Director for Africa, stated: "While the world has understandably turned a hopeful eye to the referendum process, the satellite evidence collected from the Negeha region of Darfur demonstrates what happens when vigilant attention wanes and support for accountability cedes to political or diplomatic expediency."

The imagery and analysis corroborate reports of attacks against civilians in Negeha in December 2010, just a few weeks before the referendum in South Sudan took place.

The release of the findings coincides with other recent high profile uses of satellite imagery in connection with the referendum, and builds on Amnesty International's three-year-old Eyes on Darfur ( satellite project. It is a continuation of several years of work by Amnesty International to use geospatial tools for human rights monitoring.

"Unless the international community demands accountability for the atrocities and ensures that those responsible do not evade justice, these images will serve only as a reminder of the world's collective failure and responsibillity to the victims in Darfur," said Edwards.

Arrest warrants for President Omar al Bashir and several Sudanese officials and militia leaders have been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and in the case of the president, genocide. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Darfur: Sharp rise in violence, says Human Rights Watch

By James Copnall,

Campaign group Human Rights Watch says there has been a sharp increase in attacks on civilians in Darfur.

A civil war that began in 2003 in Sudan's Western region has flared up again in recent months.

But the conflict is receiving less attention, as Southern Sudan is about to split away following a separate civil war.

Human Rights Watch is accusing both government forces and rebels of attacks on civilians.

This week there has been fighting in Tabit, in North Darfur, which reportedly destroyed eight villages and caused thousands of people to flee the area.

Human Rights Watch says both government troops and rebel fighters targeted civilians according to their ethnic affiliations.

Both sides deny the claims.

Minimal attention

In the early days of the war in Darfur, it was largely a conflict involving rebels from three ethnic groups perceived as African, against government troops and allied Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed. Read more >>>>>>>