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 >>>>>>>>>>>>>