Friday, December 14, 2012

Statement to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur, the Sudan, pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005)

Statement to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur, the Sudan, pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005)
Mr President,
I am briefing you as the second Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to address the situation of Darfur, in the Sudan, which this Council referred to my Office through Resolution 1593 in 2005. This is my Office’s sixteenth briefing to the Security Council on the subject of Darfur.
 
2. The situation in Darfur continues to be of serious concern to me and to my Office. In my report, I have indicated specific incidents of concern and which seem to represent an ongoing pattern of crimes committed pursuant to the Government-avowed goal of stopping the rebellion in Darfur. I must reiterate that these alleged ongoing crimes, similar to those already considered by the Judges of the International Criminal Court on five separate applications, may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. My Office will consider whether further investigations and additional applications for arrest warrants are necessary to address ongoing crimes, including those undertaken with the aim of thwarting delivery of humanitarian aid, attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers as well as bombardments and other direct attacks on civilian populations. The words of the Government of Sudan representatives, promising further peace initiatives, are undermined by actions on the ground that show an ongoing commitment to crimes against civilians as a solution to the Government’s problems in Darfur.
3. This Council should be even more concerned about the situation in Darfur, given that crimes continue to be committed, including by those already indicted by the Court. This Council referred the situation in Darfur because of its firm belief that the justice process is an essential component of any strategy aimed at truly stopping ongoing crimes and achieving peace in Darfur. We have always believed the referral to be a joint endeavour by this Council and the Court to contribute to lasting peace in Darfur through investigation and prosecution of those who bear the greatest responsibility for the most serious crimes. Indeed, in this and other contexts, this Council has reaffirmed the vital importance of promoting justice and the rule of law, including respect for human rights, as an indispensable element for lasting peace. My Office and the Court as a whole have done their part in executing the mandate given by this Council in accordance with the Rome Statute. The question that remains to be answered is how many more civilians must be killed, injured and displaced for this Council to be spurred into doing its part?
4. There are no words to properly express the frustration of Darfur’s victims, which we share, about lack of any meaningful progress towards arresting those indicted by the Court. The failure of the Government of the Sudan to implement the five arrest warrants seems symbolic of its ongoing commitment to a military solution in Darfur, which has translated into a strategy aimed at attacking civilian populations over the last ten years, with tragic results. Victims of Darfur crimes can hardly wait for the day that fragmentation and indecision will be replaced by decisive, concrete and tangible actions they expect from this Council.
5. Investigating the Darfur situation was an enormous challenge for the Office and a huge sacrifice for the witnesses and victims whose lives remain at risk as a result of their interaction with the Court. The question they ask is: were their sacrifices in vain?
Mr President,
6. In its Resolution 2063, this Council expressed concerns about ongoing impunity and the lack of any progress on national proceedings to date, after nearly eight years of reported efforts on the part of the Government of Sudan authorities. It should be clear to this Council that the Government of Sudan is neither prepared to hand over the suspects nor to prosecute them for their crimes.
7. Despite the challenges we faced, including non-cooperation by the Government of Sudan, the Office conducted independent and impartial investigations and submitted its evidence to the Judges. Contrary to the often-repeated allegations of bias and politicization of the Office’s investigative activities, the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber independently evaluated the evidence to determine whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that particular individuals bore individual criminal responsibility for these crimes. Having considered all the evidence, the Judges concluded that Government of Sudan forces committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, following a strategy adopted at the highest echelons of the State apparatus. The findings on genocide, moreover, were entered following a ruling by the five member bench of the Appeals Chamber. The Pre-Trial Chamber identified the individuals that must face justice and issued arrest warrants for a Militia/Janjaweed leader, Ali Kushayb, who reported to the then Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmed Harun, who in turn reported to the then Minister of the Interior Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, who reported to President Al Bashir. Their responsibility is not a mere consequence of their official roles. In all of these cases there are witnesses that describe in detail their active participation in the strategy to commit crimes as well as in the execution of that strategy.
Mr President,
8. The Judges of the ICC have formally communicated six times to the Council without any response. This includes a 25 May 2010 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber, informing this Council about the lack of cooperation by the Republic of Sudan, in particular in the Harun and Kushayb case; two 27 August 2010 decisions of the Pre-Trial Chamber informing this Council and the Rome Statute Assembly of States Parties about President Al Bashir’s visit to Chad and of his presence in the territory of the Republic of Kenya; the 12 May 2011 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber informing this Council and the Rome Statute Assembly of States Parties about his visit to Djibouti; the 12 December 2011 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber pursuant to Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute on the failure of the Republic of Malawi to comply with the cooperation requests issued by the Court with respect to the arrest and surrender of President Al Bashir; and the 13 December 2011 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber pursuant to Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute on the failure by the Republic of Chad to comply with the cooperation requests issued by the Court with respect to the arrest and surrender of President Al Bashir.
Mr President,
9. My Office and I personally remain committed to working with regional organizations endeavouring to contribute to a comprehensive solution, including the League of Arab States and the African Union. The recommendations of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur will be one among other points for discussion that I intend to raise in my interactions with former President Mbeki and the African Union Commission Chairperson, Madame Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The recommendations of the African Union High-Level Panel on justice, if implemented, would go a long way toward addressing the challenge of the deliberate imposition and tolerance of impunity not only in Darfur, but in the Sudan as a whole. My Office undertakes this interaction with the African Union on its justice recommendations pursuant to its policy of positive complementarity.
Mr President,
10. Investigating the Darfur situation remains an enormous challenge for the Office. Despite these challenges, we managed to conduct full investigations that have led to five arrest warrants (two against the same individual) and three summonses to appear. Good progress has been made towards the start of the trial for two of the three individuals accused of war crimes in the rebel attack on the African Union peacekeeping base at Haskanita, North Darfur. I expect that trial to begin in 2013, although the defence has asked for its postponement until 2014. The investigation and preparation for this trial have involved unique challenges, including the translation of all materials for the defence into Zaghawa, a tribal language with no written form. This work demonstrates the commitment of the Office and the Court to a fair trial.
11. I look forward to the opportunity to present to the Judges the substantial and voluminous evidence gathered in the other four cases, following the arrest and surrender of the four individuals sought by the Court. This is an essential step towards delivering justice for Darfur’s victims. I believe it will also shed light on the obstacles facing other international processes, such as those endeavouring to bring relief to the victims through delivery of humanitarian aid or the conduct of a peace process that aims to be principled and substantive. The justice process is an essential component of any strategy aimed at truly stopping ongoing crimes, by publicly exposing to the highest independent judicial standards the reasons why and how these crimes have been committed; who has been responsible for them; and how they must be stopped.
Mr President,
12. I have been encouraged of late by my participation in discussions with Rome Statute States Parties and others aimed at galvanizing action to ensure greater cooperation in the Darfur and other Council referred situations, including through implementation of outstanding arrest warrants. I am committed to working with both States Parties and Non-States Parties, inside and outside of the Security Council, to push these processes forward.
 
Thank you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sudan must end violent repression of student protests

Sudan must end its violent repression of demonstrations, Amnesty International said in the wake of a week of unrest that saw many protesters arrested or injured.

Nationwide protests were sparked by the death of four Darfuri students in Jazeera state following a peaceful student sit-in at their university on 3 December. The four had been arrested by National Security Service (NSS) officers and were later found dead in a canal near the university. 

Police continued to use excessive force this week in Khartoum during protests denouncing the death of the students and calling for the government to be replaced. Protesters were beaten and dispersed with tear gas, while scores were arrested.

"Sudanese security services have clearly used excessive force since the first peaceful murmurings of dissent at last week's student sit-in," said Amnesty International's Audrey Gaughran.

"The authorities must stop the repression of those participating in peaceful demonstrations, and respect the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression."

The four students found dead were among 53 arrested by National Security Service (NSS) officers on 3 December during a peaceful sit-in at Al Jazeera University.

The circumstances of their deaths are still unclear; however, they are believed to be linked with the students’ involvement in the protests.

The four bodies reportedly bore signs of beatings, suggesting torture or ill-treatment. Witnesses told Amnesty International the bodies bore signs of bleeding on their heads, and one on the shoulder.

The Sudanese Minister of Justice has pledged to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the death of the four students. However, in the past the Government of Sudan has failed to conduct impartial investigations into serious human rights violations.

"The authorities must ensure that any investigation into the recent student deaths is impartial and transparent," said Audrey Gaughran. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

Witnesses: 10 Sudan students arrested after clashes involving troubled Darfur region

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudanese police arrested at least 10 university students on Wednesday following days of unrest in the capital, witnesses said.
The students were arrested early Wednesday morning at Omdurman Islamic University in Khartoum, witnesses told The Associated Press. This followed clashes the day before between students from war-wracked Darfur and pro-Islamist students. A fire broke out in a dormitory building.

The incident is the latest in weeks of turmoil rocking Sudan since the government implemented austerity measures, setting off protests and government crackdowns.
Amnesty International said Wednesday that the Sudanese government “must end its violent repression of demonstrations.” The group said in a statement that many protesters have been arrested or injured.
“The response to the recent protests is deeply troubling,” said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International. With reports that some protesters are planning to return to the streets, “it is vital that the Sudanese authorities’ repressive methods are curtailed before more people are harmed,” she said.
The arrests came after four days of protests in the capital over the deaths of four students from a university in central Sudan this month. The students, from Darfur, were protesting over their university’s refusal to let them register for classes without paying full tuition. A peace deal the government signed in 2006 exempted students from Darfur from paying tuition fees. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Growing Violence in Darfur Deserves Honest Reporting, Not More Flatulent UN Nonsense

Growing Violence in Darfur Deserves Honest Reporting, Not More Flatulent UN Nonsense”
UN and UNAMID leadership, including Acting JSR for UNAMID Aichatou Mindaoudou, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons—all seem content to paper over Darfur’s rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and security crisis with unctuous words and feckless declarations. In place of meaningful responses to this desperate situation, they offer anodyne pronouncements, glib “proposals” without substance or detail, and silence on key issues of human security—preeminently rape, widespread murder, violence in the camps and towns, and the ongoing appropriation of arable land by Arab militia groups, often by violent means. In the absence of reporting by international news organizations, and given the denial of all access for human rights investigators—now for many years—Darfuris have made Radio Dabanga their voice. That voice, reporting largely on the basis of eyewitness accounts, deserves all possible amplification.
Eric Reeves
30 November 2012
http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3627
Events have finally compelled the UN and the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to acknowledge that violence is escalating in Darfur, a sharp reversal of the self-congratulatory statements by the likes of former heads of UNAMID Rodolphe Adada and Ibrahim Gambari.  For example, Gambari recently celebrated his retirement as UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) by declaring that he was “gratified to note that barely 31 months on, all the objectives I set out to meet have largely been met.” But of course this is despicably dishonest and self-serving, given the dramatic increase in the level of violence, vast human displacement, and the deterioration of humanitarian access and resources that accelerated under Gambari’s tenure.  UNAMID—with an unforgiveable belatedness—now acknowledges some of these realities, although with a deeply disingenuous timeline.  UNAMID leaders and spokespersons would have us believe that this sharp upswing in violence is quite recent; in fact, it has been accelerating dramatically since late 2010.
I and others have chronicled the massive evidence of increasing violence in Darfur since late fall 2010, when Minni Minawi defected from the regime in Khartoum.  Minawi was the only rebel signatory to the disastrous Darfur Peace Agreement (Abuja, Nigeria, May 2006) and belatedly rues his decision.  For not only was he completely marginalized within the regime, his defection from the figurehead position he occupied has made his Zaghawa people the target of ethnic violence that is almost completely unreported by UNAMID or any other source.  Fortunately—at least for the sake of any historical account—Claudio Gramizzi and Jérôme Tubiana have provided a remarkably full overview of this violence in a report from the Small Arms Survey (Geneva): “Forgotten Darfur: Old Tactics and New Players,” (July 2012).  Their report is based on field research conducted from October 2011 through June 2012, and supplemented by extensive interviews, a full desk review of available reports, and a wide range of communication with regional and international actors.  The opening paragraphs in their Executive Summary gives a sense of what UNAMID chooses not to see:
“Since 2010 Darfur has all but vanished from the international agenda. The Sudanese government has claimed that major armed conflict is essentially over, that armed violence of all kinds has declined significantly, and that such violence is now dominated by criminality rather than by military confrontation [ ]. This view has been bolstered by statements from the leadership of the joint United Nations–African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur and by those invested in the under-subscribed 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, who have hailed declining violence and wider regional transformations as conducive to a final resolution of the conflict [citation of statements by Ibrahim Gambari]. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Statement from Civil society to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


Ms. Navanethem Pillay

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais Wilson

52 rue des Pâquis

CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.

 

 

Dear Ms. Pillay,

 

We are writing to you in view of your visit to Sudan and Darfur, scheduled to take place

during the period 24 to 30 November 2012. Your forthcoming visit to Sudan comes at a

crucial time and where serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian

law are being committed in the regions affected by armed conflicts, notably Darfur, the

Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile State. Your visit also comes at a time when other parts

of the country, including the capital Khartoum witness serious regression in the area of the

protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and liberties. We note with regret

that you will not be able to visit the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile States due to the

lack of security. This is revealing of the gravity of the situation and the suffering endured

by the civilian populations in those two regions.

Regarding the situation in Darfur, we wish to draw your attention to the work realized by

the Group of Experts on Darfur, which was established by the Human Rights Council in

March 2007 to follow-up implementation of existing resolutions and recommendations on

Darfur. In its final report to the Council (A/HRC/6/19) dated 28 November 2007, the

Experts Group expressed its concern on the seriousness of the violations of human rights

and international humanitarian law in Darfur and prioritized 45 key recommendations to

enhance the situation in the region. It further urged the Government of Sudan to implement

these recommendations without delay. In his presentation before the 13th ordinary session

of the Human Rights Council in March 2010, the Interdependent Expert on the human

rights situation in Sudan (Justice Mohammed Chande Othman) indicated that out of the 45

key recommendations made by the Group of Experts only 4 were fully implemented, 11

partially implemented while 30 were not implemented at all. Once again in his report

before the Council (A/HRC/18/40/Add.1) dated 22 August 2011, Justice Chande

concluded that the Government of Sudan has not taken any significant steps towards

implementation of most of the recommendations since his report to the Council in March

2010.

 

Dear Ms. Pillay,

 

We note that in compiling its final report, the Group of Experts worked in a transparent

manner and in full cooperation with the Government of Sudan and concerned international

partners. It is also noteworthy that Sudan made initial efforts and committed itself to

implement the recommendations contained therein, which earned it praise from the

Human Rights Council in its Resolution 6/35 of 14 December 2007. These facts should

encourage your delegation in the forthcoming visit to Sudan to remind the Government

about the need for full implementation of the recommendations of the Group of Experts

and also to propose the establishment of a joint mechanism with the government to follow

up and monitor the implementation thereof.

While we attach equal importance and urgency to all the unimplemented

recommendations as outlined by the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in

Sudan in aforementioned reports, we wish to call on you to accord special attention to the

growing phenomenon of rape and sexual violence against women and girls, which are

largely believed to be committed by the security forces and the Janjaweed militiamen in

Darfur. Rape, which can rightly be defined as an irreparable damage of the most sensitive

part of the women's sensitive personality, is a crime abhorrent to the Islamic faith and to all

canons of civilized life. A public denouncement by your delegation and the Government of

Sudan of this crime and a commitment to bring the culprits to justice would be an important

step in this direction.

 

Respectfully submitted.

Signed

1. Abdelbagi Jibril, Exertive Director, Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre,

Geneva

2. Sabir Abu Saadia, Chairman, Darfur Solidarity Group, Pretoria, South Africa.

3. Ahmed Mohammed Mohammadain, Chairman, Darfur Call, Netherlands

4. Ahmed Guma, Vice Chairman, Darfur Union in the Netherlands

5. Dr. Abdelgabar Adam, President, Darfur Human Rights Organisation of the USA,

Philadelphia

6. Abdelmageed Salih Haroun, Chairman, Human Rights Network for Democracy,

New York

 

Geneva, 21 November 2012

 

Respectfully submitted.

 

Geneva, 21 November 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

UNAMID Evacuates Wounded SAF Soldiers in Darfur: Larger Implications

Eric Reeves
November 18, 2012
On November 13, 2012 the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) made the decision to provide “medevac” (medical evacuation) to approximately twelve Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers following heavy fighting with rebel forces in North Darfur. One report puts the number of evacuated wounded soldiers at two dozen.  The injured were taken to the city of el-Fasher, location of the primary SAF military base in Darfur.  Such military clashes between the SAF and rebel forces have been escalating for many months, as has violence against civilians, especially by Khartoum’s proxy forces in Darfur; all this occurs even as UNAMID has resolutely insisted that fighting and violence have diminished, thus justifying a draw-down in forces.  But the grim truth is that UNAMID can’t sustain an adequate security presence for the vast majority of locations in Darfur facing threats of violence by Khartoum-allied militia forces.  We might well wonder, then, why UNAMID would choose to deploy its conspicuously inadequate resources to evacuating Khartoum’s combatants, especially since such medevac forms no part of UNAMID’s mandate—indeed, “evacuating combatants” is neither mentioned nor suggested anywhere in the UN delineation of that mandate (running to over 1,300 words, included below as Appendix A).  Nor is the task of evacuation, by aircraft or ground vehicles, anywhere mentioned in the very lengthy and highly detailed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed by Khartoum and the UN/AU force in February 2008.
To be sure, UNAMID spokesman Chris Cycmanick is narrowly accurate in declaring that this medevac is justified by International Humanitarian Law (the medevac was “completely in line with International Humanitarian Law”), and several of the Geneva Conventions are explicit on the question of the legality of such medical evacuation.  But Cycmanick seriously misrepresents the situation by declaring that medical evacuation of SAF soldiers is in any way part of the core requirement of international humanitarian law, which falls under the Mission’s mandate” (UNAMID press release, November 13, 2012).   International Humanitarian Law certainly governs the UNAMID mandate and the actions of UNAMID; but again, there is not one word about medical evacuation of combatants.  On the contrary, the meaningful language of the mandate is given overly entirely to specifying the obligations of the peacekeeping force to protect civilians and humanitarians—this is the “core” task, and to suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous.  The mandate does also speak vaguely about UNAMID’s assisting in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (May 2006); but the DPA had long been irrelevant when the language of the mandate was drafted, and it was simply convenient for a UN peacekeeping force to have at least a nominal “peace agreement” to be presiding over (the absurdly negotiated and widely rejected “Doha Document for Peace in Darfur” now serves as an equivalent placeholder).
Moreover, the real question here is not a legal one—it concerns the implications of UNAMID’s consequential decision to use scarce transport resources for a military medevac on behalf of a regime that has an abysmal record of itself defying International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in any number of situations.  Here it should first be pointed out that UNAMID has in the past been highly selective in its use of transport resources for medevac purposes.  Cycmanick claims that UNAMID has in the past provided such services to rebel wounded and civilians; however, this is a highly questionable assertion, one borne out by pitifully little in the way of reporting from the region, including from UNAMID itself.  It is hardly surprising that one of the main rebel groups vehemently protested the medevac, since they are quite aware that their own wounded would never be accorded such assistance.  Nor would such wounded rebel combatants enjoy the protection of IHL, even in hospitals supposedly enjoying UNAMID protection. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why is the Arab League silent about Darfur?

By Magdy el-Baghdady

Arab and Muslim nations condemn Israel but remain mute in the face of ongoing ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

This week, the Arab League met for its annual ministerial summit and issued a condemnation of Israel for bombing a weapons factory in Sudan. Israel has not admitted destroying the Yarmouk facility on 23 October, because it never confirms or denies such military operations. However, it is accepted by the international community that Israel is the perpetrator. It is also widely believed both inside Sudan and beyond that Yarmouk was making weapons both for and on behalf of Iran, and smuggling them to Hamas in Gaza.
Arab and Muslim countries have responded swiftly and with a united voice, expressing outrage at Israel’s actions. Yet, for almost ten years the same organisations have been mute in the face of the ongoing ethnic cleansing and murder of Muslims in Sudan’s remote western region, Darfur.
It surprises friends in Britain when I explain that Sudan’s avowedly Islamist regime has been ruthlessly ethnically cleansing their fellow Muslims. People assume the deaths of an estimated 300,000 Darfuris have religious roots, Muslim against non-Muslim.
This misapprehension is understandable: for decades Sudan’s rulers tried to ‘Arabise’ and impose their version of Islam on the non-Arab and non-Muslim inhabitants of southern Sudan, resulting in more than two million deaths, and leading to South Sudan’s eventual secession last year.
No one disputes that Muslims around the world stand in solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinian people. Equally they are rightly horrified by attacks on European Muslims by far-right racist groups, and by the recent violence against the Muslim minority in Burma. One of the Koran’s central messages is that Muslims must care for each other, showing each other hospitality, charity, protection and solidarity.
Yet, the plight of their fellow Muslims in Darfur has been of little concern for a decade. If any opinion is expressed, it is usually to blame Israel for funding Darfur’s rebels. Khartoum has succeeded in convincing most Arab, Muslim, and even African countries that the bloodshed in Darfur is due to a foreign plot against Khartoum. Depending on their audience, representatives of the regime will frame this conspiracy as colonialist, imperialist or Zionist.
This shameful silence is compounded by commentators and academics in the west who are afraid they will be seen as racist or Zionist for criticising Sudan, a Muslim nation. They therefore explain the violence in Darfur as a consequence of ancient tribal rivalries, and scant economic development, coupled with desertification due to climate change. What they avoid at all costs is suggesting what millions of black Africans know from bitter experience: that in many parts of the Muslim world, black people are regarded as racial inferior.
Racial prejudice is the motive that few dare mention, knowing they will instantly be branded as Zionists or Islamophobic. For many, Darfuris are simply the wrong kind of Muslims because they are black and African. How else can one explain the lack of outrage at the Sudanese regime’s systematic destruction of black African villages in Darfur? The violence in Darfur continues to rage, with the Sudanese armed forces bombing villages while arming its disgruntled local Arab proxies to ethnically cleanse the black African tribes with whom they existed for centuries.
When the Sudanese security forces prevent UNAMID, the international peacekeeping force, from investigating such attacks, those who fund UNAMID, including the British government, remain silent, becoming complicit in the atrocities taking place against Sudanese citizens by its own government.
Back in July 2004 the UN Security Council passed a resolution giving Khartoum 30 days to bring the Arab militia under control, or to face international action. There have been no consequences for the Sudan regime, and all these years later several similar UN resolutions remain unenforced. Why? Because Sudan can always count on the support of its business partners, Russia and China, and the unquestioning backing of Arab and Muslim nations. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, November 09, 2012

.N. ELECTS GENOCIDAL SUDAN TO TOP HUMAN RIGHTS BODY

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 - UN Watch, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group, urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon, rights commissioner Navi Pillay, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and the EU’s Catherine Ashton to condemn today’s U.N. election of “genocidal, misogynistic and tyrannical” Sudan to its 54-member Economic and Social Council, a top U.N. body that regulates human rights groups, oversees U.N. committees on women's rights, and crafts resolutions from Internet freedom to female genital mutilation.

"This is an outrage," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. "On the same day we hear that Sudan is killing babies and burning homes in Darfur -- precisely the kind of dire situation ECOSOC should be urgently addressing -- the U.N. has now made vital human rights protection less likely than ever." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

First and foremost while one does not condone any assault on the sovereignty of the Sudanese soil, it is pointless to have weapons factories serving the interests of foreign countries. This makes Sudan an area unnecessarily open for foreign military interventions. It has been more appropriate for the National Congress Party (NCP) regime to work towards containing the crises resulting from its absurd internal wars it wages against the citizens by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Darfur and the rest of the country. What hurts more is that the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime never learns from its fateful mistakes of harbouring terrorist groups, allowing smuggling of weapons to other countries through its territories and establishing military relations with countries classified as rogue states suspected for being in violation of the international law.
Nevertheless, the regime goes on to commit the very crimes in a systematic manner without being deterred by the consequences of the mistakes resulting from intransigence, lack of wisdom in the management of the state that might arise from their baseless sheer arrogance. Such Behaviours are enough to attract and bring the hostility from those affected by the thoughtless and reckless childish acts. As long as things remain in the country at the same pace, style and state of affairs, isn’t it high time for all the Sudanese people to rise up to overthrow this nightmare, throw it into the garbage dustbin of history once and for all?

This article comes against the backdrop of the aerial strike of the Yarmouk weapons factory (Yarmouk Complex for Military Industries) in the south of the Sudanese national capital Khartoum, the seat of the National Congress Party (NCP) regime on Tuesday the 23rd October 2012. As usual, the information Minister warned that his government ‘reserves the right to strike back’ after blaming Israel for the attack. He continued to say: "We are now certain that this flagrant attack was authorized by the same state of Israel. Four radar-evading planes coming from the east bombed the Yarmouk industrial complex around midnight on Tuesday" He went on: "The main purpose is to frustrate our military capabilities and stop any development there, and ultimately weaken our national sovereignty".

The (NIF) and its progeny the despotic (NCP) regime have been giving the same flimsy excuses for almost a quarter of a century for their failings to protect the land of Sudan and maintaining the sovereignty of the state from the violation of invading foreign powers. The failure of the (NIF) and its successor the (NCP) to maintain the Sovereignty of Sudan is attributable to their lack of legitimacy of their coming to power through the ill-fated coup d’état on June 30th 1989. Furthermore, the NCP bigots have forgotten the duty to protect the country and its people. They simply buried the moral compass behind the doctrine of self-Empowerment and fiddling for becoming superrich-wealthy and to better themselves, at the expense of the helpless citizens who live in hardship, at all costs. The people of Sudan are sick and tired of listening them through their National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) spokesman using lying machine spreading rumours, sedition and fraud. Thus, the Sovereignty of Sudan is lost at the hands of the shameless NIF/ NCP Putschists regime forever. Blessed are the old days, which went in vain from the age of Sudan under the racist minority rule who suffer from inferiority complex and claim Arabism and deny their African origin despite their physical features and facial characteristics to adapt for the climate such as black/dark skin, curly hair, thick lips and big noses expose the lie of their claims. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Militia in Sudan's North Darfur state attacked a village and killed 13 people

KHARTOUM — Militia in Sudan's North Darfur state attacked a village and killed 13 people, a local source said on Saturday, adding to an upsurge of deadly violence in the area.
The attack on Friday targeted Sigili village, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast of the state capital El Fasher, said the source, who cannot be further identified for security reasons.
"Basically it was a tribal clash between local militia and Zaghawa," the source said, adding that five people were also reported missing.
Since July, civilians have been increasingly at risk from inter-communal fighting, harassment by militia groups, and sporadic clashes between rebel and government troops, particularly in North Darfur, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a three-monthly report issued on October 16.
Disputes between farmers and pastoralists over land use triggered most of the inter-communal violence, he said.
Tensions escalated when tribal militia aligned to the government became involved, along with anti-regime rebels.
"At the same time, local sources have cited mounting frustration among communities from which the militias are drawn... over unfulfilled commitments by the government that have led to the militia challenging authorities and engaging government security forces," Ban said.
In the Hashaba area northwest of El Fasher, more than 70 civilians died in September from rebel-government fighting and aerial bombardments, the United States said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Avalanche of Violence Continues to Accelerate in Darfur

Eric Reeves,

The disappearance of Darfur from the international agenda now seems complete, perversely at the very moment when the region may be facing its most dangerous season of violence.  As I argued two months ago, what we are seeing is a sharp rise in the levels of all forms of violence, imperiling many hundreds of thousands of civilians. Such increasing violence makes a mockery of claims by the UN and African Union that their joint mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has achieved sufficient improvements in human security on the ground to permit a substantial draw-down of military and police personnel.  The all too conspicuous truth is that UNAMID is being quietly phased out because it is massively expensive and yet has failed miserably.  Indeed, the grim reality is that UNAMID cannot even provide security for its own forces, as was again demonstrated in the tragic deaths of four Nigerian members during a patrol last week—in an attack that occurred only two kilometers from a regional military base of operations in el-Geneina (West Darfur) and quite near check-points controlled by regime-allied forces.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement about these deaths, and used the occasion to express concern about increasing violence in Darfur, thus directly contradicting the claims expressed by officials from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operation, senior UN humanitarian officials, and the AU.  This statement echoes an excessively restrained, not to say inaccurate assessment of several weeks ago by the chief U.S. diplomat with responsibilities for Darfur, Dane Smith: Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Statement: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on International Day of the Girl

“The suffering of girls in armed conflicts all over the world is an urgent issue and a top priority for me as ICC Prosecutor. Girls are among the most vulnerable members of society: they should not be made to serve as sex slaves and soldiers. They should not be subjected to rape and sexual violence, nor made to witness brutal sexual attacks. In accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, I shall continue to include gender crimes and crimes against children in our charges and to bring the full force of the law to bear on those most responsible for them. I have recently announced my Office’s work to adopt a policy paper on children, which would include this very important issue. Women have a role to play at the heart of our societies, our communities and our families. The women of the future, the young girls of the world, should not be deprived of their fundamental human right to play and learn and enjoy being children.


To stop these ongoing massive crimes and bring justice for their victims, ICC fugitives such as Joseph Kony, Bosco Ntaganda and Omar al Bashir must be arrested and transferred to The Hague to face justice. On this first International Day of the Girl, and for the sake of all victims of international crimes, I call again on the international community to execute these outstanding arrest warrants to put an end to their victims’ plight.”

Source : Bureau du Procureur

OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int


Monday, October 01, 2012

Darfur war crimes, changes in demographic composition, and ethnic displacement

By Hamid Eltgani Ali


October 1, 2012 — This year has been the bloodiest year ever in Darfur. The government has stepped up its air campaign in East Jebal Mara and in other parts of Darfur. Short-wave radio signal receptors revealed a communication between a government official and an air commander that the latter’s mission had been accomplished by destroying all the rats! The “rats” in question were civilians working on farms. The government has embarked on dangerous road of ethnic cleansing and demographic engineering to uproot the African tribes in North Darfur.

The first phase of the government demographic engineering has started with a brutal massacre that occurred this week in Hashaba, Um La’ota, and Tabaldia, in North Darfur. In this incident the government used seven fighter jets to provide air cover for the Janjaweed to block the roads and massacre more than 87 innocent villagers, including women and children. This is an old tactic used by the junta in Khartoum to commit genocide in Darfur eight years ago. The ultimate result is the destruction and displacement of the African tribes in Darfur, in particular the Zaghawa tribe. This is beginning. The world is silent. Darfur Regional Authority is tacitly in agreement with the government that is why they remained silent.

The military juntas in Khartoum are masters of deception, and they have brought out their old play book for the game. Since they know that Darfur is no longer on the world’s agenda, they return again and again to spill more innocent blood. For example, during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with South Sudan, the government exploited the world’s sympathy and blessing for the hallmark peace deal to commit war crimes in Darfur with impunity. Vice President Ali Osman Taha Al-Ezarik, the mastermind of the CPA, promised the Bush administration to clear up the Darfur rebellion in matter of weeks. The administration gave its blessing, on condition that if the conflict was protracted there would be consequences and they would have to submit to talks! Today, once again, while the world’s attention is focused on South Kordofan, the Blue Nile, and South Sudan, the regime is using this as a cover to commit war crimes, including demographic engineering and ethnic displacement in Darfur.

The regime has prepared a master plan to displace the African tribes, particularly the Zaghawa tribe in North Darfur. The government has divided the areas owned by the Zaghawa, Meedoub, Tinger, and Massalit African tribes among the following Arab tribes:

1. the Megour area to the Iragatt tribe

2. the Ba’ashooum and Wa’khaem areas to the Zayadiea tribe

3. the El Housh area to the Awlad Rasheed tribe

4. the Mouzbad area to the El Maharia tribe

5. the Ombarou and Orshee areas to the Galoul tribe

6. the Abugamra area to the Awlad Tago tribe

7. the Wadi Saira, Eid Elkhar, Karnoi, and Tuna areas to the Awlad Zaid, Awlad Eid, and Awlad Kluab tribes

In order to carry out this racist Arabizing project, the government has set up training and mobilization garrisons for the military and its Janjaweed militias. The Army’s mobilization garrisons are in the following areas:

1. Gareed Elsaul, north of El Fasher

2. Doamaya, west of Niyala

3. El Genenia

4. Malha and D’rea She’gea, north of El Fasher

5. El Salayaa, north of El Genena

6. Areas of military mobilization under the supervision of the joint patrol forces (Sudan and Chad) include Abou Saroog, northwest of El Genena; Bear Saluba; Birk; Teeuna; Bahai; Om Geraus; Kari Yari; and Ombaro.

1. The militias’ mobilization and training areas are:

2. the Quba area east of Kutum, where there is cavalry with more than 160 trucks mounted with machine guns. This week’s massacre in Hashaba was launched by the Janjaweed commander Elnour from Quba.

3. the Da’awa area southwest of Kutum, where there is cavalry with more than 180 trucks mounted with machine guns.

4. the Mustraha area near Kabkabia, the headquarters of the notorious Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal.

5. the Serif Benuo-Hussein area, where there is cavalry with more than 160 trucks mounted with machine guns.

6. the garrison of Essia Hussein, with sizable cavalry.

The objectives of this project are:

1. to create an iron wall between the African tribe of Toboo in southern Libya and the African tribes in Darfur, particularly the Zaghawa;

2. to secure the Chadian borders from any infiltration by the opposition forces in future;

3. to eliminate the historical existence of the oppositions of Chad, Sudan, and Libya along the borders of these countries;

4. to conquer and displace the African tribes, and in particular the Zaghawa tribe, because of their role in the Darfur struggle;

5. to distract the Darfur rebel movements from their goals and drag them into war in the desert, with the aim of “domesticating” the violence into inter-ethnic conflict and thus to prolong the survival of the regime.

This new wave of demographic change will be very brutal and costly, because other countries in the region will become players. It will be funded by Libya and carried out by the Sudan junta and their militias. For example, the rebellion in southern Libya by the African Toobo tribes has raised fears in both Sudan and Libya that the African tribes could create a depth for their struggles. The Sudanese government has convinced its Libyan counterpart to replace all of the African ethnic groups with tribes of Arab origin in order to isolate the Toobo from the Zaghawa tribes. This racist Arabizing project will extend from north of El Fasher to the Libyan border, encompassing the border with Chad and including West Darfur.

In order to avert this catastrophic event, all the Sudanese people must realize that these bankrupt juntas have no future. They must go today, rather than tomorrow. The longer they stay, the messier the country becomes, and the harder it will be to rebuild the social fabric. It is important for the tribal leaders in Darfur and the rest of the country to avoid such heinous and satanic plots that can only escalate ethnic tensions.

The Darfuri movements should not squander their energy in domesticating the conflict. Instead, they must take the struggle to the gates of Republican Palace to dislodge the juntas. This is a struggle between the past and the future. It will be costly, but there is no option other than to continue marching for the dawn of justice and freedom. The country needs radical change. The old temple must be demolished to build a newer one. It is time for all the rebel movements in Sudan, with the rest of civil society, to set a clear agenda and roadmap on how to govern Sudan and put an end to the human suffering under the juntas. The change is coming, we must work for it.

* The writer is professor of Public Policy at the American University in Cairo.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sudan's Darfur region still living through troubled times

Two UN peacekeepers disappeared in Sudan's North Darfur state, last week, according to the UN. The two Jordanian officers from the UN-African Union force, Unamid, were declared missing in the town of Kabkabiya, about 140km west of El Fasher, North Darfur's capital.
Darfur no longer commands the headlines it used to, especially in 2004 when ethnic African tribes – the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa – formed a broad alliance against Khartoum because of long-held grievances, including marginalisation and human rights abuses by Arab supremacist groups.
The Sudanese government responded by unleashing the janjaweed (Arabic for devil on horseback) militia on the rebels. The janjaweed carried out a campaign of murder and rape that drove more than a million black African villagers from their homes in the western region of Darfur.

In 2009, the international criminal court (ICC) indicted Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, and issued an arrest warrant for Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, the defence minister, for war crimes in Darfur. Sudan retaliated by expelling several foreign humanitarian organisations, accusing them of helping to build the charges against Bashir. The groups were thrown out despite their insistence they were independent and had no connection with the ICC. Among the NGOs expelled were Oxfam, Care and Save the Children.
The two men remain at large and Darfur largely disappeared from the news pages as the region lapsed into an uneasy calm – until this year. More than 700 people have been killed in clashes between rebels and government troops as well as in tribal unrest and criminal incidents, more than for the whole of 2011, according to UN peacekeepers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Darfur’s invisible violence,” ReutersAlert (August 28, 2012)

Over the past month violence against civilians in Darfur has continued to explode upwards to levels not seen in years. On July 31 Khartoum’s security forces, using automatic weapons with live rounds, gunned down scores of student demonstrators in Nyala, killing twelve and leaving many critically injured. On August 4, I received an urgent email from North Darfur, informing me of the near total destruction of humanitarian capacity in the town of Kutum, which was overwhelmed by Arab militia on August 3, as was nearby Kassab IDP camp. On August 13 – 14 ethnic violence killed or injured dozens in Mellit. On August 17, following evening prayers, the town of Tabit was attacked by Khartoum’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police. The assault had hallmarks of a deliberate massacre.




There are almost daily reports from Radio Dabanga of girls and women being raped. It is difficult to know the full scale of sexual violence, since UNAMID and the UN don’t dare offend Khartoum by reporting or speaking about it. Astonishingly, there is no mention of rape in the last two reports on UNAMID by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. And his reports note only two instances of civilian bombings since the beginning of the year, despite the fact there have been dozens. Many attacks are in Jebel Marra, to which UNAMID, humanitarian organizations, and UN agencies are all denied access.

This sharp increase in violence and insecurity comes as UNAMID is preparing to reduce its force by over 4,000 troops and police. The justification? Security has improved sufficiently to justify this drawdown, and UNAMID force size should reflect “reality on the ground,” according to Hervé Ladsous, head of UN peacekeeping.


But the lack of security represented by the attacks on Kutum, Mellit, Tabit, and many other locations is the major “reality on the ground”; and growing insecurity means that humanitarians cannot reach many of those in camps who most need food, clean water, and primary health care. Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Eisa, former director of the Amal Center in Nyala, has indicated to me that based on his communications with medical professionals and others on the ground in Darfur, the health situation this rainy season is considerably worse than last year.

Water-borne diseases pose an especially grave threat, as the rains have been extremely heavy at times, and many locations have experienced serious flooding. Malaria, diarrheal diseases, and a host of other acute health risks are becoming more urgent by the day, especially in the wake of the withdrawal, expulsion, or suspension of operations by key medical relief organizations: MSF was force to suspend operations in Jebel Si, North Darfur; Médecins du Monde, active in Jebel Marra, was expelled by Khartoum in 2011; Aide Médicale Internationale and Medair both withdrew from West Darfur earlier this year. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

No peace in Sudan's Darfur despite costly peacekeeping force


More than four years after an African Union-UN peacekeeping force costing billions of dollars arrived in Sudan's restive western region of Darfur, peace remains elusive and some question the mission's value.


Critics say the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the world's largest peacekeeping operation, is too close to the Sudanese government and not aggressive enough in fulfilling its core mandate of protecting civilians.

"It may be better than nothing," one analyst said, asking for anonymity. "But they are really focused on protecting themselves."

The concern comes as Darfur suffers a surge in violence.
More than 700 people have already been killed this year in clashes between rebels and government troops as well as in tribal unrest and criminal incidents, more than for the whole of 2011, UNAMID data show.



Rebels drawn from black African tribes rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003. The conflict peaked years ago, killing at least 300,000 people, according to UN estimates. The government said 10,000 died.


Overall, there has been a "drastic decrease" in the number of people killed in clashes, and things would have been worse without UNAMID's roughly 16,700 troops, the force commander says.

"The mere presence of us on the ground flying the flag is a substantial deterrent," Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda said.

Since he took over three years ago, UNAMID patrols have roughly doubled to around 150 a day, and more people displaced by the conflict have returned home.

The UN recorded 178,000 returnees between January 2011 and March this year.

"This could not be possible if there were not increased security," Nyamvumba said.

But an estimated 1.7 million remain in camps -- which more closely resemble poor villages -- where residents have reported shootings, arson and other violence.

In a July report focused on Khartoum's use since late 2010 of non-Arab militia to displace ethnic Zaghawa rebels and civilians from east Darfur, Swiss-based independent researchers alleged that in several cases "abuses against civilians, looting, and burning of property occurred in the immediate vicinity of UNAMID positions".

Nyamvumba says his troops are clearly mandated to give "physical protection" to civilians in imminent danger, which they have done.

The fact that 38 UNAMID peacekeepers have been killed in hostile action shows they are doing their job, he said, adding: "I think the mission has accomplished quite a lot."

'They were not able to protect themselves'

But Darfur's top official, Eltigani Seisi, said the protection mandate seems to lack clarity.

"We saw incidences where UNAMID forces have been attacked and they were not able to... protect themselves," he said.

UN figures show that 13 UNAMID vehicles were carjacked in the first half of this year.

"If they are not able to protect themselves, they cannot protect the civilians," said Seisi, who heads the Darfur Regional Authority, set up to implement a peace deal signed last year between Khartoum and rebel splinter factions. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Parts of Darfur See Stability, but Others Are Seething

NAIROBI, Kenya -- It was a scene that seemed to belong to a different time, say, early 2004, when war was raging across Sudan's vast desert region of Darfur. Hundreds of armed men -- on horseback, camels, donkeys and in four-by-four trucks -- some in street clothes, some in camouflage fatigues, swept into the Kassab displaced persons camp and began looting, burning, raping and shooting.
In the span of a few hours, several people were killed and tens of thousands were sent running for their lives.

But this was not 2004. It happened this month, this year, and United Nations officials and aid workers said it was among the more troubling violence Darfur has experienced in years.
"We haven't had a crisis like this in awhile," said Christopher Cycmanick, a spokesman for the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as Unamid.
Nearly a decade after war first arrived, Darfur is a land of mixed signals.
Some areas have become stable -- even peaceful, many residents say -- like parts of western Darfur, where thousands of families are finally returning home.

But at the same time, other areas are seething.
The overall trend for the past couple of years had been one of cautious improvement, United Nations officials say, with civilian deaths gradually declining. But this year is on track to be a setback, they warn, with more criminality, rebel attacks, rapes, displacements and assorted mayhem than in the recent past.
Activists contend that official pronouncements of progress have long been misleadingly rosy, and they are increasingly fed up with the huge, $1.5-billion-a-year peacekeeping mission in Darfur, saying that it is failing at its core mission: protecting civilians.

"This is probably the least cost-effective peacekeeping mission in U.N. history, but it's simply not possible to say that out loud, given A.U. sensitivities," said Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor and a prolific blogger on Sudan. "There are factitious claims about 'improved' security, and woe to the man who disputes the U.N./Unamid line."
In the case of Kassab, many of the victims begged for help when the marauders stormed into the camp, but because of the intensity of the violence and some flooding along the roads, United Nations peacekeepers did not arrive until three days later. When they did get there, they pulled back because government forces were still battling the militia fighters. It took several more days before government troops were able to restore a semblance of control.

Government forces in Darfur are stretched thin these days, but beyond that, they seem to be living up to their history as some of the worst perpetrators. Just this Friday, there were reports of renegade soldiers ransacking the market in Tabit, breaking into shops and shooting civilians.

In the past few months, there have been heavy bombings in eastern Jebel Marra; deadly protests in Nyala; vicious clashes near Tabun; and further attacks on displaced people in several other camps across Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Flawed Peace Process Fails in Darfur, Again: Enough Project Report .

WASHINGTON--(ENEWSPF)--August 6, 2012. The African Union and U.N. Security Council renewed Darfur’s hybrid peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, this week without acknowledging the glaring failures of the Doha peace process. The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, or DDPD, signed in July 2011, is yet another attempt by the Khartoum regime to continue its ongoing divide-and-conquer strategy of dealing with each of the country’s conflicts in isolation, argues a new Enough Project report.


The DDP was inherently flawed from the beginning because it does not address the root security or political issues of the Darfur conflict. Moreover, the only signatures to the DDPD are the government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement, excluding the three most prominent rebel groups in the region—the Justice and Equality Movement, and both factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement.

“Despite the head of UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari briefing the U.N. Security Council earlier this week on the progress in Darfur implemented as part of the Doha process, it has been an operational failure due to a lack of compliance among other things” said Omer Ismail, Enough Project senior policy advisor and co-author of the report. “One of the Khartoum regime’s hallmark moves is to appease international pressure and agree to an accord but not follow through on obligations in the agreement, which is exactly what is happening with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.”

The Enough Project report outlines Khartoum’s three significant violations of the DDPD: a failure to transfer funds to the Darfur Regional Authority, reluctance to cooperate with UNAMID, and refusal to allow unfettered humanitarian access in Darfur. The report points out that all three of these violations are reflected in Khartoum’s behavior dealing with the other conflicts taking place in Sudan.

“The U.S. government and other key donors and multilateral organizations must rethink their Sudan policy portfolios so the Darfur crisis is not dealt with in isolation,” said Enough Project Executive Director John Bradshaw. “Each conflict in Sudan, including Darfur, stems from the Khartoum regime’s systematic marginalization and neglect of the periphery and requires a comprehensive approach to achieve lasting peace.” Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sudan: Security forces must stop using live roundsagainst demonstrators

Sudanese security forces must stop shooting protesterswith live ammunition, Amnesty International said after confirming thatat least eight demonstrators killed on Tuesday had bullet wounds in theirchests, some inflicted at close range.
At least 10 people, many of them high school students,were killed on July 31 when Security services and paramilitary police openedfire in Nyala, South Darfur, during a demonstration against fuel pricesand the cost of living. Dozens more were injured.
Medical staff at Nyala Public Hospital told Amnesty Internationalthat the wounds inflicted on the eight bodies admitted to their morguewere consistent with those caused by 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic rifles.
“Any individual members of the security forces involvedin the events that caused this bloodbath must be suspended immediately,”said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International’s Africa program director.
“The Sudanese government must investigate why protesterswere directly targeted by the security force personnel who opened fireon them with live bullets.”
The Sudanese authorities have routinely used excessiveforce against mostly peaceful demonstrations which have occurred regularlyin Sudan’s major cities since mid-June.
According to the United Nation’s Basic Principles of theUse of Force, live ammunition should not be used, either directly againstdemonstrators or as warning shots, unless it is absolutely necessary andonly after less extreme means have proved ineffective.
The security forces also fired Dushka-type heavy machine-gunsin the air, which injured residents in their homes as bullets fell downfrom the sky.
“The Sudanese security forces must not be allowed to policedemonstrations in such a reckless manner and with flagrant disregard forhuman life,” said Rigaud.
“Sudanese citizens must be allowed to express their opinionpeacefully without experiencing systematic repression. Attacks againstpeaceful protesters are an unacceptable violation of their right to freedomof expression, assembly and association.”
Amnesty International is also concerned that injured protestersmay have been denied medical care following eye witness reports some werearrested and that plain clothes National Security Service personnel weredeployed within Nyala General Hospital.
Amnesty International has documented a pattern in recentweeks of injured protesters being denied medical treatment in Khartoum.
Police forces have used batons, tear gas and rubber bulletsat close range against demonstrators.
And, in response to the protest movement, the NationalSecurity Services (NSS) arrested hundreds of known political and civilsociety activists, regardless of their involvement in demonstrations. Manytold Amnesty International they had been tortured with sticks, water hosesand fists, and made to stand under the scorching sun all day.
In some cases individuals who had been injured in demonstrationsor as a result of torture and ill-treatment by security forces told AmnestyInternational that they preferred not to seek treatment in hospitals becausethey feared arrest and intimidation.
Dozens of activists remain in administrative detention.
Notes to Editors
• Security forces involved in the Nyala shootingsinclude the Central Reserve Police – a combat-trained paramilitary police- and plainclothes agents of the National Security Services (NSS).
AI Index: PRE01/378/2012

"Vast humanitari​an crisis in Sudan—yet again"

"Vast humanitarian crisis in Sudan—yet again"

From The Christian Science Monitor, August 3, 2012
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0803/Vast-humanitarian-crisis-in-Sudan-again
 
By Eric Reeves

Yet again the grim title of "world's greatest humanitarian crisis" goes to Sudan—this time for developments in the border regions between Sudan and the newly independent country of South Sudan. The crisis is exploding as the rainy season descends fully upon this area, and humanitarian resources are overwhelmed.

Khartoum's denial of all humanitarian access to rebel-controlled areas within its borders, along with a relentless campaign of aerial bombardment, is generating a continuous flow of tens of thousands of refugees—4,000 per day according to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). But even that June figure is being quickly overtaken according to reports. And no wonder. The regime faces no significant international condemnation or consequences for its role in creating this crisis. That must change.

At various points over the last quarter century, greater Sudan has been the site of vast humanitarian crises, notably in Darfur, in western Sudan. These were foreseeable episodes of human suffering and destruction rooted in deliberate military and political decisions by the ruling National Islamic Front/National Congress Party and Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir. If the regime's tactics have differed, its strategic goal has not. This is "counter-insurgency on the cheap," and it's painfully familiar.

At present, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced from their homes in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states—areas that are part of what is now (northern) Sudan, but which are substantially populated by people who sided with the South during the 1983-2005 civil war. Those fleeing are driven by desperate hunger, a lack of water, and air attacks. There is no accurate census for the numbers who have reached refugee camps in the South (in the Unity and Upper Nile states), but data suggest that the figure is approaching 300,000. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

UN CALLS FOR INDEPENDEN​T PROBE INTO VIOLENCE THAT KILLED EIGHT PEOPLE IN DARFUR

UN CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PROBE INTO VIOLENCE THAT KILLED EIGHT PEOPLE IN DARFUR
New York, Aug  3 2012 10:05AM
The United Nations today urged Sudan to launch an independent investigation into the reported use of excessive force by Government security forces during a protest in Darfur on Tuesday, which resulted in eight deaths and injured more than 50 people.
According to eyewitnesses, security forces opened fire at demonstrators in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, and used tear gas, killing eight people, five of whom were young students aged 17 and below.
“We urge the Government to promptly launch an independent and credible investigation into the violence and the apparent excessive use of force by security forces,” the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, <"http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12404&LangID=E">told reporters in Geneva.
Media reports state that the population was protesting against rising prices in Sudan’s western Darfur region after the Government announced a cut in fuel subsidies and other austerity measures last month.
“There are key international guidelines that must be respected in handling protests so that the legitimate right of people to freedom of expression and assembly are fully respected,” Ms. Shamdasani said. “We call on the Government to unequivocally condemn excessive use of force to suppress protests, and to hold accountable those who were responsible for the fatalities and injuries.”
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had earlier called on Sudanese authorities to ensure that demonstrations are allowed to proceed peacefully and for restraint from all sides.
“We also call again on the Government to immediately and unconditionally release those who have been detained for merely exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression,” Ms. Shamdasani said, adding that human rights staff of the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will continue to monitor the situation.

Deployed at the beginning of 2008, UNAMID is tasked with protecting civilians, promoting an inclusive peace process and helping ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance across Darfur, an arid region on Sudan’s western flank.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Friday, August 03, 2012

Janjaweed militias raided IDPs camp (Kasab) and killed three displaced people in front of the North Darfur governor Osman Yousif Kibir

Kuttum August 1st, 2012. In a striking development of events in the city of Kutum, Northern Darfur, following the killing of Mayor of Oasis Abdul Rahman Mohammed Isa on Wednesday, groups of the Janjaweed militia raided IDPs camp (Kasab) near the city Kuttum.


They surrounded the camp. The governor of the state of North Darfur, Osman Yusuf Kibir visited the area to see the developments. Upon his arrival in the camp (Kasab,) some individuals wanted to talk to him. But some Janjaweed immediately shot the camp dwellers dead in front of the governor and the commander of the army. One of the people killed was Adam Khamis. People are trying to investigate the identity of the others.

In another development of the events, another group of Janjaweed from El Fasher arrived to Kassab IDP camp on Thursday morning. They started looting, killing and abusing camp dwellers. They still continue to do so.



According to reports from Kuttum, the town has become a ghost city. Only herds of the janjaweed militias can be see roaming different parts of the city, terrorizing the town inhabitants and committing crimes.

The regular Sudanese army and police have so far kept silent. UNAMID force, mandated to protect the civilians in Darfur, is nowhere to be seen.

This arises suspicion and doubt in the effectiveness of these forces in executing their mandate and the collusion between them and the Sudanese government.

The source in Kuttum said "The Janjaweed militias in Kuttum are mostly foreign elements under the command of Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, First Vice President".

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sudan transport price protests kill six in Darfur

Six people have been killed in violent protests against high transport prices in the Darfur region of western Sudan, local officials say.



Police in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, fired tear gas at protesters throwing stones and burning tyres in the streets, witnesses said.

Several protesters chanted slogans calling for the government's downfall.

Since June, Sudan has seen sporadic protests against government austerity measures, including fuel subsidy cuts.

The country's authorities have been trying to cut spending since Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil revenue when South Sudan seceded last year.

Demonstrators in Nyala chanted "No to high prices" and "People want to change the regime", according to witnesses.


Bothina Mohmed Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the state of South Darfur, said it was not known how the six deaths had happened, and that an investigation had been launched. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>





Monday, June 18, 2012

Darfuris Union organizes cultural festival at The Hague under the theme: Let us join hands together for Darfur

Darfuris Union organizes cultural festival at The Hague under the theme: Let us join hands together for Darfur


In the context of contact with different communities in The Netherlands and to pinpoint cultural and social reality of Darfur, Darfur Union organizes an Open Day. The program contains:

1.Exhibition

2.History and heritage of Darfur

3.Songs

4.Special program for kids

5.Miscellaneous

Time: July 7th, 2012 at 13.00 hours

Place: The Hague

Direction: Take trams 16 from Hollandspoor train station going to Wateringen. Step out at the station Alberding Thijmstraat. From there, it is 1 minutes walk to Ferrandweg 4T

For queries, please contact bellow numbers:

Al-Sadig Khamis 0684283940

Kamal Yacoub 0643771256

You are all welcome. Entrée is free.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

World’s most murderous dictator thrives

By: Nat Hentoff, The Dickinson Press


Except primarily for the ironhanded rulers in Russia and China, the most despised global dictator is President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who is inflicting monstrous genocide on his own people. As usual, the United Nations is useless. But meanwhile, another monster is thriving, someone who has killed and starved to death hundreds of thousands more of his people than al-Assad.




President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has had arrest warrants issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, yes, genocide. Swashbuckingly unintimidated, al-Bashir is making initial martial moves against recently independent South Sudan that could bring back the years of horrors he unleashed in the country as a whole, including Darfur in the west.



In the past, the U.N. issued paper resolutions of concern and helped negotiate the now continually vulnerable independence of South Sudan. However, as al-Bashir’s Army continues to rape and murder, creating omens of a renewed civil war, the U.N. is silent, as are nations that have demonstrated concern about human rights, including Barack Obama’s United States.



And just about everywhere, the rushing media is otherwise occupied. But, as I expected, the most courageous American investigative reporter, The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, has been writing from the remote, almost inaccessible Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Mukesh Kapila: Act Now or It will Be Too Late

The former head of the United Nations in Sudan said humanitarian situation in the Nuba mountains is very disturbing. Mukesh Kapila recently visited villages in southern Kordofan and said he has witnessed illegal weapons such as landmine and cluster bombs being used against civilians in the Nuba Mountains.




He also said many children in the region showed signs of malnourishment. Kapila warned of what he termed the ‘’second genocide of the century’’ unless the international community takes action. Fighting between Sudan Armed Forces and rebels of Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA North) erupted in June of last year, forcing thousands of civilians to take refuge in South Sudan.



Fighting in Nuba Mountains


He accused Sudan of using heavy weapons against civilian targets. ‘’ What is going on in Nuba mountains is even worse because ten years after Darfur we have much more sophisticated weaponry being used by Sudan Armed Forces’’ Kapila said.



The former United Nations diplomat said Sudan's government is using proxy popular

defense militia to terrorize the people of Nuba mountains. He said Darfur was the first

genocide of the 21st Century, adding that what he has witnessed on his most recent trip to the area suggests a second genocide is occurring in Sudan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



ICC asks UN to help arrest Sudan's president

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Sudan's refusal to arrest President Omar al-Bashir and three others accused of war crimes in Darfur is "a direct challenge" to the U.N. Security Council, and it should now consider asking all countries and regional organizations to carry out the arrests, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Tuesday.




Luis Moreno-Ocampo conceded that council discussions of other possibilities to arrest the four Sudanese, including seeking help from member states and regional bodies, "will be problematic."



"But the victims will receive a clear message: They are not ignored," he said. "And the perpetrators will receive a clear message: There will be no impunity."



The court, set up in 2002 to prosecute the most senior perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes from nations that cannot or will not put them on trial, has no police force of its own to arrest suspects. More than 100 countries that are parties to the Rome statute are required to arrest those sought by the tribunal — but al-Bashir has traveled to friendly nations without being detained. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Darfur War Crimes Prosecutor Urges Tougher Action Against Sudan President

The outgoing prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, frustrated over his inability to enforce arrest warrants for the Sudanese president and three others accused of war crimes in the Darfur conflict, recommended to the Security Council on Tuesday that it take more severe action against the defendants, including possibly seizing them inside Sudan for trial in The Hague.


The prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose term expires at the end of June, told council members in his 15th and final report on the Darfur prosecution effort that the council also should consider requesting that all 193 members of the United Nations — not just those that recognize the court’s authority — take action to enforce the arrest warrants on President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan and the others, who include two powerful subordinates and the leader of a feared militia accused of large-scale killings, pillage and rapes.




Mr. Bashir, the only sitting head of state to be indicted on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, has repeatedly scoffed at the arrest warrants and has even traveled abroad despite the risk of arrest, although he could face that threat again next month if he attends an African Union summit meeting in Malawi. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>





Monday, June 04, 2012

Ocampo last briefed the Council on the work of the ICC in Sudan on 15 December 2011

http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/site/c.glKWLeMTIsG/b.8102701/k.516C/June_2012brSudanDarfur.htmExpected Council Action


In early June, the Council is scheduled to receive the biannual briefing from Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Sudan. Ocampo is expected to deliver his report in a public meeting of the Council, followed by a private meeting. (This will be his final briefing to the Council as ICC Prosecutor, as he is expected to leave his post mid-month. He will be succeeded by Fatou Bensouda of Gambia.)

Key Recent Developments

Ocampo last briefed the Council on the work of the ICC in Sudan on 15 December 2011. He outlined the evidence that the ICC had mustered against the various Sudanese officials and rebels that it had indicted. He also noted that only days prior to the briefing his office had requested an arrest warrant for Sudan’s Minister of Defence, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for crimes against humanity and war crimes he allegedly committed while serving as Interior Minister and Special Representative of the President in Darfur. In particular, Ocampo said that Hussein “played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and deploying the militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit crimes.”


Ocampo also emphasised the importance of implementing ICC arrest warrants and respecting Security Council resolutions. He called for the AU and the Arab League to play a key part in helping to find a solution that respects the authority of the Council and the decisions of ICC judges.


Regarding the situation in Darfur more generally, Ocampo said that, despite numerous requests from the Council, aerial bombardments continued and the Janjaweed (a pro-Khartoum militia) had not been disarmed.


Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali-Osman (Sudan) also addressed the Council in December. He said that Ocampo’s remarks contained “baseless accusations” and ignored improved security conditions in Darfur. Ali-Osman also noted that Ocampo had not mentioned the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which he said reflected the Sudanese government’s desire for peace.


On 1 March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004. (Ocampo had requested the pre-trial chamber to issue the warrant for Hussein’s arrest, on 2 December 2011.)


On 20 April, a formed police unit that had been patrolling a camp for internally displaced persons in Western Darfur was fired upon while returning to base. Four Togolese peacekeepers were wounded in the assault, and one later died. The Council adopted a press statement (SC/10623) on 24 April condemning the attack and calling on the Sudanese government to bring those responsible to justice. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>