Sudanese Vice President Urges U.N. to Reject Arrest Warrants
But Sudanese-born Omer Ismail of the Enough Project says the U.N. should not fall for what he calls Khartoum's blackmail
By: James Butty
Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha has called on the United Nations to reject the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly masterminding a campaign of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Addressing the ongoing General Assembly session in New York Monday, Mr. Taha said the involvement of the ICC is a threat to the peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict.
Sudanese-born Omer Ismail, senior policy advisor for the Enough Project, an advocacy organization set up to highlight Darfur crisis, told VOA the international community should not fall for what he called Khartoum’s blackmail.
“The indictment by the International Criminal Court came as a result of the behavior of the government of Sudan and its president, (Mr.) Bashir. So, he’s coming now to blackmail the world basically and saying that the government will either get their way in delaying justice. Otherwise, they are not going to invest a penny in Darfur,” he said.
NPR's All Things Considered: Clinton: The Situation in Sudan 'A Ticking Time Bomb'
Michele Kelemen interviews Enough Co-founder John Prendergast in this NPR segment.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described tensions in Sudan between the North and the South as a "ticking time bomb of enormous consequence." Her comments come ahead of a referendum in which southern Sudanese are widely expected to approve independence for their oil-rich but deeply impoverished and infrastructure-poor region.
CNN.com: Ashley Judd confronts Africa's deadly mineral issue
Editor's note: Ashley Judd traveled to eastern Congo, her second time to the region, with John Prendergast of the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress (http://www.enoughproject.org/). Since 2003, Ashley has traveled the world visiting vulnerable populations, especially girls and women, focusing on grassroots solutions that transform and save lives. Amongst other affiliations, she serves on the board of Population Services International. For more information on the campaign against conflict minerals visit raisehopeforcongo.org.
With a dozen humanitarian missions behind her, Ashley Judd has ventured to Africa to challenge the relationship between valuable minerals and unspeakable violence.
She's meeting this week with local businessmen, officials and victims of rape and other atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to raise awareness about the issue of conflict minerals.
Natural resources such as tin, tantalum and tungsten -- which are used to make the world's cell phones, computers and other electronics -- fuel continued violence in Congo, especially mass rapes.
The Huffington Post: Getting Specific About Accountability in Sudan
By: John Prendergast, Co-authored by: Ashley Benner
It has become almost obligatory for policy-makers and pundits to talk about accountability and breaking the cycle of impunity. However, when it comes to specific action, it has been a long time since the United States has done anything to support real accountability and justice on the ground in Sudan. With the South Sudan and Abyei referenda scheduled for January 9 -- less than four months from now -- and with the accompanying potential for renewed war and human rights violations, the U.S. must commit to doing all it can to prevent war and secure justice in Sudan.
Time is running out to salvage a peace accord that ended Africa's longest-running war, a key U.S. official said Wednesday, but he rejected suggestions that the Obama administration is not paying enough attention to the political turmoil in Sudan.
Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, the special envoy to Sudan, acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that preparations for a critical element of the peace accord -- a referendum on independence for southern Sudan -- are behind schedule. Many analysts fear that southern Sudan's secession could result in renewed fighting.
If special envoy to Sudan J. Scott Gration expected to take a victory lap on the Hill today, he was sorely disappointed.
Gration appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to highlight his progress ahead of January's referendum on independence for southern Sudan. While he acknowledged that the vote is fast approaching and serious problems remain, Gration exuded confidence and said he has all the resources he needs.
The U.S. Congress has passed a bill calling upon the administration of President Barack Obama to lead international efforts to end the threat to civilians posed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The bill was passed late yesterday.
A joint statement from US-based organisations, The Enough Project, Resolve Uganda and Invisible Children, says the legislation demonstrates Americans' broad and deep determination to see new action from President Obama to help arrest Joseph Kony and other top LRA commanders. The statement says the bill provides support to disarm and disband Kony’s militia, and to restore stability to those areas of Africa that have been terrorised by the LRA.
Sudan risks war without US pressure
BY AGENCE PRESSE FRANCE
WASHINGTON, Apr 29 - Sudan risks a return to violence if President Barack Obama's administration does not pressure parties on the ground to work for peace, a group of eight NGOs wrote in a report released Thursday.
"A return to full-scale war can be headed off... but only if the Obama administration quickly implements its policy to pressure parties who are backsliding on benchmarks crucial to a durable peace in Sudan," the coalition of non-governmental organizations wrote.
Obama announced in October that the United States would engage in more active diplomacy with Sudan's regime, offering incentives for engagement while retaining the threat of sanctions if Khartoum continued to pursue what the United States has termed genocide in the Darfur region.
John Norris, director of the Enough Project, warned that "a clear assessment of the situation on the ground in Sudan reveals a number of disturbing trends and the continued potential for much broader, renewed violence."
"The Obama administration built a diplomatic approach to Sudan around periodic, hard-nosed policy assessments of the situation on the ground," the NGOs wrote. "Yet to date, there are virtually no indications that the administration has held any of the parties to account for their actions."
"It's been six months since President Obama’s Sudan policy went into effect and there has been no demonstrable progress towards peace, security, or justice in Sudan," added Mark Lotwis of the Save Darfur Coalition.
"It's time for the administration to back its words with deeds," he added.
Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, was reelected on Monday with 68.24 percent of the vote in an election marred by opposition boycotts, allegations of fraud and questions from monitors about transparency. Read More >>
"Many people are surrendering," Mohamed Yousuf Omer says, gesturing toward some of the people leaving the polling station at Hai Jalaba Basic School in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan on Sunday. "I think I also may have to." Omer tells me that he could not find his name on the voter registry list posted at the polling station. No name on the list, no point in joining the line of men and women waiting to cast their votes in the first multiparty elections Sudan has held since 1986 -- the year Omer, now 24, was born.
"Surrendering" was the word used by several voters I spoke to, who seemed to think that perhaps it was not God's will for them to vote. Unfortunately, the polling troubles I've seen so far here in South Sudan are less than divine: They're technical and administrative. This election is more complex, more ambitious, and more byzantine than even most Western countries would attempt. Southern voters, 85 percent of whom are illiterate, have 12 separate ballots to fill in. Voters in the North must fill in six. Just three days of polling will have to accommodate 15.7 million voters. An estimated $300 million to $400 million has been funneled into these polls, including $100 million from the United States, in hopes that Sudan can pull it off.
Opposition candidates have withdrawn from the presidential race claiming it will be rigged [AFP]
Sudan's controversial elections will go ahead this month, the deputy head of the country's election commission has said.
The announcement came less than a day after one of Sudan's largest opposition parties said it would not take part in the polls unless the government agreed to a four-week delay to the vote.
"The National Elections Commission (NEC) is working to have the elections on the dates we specified on April 11, 12, 13," Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah of the NEC told reporters on Saturday.
The opposition Umma Party had said that unless the government met eight key demands, including a delay to the vote by April 6, it would boycott all parts of the presidential and legislative elections.
If it follows through on its threat, the party will join other major opposition groups who have withdrawn candidates from the presidential race in protest against the vote they say is "rigged" in favour of Omar al-Bashir, the incumbent president