Sources are reporting that international aid organizations – including Oxfam, Care International, Doctors without Borders, and others – are being asked to leave areas of Darfur by the government of Sudan in reaction to today’s issuance of an arrest warrant for for President Bashir today. While we aren’t sure if this move by Bashir is just reactionary political posturing or a step toward escalating, it does present yet another opportunity for President Obama and the United Nations to demonstrate that this kind of action is intolerable.
Enough and several of partner organizations issued a joint statement today welcoming the announcement by the International Criminal Court that an arrest warrant has been issued for President Omar al-Bashir. In the statement, we call on the United States and other members of the United Nations Security Council to make clear that Bashir’s regime will be held responsible for any retaliatory action against civilians, humanitarian aid workers or peacekeeping forces and to outline consequences for any such action.
Additionally, the statement spotlights the potential for peace during this important window of opportunity. The Obama administration needs to take a comprehensive approach to Sudan, dealing not only with Darfur and the arrest warrant against Bashir, but also through efforts to get the CPA back on track while addressing the power-sharing issues that have driven the country’s multiple conflicts.
The State Department’s initial support for the arrest warrant is welcome, as is the declaration that any violent retaliation from the government of Sudan "must be avoided and will not be tolerated." We can only hope that such strong rhetoric will be backed by action.
We are calling on President Obama to immediately appoint a high-level special envoy to Sudan as outlined in Enough’s recent publication “What the Warrant Means: Justice, Peace, and the Key Actors in Sudan.” The time is now for a fundamental shift in the way in which the United States and the world reacts to crimes against humanity. Please take five minutes today and call 1-800-GENOCIDE to tell President Obama to appoint a special envoy.
You can read our full statement here. Also, Enough and Save Darfur will be hosting a live webcast next Monday at 4:00 pm ET to discuss the warrant and next steps for activists. Keep an eye on this space for more details.
Emily Roberts contributed to this post.