For Immediate Release?: September 28, 2009?
Contact: ?Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376? firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudan Advocacy Groups React to General Gration’s Statements to The Washington Post
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of the Principals Meeting to review the Obama Administration’s Sudan Policy, The Washington Post has published a devastating portrait of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, Major General Scott Gration, in action: Obama Administration Engages Sudanese Regime It Blasted, by Stephanie McCrummen?
The Enough Project, Save Darfur Coalition, and Genocide Intervention Network released the following statement in reaction:
“The quotes from Special Envoy Gration are deeply troubling. The time is well past for the President, Vice President and Secretary of State to exert much-needed leadership over U.S. diplomatic efforts with Sudan or face the prospect that Sudan will descend into much broader violence.”
John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project, noted, “It is incredibly offensive for the Special Envoy to argue that ‘psychological stuff’ is the main impediment keeping Darfuri refugees and the displaced from going home. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, government-backed janjaweed militias still roam freely in Darfur, and U.N. peacekeepers can’t even protect themselves. The Special Envoy seems to lack even a rudimentary understanding of humanitarian principles or the real situation on the ground. People aren’t going home because they fear being killed, raped and robbed.”
Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition added, “It’s jarring to hear talk of ‘gold stars’ and ‘smiley faces’ for a regime headed by an indicted war criminal. We have always insisted that the best way to deal with Khartoum is a sensible balance of pressures and incentives. The pressures part of that calculation seems to be missing in General Gration’s comments. The Sudanese government is primarily responsible for creating the political instability in Sudan and bears the brunt of the responsibility for ending it. And blaming the victims for not being more open minded towards their oppressors defies logic.”
Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network, added, “This article casts the importance of the Principals Meeting in stark relief. Senators Obama, Biden and Clinton all spoke compellingly about the need to take a tough and principled stand with Khartoum. If Washington is going to start taking war criminals at their word, despite the long list of Khartoum’s broken commitments, an even larger tragedy will soon unfold.”
Several key passages from the article:
"We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who was?appointed in March. "Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley?faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."
Although many say the government has orchestrated the chaos, Gration?spreads the blame. Rebels have turned into criminal gangs and failed?to unify for peace talks, he said. And many displaced Darfuris are?dealing with "psychological stuff" that is leading to unhelpful?mistrust of the government and preventing their return home, he said.?
But in his meeting with Kiir, Gration backed the ruling party's?argument, saying it had legitimate concerns about the referendum.?Gration urged southerners to trust the government that waged a brutal?war against them for 20 years.??….
Later, stranded in a hot desert airport waiting for a dust storm to?clear, Gration said he did not necessarily see some nefarious?government plot behind all the complaints he had heard. Maybe the?permit issues the aid workers raised represented a "disconnect"?between Khartoum and low-level bureaucrats, he said. Maybe the rape?and harassment the displaced people were speaking of were local?issues, rather than part of some systematic government plan. Maybe the?militias receiving arms in the south were getting them from some rogue?government official.? ?? ####
About the coalition: The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition's member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough's strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a "3P" crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. Visit www.enoughproject.org.
About Genocide Intervention Network – Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs. Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net, Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals with the tools to stop genocide. Visit www.genocideintervention.net.