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In Wake of Pre-Election Human Rights Violations by Government, Sudan Advocates Ask President Obama to Impose Consequences

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In Wake of Pre-Election Human Rights Violations by Government, Sudan Advocates Ask President Obama to Impose Consequences

Posted by Enough Team on December 15, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DECEMBER 15, 2009

CONTACTS:


Susan Morgan, 617-797-0451
susan@paxcommunications.org
 

  

In Wake of Pre-Election Human Rights Violations by Government, Sudan Advocates Ask President Obama to Impose Consequences
Merely Condemning NCP’s Actions Not a Sufficient Consequence, Say Advocates
 

CITIES NATIONWIDE – December 15, 2009 – Today 50 organizations representing Sudan advocates and Sudanese expatriates from around the country, together with actress Mia Farrow and Sudan expert Eric Reeves, sent an open letter to President Obama calling on him to impose immediate consequences on the Government of Sudan for public violations of human rights in advance of the elections and for the eroding situation on the ground.

The letter recommends that President Obama 1) Lead the United States and the broader international community in applying the pressures necessary to ensure that the conditions for credible elections mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are enacted and implemented without further delay, 2) Act immediately to secure multilateral asset freezes and travel bans on National Congress Party (NCP) leaders, multilateral support of the International Criminal Court cases against key Sudanese officials, multilateral enforcement of the UN Security Council arms embargo; and denial of multilateral debt relief, 3) Direct Special Envoy Gration, the State Department and USAID to conduct and make public an assessment of the current status of humanitarian services and 4) Direct Special Envoy Gration to promptly brief the appropriate House and Senate committees on the contents of the classified documents that are part of the Administration’s Sudan policy.

According to the letter, the Administration’s Sudan policy review promised a balanced approach of both incentives and pressures. “The policy will lack credibility if no consequences are imposed now, particularly after the very public violations of human rights on December 7 and 14 and the eroding situation on the ground. There is no need to wait further to impose consequences on Sudan for these clear and critical violations. These actions by the Government of Sudan illustrate the importance of the United States acting with a fierce urgency to deliver the promised consequences. Merely condemning the NCP’s action is not a sufficient consequence,” the letter states.

On Sunday, the NCP and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and south agreed to the terms of a controversial referendum on southern independence on Sunday. However, according to Mohamed Suleiman, a Darfuri and a spokesman for the group, the NCP has a consistent track record of breaking its agreements. “The fact that the government violently quelled a peaceful demonstration the day after announcing this agreement demonstrates that it will not honor the reform of Sudanese laws necessary for credible elections, including freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of speech,” he said.

The letter cites Obama’s recent address in Oslo where he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. “Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure — and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one,” President Obama said in his speech there.

FULL TEXT OF DECEMBER 15 LETTER

December 15, 2009

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As members of the nationwide anti-genocide movement, our organizations represent many Americans around the country watching the escalating crisis in Sudan with increasing concern and outrage. You provided a brief spark of optimism with the release of the long-awaited Sudan policy on October 19, 2009. Since then, however, we have become increasingly concerned about the lack of transparency and implementation of the policy, while conditions on the ground in Sudan have become even more alarming.

We have four primary areas of concern:

1) 2010 Elections. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 (CPA) mandates the reform of Sudanese laws necessary for credible elections, including freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of speech. In its all too customary disregard for signed agreements, Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) has obstructed passage of these reforms.

We ask that you lead the United States and the broader international community in applying the pressures necessary to ensure that the CPA-mandated conditions for credible elections are enacted and implemented without further delay. These pressures should include clear and public messages that the United States will under no circumstances fund, assist or support elections that lack credibility. To date there has been too much focus on the mechanics of elections, with little emphasis placed on the fundamental reforms contained in the CPA that would allow for a fair election and the eventual transformation of Sudanese society.

2) Disincentives for NCP leaders. Since announcement of the United States’ new Sudan policy, the situation in Sudan has deteriorated. Despite the promises and assurances of the NCP to your Special Envoy, Major General Gration, and others, the NCP continues to brutally violate Sudanese citizens’ most fundamental human rights. On December 14, Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse about 200 opposition protesters on Monday who tried to rally near Sudan’s parliament to demand democratic reforms before presidential and parliamentary polls. According to Reuters, riot police with batons and shields lined the streets near parliament before the planned rally, a Reuters witness said. Early reports say dozens of protesters were arrested during the protest. This recent news follows the government’s repression on December 7, 2009 when Government of Sudan officials arrested hundreds of people – including several SPLM and northern opposition leaders – participating in a peaceful rally calling for electoral reforms. Amnesty International received reports that some of those arrested were tortured in detention. Some of those detained are still reported as missing. The NCP’s arrest of opposition leaders and protesters is a blatant violation of commitments it made in the CPA, as are the continued problems and delays in demarcating borders; in Darfur, it continues to restrict and disrupt UNAMID operations. Further, there are disturbing signs that the NCP has a hand in the increased militia violence that has claimed more than 2,000 lives in South Sudan this year alone.

The policy review promised a balanced approach of both incentives and pressures. The policy will lack credibility if no consequences are imposed now, particularly after the very public violations of human rights on December 7 and 14 and the eroding situation on the ground. There is no need to wait further to impose consequences on Sudan for these clear and critical violations. These actions by the Government of Sudan illustrate the importance of the United States acting with a fierce urgency to deliver the promised consequences. Merely condemning the NCP’s action is not a sufficient consequence. As you stated in your Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

"…[I]n dealing with those nations that break rules and laws,…we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior — for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure — and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one…The same principle applies to those who violate international laws by brutalizing their own people. When there is genocide in Darfur,…there must be consequences…the closer we stand together, the less likely we will be faced with the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression."

The world will not “stand together as one” without your personal engagement and leadership and that of the Secretary of State. Such engagement and leadership are also indispensable to securing:

  • Multilateral asset freezes and travel bans on individual NCP leaders as provided for in UN Security Council Resolution 1591. Likely candidates for such sanction include: Nafi Ali Nafi (Presidential assistant and NCP Deputy chief), Bakri Hasan Salih (Presidential Adviser for security),Gutbi Almahdi (High ranking NCP official), Ahmed Ibrahim Eltahir (Parliament Speaker), and Altaib Mustafa (President al-Bashir’s uncle and owner of AlIntibaha, a newspaper publishing hate against Pagan Amum and Yasir Arman, two arrested SPLM leaders);
  • Multilateral support of the International Criminal Court case against key Sudanese officials with respect to both existing indictments and further expansion of cases;
  • Multilateral enforcement of the UN Security Council arms embargo, first set out in UN Security Council resolution 1556 (2004) and strengthened in resolution 1591 (2005); and
  • Denial of the multilateral debt relief sought by the NCP.

3) Humanitarian Aid in Darfur. In addition to the obstruction of UNAMID mentioned above and broader concerns over security, humanitarian access continues to be a major problem in Darfur. General Gration has made conflicting statements regarding the status of humanitarian aid in Darfur. Darfuris, the United Nations, Physicians for Human Rights and others have reported that humanitarian organizations are working with severely limited access in Darfur and, since the expulsion of aid workers in March 2009, the fragile network of medical and psycho-social services for victims of gender-based violence has collapsed. In a recent exacerbation of the crisis, the withdrawal of the International Red Cross after the kidnapping of two of its workers has left parts of Jebel Marra and Jebel Si (not served by the UN) without aid.
 

Please direct General Gration to work in consultation with the State Department and USAID to conduct and make public an assessment of the current status of, and future outlook for, the provision of all services in each area of Northern Sudan, the specific steps being taken to ensure their restoration, and the benchmarks he is using to measure progress.
 

4) The U.S. Sudan Policy. Regardless of the words used to describe the classified components of the Sudan policy, Congress should know its contents and have a clear understanding of the benchmarks by which progress or the lack thereof will be measured and the incentives and pressures that will be deployed as the parties meet or fail to meet these benchmarks.

We ask that Special Envoy Gration promptly brief the appropriate House and Senate committees on the contents of these classified documents. In addition, Senators and Representatives should receive the National Security Council working papers and other relevant documents without delay.
 

In anticipation of your prompt action on these matters, we remain very truly yours,

Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan
Joan Hecht CEO
Jacksonville, Florida

American Friends Service Committee
Stephen McNeil, Assistant Regional Director for Peacebuilding
San Francisco, California

American Jewish Committee
Eliseo Neuman, Director, The Africa Institute
New York, New York
 

Americans Against the Darfur Genocide
Nikki Serapio, Director
San Francisco, California
 

ChampionDarfur.com
Corey Dragge, Founder
Las Vegas, Nevada
 

Congregation Emanu-El
Rabbi Sydney Mintz
San Francisco, CA
 

Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM)
Alexander Levering Kern, Executive Director
Boston, Massachusetts
 

Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy
Mohamed Yahya, Founder and Executive Director
Washington, D.C.

Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA
Abdelgabar Adam, President
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization
Adeeb Yousif, Founder & Chairperson
Zalingei, West Darfur and San Francisco, California

Darfur Rehabilitation Project
Yahya Osman, President
Newark, New Jersey

Darfur Self Reliance Education
Mohamed Suleiman, President
Alameda, California

Darfur and Beyond
Cory Williams, Founder
Phoenix, Arizona
 

Darfur Community Organization
Bakheit A Shata, Founder/Executive Director
Omaha, Nebraska

Darfur People’s Association of New York
Bushara Dosa, President Church Ave
Brooklyn, New York

Dear Sudan, Love Marin
Gerri Miller, Founder and Coordinator
Tiburon, California

Elizabeth Hankins
Author of “I Learned a New Word Today…Genocide”
Houston, Texas
 

Enough Project at the Center for American Progress
John Norris, Executive Director
Washington, D.C.

Eric Reeves
Author of "A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide"

Essex County Coalition for Darfur
Gloria Crist, Co-Founder
Montclair, New Jersey

Fur Cultural Revival
Mansour Ahmed, President
Portland, Maine

Genocide No More – Save Darfur
Marv Steinberg, Coordinator
Redding, California
 

Hudson Institute
Nina Shea, Director, Center for Religious Freedom
Washington, DC 20005
 

Idaho Darfur Coalition
A.J. Fay, Co-Founder
Boise, Idaho

Investors Against Genocide
Susan Morgan, Co-founder
Boston, Massachusetts

Jacob Blaustein for the Advancement of Human Rights
Felice Gaer, Director
New York, New York

Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director
San Francisco, California
 

Jewish World Watch
Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug, Executive Director
Los Angeles, California

Kentuckiana Interfaith Taskforce On Darfur
Bob Brousseau, Chair
Louisville, Kentucky
 

Keokuk for Darfur
Julia Hays, Founder/Director
Keokuk, Iowa

Living Ubuntu/Orange County for Darfur
Barbara English, Executive Director
Newport Beach, California

Long Island Darfur Action Group
Nancy Walsh, Coordinator
Long Island, New York
 

The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan National Network
Julie Hines Mabus, President
Washington, D.C.
 

Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur
Eric Cohen, Chairperson
Boston, Massachusetts

Mia Farrow
Sudan Advocate, Actor

Michigan Darfur Coalition
Dr. Tim Page, General Coordinator
Birmingham, Michigan

New York City Coalition for Darfur
Sharon Silber, Co-founder
New York, New York

Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns, Archdiocese of San Francisco
George Wesolek, Director
San Francisco, California
 

San Antonio Interfaith Darfur Coalition
Susan Smylie, Coordinator of Advocacy
San Antonio, Texas
 

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition
Martina Knee, Member, Executive Committee
San Francisco, California

Save Darfur: Central PA
Lee Ann De Reus, Co-founder
Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
 

Save Darfur Washington State
Deborah Jones, President
Seattle, Washington
 

South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network
Lilian Riziq, President & CEO
Phoenix, Arizona

Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego
Chuol P.Tut, Executive Director
San Diego, California

STAND at University of California, Davis
Jessica Verhein, President
Davis, California
 

Stop Genocide Now
Gabriel Stauring, Director
Los Angeles, California

Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
Bill Andress, Director
Lexington, SC, USA
 

Sudan for All
Emad Bukhari, Founder
Phoenix, Arizona

Sudan Unlimited
Esther Sprague, Founder
San Francisco, California

Temple Beth Elohim
Michael Gilman, Trustee and Past President
Wellesley, Massachusetts
 

Texans Against Genocide
Laura McCarthy and Susan Smylie, Co-Founders
Dallas and San Antonio, Texas
 

The Institute on Religion and Democracy
Faith McDonnell, Director, Church Alliance for a New Sudan
Washington, DC
 

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
Rob Keithan, Director, Washington Office for Advocacy
Washington, DC
 

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Charlie Clements, President and CEO
Cambridge, Mass.
 

Use Your Voice to Save Darfur Rhode Island
Sandra Hammel, Director
Providence, Rhode Island
 

Voices for Sudan
Gafar O. Kangam, Public Relations Representative
Washington, DC
 

World Relief Organization
Elgasim Salih, President
Philadelphia PA
 

cc: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton