(CNSNews.com) - Leaders of the U.S. civil rights movement are being taken to task for failing to make the human rights situation in the African country of Sudan a policy priority.
The Islamic government of Sudan has allegedly facilitated the enslavement of Christians and animists in the southern part of the country for 20 years, long-time observers say, yet most American civil rights leaders have said little or nothing about the issue. Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton is among those criticizing his fellow civil rights leaders in the United States.
"I am outraged that more of us, particularly of the African American leadership, have not talked about the slave trade that I witnessed with my own eyes in the Sudan," Sharpton told CNSNews.com. Sharpton traveled to the Sudan on a fact-finding mission in the spring of 2001.
The Sudanese government denies the slavery allegations despite eyewitness accounts by Sharpton and others, as well as documented evidence.
Sudan is on the U.S. State Department's list of states sponsoring terrorism. Its government has been at war with the southern-based rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in a conflict that is motivated by religious differences and what to do with the oil-rich field of southern Sudan. The war has resulted in allegations of widespread abuse, including slavery, the deaths of at least two million people and the displacement of millions more.
Critics say American civil rights leaders have mostly ignored the Sudanese slavery issue.
"It took about five years, and principally because of the black churches...around the country and the American Anti-Slavery Group based in Boston, to get some type of momentum," said Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff in an interview with CNSNews.com. Hentoff has written extensively about Sudan.
Hentoff said some civil rights leaders have spoken out on the issue, like former U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, who also served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and District of Columbia Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. However, the overwhelming majority of African American civil rights activists have remained silent, he said.
"There hasn't been anything recently. As a matter of fact, an even worse [human rights] situation is in Zimbabwe, and I haven't heard anything from any black leader nationally on that one. Why? I don't know," Hentoff said.
Sharpton also could not explain why U.S. civil rights leaders choose to remain silent on the issue of human rights in Sudan.
"I have no idea why they haven't done it, but I will continue to do it and even went there to try and dramatize how outrageous I felt that is in the 21st century to be seeing this kind of behavior," Sharpton said. To see the situation "go almost uncovered is unthinkable," he added.
Brad Phillips, president of the Persecution Project Foundation, a Christian ministry aiding the current victims of strife in Sudan, pointed to slavery in that country as evidence of a double standard among American civil rights leaders.
"Where is the outrage? The same people that want reparations for American slavery - where is their outrage for Africans who are being slaughtered today?" Phillips asked.
Hentoff criticized Jesse Jackson in particular for failing to show leadership on the Sudan slavery issue.
"When he went to Africa with [then President Bill] Clinton (in 1998), neither of them said a word about what was happening in Sudan, and Sudan was one place they didn't go to," Hentoff explained.
Jackson served as a U.S. special envoy to Africa during the second term of the Clinton administration. A spokesman for Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition defended Jackson's stance on the human rights violations in Sudan.
"[Jackson] has been addressing [Sudan] off and on ...We are engaged in Sudan, and we have been talking to the parties and stuff, and we have reached out to civil societies in both the north and the south, so we are engaged," James Gomez, director of international affairs for Rainbow/PUSH, told CNSNews.com.
"It might not be on the news, and [critics] might not get the information, but do not believe that these people are not engaged," Gomez added.
Gomez also indicated Jackson has met "several times" with Sudan's ambassador to the United States, Khidir H. Ahmed. When asked whether Jackson includes references to Sudan and slavery in his numerous speeches across the country, Gomez could only point to a press release that Rainbow PUSH distributed on April 21, 2001.
In that statement, Jackson wrote in part: "People everywhere should be outraged that in the new millennium, human trafficking and enslavement continues. Slavery is unacceptable and immoral, and I call on the government of Sudan to immediately take all the necessary actions to help end this inhumane practice."
"In terms of what was most specific [to Sudan], was that statement...that was a press release," Gomez explained.
Hentoff believes Jackson was forced to issue the 2001 press release by black ministers across the country. "Jackson had to be intimidated about speaking out about slavery," Hentoff said.
Hentoff also believes Sharpton has failed to adequately address the subject of slavery in Sudan. "[Sharpton] went [to Sudan], and he spoke out briefly. I follow this. I have not heard him say anything in a long time," Hentoff said. "Sharpton is running for president. There is not much of a constituency about slavery."
But when asked to respond, Sharpton was quick to defend himself. "I went to Sudan three years ago, and I publicly said that it was one of the great atrocities of the world."
Hentoff believes that if it were not for the pressure applied by African American clergy, Jackson, Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus would have had even less to say about the Sudanese controversy. Hentoff pointed to an open letter, written by black ministers, addressed to the Congressional Black Caucus in 2000, urging the group to become more visibly engaged in the issue.
"We African American pastors from around the nation write to ask the Congressional Black Caucus to come to the front of this battle. As the descendants of African slaves, we must not rest until those now held in bondage are freed - until the African villages in Sudan are protected from murderous slave raids, until the Sudan Air Force is made to stop bombing African schools, churches and hospitals," the letter dated June 1 read in part.
For its part, the Black Caucus now claims to be heavily involved in solving Sudan's human rights problems, pointing to its role in the passage of the Sudan Peace Act last October 21. The act provides for the U.S. to impose economic sanctions and other punitive measures in the event the government in Khartoum fails to continue negotiating an end to Sudan's decades-old conflict and requires the U.S. to monitor the progress of human rights abuses.
Repeated calls to the Congressional Black Caucus and its current chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for further information were not returned.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, the sponsor of the Million Man March and head of the Nation of Islam, questions whether the Islamic government of Sudan is guilty of slavery.
In a February 17, 2002, speech, the text of which is available on Farrakhan's website, he accused the U.S. of using the pretext of slavery to gain access to the oil field of southern Sudan.
"What America is trying to do is foster the revolution to break off the southern Sudan from the Islamic regime in Khartoum so that America can have access to the oil. But they say it's them Moslems killing Christians, making slaves out of these people in the south," Farrakhan stated.
Hentoff believes the reason so many African American civil rights leaders and heads of other African nations have been quiet about Sudan's human rights situation is because of a desire to remain in "solidarity because it's an African country."
Phillips, from the Persecution Project Foundation, put forth a theory on why African American civil rights leaders might be reticent about commenting on Sudan.
"Could it be because of the increasing Muslim influence in black America? Perhaps," Phillips said.
Phillips believes there is enough blame to go around regarding the silence on the situation in Sudan.
"There are some [civil rights leaders] who are doing great
things, but in large part, it isn't getting the attention it deserves from any
segment of American society and the media, let alone civil rights leaders,"
1- Mariam Abdalla Musa.
2- Aisha Abdalla Musa.
3- Amna Abdelkareem Hamid.
4- Aziza Abakar Hamid.
5- Khadija Ali Adam.
6- Haleema Ibraheim Juma.
7- Mariam Abdelkareem Ibraheim.
The incident took place in Jala, westeren Kutum. In the same day the
security force detained:
1- Adam Musa Haroun.
2- Ibraheim Abdelnabi Khatir.
3- Abakar Dawood.
4- Abdeljabar Adam.
5- Haroun Adam.
How should the United States and the international community
a brutal, despotic regime in an Arab country, one with clear ties to
international terrorism? And what if this regime, located in one of the
world's most volatile regions, has honed its ruthlessly survivalist
instincts for years, and in the process developed weapons of mass
And what if the regime possesses great oil wealth, rendering
character invisible to those bent on further exploitation of promising
oil reserves and the pursuit of petrodollars? And if this regime is
also a threat to its neighbors, reneges on various internationally
brokered commitments, and regularly attacks its own citizens in ways
that violate the Geneva conventions, how should we respond?
These questions seem worth asking at the present moment since
been answered in such starkly different fashion for Iraq and Sudan.
While Iraq has endured a punishing and spectacularly visible
assault, the government of Sudan was recently rewarded at the UN's
annual Human Rights Convention in Geneva with a human rights "upgrade,"
an event that received virtually no news coverage. Moreover, the US
State Department shortly after issued a report that seriously
understated Khartoum's human rights abuses and its intransigence in
current peace negotiations.
Previously an "Item 9" nation (a category indicating
special problems"), the new status for Khartoum's National Islamic Front
essentially absolves the regime of responsibility for its egregious and
ongoing human rights violations. Indeed, Khartoum's state-controlled
media claimed as much in headlines the day after the April vote in
Most notably, there will no longer be a UN special rapporteur
rights in Sudan. The last three such special rapporteurs (from Hungary,
Argentina, and Germany) have done a superb job of highlighting the
nature of Khartoum's human rights abuses and the direct connection to
devastating oil development in the south of the country. Their annual
reports have been one of the few means by which Sudan's agony, its
savagely destructive 20-year civil war, has been kept before the eyes of
the international community. Now the international community has
declared that it has seen and heard enough, and there will be no further
mandate for a special rapporteur in Sudan.
There are, of course, significant differences between the Baghdad
Saddam has been responsible for the deaths of a great many of
countrymen, especially non-Arab Kurds. But whatever the number may be,
it is dwarfed by the numbers in Sudan: over 2 million have been killed
in the war, overwhelmingly non-Arab civilians in the south. Many people
have been displaced at various times in Iraq, but Sudan has by far the
world's greatest population of internally displaced persons, estimated
at well over 4 million.
Saddam has deployed his chemical weapons of mass destruction
occasions. By contrast, Khartoum has long and consistently deployed its
own peculiar "weapon of mass destruction," and to immensely devastating
effect. The regime has regularly denied humanitarian assistance to
southern civilians so as to insure the death and displacement of
hundreds of thousands.
The great famine in Bahr el-Ghazal in 1998 was only the most
of Khartoum's recent efforts. Last summer---during the "year of record"
for deliberations by the Commission on Human Rights---Khartoum at one
point denied all humanitarian access to over 3 million human beings.
Though more crude than VX nerve gas and other weapons reportedly in
Saddam's arsenal, Khartoum's weapon of mass destruction is considerably
What accounts for the different responses to the regimes in
Khartoum? One essential element of the travesty in Geneva was Libya's
chairing of this session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. A more
grotesque spectacle is difficult to imagine. But Libya was ably helped
by a thoroughly uninspired effort from the European Union, and France in
particular (the French oil giant TotalFinaElf has enormous, but
presently inaccessible, concession rights in the war-torn south). Other
EU countries--Germany, Britain, Italy, Austria, Sweden---have also had
their appetites whetted by Khartoum's relatively recent petro-wealth.
It should have fallen then to Washington, as well as to African
represented at Geneva, to halt this outrage---this vitiating of any
possible claim to legitimacy by the UN Human Rights Commission.
Instead, the African nations were content to acquiesce in the
"African unity." And the U.S. State Department---obsessed with
Iraq---sent to Geneva a delegation largely unprepared to work
effectively to continue Sudan's Item 9 status. Indeed, it is clear in
retrospect that there was no serious diplomatic groundwork undertaken by
the State Department in anticipation of resistance and indifference from
the European Union.
When the costs of the Iraq war are reckoned, this will not be
[Eric Reeves is a professor at Smith College and has worked
as a Sudan researcher and advocate.]
Report lists names of 10,000 in slavery
Institute confirms forced servitude in Sudan despite regime's denial
A noted research institute claims it has confirmed the existence
of slavery in
Sudan with a list of 10,000 names, contradicting denials by the country's
militant Islamic regime.
Using face-to-face interviews, the Rift Valley Institute gathered
more than 11,000 people abducted from rebel-held areas by Khartoum-backed
Abductee who had knees nailed together during imprisonment (Photo: USAID)
More than 10,000 of those people still are unaccounted for,
said the institute,
an independent research and educational association in Britain and East Africa
with the backing of the British government.
"Never before have so many names been catalogued of people
being enslaved in
one country in our times," said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious
Freedom at Freedom House.
But the results are just the tip of the iceberg, says Charles
of the American Anti-Slavery Group in Boston. His group cites civic leaders in
Bahr El Ghazal in southern Sudan who report more than 200,000 women and
children have been enslaved in that area alone by Khartoum's armed forces and
allied militias since the beginning of the civil war in 1983.
Sudan's cleric-backed National Islamic Front regime in the Arab
north declared a jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south in 1989. Since
1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine.
About 5 million have become refugees.
Jacobs notes that while the Islamist government "denies
the reality of Sudanese
slavery," the European Union, UNICEF and other international institutions use
the euphemism "abduction" in reference to the practice, out of deference to
Jacobs said he hopes "Rift Valley's initial findings spur
the world community
to complete the documentation of those in bondage."
Freedom House said the study gives humanitarian agencies and
groups an essential tool for tracing and reuniting abductees with family
Dr. Jok Madut, co-director of the Rift Valley project, said
baseline of fact was essential to address what many regard as the world's most
appalling cluster of human rights abuses.
"Abduction and slavery are horrific; the important thing
is that we now know
what the facts are," said Madut. "We know for certain who has been abducted,
how many, where and when."
Madut worked on the project with John Ryle, chairman of the
Institute and a respected British scholar on Africa.
John Eibner, U.S. executive director of Christian Solidarity
urged President Bush to help make 2003 "the year of the eradication of Sudanese
Eibner wrote after returning from a recent fact-finding trip
to Sudan that the
current ceasefire, amid U.S.-led peace talks, offers a "window of opportunity"
for a mass exodus of slaves from the north to their homes in the south.
Eibner said he and his colleagues learned many Arab slave masters
to give up their black African slaves without compensation, fearing reprisal
for "crimes against humanity" as the peace process nears completion.
Christian Solidarity International has helped facilitate the
buying back, of slaves, a practice criticized by some who believe it has the
adverse effect of fueling demand for slaves.
Pattern of slave-taking
One year ago, a U.S. State Department-sponsored delegation to
Sudan issued a
report describing the Khartoum regime's role in slavery: "The pattern of
slave-taking that has developed since the start of the civil war is, to a
substantial degree, the product of a counter-insurgency strategy pursued by
successive governments in Khartoum. This strategy involves arming local
militias from northern Sudan."
The international delegation's report said the militias attack
rebel-controlled areas, primarily along the boundary between northern and
"They burn villages, loot cattle, rape and kill civilians,
and abduct and
enslave men, women and children," the report said. "Such attacks are frequently
carried out by militia members while employed by the government as auxiliary
guards on military rail convoys traveling though [rebel-controlled] areas.
James Lual, head of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement
administration in northern Bahr El Ghazal, said in an interview this week with
Freedom Now News there have been no raids in his area for many months because
of the rebel army presence. But in western Upper Nile, he said, "government
militias have been attacking civilians and enslaving people."
Lual believes the Rift Valley figures are far below his estimate
of more than
200,000 slaves because the researchers did not do a complete survey, spending
only a few months in the area this year.
"They had problems gaining the confidence of the chiefs
and the people," he
said. "They did not interview the thousands of freed slaves who have come back.
I invited RVI to look at our documents, but they did not take up the offer."
Lual said it will take years to complete the documentation of slaves.
"Serious slavery research cannot be done in a backward,
like this with a disorganized and lightning strike approach," he said.
Another reason the institute's numbers are too low, he said,
is because there
has been "so much killing and displacement that a lot of people are not around
anymore to report missing relatives."
"We also know that the RVI is funded by people who want
to downplay slavery,"
said. "I mean the British government and Save the Children UK. They are helping
the government of Sudan. It is the government of Sudan that wants to hide its
slavery crimes. They say there is no slavery in Sudan, only abduction."
Today, CSI's (Christian Solidarity International) U.S. Executive Director, Dr. John Eibner, urged President George W. Bush to help make 2003 "the year of the eradication of Sudanese Slavery". Writing following his return from a fact-finding visit to Sudan, Eibner reported that "the current ceasefire ... offers a window of opportunity for a mass exodus of slaves from northern Sudan to their homes in the South".
While in Sudan, Eibner and his CSI colleagues found that many Arab slave masters are now prepared to release Black African slaves, without payment of compensation fees and that land corridors for the return of slaves to Southern Sudan are now open and secure. As the U.S. sponsored Sudanese peace process nears completion, slave owners are increasingly concerned that they may be prosecuted or otherwise punished for involvement in an internationally recognized "crime against humanity". During Sudan's 20-year-old civil car, the armed forces of the government in Khartoum have used slave raids against non-Muslim, black African communities as an instrument of a brutal counter-insurgency policy. Over 200,000 women and children have been enslaved, according to leaders of the victimized communities.
Since 1995, CSI has facilitated the liberation and return of slaves through an 'Underground Railway' based on local Arab-Black African peace agreements. Over 6,000 women and children have returned to their homes through this mechanism in the first half of this year. However, tens of thousands of women and children remain enslaved, according to community leaders in both Northern and Southern Sudan. CSI's extensive documentation reveals that Sudanese slaves are routinely subjected to beatings, gang rape, mutilation -- including FGM -- racial insults and forcible conversion.
In December 2001, the Government of Sudan promised the U.S. Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan, former Sen. John Danforth, that it would "facilitate the return of abducted women and children to their families and villages" as a pre-condition for peace. However, since then Khartoum has returned fewer than 100 slaves to their homes in Southern Sudan, despite receiving substantial financial support from E.U. countries, UNICEF and Save the Children (UK). The U.S. State Department has indicated that it expects a peace agreement before the end of June.
Eibner encouraged President Bush to use the current window of opportunity to support Sudanese civil society's efforts to free the slaves now. "There will be no true peace in Sudan as long as black African women and children and children are enslaved", Eibner concluded.
Freedom Now: How has slavery affected northern Bahr El Ghazal?
Lual: Khartoum's Arab militias
have been raiding and taking slaves, looting
cattle and burning villages since the war started in 1983. The area has been
devastated by slave raids. The loss of life and property has been enormous.
People have been traumatized. They have been on the run for years. Many people
have been taken to the North as slaves. Many others ran away to the North to
save their lives.
Freedom Now: Are people still being enslaved?
Lual: Since the beginning of 2001,
slave raiding has slowed down. There have
been no raids in northern Bahr el Ghazal for many months, but things are
different in western Upper Nile. Government militias have been attacking
civilians and enslaving people. Northern Bahr el Ghazal is now quiet because
the SPLA increased its strength here. Then the peace talks and ceasefire came.
In this area the ceasefire is respected. But a lot of people are still enslaved
in the North.
Freedom Now: How many people from northern Bahr El Ghazal have been enslaved?
Lual: Nobody knows exactly, but
the number is very high. In my County, we
estimate that between 50,000 to 60,000 people have been enslaved. Our records
show that over 10,000 have already been brought back by Arab retrievers. The
reports from other counties of northern Bahr el Ghazal show that over 200,000
have been enslaved over the past 20 years. The hardest hit areas are nearest
the border with the Arabs. Gogrial is a bit to the South and has not been hit
as hard as some of the others.
Freedom Now: The Rift Valley Institute
has announced that 11,105 have been
enslaved since 1983. Why is there an apparent discrepancy between their figures
and your estimates?
Lual: The Rift Valley Institute
did not interview and document all the slaves.
They came to this area this year and spent only a few months here. They
stopped their project at the beginning of April and went back home. They did
not do a complete survey. They did interviews in only two and a half of the
seven districts in Gogrial. In the districts where they did work, they
interviewed only a few people. They had problems gaining the confidence of the
chiefs and the people. They did not interview the thousands of freed slaves
who have come back. I invited RVI to look at our documents, but they did not
take up the offer.
We have a record of the return of thousands of slaves to Gogrial
Serious slavery research cannot be done in a backward, underdeveloped area like
this with a disorganized and lightning strike approach. It will take years to
complete the documentation of slaves.
There is another reason why RVI's numbers are too low. There
has been so much
killing and displacement that a lot of people are not around anymore to report
missing relatives. We also know that the RVI is funded by people who want to
downplay slavery. I mean the British Government and Save the Children UK. They
are helping the Government of Sudan. It is the Government of Sudan that wants
to hide its slavery crimes. They say there is no slavery in Sudan, only
abduction. It could be that Khartoum has a strong political influence.
Freedom Now: RVI also reports that only 528 slaves are known to have returned
to their homes, and that 10,380 are still missing.
Lual: That is not true. It is completely
baseless. In Gogrial County alone, we
have documented over 10,000 slaves that have been freed and brought back by
Arab retrievers. Many of them have been interviewed and photographed. A lot of
journalists and people from other organizations have also seen them. The same
is true for the other counties. The RVI project was presented to us as a
missing slave project. I assume that they didn't try to interview many freed
slaves in the short time they were here. Most of the slaves have not yet come
Freedom Now: What should be done now about the slavery problem?
Lual: Documentation and research
needs to continue. CSI (Christian Solidarity
International) was the first in the field. We expect them to continue their
project and provide a more complete picture. Documentation also needs to be
started in the North. That is where the slaves are. But the most important
thing is to free the slaves. Documentation is useless unless it helps free
people. The people of northern Bahr El Ghazal have been struggling for years to
free the slaves and bring them home. Tens of thousands have come back, but more
are still in the North. Some of our Arab friends help us. CSI has been a big
help. The AASG has also helped a lot, but not many others. The American peace
plan promised to end slavery as a pre-condition for peace. More than a year
ago, The American Government sent the Eminent Persons Group to Sudan. But very
little has happened since then. Only three slaves have been returned to Gogrial
by the Government and SC UK. From time to time they send a few slaves back to
give the impression that progress is being made. Our people want action not
words. We don't want to be patronized, interviewed and examined. We want help
to free the slaves.
-- Sudanese forces staged air raids at the weekend against a rebel camp in western Sudan, killing not only six rebels but also several government troops who had been taken prisoner, a rebel leader said Monday.
"Government forces launched air raids against villages and a camp of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) west of the city of Kutum," SLM Secretary General Mani Arkoi Minawi told AFP by telephone.
Kutum lies in North Darfur, northwest of the state capital al-Fashir.
The raids on Saturday and Sunday caused "several deaths among the prisoners" and six deaths in SLM ranks, according to Minawi, who said he was phoning from the Darfur region. He did not say whether there were casualties in the villages.
Government army "lieutenants Mubarak Mohamed Serag and Ahmed al-Bakr Ali were among the prisoners killed during these raids," Minawi said.
He warned that the SLM would retaliate if "the government continued its attacks."
The Sudan Liberation Army/Movement has claimed a number of attacks in the Darfur region since it surfaced for the first time in February.
But the government has refused to acknowledge any political motivation for unrest in the states of North, South and West Darfur, blaming it instead on "armed criminal gangs and outlaws," who it says are aided by tribes from neighboring Chad.
The Sudanese authorities have also accused the southern separatist Sudan People's Liberation Army of helping the "outlaws" in the Darfur region, a charge the SPLA denies.
The SLA, which first emerged in late February under the label of the Front for the Liberation of Darfur, is not included in the framework of peace talks aimed at ending Khartoum's 20-year-old civil war with the SPLA.
It has never acknowledged any link with the SPLA, but called in mid-March for an "understanding" with other opposition forces fighting the Khartoum government.
A Sudanese newspaper reported Monday that the authorities in North Darfur had taken new steps to quash the unrest, including imposing sharp limits on four-wheel drive vehicles and satellite telephones used by the "outlaws."
News Article by AFP posted on May 27, 2003
Sulayman al-Safi, has said that a conference by Sudanese [conflicting]
tribes will be held in Upper Nile State in the town of Kaka, Fashoda
Locality [southern Sudan] from the 27-28 May.
The conference under the patronage of the first vice-president
solve the old disputes between the conflicting tribes. This will enable
them to solve their problems among themselves without the intervention
of senior officials.
Source: Republic of Sudan Radio, Omdurman, in Arabic 1300 gmt 22 May 03
Member of Parliament Idris Yusuf Ahmad has said that nine people
killed and three others wounded in the region of Shattayah after an
unidentified group attacked the markets of Abram [untraced] and
Dagudeessah [untraced] in Southern Darfur State's Kas region.
The MP called on the government of Southern Darfur State to
possible efforts to restore stability in the region.
The attack on the market in Abram the day before yesterday caused
death of three people.
Meanwhile, a vehicle was attacked on the road to Dagudeessah
The unexpected attack left six people dead and another nine wounded.
A high-level meeting between the Foreign Minister of Khartoum's
National Islamic Front regime (Mustapha Ismail) and US Secretary of
State Colin Powell took place yesterday (May 21, 2003). Following the
meeting a State Department spokesman gave a thoroughly upbeat assessment
of Khartoum's "cooperation" on terrorism. This seems rather
dramatically at odds with the ominous account of Khartoum and terrorism
recently offered by New York Times investigative reporters, who claim to
have spoken with "senior counterterrorism officials" in the Bush
administration (May 17, 2003). But for establishing the record, perhaps
we should particularly note what the State Department has said on the
present occasion: "'We've had very good, and I think increasingly good,
cooperation with Sudan on issues of counterterrorism, working together,"
[State Department] spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters" (Agence
France-Presse and AP, May 21, 2003). "'I think it's safe to say that
Sudan is not the kind of haven for terrorists that it used to be, and
has been quite cooperative in many ways in terms of the work we've been
able to do with them since 9/11,' [Boucher] said" (Voice of America, May
But just how capacious a view of terror and terrorism does the
Department have? Do they know of the child in Nyala, Darfur Province,
who was recently arrested by the al-shorta al-sha'abiya ("Public Police
Force") and sentenced in an Islamic court to 100 lashes of the whip?
Can they imagine the terror that is presently the life of the 14-year
old girl sentenced to this barbarous punishment for "adultery"? (The
conviction was under Article 146 of Khartoum's 1991 Penal Code.)
Moreover, the young girl convicted is 9 months pregnant. A 25-year old
businessman, Alsir Sabeel Nour Aldeen, was charged in connection with
the incident, but was found not guilty and freed "for the lack of
evidence." (Details of this case have been provided by the Sudan
Organisation Against Torture
[SOAT] in a press release dated may 20, 2003---the day before the
National Islamic Front Foreign Minister's meeting with Secretary
If we wish to understand terror, and if we wish to understand
meaning of Khartoum's imposition of shari'a (Islamic law) and its penal
provisions (hudud), then it should require no great imaginative exertion
to feel something of what this young girl is now feeling as she awaits
her ghastly punishment. Nor should it be forgotten that 100 lashes can
easily prove fatal, depending on the force with which they are
administered. Most importantly, it must not be forgotten that the
police that made the arrest and the court that convicted the girl are
both natural extensions of the National Islamic Front vision of
Sudan---all of Sudan.
Those who can justify the merciless whipping of a pregnant girl
seen for what they are. Foreign Minister Ismail must be seen not simply
as the always-smiling face of deft and expedient diplomacy, but as a
representative of unspeakable brutality and cruelty. His face, the
faces of all who represent the power of the National Islamic Front
regime, must be seen looking down upon this pregnant young girl as she
endures her savage punishment---and approving. The faces of the
Khartoum regime must be seen whenever we hear of the terror that has
been wrought with increasing fury of late in Darfur, and has been the
fate of southern Sudan and other marginalized areas for years and
And we must hope that in assessing Khartoum, the US State Department
develops a fuller sense of what constitutes terror.
A campaign group called on governments this week to clamp down on big
oil companies as it provides evidence of the damaging impact of the
industry on the global economy.
The recommendations in a report by Christian Aid come as Britain
the US press ahead with plans to rapidly bring back on stream - and
directly control - oil in Iraq. The report, Fuelling Poverty: Oil, War
and Corruption, warns that plans to rebuild the Iraqi economy with oil
wealth could lead to greater poverty for the population, increased
corruption and civil strife.
The charity calls for an international commission to be established
review the overwhelming evidence that oil wealth is driving countries
into poverty and to draw up new global regulations to reverse this
Christian Aid makes five recommendations for its "global
seeking to ensure oil revenues benefit development rather than
corruption. Greater transparency is one of the main targets.
Oil companies should be required to reveal payments to all governments.
Regulations allowing payments to be listed in a vague "rest of the
world" category should be removed.
Improved standards of public accounting must be introduced in
developing countries, the charity urges. Payments from oil companies
and the audited figures for oil income should be published so that the
public can see where the money is spent.
International bodies such as the World Bank, IMF and export
guarantee agencies should help to ensure that oil companies adhere to
Trust funds should be established, as occurred in the Shetland
and Norway, to receive much of the oil revenues, ensuring that a sudden
influx of wealth does not boost inflation and that future generations
Lastly, the charity suggests, a system of certification should
introduced to prevent trade in "blood oil", similar to the scheme for
the diamond business that seeks to stop the sale of gems from conflict
zones in west Africa.
Publication of the report coincides with Exxon Mobil being investigated
in the US over links with a Kazakhstan corruption case and France's Elf
(now part of Total) coming under the legal spotlight again over its
activities in Africa.
Christian Aid made its recommendations after studying the negative
impact of oil on countries including Kazakhstan, Angola and the Sudan.
(5/15/03 10:38:42 AM) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org has just become aware of the rape case of a 10-year-old Pakistani child. On March 31, 2002, Natasha Emmanuel from Ismailabad, Wah Cantt was raped by Ghazanfar Mehmood, a Muslim neighbor. Following the incident, Natasha was taken immediately to the hospital where she was kept in the intensive care unit for three days. Although Natasha is very intelligent and religious, she has been psychologically depressed following the attack.
Ghanzanfar Mehmood has links with conservative and extremist Islamic organizations. Prior to the war in Iraq, Ghazanfar Mehmood lived in peace with Natasha's family. After the war in Iraq began however, the Emmanuel family noticed a change in Mehmood's attitude. It is reported that the rape was motivated by revenge for the war in Iraq.
Because Muslims view Christianity as a Western religion, Pakistani Christians are viewed as being pro-American. Some Muslims have vented their anger about the War in Iraq by acts of revenge, especially on Christian women and young girls. The raping of Natasha Emmanuel is the second attack and raping of a Christian girl in the last two months. Nine-year-old Christian Razia Masih was beaten and raped on April 26, 2003 in retaliation for the War in Iraq.
The recent press statements made by the Egyptian President,
Husni Mubarak during his four hours visit to Khartoum on 30.4.2003 in
connection with the unity of Sudan and the revival of the political
integration between Egypt and Sudan have caused great concern and
anxiety within the ranks and file of South Sudanese in particular and
people from the marginalized areas in general. This diplomatic event
was immediately followed by another thunder-bolt pronouncement by
President Gadhafi of Libya on 3.5.2003 during the visit of President
Omer El Bashir to that country proposing the need for a tripartite
unitary constitutional framework.
We believe strongly that the two events did not occur by accident,
rather designed because this was the time when IGAD Peace Talks were
about to reconvene in Nairobi amidst the speculation that this was
going to be the last session as peace agreement is to be signed by the
end of June, 2003. Talking about political integration between Egypt
and Sudan, and establishment of a constitutional unity for Egypt, Libya
and Sudan at this point in time, when the peace process being brokered
by IGAD is about to reach the end of the tunnel is a clear intention of
taking us back to square one.
Such remarks prescribing the importance of unity of Sudan and
warnings about the dangers that will ensue should the South separate
are out of place at the moment. This is because the Machakos Protocol
had resolved these two items when it defined that the right of self-
determination will be exercised under an internationally monitored
referendum based on two distinct options namely (i) confirming the
unity of the Sudan on new basis or (ii) voting for secession that will
result in the creation of a separate state for the South. The final
verdict will come about as a result of collective democratic decision
to be made by Southern Sudanese and NOT by individual Southerners who
have assured the Egyptian President that they are for one united Sudan,
simply because "separation poses a great danger to Egypt, Sudan and the
The paradox in this scenario is that it is the oppressed Southern
Sudanese who have been struggling for the last 47 years and lost over
two million people, five million displaced, several underwent
enslavement, others converted to Islam or racially abused and deprived
of equitable share of power and national resources; it is these people
who, in spite of the institutionalized hegemony should ironically fight
to protect unity. The oppressor is instead being encouraged to maintain
the status quo. We were expecting to hear from the Egyptian President
how far the Northerners were going to compromise in the next round of
talks on the contentious issues now causing stalemate in order to make
unity attractive, and not the other way round. Egypt and Libya are
expected to be reinforcing the on-going IGAD peace process through the
international leverage being exerted on the parties involved in the
negotiations since Ms. Nadia Makaram is already representing the Arab
The present tripartite shuttling should not be aimed at reviving
defunct Joint Egyptian-Libyan Initiative, which had ignored the root
causes of the Sudan's problem; the separation of Islam from politics
and the right of self-determination for the South. The other unfolding
threat to the peace process is the decision made by Egypt to revive the
political integration between Egypt, Libya and Sudan, which was
cancelled in 1989. If this succeeds, then we shall find ourselves in an
endless vicious circle, confirming the usual practice of breaking of
Southerners need no reminding about the historical role Egypt
playing in the politics of the Sudan. Egypt was a party to the Ottoman
Empire that had ventured to claim land as far South as Lakes Ismail (now
Lake Kioga) in Uganda to guarantee its control over the Nile valley.
Towards the end the Condominium administration, Egypt-hosted the 1953
conference in Cairo in which the decision to keep Sudan as one country
was taken in the absence of Southern Sudanese representatives Southern
Sudan has never witness peace and stability as a result of this
decision. We must therefore stand steadfastly against any designs
intended at promoting the recurrence of similar events once again.
Finally, the Union of Sudan African Parties, USAP chose to react
this document to put across their views on the current political
development involving Egypt, Libya and Sudan. The course of peace is
already set and we think that this is not the time for making other
The views expressed above should not therefore be construed
disregard to the aspiration of the Arabs. What we are saying is that
while we must respect the aspirations of the Arabs, they by the same
token should respect the aspirations of the people of African origin in
the Sudan. In other words, Sudanese must be allowed first to put their
own house in order through the exercise of self-determination already
agreed upon, so that unity with any country after that will be a unity
Despite peace accords, intermittent fighting between the government
rebels is preventing much needed investment in
infrastructure and oil exploration in the Sudan. Neil Ford asses the
country's near-term prospects.
With peace talks as disjointed as the fighting that has plagued
southern provinces, the fate of Sudan remains undecided. But
whether as one country or two, it is important that the destiny of the
country is determined as quickly as possible because the civil
war continues to affect the lives of all the people of Sudan.
While the oil sector has taken off in recent years, the destruction
uncertainty caused by the war have resulted in two decades
of sluggish economic growth and falling living standards for much of the
The government has certainly put a great deal of emphasis on
expansion of the oil sector in its economic strategy. Although
proven reserves stand at just 563m barrels and production at around
230,000 barrels a day (b/d), it is believed that much of the
country offers the potential for further discoveries but exploration
efforts have been limited by political and security instability.
Nevertheless, the contribution of oil to the economy is considerable,
accounting for about 70% of export earnings.
Although oil revenues have boosted economic growth to an average
a year over the past three years, the government has
been forced to improve relations with the multilaterals.
The debt to GDP ratio remains high at 122% but a debt rescheduling
agreement was reached with the IMF in 2002. The
government has agreed to increase the transparency of its use of oil
revenues and has also promised to cut military expenditure.
Another positive sign is that inflation has been brought under control,
from over 100% during the early 1990s to 6.7% by 2002.
Apart from oil and agricultural exports such as gum arabic,
cotton, there are few substantial sectors and much the
population lives a subsistence lifestyle. The country is crying out for
diversification but like many African countries, the
development of industrial and manufacturing enterprises is held back by
a lack of regular and adequate power supplies.
Power lacks energy
The Sudanese power sector is in a particularly poor state of repair and
generating capacity is insufficient to meet demand. Rather
than opting for a large number of smaller plants, the government has
decided to build a $1.73bn hydroelectric plant on the Nile.
The new facility at Merowe to the north of Khartoum would provide 1,200
MW, dwarfing current total national capacity of around
Apart from boosting power supplies, it is hoped that the Hamdab
be used to control flooding when it is completed in
Sudan's oil sector took off when the Greater Nile Petroleum
Company (GNPOC) developed the Heglig and Unity fields
and began exporting oil via a pipeline to the new Suakin oil terminal on
the Red Sea in 1999. Oil production is expected to reach
300,000 b/d by 2004 on the back of new field development. Apart from
rising production on the GNPOC fields in the Muglad
Basin, the Thar Jath field on Block 5A, which is operated by Swedish
company Lundin Petroleum, should contribute an additional
Since the start of 2003, the Petrodar consortium has made a
discoveries on Blocks 3 and 7 in the Melut Basin. The
consortium comprises the Qatari Gulf Petroleum Company with 46% equity,
Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC)
(41%), Sudapet (8%) and another Sudanese company Al Thani (5%). Several
publications have quoted unnamed officials as
saying that a new 700m barrel field has been discovered but this is yet
to be confirmed.
A 1,500km pipeline to Port Sudan would be required unless the
be tied into the GNPOC pipeline via a 750km spur. The
success of the oil industry has also resulted in the construction of the
Khartoum Oil Refinery, which enables the country to supply
most of its own fuel requirements and develop a small export business.
An uneasy peace
Yet while the war in the south remains unresolved there is little doubt
that many domestic and foreign investors will shy away
from committing themselves. The conflict between the central government
in Khartoum, which rules the largely Muslim and
Arabic speaking north, and rebel groups in the mainly Christian and
animist south is estimated to have left 2m people dead over
the past 20 years. Most of these have been civilians, with the Dinka,
Nuba and Nuer ethnic groups particularly badly hit.
A series of peace talks in Nairobi have resulted in a succession
agreements, only for fighting to resume within a short time. A
deal brokered in July 2002 gave autonomy to rebel held areas for a
period of six years, after which a referendum on self
determination will be held.
However, there has been some dispute over which regions actually
constitute the autonomous areas. The government insists that
the Abyei, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains provinces are all part of rump
Sudan. Khartoum is correct as the three territories were
not included in last year's deal but the main rebel group, the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), insists that the
inhabitants of the provinces wish to be included.
Although fighting has broken out several times since the July
concluded, the two parties have agreed to try to patch up
the agreement rather than going back to the drawing board as they have
done following the collapse of earlier cease fires. This at
least should engender some confidence in the durability of the agreement
and the long term chances of peace and stability.
Government negotiator Ghazi Salah Eddin Atabani said of the
of talks which began in March: "The negotiations are
aimed at reaching peace based on justice and equality and on determining
the best system of governance that ensures a fair
distribution of power and resources."
An international committee has been set up to monitor the cease
brokered in July, while it is hoped that international observers
can be put on the ground over the next year. The major economic sticking
point is the division of oil revenues during the six year
period. The government has offered the SPLM 10% of oil income, while the
rebel group has demanded 80%. It is believed that
the referendum planned for 2008 would result in an independent southern
Sudan but the great fear lies in the potential for renewed
hostilities during the long period between now and then.
The SPLM has signalled its intent to make the ceasefire and
transitory period work. As part of its efforts to engender an
independent state, the organisation plans to set up a new currency, the
new Sudan pound, to replace the Sudanese dinar. It is
doubtful whether the southern Sudanese can be persuaded to accept the
currency at face value, with the US dollar and Ugandan
and Kenyan shillings already acting as suitable substitutes in the
region. However, the plan is a statement of intent and an
indication that the SPLM is beginning to think beyond the armed
US maintains pressure
The role of the US in the conflict is particularly interesting.
Following a visit to Sudan by international monitors, a US state
department spokesperson said that the US condemned the "unconscionable
attacks and abuses" by government forces against
civilians in the Western Upper Nile region in December and January but
added that the Sudanese government did now appear to
making a concerted effort to maintain peace in the region. Relations
between the superpower and the Khartoum administration do
appear to have improved since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the two
governments have held talks on strengthening diplomatic ties.
However, Washington is keen to keep up the pressure. In October
Congress passed the Sudan Peace Bill which would
trigger further sanctions against Sudan if the government is proved to
be obstructing aid efforts in the south "or negotiates in bad
faith" with the SPLM. Limited US sanctions have been in place since 1997
and investment by US companies in Sudan is banned.
US opposition to investment in Sudan has been most clearly targeted
Canadian oil company Talisman, which finally sold its oil
interests in the country in March. After a long campaign against its
involvement in Sudan, the firm sold its 25% stake in the
GNPOC and other smaller investments to Indian company ONGC Videsh in
March for $750 million. The Indian firm will work
with the other GNPOC partners: CNPC with a 40% stake, Malaysian company
Petronas (30%) and Sudanese parastatal Sudapet
Talisman chief executive Jim Buckee said it had been "very
us to operate" in Sudan but added "in the event of signing
a peace agreement, we will come back." The company had been criticised
by human rights groups and other NGOs, which argue
that oil revenues help to fund the Sudanese government's military
campaigns against opposition groups.
Buckee continued: "The controversy surrounding this asset
played a part in our decision. The controversy...detracted
from the strength of our other assets." The Sudanese Energy Minister
Awad al-Jaz called Talisman "an honest and sincere
partner. Let us hope that the reasons which led them to pull out would
soon disappear and they will come back without any
pressure to invest in Sudan." He added "We welcome the Indian company.
This deal was done with the consent of all and
everybody is happy."
However, a US court ruled at the end of March that Talisman
can be sued
over its co-operation with the Sudanese government in
genocide in the south of Sudan. The decision clears the way for hearings
on a suit that the Presbyterian Church of Sudan filed in
2001, alleging that Talisman had aided the Sudanese military in a
"brutal ethnic cleansing campaign".
A spokesperson for SPLM welcomed the move. He said: "We
think that other
oil companies should also stop exploiting the blood
oil until we conclude a just and fair peace agreement." Oil
installations have come under attack by SPLM forces in the past in an
attempt to discourage oil sector investment and therefore restrict the
flow of funds to the government.
Whatever form the Sudan of 2008 takes, it will need oil revenues
reconstruction work in the north and in the south.
However, the two main faces that Sudan shows to the world - oil and the
conflict - are obstinately linked, so opposition to
investment in the Sudanese oil sector will remain strong in the West.
The link will only be broken once the war has been brought
to a permanent conclusion. Sudanese of all persuasions will hope that
this day is not far.
A number of security personal, from the National Security Agency,
Yousif Al Bashier Mousa, 35 years old, a reporter for the Al Sahafa
daily newspaper in Nyala,
resident in Khartoum Bilayil ( Khartoum at night) neighbourhood , Nyala.
Yousef is disabled with
his left leg is amputated.
His arrest took place on Saturday, 3rd May 2003 by 3 from Nyala
by 3 security officers,
He was taken to the National Security Offices north of the Nyala
industrial park. He was
detained in cell, measuring 2m* 1m. The cell had little ventilation and
he was sleeping on the
concrete. He was provided with only 2 meals over the period of four days
and was deprived from
going to the toilet during his detention.
He was taken every night at 10pm for interogration. He was interrogated
at gunpoint and
threatened with rape and damage to his able-bodied leg. He was
repeatedly beaten and
punched on his face and abdominal area; they also used sticks to beat at
the sole of his feet
One officer allegedly involved in the torture named Abd Al Moniem
Tayfour and one other person
dressed in a military uniform.
On 6th May, he was allowed to received medical treatment, Dr
Rahman Ahmed Hassan
conducted this. The medical report confirmed that Yousif was tortured.
His Lawyer Mossa'ed
Mohamed Ali pledged an appeal for Yousif to be charged or released
Yousif was interrogated about his activities and information
he sent to
Al Sahafa newspaper.
Despite the formal ending of press censorship in Sudan in December
official pressure and
restrictions on the media has continued. The government has censored
newspapers more than a dozen times over the past year. The authorities
have drawn what has
been termed a 'red line' to newspapers about the following issues:
The peace process
Abduction of women and children
Arrests and releases of political activities or human rights
Any information or news about the security forces
Any news or information about the Popular National Congress and its
leader, Hassan Al
And recently any information or news on Darfour current confilict
In addition to these issues, restrictions have also been brought
on newspapers for their
handling of the October student demonstrations, and of sexual health
issues, notably female
SOAT condemns the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression
Sudan and urges the
i) Cease the imposition of suspensions, pre-printing and post-printing
newspapers, and allow full freedom of expression in accordance with
international human rights
ii) Allow proper research, discussion and dissemination of
information on issues related to
iii) Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms
throughout Sudan in
accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.
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