Category Archives: Darfur
Nyala — At least three people died in protests against a visit of the Sudanese president in Kalma camp in South Darfur. The African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur said it is deeply concerned about clashes between Sudanese government forces and displaced people.
Approximately 26 others were wounded, according to the Unamid peacekeeping mission in a press statement received by Radio Dabanga.
The Kalma camp coordinator released a statement earlier today reporting that five people were killed this morning, and 26 people sustained injuries. The coordinator provided the names of the deceased and said that the wounded are being treated in the Unamid base in the camp
Unamid urges all conflicting parties to exercise utmost restraint and “is doing everything it can to deescalate the situation.
“I call upon everyone involved in this situation to restore calm as soon as possible. A peaceful resolution of differences is the only way forward for the Darfuri people,” said Unamid Joint Special Representative, Jeremiah Mamabolo.
A medical team from Unamid is currently in Kalma camp to assist local authorities in treating the injured. Furthermore, the mission engages with the state government and leaders of the displaced communities in an attempt to peacefully resolve the issue.
The deadly incident reportedly occurred this morning after forces of the Sudanese government dispersed a group of displaced people who were protesting against the visit of the Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir to South Darfur.
The Belgian government faces widespread criticism after it invited officials from the brutal Sudanese dictatorship to Brussels to identify migrants and provide documents for their forced return to the country.
Opposition politicians and groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty warned the Sudanese identification team are likely to be secret police seeking political opponents and accused the government of collaboration with the regime.
Illegal migrants would be given repatriation papers, according to Theo Francken, Belgium’s asylum and migration minister, but campaigners said it was very likely that genuine refugees would be faced with their oppressors.
Mr Francken defended his invitation to inspect about 100 migrants. He said Belgium’s intelligence services had screened the three officials, who arrived in Brussels on Monday, to make sure they were not secret agents.
Mr Francken, a flamboyant Flemish nationalist is notorious for his hard-line views on immigration, added: “We are doing what many other European countries do with African countries. It is not exceptional to do this with Sudan.”
The research, which used extensive satellite imagery analysis as well as more than 200 detailed interviews with witnesses, revealed a troubling picture. The Sudanese armed forces have carried out widespread attacks on hundreds of villages, committing war crimes and gross human rights violations including bombing, killings, rapes and the use of scorched-earth tactics.
We also found substantial evidence – the photos included – of the use of chemical weapons being used to kill and maim civilians, including children.
Amnesty International has not taken the decision to publish these deeply disturbing photos lightly: we believe the horrific war crimes being committed in Darfur require concerted action on the part of the international community.
Once the cause celebre of many in the west, Darfur seems to have dropped off the global agenda in recent years. The fact that the region is under the watch of one of the largest peacekeeping forces in the world, and that earlier this month Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, proclaimed that peace had returned to the troubled region, make Amnesty’s findings all the more galling.
After all, we are talking about the same types of war crimes that first catapulted Darfur into the world’s consciousness in 2004. But this is 13 years later; and the attacks we’ve documented happened between January and September 2016. The most recent was on 9 September 2016; just a few weeks ago and the day after Bashir’s lofty proclamation.
And if the use of chemical weapons is confirmed, this would represent a new level of barbarity in the conflict, and a new depth to the range of suffering endured by the Darfuri people. One woman described how her baby was still sick some six months after exposure to what she described as “poisoned air”.
“The baby is not recovering … he is swollen … he has blisters and wounds,” she said. “The [medical staff] say he will get better if he drinks [breast] milk … but it is not working.”
Chemical weapons have been banned for decades at the international level in recognition of the fact that the suffering they cause can never be justified. Credible evidence that Sudan’s government might now repeatedly be using them simply cannot be ignored.
More than a decade ago, the international criminal court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. And yet, the president has since won two elections and travelled regularly, including to Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. As signatories to the Rome statute which created the ICC, each of these countries had a duty to arrest Bashir on his arrival. None of them did.
Absolutely no effective measures have ever been put in place to protect civilians in Darfur despite being under the watch of a joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission (Unamid). Peace talks and agreements have brought no security or respite for the Darfuri people.
The response of the international community in the last 10 years has been utterly deplorable and in the face of such an ineffective reaction, it is little wonder that Al-Bashir’s hubris has grown.
In the light of this shocking new evidence, and on the eve of the UN security council meeting in New York, we are calling on it to do more to protect the children, men and women of Darfur.
It can do this by applying political pressure on the government of Sudan to ensure that the Unamid peacekeeping force, as well as humanitarian agencies, can access parts of Darfur such as Jebel Marra, where some of the worst abuses appear to be happening. There need to be more peacekeeping bases, and they must be able to conduct proactive patrols deep into these remote areas.
There also needs to be an urgent investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecutions of all those suspected of criminal responsibility must follow.
Bashir must learn that there are consequences when crimes under international law are committed. There has been 13 years of catastrophic violence and recurring human rights violations; it’s time the world set its focus, once more, on Darfur and act.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) Saturday has called on the United States Special Envoy Donald Booth to help to secure the release of detained pastors and activists in Sudan.
Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud, (L) shakes hands with U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth at his office in Khartoum on July 29, 2016 (ST Photo)
Last week a Sudanese court began the trial of two Sudanese Christian pastors, a Czech missionary filmmaker and a human rights activist. The four are accused of conducting intelligence activities and providing material support for the rebels in South Kordofan.
Ahead of Booth’s visit to Khartoum, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman disclosed in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune that he requested the U.S. special envoy to advocate for their release.
“SPLM-N Secretary General on Friday phoned the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan who is on his way to Khartoum about the attacks on Sudanese Christians especially the trial of Christian pastors from the Nuba Mountains and civil society activists including, Rev. Kuwa Shamal, Rev. Hassan Abdel Rahim, activist Abdel-Moneim and Czech journalist Petr Jasek,” said the statement .
According to the statement, the US diplomat stressed that the American embassy in Khartoum is following this “important issue”.
“The Secretary-General sent the same message to the other international envoys to Sudan” added the statement, underlining that the issue is related to the “right of citizenship without discrimination and to ensure basic human rights”.
The SPLM-N and two armed groups in Darfur signed earlier this month a Roadmap Agreement providing to negotiate cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements with the government.
The rebel groups and the government are expected to resume talks within two week to finalize the humanitarian truce before to hold a meeting to discuss other confidence building measures including basic freedoms. These steps are supposed to pave the way for their return to Khartoum to take part in a constitutional conference.
In a related development the SPLM-N formed a 23-member committee to reach the international community and to campaign for the rights of Sudanese Christians
Two prominent Sudanese editors are facing the death penalty over claims they are “inciting an Arab spring” and have introduced anti-government editorial policies at their newspapers.
Osman Marghani and Ahmed Yousef El Tay were seized by the intelligence services at their offices last Thursday. They face sentencing this week.
Marghani, editor-in-chief of the prominent El Tayar newspaper, said his publication had been made a scapegoat for widespread criticism of the government. “We were held by security officers and taken by cars from our offices, and they accused us of inciting people against the regime,” he said.
“I think the president is very angry about our media coverage of next year’s budget, and our criticism of the finance minister. So our newspaper is the scapegoat.”
The two men are accused of abusing their positions as journalists, publishing false news and undermining the constitutional system, a crime punishable by death in Sudan.
The Sudanese Journalists Network has condemned the arrests, urging all journalists to “counter the attack from the president and his intelligence agency”.
Marghani and El Tay are being charged under two articles of the criminal code, which adheres to Islamic Sharia law. Faisal Mohammed Salih, a journalist and human rights activist, says the code was in conflict with the constitution, which guarantees the right to “freedom of speech”.
“The government is facing a genuine challenge this time, and we will see whether they will respect their own laws and constitution, or not,” Salih said.
The arrests come just days after the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, threatened the media and vowed to take “decisive measures” against journalists who criticise his finance minister, Bader El Deen Mahmoud.
Sudanese reporters have worked in an increasingly repressive climate since Bashir seized power in a Islamist-backed coup in 1989. The country currently ranks 174th out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index.
Marghani’s El-Tayar newspaper was previously suspended for two years by the government before winning an appeal from the constitutional court in 2014. This year, the newspaper has had it’s entire print run confiscated by the security services more than 15 times.
In February, 14 daily papers were confiscated in one day, followed shortly by the seizure of copies of 17 further publications by the intelligence agencies.
“All over the world, the media shapes public opinion. Only in Sudan, when the newspapers disclose corruption or anything against the government, they get very angry,” Salih said.
Twenty-five Muslim men, including three teenagers, are facing the death penalty in Sudan after being charged with apostasy for following the wrong version of Islam.
The men were released on bail on Monday after being arrested in Khartoum in November while listening to religious teachings and imprisoned for more than five weeks.
The men, aged between 15 and 51, belong to the minority Hausa ethnicity, many of whom follow a different interpretation of Islam to the one sanctioned by Omar al-Bashir’s government.
They are accused of “rejecting the prophet Muhammad’s teachings”, rejecting the Hadith and taking the Qur’an as the sole source of religious legitimacy – a crime punishable by death in Sudan.
A judge granted the men bail on Monday and announced that court proceedings against them had been suspended until February, in what lawyers believe is an attempt to deflect international criticism of the case.
“I think they want to shrink [attention on] the case, because [it] started getting international coverage and [the judge] saw how foreign media covered the story,” said Ahmed Sibare, one of the lawyers defending the group.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative released a join statement calling for the government to drop the charges against the 25 “who are prisoners of conscience and have been put on trial solely because of their religious beliefs”.
The men are being tried under article 126 of the criminal code which adheres to Islamic Sharia law, but Sibare said the code is clearly in conflict with the Sudanese constitution which guarantees the right to “freedom of thought and conscience”.
The lawyer said he would challenge the article in the constitutional court. “[It is] vague and the authorities use it for malicious reasons,” he said.
I will never change my mind from what I was told is the right and true Islam, even if they want to kill us
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, one of the teenagers facing the death penalty, remained defiant after his release. “This law has to be changed because it conflicted with the constitution that gives the rights to people to believe in whatever they want,” he said
He said he had been listening to the imam with his brother, Fareed, 21, when the police arrived. “He was telling us what the God and his prophet Muhammad said – and suddenly the police came and surrounded us with their guns on our heads like criminals.”
Some people fled the scene, the teenager recalled, but 22 people were put in police cars and taken to the local prison, where they were held for 12 days. They were later transferred with five others to the notorious Omdurman prison in western Khartoum, where they were kept for four weeks until being released on bail on Monday.
“I will never change my mind from what I was told is the right and true Islam, even if they want to kill us, let them do so,” Awad said
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16.
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16. Photograph: Zeinab Salih
If the accused agree to renounce their beliefs in court, the sentence could be commuted to five years in jail.
Members of Khartoum’s Hausa community meet regularly in street markets to listen to readings from the Qur’an translated into Hausa, the group’s native language, as many of them are not fluent in Arabic.
Though Sudan is a religiously and ethnically diverse country, Bashir has long made his intolerance towards the country’s Christian and traditional African religions clear. They make up 3% of the country’s population, according to official figures.
Bashir declared in 2010 that the country would follow Sharia law: “We don’t want to hear anything about diversity – Sudan is an Islamic and Arabic country.
Rifaat’s father, Abdel-Mo’min Awad, said: “I really don’t know why we’re being targeted by the authorities. We are not politicians and we don’t care about politics, we only worship God.”
Mohamed Badwai, from the African Centre for Peace and Justice Studies, said this latest case shows the urgent need for legal reform in Sudan, where jailing citizens for their beliefs has become routine. “The ruling party uses trials like these to repress the people in Sudan, and force them into its preferred way of life,” he said.
Last year, a pregnant Christian woman from Khartoum, Meriam Ibrahim, narrowly escaped death row after she too was accused of apostasy and adultery for marrying a Christian man.
September 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Eastern Sudan opposition group, the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice (UPFLJ), discussed with the U.S. special envoy the failure of the government to implement the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA).
In a meeting held in Paris last Wednesday 9 September, Donald Booth participated in a meeting of the international envoys with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) groups to discuss ways to bring peace in Sudan.
UPFLJ’s leader Zainab Kabashi who is also a SRF deputy-chairman said they discussed with Booth in a separate meeting on Wednesday the political situation in eastern Sudan and the implementation of a peace agreement signed on 14 October 2006 with the government of President Omer al-Bashir.
“The (UPFLJ’s) delegation provided a detailed explanation about the issue of eastern Sudan, which is still at a standstill since long time. Also, the meeting dealt with the causes of the failure of Eastern Sudan agreement to achieve the aspirations of the people of the East in the removal of political, economic, cultural and social marginalization,” the group said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday.
The statement said they handed over to the American diplomat a memorandum including a detailed vision to resolve the issue of eastern Sudan within the framework of a comprehensive solution to the Sudanese problem.
The memo also dealt with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in eastern Sudan, the group further said.
The EAPA was signed between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front a coalition of the Beja and Rashaidiya tribes. The head of the former rebel group Musa Mohamed Ahmed is appointed presidential assistant since the signing of the peace deal.
Recently Ahmed criticized the slow implementation of the East Sudan peace pact and the development projects in the region.
Mr. Waleed AlHussein has been released by Saudi Arabian Security Authority two months ago, without any accuse, nor presenting him for a fair trial.
Mr. Al Hussein is the founder and owner for AlRakoba website, which is anti Sudanese government policies, and free Sudanese using AlRakoba as alternative solution for the Muslim brotherhood regime in Sudan’s corrupted press.
Now Saudi Authority is intending to banish Mr. Waleed to Sudan, if this happen , his life will be in a critical hazard, as he received many threats from Sudanese Security informing him that they will kill him.
We, Mr. AlHussein’s family call upon Human Rights Organizations, World Press, and Human Rights and freedom defenders, concerns, and seekers to request the EU, USA governments and the UN to pressure on Saudi Authorities for banishing Mr. AlHussein to any other country that can accept him as a political Refugee, and not delivering him to Sudanese Government, or they will be responsible for any hateful incident may exist.
August 30, 2015 (KHARTOUM) -Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has officially rejected the call of the African Union (AU) to hold a pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa, saying he wants the dialogue to be an exclusive Sudanese process.Last week, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) reiterated its call for an urgent pre-national dialogue meeting of all Sudan’s relevant parties, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, to discuss and agree on procedural matters relating to the dialogue.
Bashir, who addressed the army officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers at the Wadi Siedna military compound on Sunday, said his government refuses to hold the dialogue abroad, stressing that the AU, United Nations and the United States can’t force the Sudanese government to hold the national dialogue abroad.
He said that doors are open for all parties to discuss ways for resolving Sudan’s problems without foreign tutelage, warning rebels groups against insistence on resorting to arms to resolve outstanding issues.
Bashir said the coming year would be the year for achieving a decisive peace, pointing they offer the full opportunity for all parties to engage in the dialogue.
“We are authorized to wage war against those who refuse to engage in the dialogue,” he added.
In the same context, Sudan’s foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, told the Swedish ambassador to Khartoum, Mette Sunnergren, that his government would not accept to hold any dialogue conference abroad.
In a meeting held on Sunday, Ghandour informed the Swedish diplomat that his government wants the dialogue to be “an exclusive Sudanese process”, pointing that Sudan coordinates with the AUPSC and the AU High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) only as partners who offer opinion and efforts to ensure the success of the process.
In September 2014, the peace and security body endorsed a roadmap aiming to facilitate the national dialogue. It provides to hold a national dialogue preparatory meeting in Addis to agree on issues related to the process.
But before they have to negotiate a cessation of hostilities immediately followed by security arrangements.
Bashir launched the national dialogue initiative more than a year and a half ago in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues.
But the initiative faced serious setbacks in wake of the government’s refusal to create suitable atmosphere in the country leading several major participants to pull out.
OPPOSITION CONDEMNS GOVERNMENT STANCE
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Reform Now Movement (RNM), Ghazi al-Attabani, described the government refusal to participate in the pre-dialogue meeting as “irrational and unsustainable”.
Attabani, who spoke in a press conference held by the Alliance of National Forces (ANF) including the political forces which withdrew from the government-led dialogue on Sunday, said the government would be forced to change its position sooner or later, wondering why it drags its feet on accepting the pre-dialogue meeting while it engages in external negotiations on its entire affairs.
He called on the Sudanese government to stop political manoeuvring on the issue of holding the dialogue inside Sudan, accusing it of trying to portray the opposition forces as seeking to hold the dialogue abroad.
“On the contrary, all political forces are committed to hold an exclusive Sudanese dialogue inside the Sudan”, he added.
RNM leader pointed that some opposition forces agreed to initiate the dialogue by holding a preparatory meeting abroad, describing the AUPSC call for the dialogue as “historic and unprecedented”.
He said the government will be the losing party if it insists on rejecting the AUPSC call for holding the pre-dialogue meeting, warning against underestimating the African support for Sudan.
Attabani further pointed if Africa withdrew its support for Sudan, the government would be exposed to international pressures and would be forced to engage in the dialogue at a higher cost than any genuine dialogue among the sons of Sudan.
He pointed that the recent AUPSC communiqué shows that the regional body was visibly irritated by the procrastination of the Sudanese government in taking the right steps to conduct a genuine and comprehensive dialogue.
“[The AUPSC] is standing one step away from declaring that the ongoing dialogue is worthless because it doesn’t meet the minimum standards of political dialogue that have been implemented in similar experiences,” he said.
Attabani demanded the government to immediately respond to calls made by the “Sudan Call” forces for stopping the war, urging it to engage in serious talks to achieve a cessation of hostilities that leads to a comprehensive ceasefire.
“It would be futile to talk about political reform or national dialogue or to address Sudan’s economic or regional and international relations crises while the war is ongoing,” he added.
He added the alternative dialogue will be based on the consensus of the entire Sudanese people, saying its outcome would form the basis of the national constitution.
NFC CALLS FOR UPRISING
In a related development, the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) issued a statement saying that past and current developments prove they prove right their long-standing position that the government is not serious in its call for a negotiated solution for the country’s issues.
“As the regime has rejected all the requirements and objective conditions for dialogue, the choice of the National Consensus Forces (…) is to overthrow the regime through a popular uprising, political strike and civil disobedience, and total rejection of any settlement aiming to maintain this system,” the alliance of the left forces said.
The statement underscored that in line with Berlin Declaration, the opposition forces have to stop seeking a negotiated solution and to work altogether in a popular uprising to topple down the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
RNM DENIES CONTACTS
RNM deputy chairman Hassan Rizq denied they were being contacted by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to resume participation in the ongoing dialogue, accusing NCP leaders of turning a deaf ear to other political forces.
It is worth mentioning that the RNM pulled out of the dialogue last year blaming the NCP for its refusal to implement a number of confidence building measures aimed at creating a conducive environment before the start of the process.
Rizq called on the Sudanese government to listen to the voice of reason and avoid any confrontation with the AUPSC in order not to prevent transfer of the dossier to the UN Security Council.
“It is the duty of the wise men (within the government) to rein in those who seek to drag Sudan to this confrontation (with the AUPSC) ,” he added.
9, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N) has retaken Torda area 45 km south to the Blue Nile state Ed Damazen in less than 24 hours after its capture by the Sudanese army, said the rebel group on Sunday evening.
“SPLA-N (fighters) have retaken control of the strategic area of Torda in Bau county of Blue Nile state on Sunday 9 August at 12:30pm ,” said the SPLM-A official spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
Lodi further said the purpose of the Sudanese government troops was to loot the mineral resources of the area.
He pointed they killed four soldiers and lost two fighters, adding they seized four Kalashnikov AK-47.
The fighting between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N fighters in Blue Nile started in September 2011 three months after the start of hostilities in South Kordofan state.
In December of last year, the warring parties failed to strike a cessation of hostilities deal.