September 24th, 2014

Letter to UN Security Council on crimes in Sudan

A group of 71 organisations, including HART, have written to the UN Security Council about Sudan’s grave human rights violations and links to terrorism. The letter reminds the UN of its statements and commitments regarding Sudan.

It highlights the outstanding arrest warrants for President Bashir and his accomplices, the continuing blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, the ongoing atrocities being committed against civilians across Sudan, including in Darfur, South Kordofan and Khartoum, and the active role Sudan plays in developing and promoting international terrorism. 

Read the text of the letter below, or download it as a word document (with a full list of signatories) at the bottom of the page. 

FULL LETTER

Dear Ambassador and Members:

The signatories to this letter respectfully request your attention at this time to the priorities of justice, security, and peace in Sudan.

Sixty-nine years ago, fifty nations led by China, Russia, France, Great Britain and the United States signed the Charter of the United Nations to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and to unite in order to “maintain international peace and security.”  At the time, President Truman cautioned, “If we fail to use it, we shall betray all those who have died so we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it,” referring to the great losses of World Wars I and II.

On September 8, 2014 in remarks to the General Assembly interactive dialogue on “Fulfilling Our Collective Responsibility:  International Assistance and the Responsibility to Protect”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned:

The world faces a series of conflicts that feature acts that shock the global conscience…  These crises illustrate the human costs of failure:  the failure to confront the rise of extremist ideology that propagates hate and manipulates intercommunal differences for political gain; the failure of States to protect their own populations; and the failure of the international community to react to early warning signs or to respond adequately once atrocity crimes are taking place.  Turning a blind eye to these acts is no longer tenable.

Nowhere is this failure more long-lasting, acute and complete than in the Republic of Sudan.  For twenty-five years, since General Al-Bashir seized control of the country, the international community has failed to confront this incubator of extremist ideology who has used a policy of divide and conquer to remain in power and to steal the resources of the country by destroying or displacing Sudan’s citizens.  Turning a blind eye to these acts and failing to adequately address the crimes committed by Bashir and his regime has emboldened radical criminals worldwide who have seen the international community’s tepid response and now understand what to expect – impunity.

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon concluded his remarks by stating, “Our collective responsibility to protect demands far more from us at this deeply troubling time for all humankind.”

What does this mean with regard to Sudan?  The answer, as President Truman stated, is for the international community to uphold the UN Charter and its conventions and laws.

UN Security Resolution 1593 referred the crisis in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and “urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully.”  Arrest warrants have been issued however those charged have not cooperated and instead have been allowed by the international community to move about freely.  The international community must apprehend President Bashir and his accomplices and turn them over to the International Criminal Court where they are wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

UN Security Resolution 2046 “decides that the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North shall extend full cooperation to the AUHIP and the Chair of IGAD, to reach a negotiated settlement on the basis of the 28 June 2011 Framework Agreement”, which calls for a comprehensive and inclusive political arrangement, also part of the recent AUHIP Addis Agreement on the National Dialogue and Constitution Process in addition to many agreements, memorandums of understanding, charters and declarations signed by the SRF and Sudanese opposition parties, movements and civil society organizations under the witness of the regional and international communities.

UNSC Resolution 2046 urges the Sudan government “to permit humanitarian access to the affected populations in the two areas [Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile], ensuring in accordance with applicable international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and guiding principles of emergency humanitarian assistance, the safe, unhindered and immediate access of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel, as well as the delivery of supplies and equipment, in order to allow such personnel to efficiently perform their task of assisting the conflict-affected civilian population;”  Humanitarian access has not been granted to the two areas and a July 9, 2014 memo by UNICEF indicates that, “acute malnutrition rates for children in Sudan [are] among the highest in the world.”

UNSC Resolution 2046 was passed May 2, 2012 and the government Sudan has deliberately failed to comply with its requirements.  The resolution clearly states, “in the event that any or all of the parties have not complied with the decisions set forth in this resolution, [the UN Security Council intends] to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the Charter as necessary;”  Article 41 indicates that these measures “may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”  The international community must not turn a blind eye to these crimes, but instead take the prescribed measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter against the government of Sudan.

UN Security Council Resolution 1591 requires “that all States shall freeze the funds, financial assets and economic resources” and impose travel bans on those who “commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities,” in Darfur.  The government of Sudan has reconstituted the Janjaweed as Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to carry out its brutal campaign against civilians in Darfur as well as North Kordofan and Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and even Khartoum.  The international community must impose sanctions against senior RSF commanders, including Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo, in addition to government officials at the highest level who are responsible for ongoing violations.

General Assembly Resolution 60/288 The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy requires members “to refrain from organizing, instigating, facilitating, participating in, financing, encouraging or tolerating terrorist,” Sudan’s nexus for terrorism includes hosting the Muslim Brotherhood, its partnership with Iran, which ships missiles and other weapons to Sudan and on to Hamas, Mali jihadis taking refuge in Sudan, arms for Libyan jihadis (just in the news), support for Joseph Kony and the LRA, and the provision of refuge and medical treatment in Sudan.  Over the last 25-years, the African Islamic University in Khartoum has graduated thousands of African Islamist ideologues who are playing a leading role in Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabab in Somalia while the Al-Quds Institute conferences serve as a locale for training future jihadis.  The international community must recognize the active role Sudan plays in developing and promoting international terrorism and it must take all necessary measures to interrupt this activity, including immediate action against the government of Sudan.

On September 5, 2014, 27-year old Maryam Abdallah Mohamed Ishaq was exercising her rights to thought and expression guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  She and the 150,000 residents of Kalma IDP camp in Darfur were peacefully protesting repeated raids by government forces.  Sudan’s security forces opened fire on the protesters and Maryam and three others, including a 3-year old, were killed.  In the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, egregious human rights violations have occurred, which are highlighted in “Khartoum’s War on Sudan: When Civilians are the Enemy”, a video report that was presented to the Human Rights Council this week (http://nubareports.org/khartoums-war-on-sudan-when-civilians-are-the-enemy/)

Violence in Sudan is old news, but the impact of the international community not enforcing its laws and holding the government of Sudan accountable has created a growing environment of global lawlessness that puts everyone at risk.  The people of Sudan and in every country deserve the United Nations that was envisioned sixty-nine years ago.  During this session of the United Nations, please take serious action against the government of Sudan that will, for all of us, “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and nations large and small.”

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