Thursday, November 11, 2010

Darfuri Human Rights arrested in Khartoum

Source: Sudaneseonline

Darfuri Human Rights Defenders Arrested in Khartoum

(1 November 2010) Between 4 and 4:30 PM on 30 October, six Darfuri human rights defenders disappeared in Khartoum. It was confirmed on 31 October that all six individuals had been arrested, though no charges have been pressed. Some of the members of the group had just attended a youth forum on social development hosted by Girifna, a pro-democracy student movement.

The first disappearance occurred in Suq al Arabia in downtown Khartoum, when National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) agents arrested Abdelrahman Mohamed Al-Gasim, a prominent human rights defender from Tulus, South Darfur. Mr. Al-Gasim is based in Khartoum and is the Legal Aid and Training Coordinator of the Darfur Bar Association. He was not seen by his family and never returned home, and his mobile has been switched off since Saturday evening. On 31 October, his family received confirmation that he had been arrested, though no charges had been pressed and they were not allowed access to him. He is being held separately from the rest of the group.

Another round of disappearances occurred almost immediately after, suggesting a coordinated effort by the NISS. The arrested individuals are:

· Dirar Adam Dirar, a finance and administration officer with the HAND network. HAND is a coalition of nine grassroots Darfuri organisations that publishes weekly human rights monitoring reports from Darfur.

· Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, the Deputy Director of HAND’s network.

· Manal Mohamed Ahmed, activist

· Aisha Sardo Sharif, activist

· Aziza Ali Edris, activist

The three female activists arrested, Manal Mohamed Ahmed, Aisha Sardo Sharif, and Aziza Ali Edris are not affiliated with HAND. It was announced on the 31 October that they would likely soon be released. As of 1 November, the entire group remained in the NISS’ custody.

A group of lawyers in Khartoum have organised a submission for clarification on the arrest of Abdelrahman Mohamed Al-Gasim and any charges brought against him. Information available to the African Centre indicates that the group was arrested for no reason other than their association with other human rights defenders and members of civil society. The freedom of expression and association are protected under Article 39 (1) of the Interim National Constitution (INC) of 2005, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That there is little information on the detainees’ whereabouts, treatment, and of any charges pressed against them is of great concern, as is the fact that they are being held by the NISS. The African Centre calls on the Government of Sudan and Ministry of Justice to respect their international commitments and the INC, and either release the group immediately or charge them with an internationally recognised offence and allow them access to a lawyer and their families.

That the arrests of the Darfuri human rights defenders occurred in two separate places and after members of the group attended a youth forum shows the NISS’, and by extension the Government of Sudan’s, unflinching resolve to suppress independent voices. The disappearances appear to have occurred in coordination, raising serious concerns that other waves of disappearances may take place. That the group simply disappeared and it was announced the following day that they had been arrested shows a lack of respect for procedural safeguards and due process designed to protect detainees.

When viewed in relation to the upcoming voter registration and referendum in the South, and the end of the interim period throughout the country, the arrests are particularly jarring and show the determination of the Sudanese government to suppress civil society during this critical time, and the extent to which the freedom of expression, and in turn, a national dialogue about the future of the country, will not be tolerated.
Other sources: Human Rights Watch

Friday, October 22, 2010

Upfront Africa-Voice Of America: Upfront with Alsarah

Sudanese singer Alsarah wears many hats-- songwriter,ethnomusicologist,activist and all round world citizen. She started her musical training at the age of 12 in Khartoum.She says that her sound is influenced by her life in Sudan,Yemen and the US where she moved as a teenager in the 90's.
Alsarah speaks passionately about the situation in Sudan ahead of a historical referendum that could separate the north from the south. "We are going to lose of big part of our people and culture" She says. Currently resident in Manhattan,Alsarah performs to audiences from around the world. Her performances are eclectic, electrifying, eccentric--a combination of genres--hip hop,African soul and gnawa dropping coy manifestos and clever metaphors about socio-political issues like elections,human rights etc. A few weeks ago she joined activists at the UN headquarters to bring attention to Sudan. I reached her in New York -- a melting pot of cultures--where her unique sense of self has shaped her world view and in essence her music.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Judge Goldstone slams ‘unfair’ comments on ICC


September 28 2010 at 12:29am
By Kenichi Serino

Judge Richard Goldstone

Johannesburg - The criticism that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is against African countries is unfair, Judge Richard Goldstone said on Monday.

“It is unfair to say the court is being used against African countries,” Goldstone said at a lecture at the University of Johannesburg.

He acknowledged that this was a perception because of Africans appearing before the court.

The ICC has opened up five investigations into the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Uganda, Kenya and Darfur in Sudan.

Goldstone said, however, this would change in the near future as individuals in Latin America were coming under investigation.

He added that the ICC only began its activities after officials in those countries declined to open their own investigations.

In the case of Kenya, the country's parliament refused to begin an investigation into post-election violence in 2007.

“It's a court of last resort, not a court of first resort,” said Goldstone.

He also commented on Kenya's hosting of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir at a ceremony celebrating its new constitution.

Al-Bashir has been indicted by the ICC for crimes in Darfur.

As a signatory to the ICC treaty, Kenya was obligated to arrest but refused to do so.

This is in contrast, said Goldstone, to South Africa where Al-Bashir was warned not to enter the country for President Jacob Zuma's inauguration or risk arrest.

Goldstone said that while no action could be taken against country's such as Kenya, they did risk becoming “pariah states”.

“There is no action against countries that do not fulfill their obligations under the treaty except to become pariah states,” he said. - Sapa

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Concerns over violence continue...

A diverse group of activists from Amherst, Holyoke, and Albany @ the Information table on 8/7/10

For a long time our Darfur Coalition in Western Mass continued to bring to attention the plight of civilians in the camps where violence targeted them from two sides: the government militia and as a result to fight among rebel groups.

Women in Darfur are raising their voices and calling to end violence.

The following petition was circulated by Sisterhood for Peace network
To: Leaders of Darfurian Movements

We are Darfurian women who are in displaced persons camps, villages, rural areas, towns, and valleys of Darfur and scattered as refugees around the world, as well as women from all over Sudan who advocate for peace and for a solution to the Darfur conflict. We appeal to you to unite in order to end the suffering of the people of Darfur, especially women and girls whose rights have been violated, and who continue to face violence, rape, and early pregnancy.

We are tired of the war and violence, and want our sons and daughters to grow up in a country where they can enjoy their full rights and where peace and security prevail.

We, the women of Darfur, have united to heal the wounds. We have built our power. It is time for the Darfurian movements to unite. We want you to remember that everyday a young woman is raped, and another leaves school. We have already lost a generation and do not want to lose other generations. We cannot wait any longer.

Let us make sure that the International Day for Peace (21 September 2010), is the day when we take the first step toward unity and toward achieving peace in Darfur and Sudan.

Darfurian Women Demand Peace (DWDP)

Last week, Aug 7th, WMDC joined again the local chapter of Amnesty International in Downtown Amherst and set up a table for information on the crisis in darfur.

The event drew many activists who discussed strategies to stop the violence in darfur.

Among activists who stopped by to sign petitions was Ms. Tamador Sheikheldin, writer, poetess, and theater director from Sudan who has been living in the area for a while since she had to flee her country in the early 1990. "I will tell people in Sudan about the great solidarity work here in the valley with the people in Darfur" She said in appreciation for the tireless efforts of human rights activists she witnessed whenever she came to the Amherst Farmers Market.

"I really admire the work of WMDC in bringing the voice of women to the world. We need to stop violence against women and children in the camps" said Ms. Mahasin Alnaggar, and activist from Albany who expressed interest to start similar group in her upstate New York town.

Friday, August 06, 2010

NY Times: Increase of Violence in Darfur

"Violence Said to Be Rising in Sudan's Darfur Region"

Published: August 4, 2010

UNITED NATIONS — Violence in the turbulent Darfur region of Sudan has spiked over the past several months, Alain Le Roy, the head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, said Wednesday. He attributed the increase to a combination of factors, including fitful peace talks, renewed tribal rivalries and overall tension in Africa’s largest nation as its south prepares for an independence referendum.

Calling the situation a “bleak picture,” Mr. Le Roy told a news conference that security had deteriorated significantly as optimism for a cease-fire in 2009 faded.

Recent United Nations statistics indicated that killings this year already rivaled the 832 violent deaths recorded for all of 2009. May alone, with 400 deaths, was the bloodiest month since peacekeeping forces were deployed in December 2007.

It is difficult to boil down the complicated tapestry of actors in the region, especially as rebel movements have splintered and increasingly well-armed criminals have flourished in the seven years the war has dragged on. Some recent bloodshed was even pegged to a Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of their savings.

First, in May, the Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, broke off peace talks that had been taking place in Doha, Qatar, after the Sudanese government rejected its demand that it be the sole negotiator for the rebels at the table. Since then, the group has been trying to reassert itself militarily, and was forced into some confrontations after neighboring Chad improved ties with Khartoum and closed off the group’s usual escape routes over the border.

Second, the conflict was first set off by clashes between nomadic Arab tribes and more sedentary Africans over water supplies. With some two million people, mostly Africans, displaced from their lands, the Arab tribes are now fighting among themselves for the spoils, and water resources are even scarcer.

Third, southern Sudan, which has fought the north for 50 years in a war that has killed about two million people, is expected to vote for independence in a Jan. 9 referendum. The government in the north wants to pacify Darfur before the referendum — both because Darfur will take on added weight in the smaller country that Sudan will probably become and to discourage any Darfuri notions about breaking away.

“They want to reassert their political and military control,” said Fabienne Hara of the International Crisis Group. “They are very scared that Darfur will not be under their control by January 2011.”

The United Nations peacekeepers remain locked in constant confrontation with the government. For example, an Egyptian peacekeeper bled to death in May after the government refused to allow a helicopter flight for his evacuation, United Nations officials said. The Sudanese government regularly professes its full cooperation.

Much of the international attention on Sudan is focused on ensuring that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 between the north and the south does not collapse as it reaches its most critical moment. Just five months away from the independence vote, the commission to supervise the balloting lacks a leader, and knotty questions, including who will be eligible to vote, remain unanswered.

Larger issues like dividing oil resources between the north and south also remain to be negotiated.

Some analysts fault the Obama administration for lacking a clear-cut policy on Sudan, divided between the softer line of Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, President Obama’s Sudan envoy, and the more confrontational approach often voiced by Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

They deny a rift, but one senior State Department official said that Washington was still struggling to define a policy. “There is no sense of urgency that this is a crucial moment and we have to craft it,” said the official, speaking anonymously because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly on the matter.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eat Purslane and support Girifna!

We are tabling again at the Farmers market with Amnesty International local chapter.. this time we are motivating people to support Girifina Movement for human rights by giving away the healthy Purslane with an easy-to-follow recipe of how it's cooked in Sudan

Sudanese Purslane with Lentil Stew

Purslane is very nutritious vegetable. It's a good ource of antioxidants and has more heart-healthful omega-3 fatty acids than any other vegetable that's been studied.

Serving 4-6 persons:

1 cup red lentils
½ cup of vegetable/canola oil
2-medium chopped onions
3 peeled cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 ½ pounds of Purslane (leaves and tender stems), washed and chopped coarsely.
1-2 tablespoon Tomato paste
½ teaspoon Ground pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste


 Wash and drain lentils (you may soak it over night)
 In a large pot, combine the lentils with 3 cups of water, cover partially and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 45 minutes.
 Add Purslane and cook over medium heat for 20-30 min.
 In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the oil, stir in the onion and garlic, cover and cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, ground pepper, cumin, salt, 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring for about 10-15 minutes.
 Add the sauce mixture from the saucepan into the large pot and let simmer under low heat for 20 min

Purslane stew is served with rice or pita bread and hot sauce with lime juice on the side (I like it with peanut butter hot sauce)!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Tabling @ Amherst Farmers Market...

photo taken @ the Amherst Farmers Market

Today, we had our first Tabling activity this summer @ the Amherst Farmers market...

It was a great successful event... many people stopped by to engage in discussion and get updated on the situation in Darfur and Sudan...
A small leaflet on Girifna Movement was handed out to people on the streets... Thanks to Smith STAND for their active work...

I got a call from Radio Girifna and they were interested to post some of the WMDC activities on their website... They also requested some interviews with activists from groups that supported and highlighted their work (e.g. WMDC, STAND, Amherst Human Rights Commission)

Congrats to the teamwork.... Our next table event will be on 7/17 in joint work with Amnesty International Chapter of Amherst (Group-128)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Girifna Movement starts Online Radio

Girifna movement started their own online Radio to reach more audience... They used the few pennies saved from their lunch and those few bucks sent by generous activists in Diaspora.
They added new media outlet to reach to the people...

البث التجريبى لإذاعة (قرفنا) صوت المهمشين الغلابة

Salute from WMDC to Girifna technical team

Sunday, May 02, 2010

لماذا حرمتنا من تحقيق الحلم الجميل ؟

The writer graciously gave permision to re-post this distinguished article on the post-election Sudan.

لقد وردني ردود في عنوني الاكتروني حول مقال كتبته بتاريخ 17\2\2010م في موقع صحيفة سودانايل وسودانيس اونلين ولم اتمكن من الرد نسبة لوجودي في منطقة خارج التغطية ولقد مدحت في تلك المقالة قيادات الحركة الشعبية لتحرير السودان باختيارها الموفق لسيد عرمان للمنافسة علي كرسة الرئاسة حيث ذكرت بان ترشيح الحركة لياسر عرمان يعتبر الامل الوحيد المتبقي لوحدة السودان علي رغم ان المؤتمر الوطني قد بذل جهد مقدرة وقطع شوط كبير لفصل الجنوب مما اعطي القوميين الجنوبين حجج الانفصال الا ان هذه الردود كانت متباينة حتي تفاجاءت مع جماهيرالهامش بقرار نفس قيادات الحركة الشعبية بسحب امل الهامش وامل وحدة السودان من السباق الرئاسي مغتيلا بذلك امل الوحدة مما فتح ابوب لتخمينات وتكهنات بوجود صفقة سرية بين الحركة الشعبية ومؤتمر الوطني وذلك اذا وضعنا في الاعتبار الحاح الؤتمر الوطني لقيادات الحركة الشعبية بسحب ياسر عرمان من السباق مقابل تنفيذ ما تبقي من بنود الاتفاقية والتي فشلت او بالمعني الاصح رفضت المؤتمر الوطني تنفيذه خلال 5 سنوات .

الا ان الحركة الشعبية رفضت تلك العرض مما ادي الي تجميد او تعجيل تنفيذ ما تبقي من بنود الاتفاقية السلام الي ما بعد الانتخابات اهمها ترسيم الحدود بين الشمال والجنوب 1956م وحدود منطقة ابيي علي ضوء قرار محكمة لاهاي وتكوين مفوضية الاسفتاء .... الخ .علي حسب تصريح السيد علي عثمان محمد طه النائب الثاني لرئيس الجمهورية ورئيس اللجنة السياسية المشتركة من جانب المؤتمر الوطني .

واذا افترضنا بوجود صفقة سرية بين القومين الجنوبين بالمعني الاصح والمؤتمر الوطني واهم بنود هذه الاتفاق هو سحب مرشح الحركة مقابل انفصال سلس كما ذهب اليه المحلليين السياسين الا ان ذلك لا يعقل الا اذا افترضنا في المفاوض الجنوبي الغباء وضعف الذاكرة وقصر النظر وعدم القراءة السليمة للوضع السياسي وفقا للمعطيات الراهن وعدم استيعابه لدروس وعبر عبر التاريخ . حيث ان التاريخ القريب تشير الي عدم جدية جدية النخبة الشمالية ونقضها للعهود والمواثيق والبركة في ابيل في توثيق ذلك اذن ما هو ضمانات التزام المؤتمر الوطني بتنفيذ ما اتفق عليه حيث كان الاجدي للحركة الشعبية قبول العرض عندما عرض عليها بشرط ترسيم الحدود بين الجنوب والشمال وحدود ابيي وتشكيل مفوضية الاستفتاء قبل سحب المرشح لذا كنت استبعد قصة ان هناك اتفاق او صفقة سرية .

اما اذا افترضنا بان سحب مرشح الحركة الشعبية ياسر عرمان تم بناء لطلبه لمكتب السياسي للحركة لاسباب ذكره في المؤتمر الصحفي تتلخص في

1\ استمرار حالة الطواري في الدارفور نسبة لعدم وصول الطرفين الي اتفاق سياسي 2\ نسبة لتزوير الكبير التي تم في مرحلة التعداد والتسجيل لذلك وحقنا لدماء انسحب من السباق الرئاسي الا ان هذا الاسباب مع احترامي الكبير للرفيق ياسر عرمان الا انني لا اجد ان هذا الاسباب مقنع لشعوب الهامش حتي الان وقد ترجموا ذلك في تصويتهم الكبير له مما ادهش المراقبين وارجف اعداء السودان الجديد سواء كان من الجنوب او الشمال حيث بلغ نسبة التصويت في الجنوب نسبة 95% وذلك لاسباب الاتي

اولا الرفيق ياسر يعلم طبيعة التفاوض اذ لا يعقل تحديد سقف زمني معين للوصول للاتفاق وذلك اذا وضعنا في الاعتبار تعقيد طبيعة الصراع في الدارفور وانقسام تلك الحركات الي مجموعات تصعب توحيد رؤيتهم ومطالبهم وهو عكس ما كان عليها الحركة الشعبية .

اما بخصوص ان المؤتمر الوطني قد قام بعملية التزوير منذ التعداد السكاني مرورا بالتسجيل لسجل الانتخابي قد اتفق معه بخصوص تزوير عملية التعداد مما اثر في ترسيم الدوائر الجغرافية حيث تحصل الجزيرة وجنوب دارفور والخرطوم علي نصف المقاعد لمجلس الوطني مما يعطي المؤتمر الوطني الاغلبية المطلقة في المجلس الوطني الا ان ذلك لا ينطبق علي السباق علي الرئاسة الجمهورية حيث نجد بان فرص مرشح الحركة الشعبية كانت اكثر من غيره من المرشيحين وذلك بعملية حسابية بسيطة حيث بان في الجنوب 4 مليون مسجل في السجل الانتخابي حيث ان الجنوب من المناطق المقفولة حصريا علي الحركة الشعبية بالاضافة الي النيل الازرق وجبال النوبة وجزء من الولايات الغربية ( الدارفورية ) والولايات الشرقية ( البجة) مع الهامش في اقصي الشمال بالاضافة الي الخرطوم

( مناطق الحزام الاسود ) ولمعلومية الذين لم يسنح لهم الفرصة من زيارة كبري مدن السودان بان يوجد حزام اسود في اي مدينة من مدن السودان .

الا ان ما حيرني ولم استوعبه حتي الان هو قول الرفيق بان انسحايه كان لحقن الدماء وماذا عن دماء اكثر من مليونين شهيد من شهداء الثورة ؟ الم يسفق دماءهم من اجل تحقيق مشروع السودان الجديد ؟ السودان الذي يسعي الجميع بمختليف اثنياتهم واديانهم وثقافاتهم السودان الموحد علي اسس جديدة . لماذا حرمت (او حرمتم) شعوب الهامش من اجل تحقيق سودان الحلم عبر ثورة انتخابية محمية بالشعب ؟( وليس بالسلاح ) ونموزج ولاية النيل الازرق شاهد علي ذلك ونهي الرفيق مالك عقار ( التمساح ما بخوفه بالموية ) بمناسبة فوزه المستحق ( والثورة ليسة مستمر ) لماذا .... ولماذا...... ولماذا ..... ؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟

بقلم \ قرنق دينق بول \ جنوب السودان

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Argentine: Justice Delivered 35 years Later

Source: The New York Times
25 Years for Leader of Argentine Dictatorship
Published: April 20, 2010

BUENOS AIRES — A special tribunal on Tuesday sentenced Argentina’s last military president to 25 years in prison and handed down stiff sentences to six other former military and police officials for their part in running a concentration camp during this country’s bloody dictatorship.
The tribunal convicted General Bignone and the six other former officials of involvement in illegal raids, kidnapping and torture involving 56 people from 1976 to 1978 at the Campo de Mayo detention centers at a military base on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

This sentence brings hope to millions of family members and friends of Sudanese victims of

torture and survivors of the notorious Ghost Houses, i.e. the torture centers run by the genocidal regime of President Omer al-Bashir in Sudan.

This is a good news in particular to WMDC co-founder, Fanny Rothschild, a long time advocate for justice in Argentine.

Monday, April 19, 2010

South Africa criticizes Sudan’s rush to elections at an "inopportune" time

April 18, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The South African government this week expressed dissatisfaction with what it described as a rush on the part of Sudan to hold elections at an "inopportune" time.

Read more:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Girifna: The New Street Resistance Movement in Sudan

One of Girifna Movement leaders addressing people in a Bus terminal in Khartoum.
Later he was arrested and tortured.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Julie Flint writes about Girifna Movement

source: Guradian newspaper

Sudan's drumbeat of dissatisfactionAs April's election approaches, we should pay more attention to growing Sudanese concern over moves to silence dissent

Julie Flint, Monday 22 March 2010 12.00 GMT Article history

On 15 March, the day before the Guardian published a report headlined An African success story in Sudan, government security agents seized an 18-year-old student active in the Girifna movement in Khartoum. The student, Abdalla Mahdi, was beaten with sticks, hoses and electric wires, subjected to a mock execution, threatened with death by a lethal virus, and interrogated about Girifna's activities and funders.

Girifna, Arabic for "we are fed up", was started late last year by young Sudanese demanding that next month's elections, the country's first multi-party ballot since 1986, be free and fair. They are using Facebook to try to collect a million signatures opposing a national security law, which many Sudanese believe is being used to limit political and civic rights and silence voices of dissent during the election campaign. And not just Sudanese. Human Rights Watch said this weekend that the Khartoum government (and the autonomous southern government in Juba) "are violating rights and restricting freedoms critical to a fair poll, including freedoms of expression and of assembly".

The Carter Centre said that because of laws that contravene Sudan's constitutional protections, the elections remain "at risk on multiple fronts including the ability of the candidates to campaign freely". Dmitry Titov, an assistant secretary-general in the UN peacekeeping department, singled out the national security law. He told the security council last month that the law "allows government security services to detain persons without cause" and demanded that it be revised or suspended before voting begins on 11 April.

President Omar al Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) has refused to suspend the law, claiming the need to keep al-Qaida suspects in detention, but has said it will not use it against legitimate political activity. This claim rings hollow to Sudanese with 21 years' experience of the security services that are the cornerstone of the NCP's power – especially after the death of Mohamed Musa, a Darfurian student activist who was apprehended in February at the gates of Khartoum University and killed. Friends who saw his body, alerted by an anonymous telephone caller, said it was beaten and burned. Police refused to give his family a copy of the morgue report.

Abdalla Mahdi told a press conference in Khartoum last week that the men who beat him, in a room decorated with pictures of Salah Gosh, former director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), showed him a photograph of Mohamed Musa and told him it was they who killed him.

Sudanese wanting genuine democratic transformation – not merely holding elections this year and a referendum on southern self-determination next year, as required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the north-south war – would, I think, disagree with the Guardian's suggestion that the election campaign is "proceeding smoothly". Perhaps we should be paying more attention to Sudanese voices? Like the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, which says "Sudanese authorities have systematically targeted any activities, symposia, public rallies or lectures related to the elections". Or the writer who argues that the "ultimate goal" of laws like the security law is to silence those who dare to dissent. Or Mohamed Suliman, director of the Institute for African Alternatives, who told a meeting in the House of Commons recently that "Khartoum knows it can get away with murder, as long as it does not touch the referendum"..

With less than three weeks remaining before voting begins, the drumbeat of dissatisfaction is increasing steadily, especially in the north. Seventeen parties today submitted a memorandum to the presidency demanding a postponement of the elections until November to allow for major reforms in a number of laws relating primarily to national security and media.

The parties are increasingly unhappy at what they see as disproportionate media coverage of President Bashir's re-election campaign. They say the census and election registration processes were deeply flawed and that in some areas, particularly Darfur, the failure to register the displaced casts doubt on the legitimacy of any election held under the present register. In the last 10 days, the parties' anger has also focused on the National Elections Commission, which decided without consulting them to print the ballots for the presidential vote in the government's currency printing press in Khartoum – a recipe for fraud, they say.

Girifna's website this weekend led with "A song for the elections". It says:

O youth with limitless potential
Protect April from destruction
Come on, vote, participate
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Iowa Initiative Conference rejected Al-Bashir candidancy

English version of this article to come soon..
ملتقى (ايوا) يختتم جلساته بتجديد رفضه لمشاركة البشير فى العملية الانتخابية

وصفه بالمطلوب جنائياً

طالب الحكومة برفع حالة الطوراىء فى دارفور

أجراس الحرية: واشنطن: عبد الفتاح عرمان

اختتم ملتقى (ايوا) لدعم التحول الديمقراطي مداولاته بالجامعة الامريكية بواشنطن بتجديد رفضه لمشاركة الرئيس البشير فى العملية الإنتخابية.

وشدد المؤتمرون على اهمية دعم قوى تحالف جوبا ومنظمات المجتمع المدني الناشطة فى الداخل والخارج.

وعبر قادة المؤتمر عن قلقهم البالغ لعملية التزوير التى صاحبت التعداد السكاني والتجاوزات اثناء فترة التسجيل للإنتخابات والثغرات الهائلة التي أفرزتها. وأكد المؤتمرون على إعاقة القوانين المقيدة للحريات لعمل الأحزاب قبل واثناء فترة الحملات الإنتخابية، والتى ياتي على رأسها قانون الأمن الوطني وبقية القوانين الأخرى التي تعيق عملية التحول الديمقراطي –حسب البيان الختامي-.

وطالب المؤتمرون الحكومة بتنفيذ إتفاقية السلام الشامل، والعمل على تحقيق الوحدة الجاذبة.

كما شدد المؤتمر على اهمية رفع حالة الطوارىء فى ولايات دارفور الثلاث. واعلنوا عن ترحيبهم بجهود المجتمع الدولي والمدني لنزع فتيل الأزمة في دارفور.

وأمن المؤتمر على الإعتراف بعدالة قضية دارفور.

واعرب المؤتمرون عن تضامنهم مع الأطباء السودانيين لنيل مطالبهم العدالة.

وشهد المؤتمر تكريم العميد معاش، محمد أحمد الريح الذي تعرض للتعذيب الوحشي من قبل نظام الإنقاذ –حسب ما جاء فى البيان-.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WMDC to participate in Iowa Forum

مؤتمر ثانٍ لقادة ملتقي (أيوا) لدعم التحول الديمقراطي بواشنطن

يخاطبه قادة تحالف أحزاب مؤتمر جوبا

أجراس الحرية: واشنطن: عبد الفتاح عرمان

تحتضن العاصمة الأمريكية واشنطن فى الفترة من العشرين الى الحادى والعشرين من الشهر الجارى مؤتمراً لقادة مؤتمر (ايوا) لدعم التحول الديمقراطي تحت شعار (التحول الديمقراطي مسؤولية الجميع).

ويشارك فى المؤتمرممثلي الاحزاب السياسية المنضوية تحت تحالف أحزاب مؤتمر جوبا ومنظمات المجتمع المدني والاعلاميين وبعض مراكز البحث الأمريكية، وكذلك بعض الشخصيات من مواقع صنع القرار الامريكي و المهتمة بالشان السوداني بالاضافة الى الأكاديميين السودانيين. ومن المتوقع أن يخاطب قادة تحالف أحزاب مؤتمر جوبا المؤتمر اثناء فترة إنعقاده بالجامعة الأمريكية بواشنطن.

تجدر الإشارة، الى أن المؤتمر يتطرق الى عدة محاور من ضمنها عملية الانتخابات والمعوقات التى تواجهها وامكانية تحقيقها للتحول الديمقراطي المنشود، ومدى تاثير الانتخابات بشكلها الحالي على الاستفتاء، وسيناريوهات الوحدة والانفصال لجنوب السودان، وموقف عملية السلام فى دارفور ووضعها فى خريطة الانتخابات المقبلة

Sunday, February 28, 2010

UN Welcomes Doha Agreement on Darfur

image source:

Article Date: 17:40 2010/02/24

New York, February 24 (QNA) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the agreement to resolve the conflict in Darfur signed in Doha late on Tuesday. The Secretary-General said the accord represents an important step towards an inclusive and comprehensive peace agreement for Darfur, which will address the underlying causes of the conflict and the concerns of all Darfurian communities. In a statement issued by his spokesman, the Secretary-General says he looks forward to the full implementation of the provisions of the agreement. He encourages all parties to engage in the inclusive Doha peace process with flexibility and a political vision as well as to agree on a definitive political settlement of the Darfur crisis. The Secretary-General says the United Nations and the African Union -UN Joint Chief Mediator will continue to assist the parties in their efforts to achieve this important objective.

The Agreement twelve articles can be found in the following link

المادة (1)

اعلان وقف اطلاق النار والشروع في في المفاوضات فورا من اجل الاتفاق علي تطبيقه
المادة (2)

اصدار عفو عام بحق اعضاء حركة العدل والمساواة السودانية ,المدنيين والعسكريين واطلاق سراح سجناء الحرب والمحكوميين من كلا الجانبين بعد التوقيع النهائي علي هذا الاتفاق

مشاركة حركة العدل والمساواةفي السلطة علي كافة مستويات الحكم وفقا لكيفية الاتفاق عليها بين الجانبين
المادة (4)

تتحول حركة العدل والمساواة السودانية الي حزب سياسي فور التوقيع علي اتفاق السلام الشامل والنهائي

ادماج قوات حركة العدل والمساواة السودانية في القوات المسلحة وقوات الامن والشرطة الموحدة ,وفقا لما يتفق عليةالطرفان ويسبق هذا الاجراء تجميع وتدريب هذه القوات في مواقع وفقا لآلية وكيفية يتفق عليها الجانبان
المادة (6)

تتحمل حكومة السودان كافة النفقات اللازمة لقوات حركة العدل والمساواة السودانية اثناء فترة التجميع والتدريب
المادة (7)

يعاد الي الخدمة كل اعضاء حركة العدل والمساواةالسودانية العسكريين الفصولين والمدنيين عن الخدمة ويتم الحاقهم برصفائهم بالكيفية التي يتفق عليها الطرفان.
المادة (8)

تلتزم حكومة السودان بتعويض النازحين واللاجئين,وكافة المتضررين بسبب النزاع في دارفور تعويضا عادلا ,كما تلتزم حكومة السودان بضمان حق العودة الطوعية للنازحين واللاجئين الي مناطقهم الاصلية ,وانشاء مؤسسات خدمية وبنية تحتية لضمان حياة كريمة لهم.

يخضع موضوع اعادة التنظيم الاداري في دارفور لمفاوضات بين الجانبين للوصول الي الاتفاق النهائي
يخضع موضوع تقاسم السلطة والثروة للمفاوضات بين الطرفين للوصول الي الاتفاق النهائي ,وكذا قضايا الارض والحواكير , واي قضايا اخري لتحقيق السلام يراها الطرفان ضرورية لاكمال موضوعات اتفاق السلام الشامل
المادة (11)

ينبني تطبيق هذا الاتفاق بين الطرفين علي حسن النوايا وعلي اساس تضامن وشراكة سياسية وفق مبادئ وقضايا وطنية توحدبين الطرفين
المادة 12

يتم اعداد الاتفاق النهائي والبرتكولات الاضافيه المنفذه له والتفاوض عليها وتوقيعها في الدوحة قبل الخامس عشر من مارس 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good News: 57 Detainees on Death Row Freed..

The Questions now: What about the other 48 detainees? were they already been executed?

Sudan has freed 57 prisoners from a key Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), officials say.

President Omar al-Bashir announced the releases during a speech in Darfur's capital El Fasher, and declared: "The war is over."

The releases are part of a ceasefire deal signed on Tuesday by Mr Bashir and Jem leaders - formerly bitter enemies.

The deal raises hopes of an end to years of conflict in Darfur, however some rebel factions have not signed up.

Jem's leader, Khalil Ibrahim, hailed the deal as "a very important step".
read more

Monday, February 22, 2010

Darfuri Student Laid to Rest Amid Tear Gas and Bullets

by Michelle

Published February 17, 2010 @ 09:50AM PT

A funeral in Khartoum turned into a political lightning rod yesterday, as friends and family mourning the death of Darfuri student activist Mohamed Musa Abdella Bahraldien -- at the hands, according to witnesses, of government security forces -- were joined by over a thousand supporters, presidential candidates, and riot police alike. The burial of the 23-year-old was interrupted by the liberal use of tear gas and rubber bullets by the police.

The suspicious death comes at a time of rising tensions, coinciding with the start of campaigning for presidential elections in April, and is for many emblematic of the ruling National Congress Party's (NCP) blatant disregard for basic human rights. Ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly throughout Sudan threaten the legitimacy of the elections before they even happen, and the status of Darfur -- where emergency laws in place for the last 13 years are even more restrictive and fighting between rebels and government forces has intensified in recent weeks -- is particularly troublesome. The government's commitment to a ceasefire, much less peace, seems to last about as long as it takes a bomb to fall from an Antonov to the ground, and the rebels aren't much help, either.

But as opposition candidate Yasir Arman said yesterday, "This crime wasn't committed in a far village in the rural areas of Darfur. It was in the heart of the capital, a few kilometers from the [president's] palace." He may have made a campaign opportunity out of a funeral, but his comment is precisely on mark.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Welcome David Morse to Amherst..

Human rights activist and journalist David Morse is passing through Amherst this week and will be attending the WMDC monthly meeting tonight....
David has been active in the issue of Sudan and Darfur in particular for the past decade.
Welcome David....
image source:

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Hampshire Daily Gazette interview with WMDC

Advocates keep focus on Darfur: Election, partition may reignite trouble

Bloodshed in Darfur declined in 2009, but for Valley experts and advocates, this is no reason to relax their vigilance.

With a refugee population in the millions, skirmishes still breaking out in western Sudan, two pivotal elections on the horizon, and oil reserves at stake, the situation in Darfur - officially characterized by the U.S. as genocide in 2006 - is far from resolved.

Local Darfur advocates are attempting to bring focus back to the region in the hopes of quashing violence before it flares up again.

There is fear that the April presidential election and an historic 2011 vote that could give oil-rich southern Sudan autonomy could provoke more violence. More than half of the government's revenues are derived from oil fields, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These oil resources may no longer be available to the government, whose power is concentrated in the north, should the south secede.

"Unfortunately, this is not coming to a close," said Mohamed Elgadi, an activist and former Sudanese political prisoner now living in Amherst. Elgadi is co-founder of the Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition and the Darfur Alert Coalition in Philadelphia. Elgadi came to America with his wife about 15 years ago.

"It's a very good positive that there is less violence," Elgadi said, "but unfortunately the status quo continues and people cannot go back to their villages."

Darfur slipped from the headlines in 2009 as violence between the allegedly government-backed Arab Muslim north and the militia-supported black Christian south over scarce resources declined.

Yet, violence continues to plague the region.

From January 2008 through July 2009, close to 2,500 people were killed, according to the most recent data from the African Union Panel on Darfur.

Since violence erupted in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been killed and another 2.5 million have fled their villages, opting for life as refugees, according to Amnesty International. Exact figures on injuries, fatalities and people displaced are difficult to verify because Darfur is a restricted area.

"Violence continues and the threat of violence, which is just as important, continues," said Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor who has been analyzing the situation in Darfur for more than a decade.

Reeves has testified several times before Congress, has lectured widely in academic settings, and has served as a consultant to a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations operating in Sudan.

"It doesn't match the ferocious clashes of 2003 and 2004, but that does not mean that significant violence is not occurring," Reeves said.

April may be a tipping point for violence as Sudan holds its first multiparty presidential election in 24 years. President Omar al-Bashir, who has governed the country since orchestrating a military coup in 1999, could be re-elected. Bashir has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Hague-based International Criminal Court for allegedly orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture, rape and forced expulsions in the seven-year-old conflict in the western region of Darfur. An appeals panel this week declared that the ICC had enough evidence to charge al-Bashir with genocide, which it declined to do in March.

In 2011, the Sudanese will vote on a referendum that could give the southern Sudan region autonomy.

Reeves said the south's secession is heavily favored, but the government may be unwilling to allow the area autonomy regardless of the vote.

"There will be violence, either pre-emptive or because the results were not upheld by Khartoum," Reeves predicted.

Williamsburg resident Keith Harmon Snow, however, believes the referendum is less about autonomy for the south and more about control of its resources, namely oil. If the south secedes, both the north and the south would have to agree to a new border that could cut the oil-poor north off from a significant revenue stream.

Snow has worked on the Horn of Africa as a consultant on genocide and humanitarian aid for the United Nations, as well as a genocide investigator for Genocide Watch and Survivors Rights International.

"The south has its autonomy already for the most part," said Snow, noting the area has its own government and flag. "The idea that an election will determine the autonomy of the south is another stage in the conquest of Sudan by western powers."

Snow contends the violence and social upheaval in Darfur is a concoction of many different international players who wish to control or overthrow the Sudanese government in an effort to harvest the country's oil and other natural resources.

United Nations peacekeeping troops, which arrived in Sudan in 2007 along with troops from the African Union, serve private corporate interests over humanitarian ones, Snow said. He also does not believe the situation in Darfur is genocide. The number of people killed has been inflated, in some reports up to 450,000, he said, to manipulate well-meaning interests to apply political pressure.

Local action

In anticipation of the elections, Valley sympathizers are working to prevent violence through a campaign of awareness and political pressure.

"We don't know what will happen, the whole country is in chaos," Elgadi said. "No one knows if Sudan will be the same country after all this, but we will know for sure next year."

Reeves, for example, is writing an editorial asking President Obama to make it clear that America will support the outcome of the Sudanese elections. Political pressure of this degree could quash post-election wrangling, he said.

"He has to make the declaration in public that we will support the results of this referendum, no ifs, ands or buts," Reeves said. "If we don't send a clear signal to Khartoum, Bashir will believe it acceptable to resume war or deny the legitimacy of the election."

Reeves said he hopes the article would have the same impact as a piece he wrote for the Washington Post in February 2004, declaring the situation in Darfur genocide and calling for humanitarian aid. The article galvanized public opinion and catapulted Reeves into the center of the Darfur debate.

The Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition is attempting to follow in Reeves' tracks. The group continues to rally public support by raising awareness of the beleaguered region. Elgadi said the coalition is also reaching out to the two main Sudanese rebel factions, the Justice Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army, calling for them to act responsibly.

Elgadi said these methods are effective. Without grassroots advocacy programs like Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition, genocide in Darfur would have continued unabated.

"The violence is less thanks to the international grass roots movement, a whole positive thing happened," Elgadi said. "It proves that the pressure on the government of Sudan made some kind of effect."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Updating the media on Darfur...

Thanks to your tireless work to make the Darfur issue always present in the media to bring the world attention to this unacceptable crisis...

Last week, the Gazette interviewed 2 of our members on the situation in Darfur and how our WMDC is helping to organize locally around this issue. The Washnigton-based TV network, Al-Hurra, interviewed (in Arabic) mohamed elgadi on the role of international grassroots movement in bringing up the voice of Darfurians in the Camps. This interview was on the Eye on Democracy show that aired twice a week in the Middle East and North Africa.

more info on this to come later