The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 6, 2023

Dow Jones: Save Darfur Coalition Targets More US Investment Firms. Darfur activists on Wednesday launched a campaign to pressure five major U.S. investment firms to divest from companies they say help fund genocide in the Sudan. The Save Darfur Coalition hopes to persuade Franklin Templeton, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), American Funds, Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group to divest from PetroChina Co. (PTR), the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. The coalition previously put a spotlight on Warren Buffett and Fidelity for their holdings of the stock. The five firms were selected because they are "the largest U.S. mutual-fund companies with investments in PetroChina," said Zahara Heckscher, campaign manager for Divest for Darfur, a campaign of the Save Darfur Coalition, which is made up of about 180 organizations. The firms collectively have about $4.9 billion invested in PetroChina, according to the divestment campaign. Human-rights groups have focused attention on PetroChina, saying it is connected to Sudan's rulers and a brutal campaign of genocide.

Financial Times: Activists warn funds over links to Darfur. Five large US investment firms will be targeted in a campaign by the US-based Save Darfur coalition over their investments in ­PetroChina, the Chinese oil company, and its parent, CNPC, which the coalition claims are helping to fund genocide in Sudan. The coalition on Wednesday said it was putting Franklin-Templeton, JPMorgan Chase, Capital Group-American Funds, Fidelity Investments and Vanguard – the largest US holders of stock in the Chinese companies – "on notice" that they would soon find themselves "in the line of our activists' fire in the weeks and months to come". The latest divestment campaign by the coalition is part of a broader strategy to put pressure on companies that are investing in foreign companies that, in turn, contribute to Sudan's economy and "indirectly" fund the genocide.

Reuters: Activists target more US firms on Sudan investments. Activists are targeting four additional U.S. mutual fund firms as they widen a campaign to force investors to divest Sudan-linked holdings in protest against human rights abuses in that country. A coalition of human-rights groups said on Wednesday they want the firms to sell holdings in Asian oil companies operating in Sudan, where 200,000 people have died in over four years of conflict. In coming weeks, advertisements and petitions will urge Franklin Resources Inc (BEN.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Capital Group Cos, Vanguard Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Fidelity Investments to divest from PetroChina Co Ltd (0857.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) and other oil companies operating in Sudan, the rights activists said in a conference call. "Together these companies touch far more than 60 million households in the United States and hold nearly $8 billion worth of PetroChina stock," said Eric Cohen, chairman of the Boston-based Investors Against Genocide group.


New York Times: U.N. Chief Sees Protests and Refugees in Sudan. Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, ran into protests and delays on Wednesday as he sought to visit residents of camps for people driven from their homes by the violence in Darfur. He ended his day, however, with a rousing welcome at a camp, Al Salam, where thousands of the 48,000 residents cheered and chanted, “Welcome, welcome, Ban Ki-moon.” The biggest disruption occurred at a morning meeting when a crowd of uninvited people shouted pro-government slogans and banged on the doors of a United Nations compound where Mr. Ban was seeing people from the three major camps here. Many of the protesters entered the compound, prompting security crackdowns at later events. When he was asked at an evening news conference for his reaction to the event, he said: “I would not regard this as a protest against me, against the United Nations. What they shouted at me, I would think that it’s pressure of their frustration, it’s pressure of their anger, why they have suffered that much.”


Associated Press: U.N. Chief, Sudanese Leader Set Talks. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Thursday that new peace talks to end the four-year conflict in Darfur will start Oct. 27 in Libya. A joint communique issues by the two leaders after their second round of talks in Khartoum stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the conflict that has left more than 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million uprooted from their homes. Ban has pressed hard during his first trip to Sudan to get the splintered rebel groups back to the negotiating table. His joint announcement with al-Bashir signaled that a date and venue have been set -- but the real test will be whether rebel movements who in the past refused to join the peace process attend the Libya talks.

Associated Press: China's envoy on Darfur visits U.S. to explain Beijing policy, meet showbiz critics. China's special envoy on the troubled Darfur region is visiting the United States to explain Beijing's position on Sudan to lawmakers and show business personalities, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Envoy Liu Guijing began a visit to the United States and the U.N. this week to communicate Beijing's position on Darfur, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Along with government officials, lawmakers and reporters, Liu would meet with "people from the entertainment circle," Jiang told a news conference. The ministry said it did not have Liu's detailed schedule and didn't know which entertainers he would meet, but said he would make a statement on his return next week.

The following op-ed by Eric Reeves appeared in today's Boston Globe.

Holding Khartoum accountable in Darfur

Does genocide continue in Darfur? Do we still see "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, [Darfur's African ethnic groups] as such," the high standard set by the 1948 UN Genocide Convention? The question acquires urgency as skepticism grows in some quarters about the intentions of Khartoum's Islamist regime. Genocide is a crime of intent, not motive; if the intention of Khartoum is no longer genocidal, their moral and negotiating equities change considerably in any peace talks with fractious rebel groups.

Some skepticism about genocide in Darfur is politically motivated: much of the British left regards Darfur advocacy as a diversion from Iraq. The Bush administration, embarrassed by its weak actions following a September 2004 genocide determination, has attempted to "walk back" the g-word. Yet others argue - to diminish the urgency of deploying military protection - that Darfur's terrible realities are much improved and no longer deserve such strenuous characterization.

But though violence in Darfur has mutated, we still receive many reports about acts enumerated in the Genocide Convention. Ethnically targeted violence, orchestrated by Khartoum, continues to be chronicled by human rights investigators, though it has certainly diminished since the height of massacres and village destruction from early 2003 through early 2005. Reports of ethnically targeted rape by Khartoum's Janjaweed militia are ongoing. The regime continues its indiscriminate aerial bombardment of African villages.

What works in part to justify skepticism about continuing "genocide" is that following the ill-conceived Darfur Peace Agreement (May 2006), violence and threats to the civilian population became much more chaotic. Rebel groups fractured, warlordism became rampant, and ethnic violence among Arab tribal groups emerged in deadly fashion. Violent threats to humanitarian relief come from all armed groups in Darfur.

But Khartoum has engaged in its own unrelenting war on aid efforts. This vicious campaign of obstruction works to sustain a grim "genocide by attrition" among the African victims of earlier ethnically targeted violence. Recently, the head of a vital humanitarian agency was expelled from Sudan on preposterous charges of "espionage." Earlier this year, UN and humanitarian workers were assaulted and held by Khartoum's security forces in the capital of North Darfur - two victims were sexually assaulted. Medical supplies have been arbitrarily held in Khartoum.

Often ignored in the debate about genocide is the nature of antecedent violence that produced the staggering population of 4.2 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur, including more than 2.5 million people uprooted from their homes. A key passage in the Genocide Convention specifies acts "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

When Khartoum's regular forces and brutal Arab militia allies destroyed African villages, the effort was typically comprehensive: demolishing or poisoning precious water wells and irrigation systems; destroying food- and seed-stocks, cutting down mature fruit trees; looting or killing livestock. Such deliberately destructive violence, the mass executions of African men and boys, and the racialized use of rape as a weapon produced the desperate humanitarian crisis. The worst violence may be past; but the consequences of livelihoods destroyed remain.

Moreover, to ignore these features of the Darfur genocide, to emphasize temporary declines in mortality and violence, risks missing the most ominous threat: accelerating violence against camps of African populations. Ongoing violence also threatens the viability of humanitarian operations. According to Jan Egeland, former UN humanitarian chief, hundreds of thousands would die in the event of humanitarian collapse.

But most consequentially, to ignore ongoing genocidal realities in Darfur confers upon the Khartoum regime "moral equivalence" with the rebel groups - and emboldens the regime to cleave to the disastrous Darfur Peace Agreement as the only basis for further negotiations.

Since the rebels - and the majority of Darfuris - emphatically reject the peace agreement, a diplomatic standoff looms, which will continue until Khartoum is held accountable by the international community. So long as the regime's génocidaires are simply another party at the negotiating table - not orchestrators of the ultimate human crime - there will be no diplomatic progress toward a just peace.

The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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