The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

April 27, 2023

Associated Press: 5 US lawmakers, others arrested at Darfur protest. Eight activists protesting the expulsion of aid groups in Darfur have been arrested in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. Humanitarian leaders and five U.S. lawmakers, including Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, were led away from the embassy in handcuffs Monday after crossing a police line. The activists are urging world leaders to take a stand against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's decision to expel 16 aid agencies from Darfur. Ellison says it is wrong to deny aid to what he calls "the most vulnerable people on our planet."

Boston Globe: McGovern, other lawmakers arrested at Darfur protest. Representative James McGovern was locked up on misdemeanor charges today after demonstrating against the "crimes against humanity'' that Darfur activists blame on the Sudanese government. After a brief series of speeches in front of the Sudanese embassy, the Massachusetts Democrat and four other members of Congress stood quietly and refused to move to the other side of yellow police tape -- a deliberate act they knew would get them arrested. After giving the small group of demonstrators three chances to move, police approached the lawmakers and activists and bound their wrists loosely behind their backs with plastic restraints. Jerry Fowler, head of the Save Darfur Coalition, added in a statement: "We know President Obama and members of his administration care passionately about ending the Darfur crisis and promoting peace in Sudan. As President Obama nears his 100th day in office this week, he can demonstrate that Sudan is a strategic priority for the United States by committing to build a multilateral coalition for peace and investing in the diplomacy necessary to achieve an equitable and lasting solution for Darfuris and all Sudanese."

Star Tribune: Rep. Ellison arrested during Darfur protest. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and four other members of Congress were arrested this morning in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as they protested the expulsion of aid groups in Darfur. It was an apparently unprecedented act by a member of Minnesota's congressional delegation and somewhat out of character for Ellison, who has kept a generally low profile since he arrived in Congress, attracting international attention as its first Muslim member. The activists are urging world leaders to take a stand against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's decision to expel 16 aid agencies from Darfur.

Agence France-Presse: Darfur rebel groups in Doha-brokered talks. Five small Darfur rebel groups were holding Qatari-brokered talks on Sunday in Doha in preparation for wider peace negotiations with the Sudanese government, a spokesman for one of the factions said The talks opened on Saturday, four days after the most active rebel group in Sudan's restive western region of Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), rebuffed Qatari efforts to broker new talks with Khartoum "We... came to Doha for discussions so that the Doha podium would be collective and not just bilateral" between the Sudanese government and JEM, Mahjub Hussein, spokesman for one of the five factions, told AFP.

Washington Post: Precarious South Essential to Sudan. The nascent government of southern Sudan, a key U.S. ally in the volatile nation, is threatened by severe problems including severe cash shortages and growing ethnic tensions spawned by a national ruling party determined to see the south fail, southern officials say. The future of Sudan as a whole is closely tied to what happens in this oil-rich region, where the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, or SPLM, fought a brutal, 21-year civil war against the government rooted in claims of discrimination by a northern, Arab elite. More than 2 million southerners died in the conflict, and millions more were displaced.

The following op-ed by Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, M.D. appeared in Foreign Policy Digest.

Fueled By Faith: Ending the Genocide in Darfur
2009 marks the seventh year of the ongoing genocide in Darfur - seven years of constant killing, rape, destruction and displacement in Sudan - a nation at war with itself.  For the last month, activists, religious leaders and survivors of some of the world's most horrific genocides have come together at events across the country for Genocide Prevention Month in order to advocate for a global effort to stop this, and future, atrocities. 

For many of us involved with this effort, our dedication, resolve and belief in a light at the end of the tunnel, is fueled by our faith. Our confidence in the power of persistent faith is inspired by stories from our sacred texts and informed by accounts in our history books.

The New Testament gospel writer, Luke, recounts the parable of the persistent widow who seeks justice from the unrighteous judge. She declares victory when the unrelenting tenacity of the grassroots activist eventually wears down the uncaring judge. The passage ends with a rhetorical question. If the reprobate judge eventually acquiesces and does the right thing, won't the God who is righteous and caring, respond to our advocacy by doing likewise? 

The Hebrew Bible is also replete with accounts of activists whose persevering faith led to justice despite oppressive leaders and overwhelming odds. What if Moses had abandoned hope in the face of the hard-hearted Pharaoh? What if Queen Esther, seized with fear, indecision or indifference, failed to petition the king--thereby enabling the extermination of her people? 

The power of activism energized by faith is also reflected in the subsequent success of contemporary social movements. The power of activism energized by faith is also reflected in the success of more contemporary social movements. Throughout their campaigns, persistent activists embodied the confidence that determined faith coupled with decisive action would tip the scales of justice in favor of the oppressed--sometimes quickly, but more often slowly, painfully slowly. 

Gandhi devoted thirty years to the arduous struggle for Indian independence. Throughout the years of arrests and imprisonments, he found inspiration in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita for the movement that would eventually shake India and the British Empire. "When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad-Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there, and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies."  

From the early days of the movement, Gandhi collaborated with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a devout Muslim who recruited over 100,000 nonviolent activists and armed them with "the weapon of the Prophet--patience and righteousness." 

The same indefatigable faith sustained Nelson Mandela and his fellow freedom fighters through four decades of warfare against legalized racism before the walls of apartheid collapsed and came tumbling down.  

Such faith enabled civil rights workers in America to hold fast to the vision of the Hebrew prophet, Amos, for a day when "justice [would] roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Activists could hardly imagine the immense changes wrought in America because of their sacrifices--changes that resulted in the election of the first African American president fifty years later.

Genocide Prevention Month and the coming together of this 'constituency of conscience' at events across the world are more relevant than ever before. Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity - along with several other Darfur advocacy leaders - to meet with President Obama and Special Envoy Scott Gration to share our insights on the region and provide recommendations on how to address the deteriorating humanitarian crisis. President Obama recognizes that those who are continuing to fight for Darfur are not defined by a single religion, community or calling. What unites these activists is the singular desire to stop genocide from occurring anywhere ever again.  

In the Jewish tradition, the seventh year is the year of jubilee when captives are set free and land is returned to its original owner. We are wise enough to know that the battle to end genocide follows no set timetable; but we are "faith-fueled" enough to believe that jubilee for Darfur and all victims of genocide is well on its way.  

The following op-ed by Senator John Kerry appeared in today's Boston Herald.

Diplomacy has chance in Sudan

For years, the conflict in Darfur has horrified millions - and defined Sudan for the outside world. The plight of people driven from their homes remains desperate, as I saw for myself when I visited the camps earlier this month. I share the passionate desire of so many to break this pattern of despair.

The visit reinforced my conviction that broad and direct engagement is the best way to promote peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan. We must start by recognizing realities on the ground. The violence of 2003 and 2004 has declined substantially, but the consequences of the genocide remain unresolved. Expanded sanctions and coercive measures against Sudan remain an option. But a new White House has given us a chance to put sustained diplomacy to the test, which strengthens the force and reach of sanctions if diplomacy fails.

U.S. policy has long focused on pressuring Sudan to allow the full deployment of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission to Darfur. While 16,000 peacekeepers are in place and more are on the way, the global community must ensure that these peacekeepers have the necessary resources.

The world's largest humanitarian effort has saved countless lives in Darfur. But those efforts were interrupted in March when Sudan expelled 16 aid organizations after the International Criminal Court charged President Hassan al-Bashir with war crimes in Darfur.

There was cause for hope when President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, Gen. Scott Gration, persuaded the government to agree to restore much of the lost capacity for humanitarian assistance. But the true test lies in the implementation. As I stressed to senior Sudanese officials, serious gaps in assistance and bureaucratic obstacles that impede delivery of aid must be eliminated. Gration will evaluate the progress next month.

People trapped in the camps must be allowed to return to their homes, which will require land, compensation and security. But these conditions can be met only through a sustainable peace accord between Sudan and various rebel groups.

The Sudanese government has signaled its willingness to come to the negotiating table and we must hold it to this commitment. But the rebels need to come together, and they need to come to the table.

Successful negotiations will require redoubled efforts from the United States, regional players with influence like Egypt, Qatar and Libya, as well as China and other members of the international community. We must forge a coherent policy that reflects the interconnectedness of the conflicts in Chad and Sudan, which share a porous border and a history of using rebel groups to destabilize one another.

Renewed conflict between North and South Sudan looms as a new potential catastrophe. The recent civil war claimed 2 million lives in the longest running conflict in African history.

In 2005, the U.S. helped broker the agreement that finally ended that war. But that agreement could collapse. In 2011, the South is scheduled to vote in a referendum on separation. If core issues like border demarcation and revenue sharing are not addressed, war becomes tragically likely.

The National Congress Party of the North and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement, which represents the southern government, agreed during my visit to re-engage in efforts to implement the agreement.

In both Darfur and the North-South conflict, we must seize this opportunity for engagement and, we hope, begin to redefine the relationship between the United States and Sudan.

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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