Statement on the US Denial of Entry Visa for Salah Gosh

The Darfur Women Action Group commends Secretary of State Pompeo and the United States’ decision to deny the entry visa of Salah Gosh, former head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). We appreciate the commitment that the United States showed in holding Gosh accountable for his actions in the Darfur genocide, which includes gross violations of human rights and torture. In the future, we hope the United States shows a continued dedication in holding all members of the former al-Bashir regime responsible for their involvement in the genocide in Darfur. We urge Secretary Pompeo to use other effective tools such as travel bans, asset freezing, sanctions, and criminal accountability measures to hold perpetrators of such serious crimes accountable. We also urge Secretary Pompeo to use these tools to prevent members of the former al-Bashir regime from collaborating with the United States, its international allies, and its regional allies at all levels. This action by the Secretary of State demonstrates the United States’ leadership’s commitment to the prevention of atrocities, such as gross human rights violations, and their ability to hold criminals accountable.  

Civil Society Groups Delivered Urgent Letter to the UNSC and the ICC States Parties

On August 7th, the Darfur Women Action Group, along with eighteen other civil society groups, sent an urgent letter to the member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) urging them to expedite the arrest of al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials indicted by the ICC.  The letter stressed that al-Bashir is no longer a head of state and there has never been a better time in Sudan to implement the pending ICC arrest warrants.

Read the full text of the letter here: Urgent Letter to UNSC and ICC 7 Aug.

We urge you to join us on social media by sharing this letter and denouncing al-Bashir. Collectively we can make a difference and bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. 

 

Statement On the Appointment of Donald Booth, Special Envoy for Sudan

The Darfur Women Action Group does not approve of the appointment of Donald Booth as the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. We are wholly disappointed by his tenure as Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan under the Obama administration, and sincerely question his ability to produce tangible results for the U.S. government or the people of Sudan.
Booth is a career diplomat. It is not doubted that he is well-respected in Washington, and well-traveled on the continent of Africa. We refuse, however, to compromise the right we have for competency in our diplomats for that of seniority or ‘experience.’ We believe a new appointment––a fresh diplomatic face––with a less tumultuous past is necessary.
Donald Booth led the effort to “pave a road toward…normalization of U.S.-Sudan relations,” as he stated in a 2014 Atlantic Council meeting. Booth wanted to forge a relationship with Sudan on a “restoration of a relationship based on mutual understanding and shared interests.” The Darfur Women Action Group cannot fathom how the US can possibly maintain a ‘mutual understanding’ with a regime actively committing genocide. Booth, however, still perceived this relationship as peaceful. Booth was complacent; he failed to defend American values: protecting fundamental liberties and rights.
Under Ambassador Booth’s leadership, the people of Sudan have lost faith in America, its ability to broker peace. The Trump Administration has the opportunity to contribute to lasting peace in Sudan, but only if they can appoint a diplomat with the conviction and motivation to affect real change.
Not only did Booth want to normalize relations with a murderous regime, he actively neglected those being murdered. During his initial fact-finding missions to North and Central Darfur in 2016, Booth was silent. Booth failed to put forth any statements regarding the atrocities committed. We cannot trust him to speak up now. Internally displaced individuals who talked to Booth during his visits were quickly arrested afterward by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service Forces without any prevail by Booth to grant them release or protection. His appointment will once again silence those who have been suffering in Darfur for 17 years.
For years the American public and policymakers have protested the longstanding crises in Darfur and consistently called for U.S. leadership in holding Sudan accountable. Similarly, in the recent weeks, they mobilized again in support of the people of Sudan demanding effective U.S. policy that will put the halt to the suffering and pave the way for peace, something that Both has repeatedly failed to deliver upon.
The people of Sudan have suffered long enough. Rather than appointing someone with a history of overlooking violations of human rights in the country, we urge the United States to select a diplomat not simply of expertise, but of passion, of a deep understanding of Sudan and its relations.

Darfur Village Set Ablaze : 16 Years of Genocide

65c9bf0f-1625-4c85-a26f-25904cbc1a8aOn Monday evening, reports came in that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had commenced the burning of Delaige, a village located in Western Darfur. The Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) strongly condemns this egregious crime against humanity. DWAG is extremely concerned about the current surge of violence against civilians coupled with lack of access to communication and information. DWAG demands unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and that access to free and independent reporting be immediately provided. This attacks on Delaige camp is not an isolated incident. It’s a part of the systemic and orchestrated attacks against the indigenous Darfuris that has been carried out by Sudan government and the leaders of the current Sudan’s Transitional Military Council.

The RSF reportedly commenced the slaughter of those residing in Delaige on Sunday evening, killing six. By Monday afternoon, the Janjaweed had enclosed the village of Delaige, blocking escape and confining residents to indoors. At that time, the death toll was reported as 16 individuals.

A video surfaced this morning of the village in flames, suggesting a sharp escalation in violence. The RSF, with the motivation of forcibly ending civil disobedience, is committed to perpetrating more crimes against humanity to achieve their disingenuous goal.

It is extremely likely that the actual toll on lives lost is higher, but a blackout on communication, internet shutdown, and slaughter of dissidents has prevented verifiable reports truly encapsulating the massacre. On June 7, the United Nations issued a press release stating that the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) would look into, “the ‘rapid deployment’ of a monitoring team to look into allegations of serious rights violations.”

The Transitional Military Council leaders are equally responsible for the ongoing crimes committed in Darfur and the recent massacres. They will likely reject the advancement of the UN human rights monitoring team into Sudan, furthering an information blackout under which the TMC may commit more crimes against its own people. This attack has been systematically directed towards the same groups that have been targeted for years in genocide, and that have been forced to live in camps since 2003. The situation in Sudan is growingly volatile, given the ongoing crises and the vulnerability of civilians living in camps for years, this recent incident makes the situation ever so dire.

We strongly urge the United States government and the UNSC to take an effective action that will end the suffering in Darfur and bring lasting peace to Sudan. The U.S. must publicly condemn these attacks and pressure the Transitional Military Council for a timely transfer of authority to a civilian, democratic government.

With this dangerous development on the ground in Sudan and Darfur in particular, we must speak up and demand that world leaders take concerted action and hold the perpetrator of these heinous crimes accountable. In the coming days, Darfur Women Action Group will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates and opportunities to take action. Please check us on Twitter, for updates of events on the ground as they become available.

A Brutal Massacre is Unfolding in Sudan

Darfur Women Action Group express its grave concerns about the brutal massacre against protesters in Sudan and calls for immediate investigation and accountability for the perpetrator of the most heinous attacks against innocent civilians.

In the capital city of Khartoum, Sudanese protestors have been staging a peaceful sit-in since April 6th. The sit-in began a revolution that toppled the regime of Omar al-Bashir, but the struggle for establishing a truly democratic government wasn’t over. Protestors continued their demands for a representative government and entered into negotiations with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to transfer the power to civilian government.

On Monday, the TMC deployed troops from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia to quell the ongoing sit-in. The RSF then committed a massacre against civilian protestors. The RSF forcibly took control of the sit-in by seizing and setting fire to the tents of protestors and blocking all access roads into and out of Khartoum. RSF forces also attacked protestors with live ammunition, killing at least 100 individuals. The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee continues to count the individuals murdered by the RSF, closely monitoring the situation. It was reported on Monday that RSF forces and the security forces backing them forced individuals at the sit-in to lay on the ground, and then subjected them to whipping. They also shaved the heads of some protestors and reportedly forced others to drink sewage water. The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee also said that RSF and security forces laid siege to the Royal Care Hospital, El Mualim Hospital, and the clinic of University of Khartoum – effectively preventing the individuals they wounded while carrying out their attack from receiving care. Later, one doctor reported to Radio Dabanga that RSF troops were threatening to storm the hospital and kill the protestors inside.

RSF forces threw the bodies of those they murdered into the Nile, and on Wednesday, those bodies began floating to the surface. Forty individuals were pulled from the Nile, increasing the number of dead to at least 100. Some of these bodies are being identified while others were loaded into trucks by the RSF and taken to an unknown location; meanwhile families continue to report their loved ones missing since Monday’s massacre took place. Some of the bodies show signs of being shot or hacked by machetes.

Around the country protestors are taking to the streets, outraged by the violent attacks in Khartoum. The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) has ended all negotiations with the Transitional Military Council, refusing to cooperate with the individuals responsible for the carnage that occurred on Monday. The AFC is calling for an escalation of the revolution, an “open, nationwide, general strike and complete civil disobedience until the regime is overthrown.” In Darfur, where over 3 million genocide victims are still in camps, people are calling for more sit-ins, political strikes, and civil disobedience. The internet and direct communication lines are cut off, militia vehicles patrol the streets, and there is no way in or out of Khartoum – making an already dire situation even more critical. The RSF also responded to sit-ins and protests in other parts of the country. Protestors in El Gadaref were wounded when police dispersed protestors with live ammunition and tear gas. In El Nahud of West Kordofan, one protestor was shot dead while another was wounded. In Ed Damiz of the Blue Nile State, RSF forces again attacked protestors by seizing and burning their tents and arresting them.

This tragic attack is not an isolated incident. The same Transitional Military Council that is perpetrating the massacre in Khartoum this week has been slaughtering civilians in Darfur for 17 years. The result is genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – for which criminal president al Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. The transitional Military Council led by Al Burhan and Hemeti are equally responsible for the genocide committed in Darfur. Now, they extended their violent reach to Khartoum, which is only possible because they haven’t been held accountable for their crimes. – Niemat Ahmadi, DWAG President

These tragic attacks have brought about multiple international responses – individuals and organizations are speaking out in formal statements condemning Monday’s massacre. The United Nations Secretary General is calling for “unimpeded access to deliver essential care,” and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for and end to violence and promotion of peaceful demonstrations. The British Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Sudan, the European Union, the African Union and the US embassy in Khartoum have all released statements condemning the attacks. Human Rights Watch too condemned the actions of the RSF, with Jehanne Henry declaring “yesterday’s violence reminds us of the serious RSF abuses against civilians in Sudan’s war zones and it requires more than condemnations… Key international actors should impose targeted punitive sanctions against those responsible for the violence and urgently establish a UN inquiry.”

While DWAG appreciates these responses, we believe the situation in Sudan is dangerous and needs effective actions, not a few words of condemnation by the international community. How many more people must be killed before the international community acts? DWAG strongly believes that world leaders, regional and international bodies must take a rigorous action to end the current and the long-standing crimes committed with impunity in Sudan. The brave decision made by the African Union to expel Sudan from the AU is type of action that we want to see, and hope other international bodies will take similar measures to force the Military Council to end its barbaric  and violent rule.

  • We urge the United Nations Security Council members to immediately send human rights observers, investigate the crimes and hold the perpetrators accountable.
  • We urge the member states of ICC and UNSC to demand immediate arrest of President al-Bashir and the former officials wanted by the ICC to be surrendered to the court to face justice.
  • We call on the United States Government to exercise pressure over the Transitional Military Council, backed by Islamist regime, to immediately seize attackers and transfer power to a civilian government.
  • We urge the US and the African Union to stop the Saudi and the Emirati governments from interfering and exploiting the conditions on the ground in Sudan.

We wish to remind the world that the current violence in Sudan is the cost of impunity for the genocide crimes enjoyed by al-Bashir and these very military leaders who are trying to shield him.

Thank you,

Darfur Women Action Group

United Nations General Assembly Vote on -New Partnership for Africa’s Development United Nations General Assembly Must hold Sudan accountable

The United Nations General Assembly voted today on “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support: causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.” Darfur Women Action Group recognizes that there is much in this resolution to be support. It is critical for the United Nations to address the need to bring sustainable justice to people affected by conflict and human rights abuses, and especially the need to empower women in these processes. It is important for members of international civil society to understand the commitments made by the UN in this resolution, so that we can hold this organization accountable to these stated goals.

 

This resolution also praises progress made by the leaders of African countries broadly. While these types of statements are true in some responsible African countries, they cannot be generalized to include the government of Sudan. The United Nations MUST make this distinction, and stress that the government of Sudan CANNOT be considered part of this group of responsible African leaders. Sudan must be held accountable not only for failure to advance NPAD but also for continuing to use mass violence against its own people. The government of Sudan has made no real commitment to peace in Darfur, nor improving human rights in Sudan at large. Rather, to this day Khartoum continues the same genocidal policy it has had for 15 years. This is a policy of Genocide.

 

Regrettably, civil society, women, and migrants are continuously subject to or under threat of violence in many African countries. Chief among these is Sudan. We urge the member states of the UN general assembly and the UNSC to include strong accountability measures to hold accountable Sudan and any other country which subjects civilians to violence, thereby destabilizing the entire nation and making any progress in development nearly impossible.

 

While this resolution has a lot of good sentiment, it does not clearly identify the perpetrators of violence, nor does it address the failure of UNAMID to protect civilians from violence. Especially with the recent reduction in the size of UNAMID and its impending full-scale withdrawal, the United Nations lacks real enforcement for protecting civilians and promoting long term peace in Darfur. The UNGA and the UNSC must develop clear accountability mechanisms to monitor the performance of its various agencies. Implementation and detailed due diligence must be applied to ensure UN’s future commitment to the principles enumerated in this document.

 

The full document can be found at: http://undocs.org/A/72/L.59/Rev.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group

Don’t Let the US Lift Sanctions Against Sudan!

As some of you may know, we have launched a petition to the Trump Administration regarding the imposition of sanctions aginst Sudan.  You can find the link here.

We have also created a template for individuals to send to their congressman/woman encouraging them to oppose the US decision to remove sanctions.

Darfur Women Action Group in partnership with Darfuri, Sudanese-American, and friends of Sudan

State of  {}

                                                                                                                    Date: 7//5/17

 

Dear Congressman/woman []

I am writing this urgent message to you to share our concerns regarding the situation in Sudan. I ask that the US government maintain sanctions on Sudan, as it would be an important first step our government takes to end the long suffering of the Darfuri people as the 14-year genocide continues alongside massive human rights abuses in Sudan.

As members of your constituency, we are very appreciative of your commitment to human rights and justice at home and internationally. We appeal to you to make Darfur and Sudan your priority and to be our voice within the American government.

We are gravely concerned about the ongoing violence, rape, arrests, and torture that have devastated the lives of innocent civilians in Darfur. Countless men, women, and children have lost their lives, while the living endures unimaginable suffering with nowhere to escape.

The ICC has also accused al-Bashir of the world’s worst crimes- genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bashir in addition to his crimes against the people of Darfur, he has perpetrated multiple conflicts across Sudan. His regime continues to order the rape of its civilians, and as a result, thousands of women and girls face the most brutal and dehumanizing act of abuse. In most cases those who are targeted for rape are minors, constituting the worst violations of our morals and values in which America believes.

Moreover, President al-Bashir’s regime has reportedly used chemical weapons against the people of Darfur as recently as September 2016. Although documented by credible sources, the occurrence has not yet been investigated, victims have not yet been treated, nor has accountability taken place.

Furthermore, President al-Bashir has used starvation and the blockade of humanitarian assistance for years to kill more people in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region.

As if this were not enough, President al-Bashir’s government continues its close connection with terrorist groups across the Middle East and Africa to destabilize the area. This, of course, threatens the national security of the United States and the international community.

As the crimes against the people Darfur,  President al-Bashir has also ordered the destruction of churches throughout  Sudan along with the arrest and torture of Christian minorities in Sudan. They are consistently forced into exile demonstrating a violation of religious freedom for Sudanese citizens.

Al-Bashir’s regime continues to systematically arrest and torture human rights defenders, students, journalists and civil society leaders from Darfur and other conflict areas while restricting freedom of assembly, expression, and association.

To date, over 3 million victims of genocide, particularly in Darfur, are still without their homes and face the threat of death daily. Another million are displaced from South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region. Over 4 million people are without a home with no security or peace in place to allow them to return.

The Janjaweed’s Arab militias, the notorious Rapid Support Forces, and the border guards are still in full capacity as perpetrators with total impunity of atrocities against innocent civilians.

The Sudanese government has recently presented a new false narrative to get away with its crimes. The government perpetuates the idea that the situation in Darfur has improved, even as several attacks against civilian have taken place and have been documented, including the massacre in January 2017.

The fact of the matter is that the Sudanese government is responsible for all the crimes including when to attack. Creating a false narrative that ignores protection and accountability for 4 million people is an additional crime, one which we cannot and must not tolerate

Given the current conditions on the ground, lifting sanctions will only reward and help the regime gain access to more financial resources, international trade and investments, which will help them purchase more weapons that endanger the lives of millions of civilians, many who are already under attack. Also, rescinding sanctions will help the al-Bashir administration continue to support terrorist groups.

If the US lifts sanctions and ignores the above-noted facts, it would be a clear affront to the human rights’ norms that are enshrined in our American values. Lifting sanctions on Sudan will not only legitimize President al-Bashir and enable him to continue the slaughter of his citizens but will send a message to other criminals around the world that they will not be held accountable.

We believe that US engagement with Sudan must be built by protection of human rights, accountability, and sustainability. Representative xxxx with your help, the US administration can make this possible.

Accordingly, we urge you to stand with the genocide victims in Sudan and uphold US legal and human rights’ norms by asking the Trump administration to implement the following recommendations:

  • Maintain the existing US sanctions on Sudan until al-Bashir stops his attacks on civilians
  • Integrate targeted sanctions and impose a travel ban on individuals responsible for committing crimes in Darfur and across Sudan
  • Support the implementation of the arrest warrants against Sudanese criminals wanted by the International Criminal Court.
  • Pressure al-Bashir’s government to disarm militias committing atrocities in Darfur
  • Lead the UN Security Council in providing effective civilian protection in Sudan
  • Allow victims from Darfur and other crises affected areas to seek refuge in the US
  • Provide support to the historically excluded and victimized communities in Sudan, to rebuild their lives and bring sustainable peace in Sudan.  

Representative, we as members of your constituency, the people of Sudan and the American public looks up to you to do what is right to end the suffering in Sudan  We thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

The undersigned