For Immediate Release: 07/13/2016
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 202- 496-1289
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and accused of 10 counts of the world’s worst crimes, comprising 3 for genocide, 2 for war crimes and 5 for crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. Ironically, this criminal remains a fugitive and continues to defy justice because our leaders have failed to meet their legal and moral obligations.
Seven years ago today on July 12, 2009, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for genocide crimes committed in Darfur. Unfortunately, the man who masterminded and orchestrated the crimes is still free today. Darfur Women Action Group calls on the UNSC, the international community, and world citizens to speak up for the people of Darfur, hold government leaders accountable, and urge them to fulfill their responsibility by forcefully pursuing justice for the world’s worst crimes committed in the 21st century.
For the past 13 years, violence, rapes, killings, pillaging, arrests and torture have devastated the lives of the innocent civilians of Darfur. Countless men, women and children have lost their lives, while the living endure unimaginable suffering and have nowhere to turn.
The Failure to Act
In spite of the alarming rate at which the violence continues, world leaders have responded to the situation in Darfur with silence. Due to the inaction of the UNSC members, including leading countries such as the United States, President al-Bashir remains emboldened to continue his genocide policy and has intensified attacks against the people of Darfur as well as extended attacks against South Kordofan and Blue Nile– the genocide continues unabated.
The Cost of Impunity
Al-Bashir, the indicted genocidal criminal, has successfully blocked access to information from Darfur in order to continue his crimes and get away with murder. The world may think the crisis in Darfur has ended, because it is not being reported in the news, but the truth is that over 460,000 Darfuris were displaced in 2013 and another 500,000 were displaced in 2014. On one day alone on October 31, 2014, 221 women and girls were raped in a Tabit village and the perpetrators have suffered no consequences. This is not an isolated incident, but a systematic tactic and deliberate policy of the regime, which continues to use rape as a weapon of war in Darfur. Over 233,000 people were displaced in the first quarter of 2015 alone. In addition, on December 18 and 19, 2015, 700 Darfuri refugees, who had escaped the genocide, were suddenly and forcibly deported from Jordan back to Sudan to face the very genocidal regime that they had fled for protection because the Sudanese government pressured Jordan to send them back to be oppressed and silenced.
The Dangerous Development
During the beginning of 2016, a new surge of violence using a scorched earth strategy began and is on its way to killing ever more people as the Sudanese government has declared a plan to end displacement by 2017, which essentially means wiping out even those who are helpless within the internally displaced camps in Darfur.
In April 2016, a referendum in Darfur was held to determine Darfur’s future, even as Darfuri victims were under attack and still struggling for survival with no ability to vote. There is a strong possibility for name change and strategy of distribution of the indigenous Darfuri victims’ lands to the Arab tribes and new settlers who were brought by the government of Sudan to overtake the Darfur region. If allowed to happen, this is a dangerous move and represents the final stage of the Darfur genocide. What is happening in Darfur today is systematic and directed toward the same groups who the government have singled out for extermination since 2003; it is Sudan’s “Final Solution” within its genocide.
These are examples of why we need to stand firm and draw the world’s attention to this dangerous situation that has been ignored and allowed to evolve for over more than a decade. It must be stopped before it is too late, but we cannot do it without your voices and your active role.
Opportunity to Act
As an ordinary citizen, we need you beside us to fight against the longest genocide in history. That is why we are launching a new campaign starting tomorrow Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17 (International Justice Day) to take action and help us expose al-Bashir, his fellow criminals, and all the enablers to be held accountable…Your inaction and silence will only aid the perpetrators and kill more people, but your voice will make a difference – Will you use it?
We at DWAG believe as people of conscience, we must not look away in the face of genocide and we should tell our leaders that they have a responsibility to act.
We will share with you some action opportunities tomorrow please stay tuned.
Thank you for using your voice,
Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group
Norrie Kurtz , Board Chair, Darfur Women Action Group