Home | Press Releases    Sunday 4 July 2004

SHRO: To enforce Darfur’s Action Program: President must stop Party favoritism, demobilize militias

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SHRO Cairo
Press Release
July 3, 2004

· To Enforce DarFur’s Action Program: the President Must Stop Party Favoritism, Demobilize PDFs and Janjaweed’s Back-Up

- Independent Judiciary and Immediate Release of Political and Army Prisoners

- Women and Human Rights’ Membership in the DarFur’s Fact Finding Committee

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office notes with grave concerns the Sudan Government’s continuous failure to deal with the state-incited crisis of DarFur despite recurring governmental assurances or presidential pledging.

Despite top visits by the United Nations Secretary General and the United States Secretary of State resulting in a new government’s media commitment to disarm the state-controlled militias, process humanitarian aid to facilitate safe return of the victims to their residential areas, and charge all officials or members of militia groups responsible for the crimes committed against people, the minister of parliamentary affairs ’Abd al-Basit Sabdarat affirmed today (Jazeera: July 3) his government’s contention that the "international media is exaggerating the ’problem,’ which is located in only one county of five other ’stable’ counties of the three provinces of DarFur."

The top government’s parliamentary official’s negation of the massiveness of the Crisis today (July 3, 2004) has significantly added a new careless government assessment to the appalling situation of DarFur, which further casts serious doubts on the president’s most recent pledge before international entities "to resolve the problem promptly."

The government’s parliament official emphasized, "the authorities will enforce formal charging of individuals accused of committing crimes in the region." The minister, however, has not identified these individuals, whether outlaw militia leaders or peaceful opponents of the regime. The minister has not specified the crimes his government would prosecute, nor did he refer to the presidential fact finding committee investigating the crimes committed against citizens in the 2-years’ armed conflict of the region.

Criticizing further the world’s mounting pressures upon the Sudan Government to live up to the national and international obligations to ensure full enjoyment of peaceful political solution, immediate humanitarian relief, and safety home return for the assaulted African Sudanese of DarFur, the official’s announcement reechoed his government’s carelessness towards the global claim to put to task effective measures to stop the crisis. The minister’s announcement reiterated his president’s pledge at the 15th anniversary of the salvation revolution (the June military coup that brought him to political power in 1989) "to carry out intensive state security measures in DarFur."

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office notes the prompt political and socio-legal measures government is required to enforce in close collaboration with the DarFur Chiefs and civil society groups, including the Sudan’s opposition, are alarmingly underemphasized in the president’s speech.

To disarm the government-supported janjaweed, the Sudan Government must immediately demobilize the Peoples’ Defense Forces (PDFs) that the president considers his most loyal regular forces and does personally lead its terrorizing parades in the national capital Khartoum.

In the absence of tight monitoring of government-militia activities as well as the non-existence of government-opposition peace committees, the Organization feels the government would most likely than not intensify security measures largely aimed to subdue rebel supporters and the other opposition groups in and outside DarFur under the prevailing emergency law.

The Organization is gravely concerned the lengthy speech of the president at the anniversary of his 15 years totalitarian rule failed to provide factual assessment of the DarFur peace conference, the fact finding committee on the situation of DarFur, and the "disarmament of the DarFur highwaymen and the other outlaws" - the alternative names he used for his government-supported janjaweed militias and the rebel groups respectively.

The Organization notes further the president’s bias to his government-supporting "civil society organizations,’ as emphasized in his speech, namely the ruling party’s beneficiaries since the June military coup 1989 at expense of the non-governmental civil society groups that the regime’s security forces severely harassed.

The Organization believes the presidential decrees wrongfully ignored the comprehensive nature of the crisis, thus disabling the ongoing effort to convene the DarFur conference.

The decrees have equally prejudiced the Fact Finding Committee with non-representation of the DarFur women activists, regardless of the high rate of women’s and children’s victimization by the transgressing militias, and the other non-governmental legal and social members whose services to the victims are extremely needed.

The presidential decrees did not help to reduce in any practical sense the high risk conditions the people of DarFur continue to face in debilitating camps away from their homes. The Sudan Presidency chose to back-up its militias and regular forces against all prosecution possibilities and the due process of justice.

SHRO-Cairo notes with dissatisfaction the government’s insistence to act with double standards towards the urgent need to utilize full state powers to redress the worsening catastrophe of DarFur with biased security directives short of any effective political or humanitarian zeal.

The Sudan Government must firmly curb its officials’ determination to water down the grave concerns of the world about the crisis of DarFur:

· The government officials and spokespersons must recognize without elusiveness the massiveness of the crisis, the huge losses of humans and properties, and the continuous threat of the crisis to the good life, national unity, and peace of the country.

· The Organization asks the Sudan Government to start an Immediate Program of Action without state discrimination or presidential favoritism to stop the DarFur’s crisis of indigenous people in close collaboration with the opposition parties, the rebels of DarFur and the Sudan’s civil society groups.

· SHRO-Cairo asks the Sudan Liberation Army and Movement and all other armed groups to commit themselves consistently to the peace process, cease-fire agreements, and the peaceful dialogue.

The Organization emphasizes the lacking of independent judiciary, the cancellation of the Sudan Judiciary Council, the dismissal of hundreds of judges, the harassment and illegal politicization of the Bar Association, and the replacement of the Sudanese well-established adjudication system with a system of terrorizing Criminal Law as a political tool to subdue the population by bureaucratic subordination to the president and other executives, military or party officials.

The military arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, trial, sentence, and execution of tens of citizens in DarFur exemplified the extra-judicial application of penal law by government executives. A large section of the victimized people of DarFur is increasingly helpless women, elderly, and children.

· To improve the climate conducive to the finalization of the Nivasha Protocols’ Comprehensive Peace Settlement, the government must honestly restore independence of the judiciary and the Bar Association.

· The government must ensure the democratic exercise of public freedoms, the free press, and the enjoyment of free organization and peaceful assembly free of censor and security harassment.

· The government must immediately release from jail the human rights activist Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, the Leader of the opposition People’s Congress Party Dr. Hassan al-Turabi and his party members, and the army officers from DarFur whom the government politically accused of staging a military coup to overthrow its ruling regime.

The Organization is aware of the prevailing climate of terror, which has largely terrorized the non-Arab citizens of DarFur by perpetrated government assaults as well as Janjaweed atrocities, besides the government’s failure to ensure humanitarian aid to the victimized population and the insistence of the foreign affairs, justice, and government’s parliament senior officials to underestimate the crisis or to influence the Fact Finding Committee even before it started judicial mission in DarFur.

To ensure fair investigation of the DarFur Crisis by the Presidential Fact Finding Committee, the Organization reiterates previous calls on the Sudan Government and the United Nations Human Rights Commission (see the SHRO-Cairo call on October 30, 2003 and May 11, 2004) to allow strong, fair, and effective non-governmental representation in an efficient highly authorized fact finding committee. Towards this end, SHRO-Cairo requires the Sudan Government to:

· Include the Human Rights Commission, DarFur indigenous human rights groups in and outside the country, and Bar Association representatives as active members of the Fact Finding Committee;

· Guarantee observer status to international, regional, and national human rights’ representatives in the Committee.

· Ensure effective representation of women from non-governmental sources, especially the women related to the DarFur victimized ethnicities, to participate fully in the Committee activities.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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