November 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Rebel groups derided a decision by the Sudanese government to make 31 May a public holiday to celebrate peace in Darfur and urged the international community to not donate money for a fund aiming to reconstruct the restive region.
On 13 November, President Omer Al-Bashir issued a presidential decree declaring 31 May a public holiday in Sudan to celebrate the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), which was endorsed by Darfur stakeholders in the Qatari capital on 31 May 2011.
The framework text was signed on 14 July 2011 by the Sudanese government and Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), also a splinter group of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - the JEM- Military Council (JEM-MC) - is expected to engage in talks with the government this month.
A DDPD implementation follow-up committee chaired by the Qatari state minister Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud decided last week to delay the donor conference for Darfur reconstruction to January of next year. The meeting was initially scheduled for December 2012.
Suleiman Sandal, JEM political secretary and Nimir Abdel Rahaman, spokesperson of Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW) said the DDPD did not bring peace to Darfur because it is not implemented and violence against civilians is increasing.
This holiday "is a desperate attempt to mislead Sudanese and the international community that there is peace in Darfur," Sandal said, stressing that Khartoum did not give Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) the necessary funds to implement the deal but also that the latter has no real authority on the ground.
Nimir pointed out that it has been proven since the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), signed in Abuja, Nigeria but only by Minni Minawi’s faction of SLA, that partial agreements would not end the conflict but increase the suffering of civilians in Darfur. "The failure of [the] Doha agreement is more obvious than that of Abuja deal," he said.
The SLM-AW spokesperson said the money that the donors are expected to give will not reach the Darfurians but will go, in part, to the pockets of the Sudanese and DRA officials. JEM’s political secretary added that it would also be used to buy weapons for more wars in Sudan.
JEM participated in the two-year process sponsored by Qatar and brokered by an African Union and United Nations mediator. The group refused to endorse the DDPD demanding more discussions. The SLM-AW did not join the process as it considers that the regime has to repair the consequences of the war first before to engage talks on the root causes of the conflict.
Nimir told Sudan Tribune that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir decided on this holiday to please the Emir of Qatar as he expects him to support financially his government. He further urged the Gulf State to not donate money to Khartoum because it would use it "to commit more atrocities in Darfur".
Sandal who was speaking in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, also urged Qatar to review its position from the Sudanese government and "to work for a true peace in Darfur instead of supporting the regime".
SLM-AW’s Nimir further denied reports about a breakaway group from his movement intending to join the peace process. While Sandal urged all those who joined the regime to return to the "revolution’s forces" and to participate in the struggle for democracy and peace instead of remaining allied to the "collapsing regime".
The JEM political secretary also welcomed the issuance of a guide by Geneva Call, a NGO based in Switzerland, on the relation between armed non-state actors and the protection of civilians in the war areas, saying it represents a boost for the implementation of the international humanitarian law.