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Grave concerns over ineffective presidential committees

Press Release
June 19, 2004

- Grave Concerns over Ineffective Presidential Committees

- The Sudan Presidency Must Immediately Convene All-Sudanese Peace Conference in Darfur

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office notes the republican decree most recently issued by the President of the Republic Omer Hassan al-Bashir to ensure the return of the Darfur displaced citizens to their homes and the militia disarmament. The Organization also notes the presidential order for "the concerned authorities of Darfur" to deal with crime "by legal prosecution and court procedures."

The Organization is gravely concerned presidential decrees’ ineffectiveness has already unfolded in the serious membership and procedural limitations of the two earlier presidential orders on the establishment of a preparatory committee for the Darfur peace conference and the fact finding committee on the human rights violations committed in the region.

The ineffective performance of the Presidency is clearly evident in the material lack of a strong governmental responsiveness in terms of actual effective measures to immediately save the lives of the Darfur victims of the state-incited war, ensure safe return to their homes, enforce just compensations and legal appropriations of land and their other misappropriated property by the assaulting militias, and enforce strict judicial and political accountability versus the senior army, administration, security, and militia leaderships responsible for the one year or more crimes against humanity in Darfur.

SHRO-Cairo is deeply concerned for the ineffective presidential action compared to the ongoing national and international mounting efforts to stop the continuous disaster of the Darfur citizens who continue to suffer unprecedented brutal attacks by the Sudan Government and the janjaweed government-backed militias and regular troops, in addition to the misery of starvation and the inescapable high death rates among the genocided youth, the forcibly impregnated innocent women, and the dying elderly.

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office strongly reiterates appealing demands for the president to immediately:

? Convene an All-Sudanese National Conference including all representatives of the Sudanese opposition groups and civil society associations with effective representation of the Darfur’s human rights and democracy groups in and outside the country, political leaders, and women activists. The conference must allow active participation of international human rights, democracy, and relief groups as well as the United Nations’ humanitarian agencies and the other regional and international concerned entities, especially the IGAD Peace Mediators, the African Union, the Arab League, and the European Union.

? Allow full direct judicial handling by the Sudan’s Judiciary and Sudan’s Bar Association in specific terms, with clear involvement of the injured local communities, not only "the concerned authorities" as the presidential decree reads, concerning the prosecution and court proceedings of the crimes committed by any government officials or militias against the Darfur citizens. The same formulae should be immediately applied concerning attacks of the Shulluk indigenous kingdom by the government militias.

? Expand the membership of the Presidential Fact Finding Committee to include a strong representation of the Darfur women activists, Sudan non-governmental legal advisers, and representatives of the democratic opposition. The Committee must grant observer status to the international human rights and democracy groups. The Sudan Government must further consider the detailed measures Amnesty International clearly proposed in this regard.

? Ensure the climates conducive to peace by abrogation of the Public Order Act, Criminal Law, Press and Publications Law, and Family Law among the other repressive laws of the government in light of the Nivasha Peace Protocols and the ongoing national and international efforts to allow full participation of the democratic opposition and civil society groups towards successful finalization of the peace negotiations.

? Impose an immediate and effective stoppage of all hostilities, especially the anti-peace state media programs, official announcements, comments, and statements by the Presidency advisers and the other senior officials of the state against the democratic opposition and the peace advocates.