Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kidnapped Sudanese 'free' in Iraq

Five kidnapped members of staff from Sudan's embassy in Iraq have been set 'free' in Iraq. A web statement attributed to al-Qaeda in Iraq had demanded that Sudan cut diplomatic ties with Baghdad.

Chad steps up claims of Sudanese subversion

Further to next post here below, AFP Dec 30 reports that "Sudan is arming, financing and equipping Chadian rebels on its territory to destabilise Chad," Chad's Deputy FM Lucienne Dillah told parliament in Ndjamena, which then voted to back President Idriss Deby's efforts to defend the country.

Chad angry at World Bank over oil - Chad in 'state of war' with Sudan - Chad and its links to crisis in Sudan's Darfur

Some days my imagination works overtime wondering about the possibility of security forces diplomatically (read covertly) intervening in Darfur via Chad using international community clout, Chadian personnel and Sudanese refugees. This is one of those days. It's a recurrent thought whenever Chad and other countries neighbouring Sudan hit the headlines.

A curious story has been developing over the past few months re a World Bank loan to Chad of more than $39m (23m pounds) to build a pipeline with an estimated total cost of almost $4bn. The loan was on condition that Chad's churches, trade unions and non-governmental organisations monitored how oil revenues were spent. This was meant to guarantee that oil money was used to help reduce poverty in Chad.

Today, the BBC reports on Chad's angry reaction to warnings from the World Bank, after its parliament voted to relax controls on the use of its oil revenues. The Chadian government has accused the World Bank of acting like a coloniser.

The new laws introduced by Chad's parliament would give its country more control over the money.

Note, Chad's oil pipeline is barely two years old.

Further reading:
Dec 24, 2005 Sudan Watch: Chad in 'state of war' with Sudan
Dec 21, 2005 Sudan Watch: Chad and its links to crisis in Sudan's Darfur

Arab and African leaders to Darfur: we don't care

"The Sudan story is chilling as it shows the real nature of Islam", writes one commentator at Harry's Place (UK) re Gene's Dec 30 Darfur post entitled Arab and African leaders to Darfur: we don't care - excerpt:
"If the West's shamefully half-hearted response to the continuing genocide, and China's and Russia's obstruction of UN sanctions against Sudan, haven't outraged you yet, now comes the news that the Arab League and the African Union will hold upcoming summit meetings in the Sudanese capital Khartoum."
So far, Gene's post has attracted 95 comments, the most I've ever seen on a blog entry on Darfur. Here are some examples:

"African governments never criticize each other. To expect them to intervene successfully is foolhardy. Even the lauded rulers of states such as Uganda and Ethiopia are now jailing oppostion members and attempting to futher cement their rule. In the forty years since colonial withdrawal Africa's 48 sub-saharan states have produced one substantive statesman in Nelson Mandela. Is it too much to hope for just one more in 2006."
"People refuse to speak the truth because no one wishes to be seen as anti-Islamic, especially not at the UN."

In 1948 the UN declared the UDHR, now we have an Islamic UDHR which is a complete contradiction of the UDHR. Now we have the UN promoting religions and their value systems over and above the UDHR.

Are we happy to see the value system of Islam, promoted above the UDHR?

We have the obscene sight of the EU and the UN attacking the Danish PM for refusing to intervene in a dispute over cartoons, he declared that it was not correct for a PM in a free country to intervene over what the press prints, if they broke any laws sue them. It is evident that they prefer to put pressure on in an undemocratic way rather then face the issue in court over a point of law.

At this point I think that the most important defence of our freedom, the ability to speak up about something in safety from fear of death or persecution is being eroded.

Islam is a religion (not to me, it's a death cult), but it also has a system of law and government which I can only describe as undemocratic and allows the strong and powerful to rule the weak and poor. I hope that more people see this, especially the liberty loving and equality driven people on the left.

Dafur shows the moral corruption to the world of Islam, but most people chose to ignore it."
"So wtf are you saying? Because atrocities have happened in every century on every continent and didn't involve Muslims, then the genocide and other atrocities carried out in Dafur should not be viewed in a religious ie 'Muslim' context. An interesting notion ! rather like an ostrich's view of thinks."
"You mentioned Zimbabwe, Alec. What does the world's inaction there have in common with Darfur? (Of course there are multiple factors, so leave aside for now other common or country specific factors)

Answer: China, the winner so far in the new scramble for Africa Both cases, China has blocked any Security Council resolutions.

In Darfur's case, it really is all about oil.Zimbabwe,semiprecious metals an economic power.

No doubt it suits other powers to have China doing the blocking, but there are those in the U.S and elsewhere who genuinely would intervene if there was Security Council authority."
Note, this Sudan Watch post opened with an extract from a comment by Daffersd. Here is the whole comment:

"That Sudan story is chilling as it shows the real nature of Islam, but no one seems to listen, it can't happen here in the West can it? We will find out I guess..."

Friday, December 30, 2005

World's worst dictator hopes to be voted chair of African Union - African leaders to meet in Libya Jan 4 on Darfur

Chad rebel groups opposed to President Idriss Deby said on Friday they had formed a military alliance to try to overthrow him, increasing pressure on the Chadian leader who accuses Sudan of backing the insurgents.

Leaders from eight African countries Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya and Gabon, will meet in Libya Jan. 4 for a special African Union mini-summit on Darfur crisis and growing tensions between Sudan and Chad, officials said Friday.

Note, the mini summit comes three weeks before the African Union holds its annual summit involving all 53 members in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir hopes to become the next chairman of the African Union during the summit. That will only be decided after a vote by members of the bloc.

Surely, the AU's 53-member states won't vote for the world's worst dictator to preside over them as chairman? Surely, ordinary African and Arab folk will be outraged? If not, why - can anyone please explain?
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Sudan's President Omar Bashir named as world's worst living dictator

Pictured below is the Republican Palace in Khartoum, where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir lives.

Sudan: Bashir announces national unity government

Photo: His Excellency General Omar al- Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan [click photo for details]

Last year, President al-Bashir ranked a mere seventh among the 10 worst dictators but this year's list- published ten months ago when Darfur death toll was reported at 70,000 - has him as the worst of the worst.

This week, Darfur genocide enters its 4th year with the death toll estimated at 400,000 and rising.

Republican Palace Khartoum, Sudan

Despite UN resolutions and the international community imploring President al-Bashir to rein in his Janjaweed militia, he and his regime denies backing the Janjaweed. In October 2004, BBC correspondent Koert Lindijer filed a news report entitled "Reining in the militia" in which he said he saw the President five months earlier addressing a meeting of his supporters in Nyala, south Darfur, and saluting the assembled Janjaweed fighters: "Long live the Mujahideen."

Sudan buys presidential yacht for AU summit

Sudanese refugees won't be thrilled to know the presidential yacht from Czechoslovakia arrived yesterday in Khartoum. The yacht is to be used to ferry delegates to the outrageous AU summit in Khartoum next month. Full report (ST) 30 Dec 2005.

African and Arab politics never cease to amaze - along with ordinary African and Arab folk who keep quiet about NIF and Darfur but waste no time in slating the West when it promotes global awareness campaigns like Live Aid, Live 8 and Make Poverty History.
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Czech yacht arrives in Sudan for AU summit

Copy of report by BBC Monitoring, Al Ayyam, 28 Dec, Khartoum:

The presidential yacht from Czechoslovakia arrived yesterday in Khartoum among tightened security. The yacht is to be used to ferry delegates to the AU summit in Khartoum next January from the presidential villas to Friendship Hall, the summit venue. The yacht, which has two decks and measures 9.5 m by 36 m, completed an arduous journey from Port Sudan to Khartoum and took about 20 days to arrive in Giad town yesterday. The yacht, which was bought in accordance with Sudanese naval specifications, has been named Al-Qasr [palace] and will be put on the Nile at the Baburat area in Bahri [Khartoum North]. Al-Qasr is the first large yacht to arrive in Sudan for presidential services.

Darfur genocide continues into 4th year - Ten Sudanese die as camp in Cairo stormed

Eric Reeves explains genocide continues in Darfur into its fourth year because there is no real international pressure on the architects of the genocide, the National Islamic Front security cabal in Khartoum, to bring the killing to a halt and none of its African and Arab neighbors really cares what NIF does in Darfur.

Despite a consistent and forceful Security Council response to the crisis in Darfur, reports from there confirm a marked deterioration since September, including an increase in ethnic clashes, destabilizing elements crossing in from Chad and continuing banditry, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released yesterday Dec 29.

Note, the U.N. refugee agency in Cairo has broken off talks with thousands of Sudanese protesters camped outside its building because they are making impossible demands, a U.N. official said on Thursday.

The UN says the 3,000 Sudanese protestors living in Cairo are economic migrants rather than those fleeing persecution, and so do not qualify as refugees. The protestors had been demanding that the UN refugee agency place them in a country with better conditions.

UNHCR says it has to prioritise help for people genuinely at risk of persecution and cannot solve issues of discrimination and deprivation in Egypt, where unemployment is high. Full report (BBC) 30 Dec 2005.

UPDATE 31 Dec 2005 CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police end protest - Egyptian riot police on Friday stormed a protest camp in Cairo set up by thousands of Sudanese refugees, sparking clashes that left 23 Sudanese dead, officials and witnesses said.

Monday, December 26, 2005

EU provides EUR 165M for humanitarian crises in Africa

The European Union Monday earmarked EUR165 million ($195 million) for 10 crisis centers in Africa, saying droughts, floods and armed conflict ravage the continent like "silent tsunamis."

Sudan is the biggest beneficiary and will receive EUR48 million, while Congo has been allocated EUR38 million. Burundi, Chad, Liberia, Tanzania and Uganda will each receive over EUR10 million in aid. Full report (AP) Dec 26, 2005.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sudanese official nominated as Arab League envoy in Iraq

You have to wonder what the UN Secretary-General and International Criminal Court Prosecuters think of this. SUNA news reports 25 Dec 2005 Sudan's President has accepted a request by the secretary-general of the Arab League, nominating the "presidential adviser" Mustafa Osman Ismail as a temporary representative of the Arab League in Iraq until the completion of the Iraqi reconciliation.
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ICC has list of 51 names of suspected Darfur war criminals

The International Criminal Court has a sealed list of 51 names of suspected war criminals, among them, it is believed, senior Sudanese officials, writes Eric Reeves. Extracts:

"Certainly on the list is First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, presently the most powerful member of the NIF.

Interior Minister Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Hussein is also surely on the list, as he is, among other things, the primary architect of forced removals of internally displaced persons from camps of refuge in Darfur.

So, too, is the director of security and intelligence within the NIF regime, Maj. Gen. Salih Gosh."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

European Union Statement on Darfur peace talks in Abuja

Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Darfur peace talks in Abuja. - Dec 21, 2005 (Brussels) via Sudan Tribune.

China scooping up deals in Africa as US firms hesitate

Report in today's Boston Globe says China scooping up deals in Africa as US firms hesitate.

Surely we could do a lot more to help Darfuris if Western companies were operating in Sudan. Powerful multinationals, oil and defence firms might have leverage with the UN Security Council. We could have contacted firms like British Petroleum Oil to ask for security forces to protect shareholders interests and locals in Darfur. As things stand, all I can do here in the UK is contact British politicians, sign petitions and use this blog to keep asking what happened to the five-point plan Tony Blair delivered in person to Khartoum October 6, 2004.

We ought to welcome Western firms doing business in African countries where unscrupulous Asian firms are taking natural resources from oil rich countries like the Sudan without giving much back in return.

See Sudan Watch October 25, 2005: UN could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan.
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So what can you do?

Take action against genocide.

[via 1 Raindrop Darfur 3 with thanks]

Blog for Human Rights

Visit Human Rights Watch and see how to become a blogger for Human Rights. Get involved. Spread the Word.

Email Christmas card to Tony Blair

Send eCard to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Click the link and hover your mouse over cards and you might see one I sent today from Sudan Watch Blog saying:

Please let us know what happened to the five-point plan you kindly delivered to Khartoum October 6, 2004. Thanks.

Chad in 'state of war' with Sudan - World Bank mulls withdrawal from Chad oil pipeline

BBC news report today Chad in 'state of war' with Sudan reveals statement issued by Chad's government on Friday afternoon is the most aggressive yet.

It claims that not only was Sudan behind the attack on Adre, but it also accuses Sudanese militia of making daily incursions into Chad, stealing cattle, killing innocent people and burning villages on the Chadian border.

'Chad is today in a state of war with Sudan,' the statement says.

It asks Chadians to form a patriotic front against what it calls 'the common enemy of the nation'.

See Sudan Watch Dec 21, 2005: Chad and its links to crisis in Sudan's Darfur

World Bank mulls withdrawal from Chad oil pipeline

Excerpt from Reuters Oct 28, 2005:

The World Bank may withdraw from a high-profile oil pipeline investment in Chad and halt lending to the government if it changes a law to access a larger share of oil profits, officials said on Thursday.

The officials, which called it "the nuclear option," said such drastic steps are possible if Chad changes the World Bank-backed oil revenue management law.

The move would be a major setback for the bank's biggest investment in Africa -- one it considered a test case for its strategy for oil investments as a way to benefit poverty-stricken nations.

In exchange for funding the $3.7 billion pipeline, the World Bank told Chad to pass a law ensuring that 10 percent from oil proceeds go into an overseas bank accounts and be spent only on poverty programs.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas eCard from UNICEF and the 59th Norwegian Christmas tree in London's Trafalger Square

Yesterday, I received this eCard from UNICEF with news saying more than 1 million children beyond aid net in Darfur:

Happy Christmas Blogmates

Christmas Greetings to Sudan Watch readers from England, UK

The 59th Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was lit on 29 Nov, 2005.

The first tree was brought over in 1947 as a token of Norwegian appreciation of British friendship during the Second World War. When Norway was invaded by German forces in 1940, King Haakon VII escaped to Britain and a Norwegian exile government was set up in London.

To most Norwegians, London came to represent the spirit of freedom during those difficult years. From London, the latest war news was broadcast in Norwegian, along with a message and information network which became vital to the resistance movement and which gave the people in Norway inspiration and hope of liberation.

The tree has become a symbol of the close and warm relationship between the people of Britain and Norway. Norwegians are happy and proud that this token of their friendship - probably the most famous Christmas tree in the world - seems to have become so much a part of Christmas for Londoners.

Happy Christmas

The tree itself, pictured above, a Norwegian spruce (Picea abies), is chosen with great care. Selected from the forests surrounding Oslo, it is normally earmarked for its pride of place in London's Trafalgar Square several months, even years, in advance. The Norwegian foresters who look after it describe it fondly as 'the queen of the forest'. This year, however, the tree will be chosen by a young viewer of the BBC's children's programme Blue Peter.

The tree is cut down one day in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo take active part. Most years, the first snow will have just fallen to brighten the otherwise dark forest. Local and international schoolchildren sing Christmas carols and the city authorities serve 'forest coffee' and sandwiches.

All I Want for Christmas is for women to nurture and run Africa ... to Remember the Poor ... and Human Rights for All

Last December, the senior pastor of Ginghamsburg church in America, Mike Slaughter, challenged his parishioners to spend only one-half of what they would normally spend on Christmas gifts and bring the rest in for a Sudan Project.

That challenge resulted in a $317,000 offering, which Ginghamsburg is using to fund a sustainable agricultural program in Darfur.

Since January 2005, CHF International has distributed over 25,000 egg-laying chickens in Darfur, benefiting c. 8,000 IDP families (44,000 individuals), which have produced over 1.5 million eggs.
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Sudan Christmas Cards

This December, Ginghamsburg has Sudan Christmas Cards:

Sudan Christmas Card

Front: All I Want For Christmas
Inside: for you to remember the poor - Jesus
Back: features information on how the recipient can be involved in The Sudan Project.
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Darfuris have little to look forward to in New Year

UN says Darfur sliding into anarchy and deteriorating further in last week.

The International Criminal Court has 51 Darfur war criminals on its list while ICC Prosecutor uncovers evidence of campaign of atrocities in Darfur.

Sudan gets away with barring investigations and telling the world HRW's report is ridiculous.

The regime in Khartoum have nothing to fear. Sanctions will never be imposed. Murder, rape and other crimes against humanity will go unpunished. Darfur war criminals will never be arrested. Khartoum is too useful to West in its war against terrorism. The world's tepid reaction to genocide in Darfur says (to me anyway) uneducated black nomads are not equally as important as educated rich black or white folk.

In the last two decades, the Sudanese government proved themselves capable of destroying two million Sudanese lives.

Current Darfur death toll stands at 400,000 and rising.

Rwanda's genocide cost 800,000 lives.

Darfur is Rwanda in slow motion.
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Christmas in Sudan

There are about 1.5 million Christians in Sudan. Christmas in Sudan is a time of joy, prayer, and getting together with friends and family.

In South Sudan, Christmas starts on December 23rd, and lasts until January 15th. For Christmas, people always wear their best clothes. If they can afford it, they get new clothes and bedsheets, and goats and bulls are slaughtered.

Church Under Tree

Photo: Nimule, Southern Sudan: Church Under A Tree. Many people in South Sudan do not have a church building, so they have church under a tree.

Following material courtesy Kids of the Nile:
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The Nuba Mountains

The Nuba Mountain area is in Southern Kordofan, in the center of Sudan.

The Nuba people are the grandchildren of the people of the Kush kingdom of the 8th century. They are a mixture of dozens of different tribes with different cultures and languages.

The Nuba hills rise sharply from the plains, sometimes in long ranges. They rise some 500-1000 metres from the surrounding plains. The mountains are rocky, with hill slopes and valleys. The Nuba are mostly farmers, cultivating fields in the hills, at the foot of the hills, and in the plains.


Nuba photo: The most famous dance which the Nuba have, is the 'Kambala Dance'.

The Kambala is a spiritual dance, and it has much to do with bringing up Nuba men to be brave, and courageous like a bull. That's why they wear the buffalo horns when they dance.

When the day for Kambala to start is announced all the young men who have reached 12-14 years of age have to join in and dance with the adults.
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Omdurman and Khartoum

Omdurman is a beautiful city that lies on the White Nile, opposite to Khartoum the capital of Sudan, Africa's largest country.

Khartoum means "elephant trunk" in Arabic. It is a "tri-town" city, made of three towns: Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri.

Omdurman is a place of many important events in the history of Sudan and its independence.

Nile Boat

Photo: Sailor on the White Nile in Omdurman, in the area of "Abu Rofe", where many people go to fish.

Khartoum is where the Blue and White Niles both meet to make the mighty Nile River, the longest river in the world. You can actually see the two different "colours" mix together where the two rivers meet.

When the city was first established, Khartoum was the political city, where the government buildings were.

Omdurman was the residential city where most people lived and had their homes, and Bahri was the industrial city, where you would find factories, mills, and train stations.

You can go up and down the Blue Nile on a sailboat, ferry, or cross over to Tutti Island. Trees are heavy with plump, ripe mango, guava, and lemon trees.
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Port Sudan

Port Sudan is the main port in the northeast of Sudan, where ships come in from all over the world through the Red Sea to reach the people of Sudan.

Port Sudan is famous for its rich sea life, fun things like fishing in the Red Sea swimming, deap-sea diving, water-skiing. On a boat ride, legend has it that, if you look hard enough, you can see the lights of Jeddah, all the way across the Sea in Saudi Arabia. Beautiful underwater features like coral reefs, starfish, swordfish, and more.

Red Sea

Photo of Red Sea: Port Sudan is nicknamed, "The Bride of the Sea" because of its beautiful nature, and beaches. The weather is really humid because of the Sea.
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Sudan's President Omar Bashir named as world's worst living dictator

Khartoum Weather this Christmas week is sunny with highs of around 95 and lows around 70.

Republican Palace Khartoum, Sudan

Photo: This is the Republican Palace in Khartoum, where the President Omar al-Bashir lives. Last year, President Bashir ranked a mere seventh among the 10 worst dictators but this year's list, published ten months ago when Darfur death toll was reported at 70,000, has him as the worst of the worst.

Despite UN resolutions and the international community imploring President Bashir to rein in his Janjaweed militia, he and his regime denies backing the Janjaweed. In October 2004, BBC correspondent Koert Lindijer filed a news report entitled "Reining in the militia" in which he said he saw President Bashir five months earlier addressing a meeting of his supporters in Nyala, south Darfur, and saluting the assembled Janjaweed fighters: "Long live the Mujahideen."
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Two million Sudanese perished in S Sudan

2m Sudanese perished in S Sudan

Photo: "Gubbat al Mahdi" in Omdurman is where Al Mahdi, the man who fought for Sudan's independence, was buried. You have to wonder what he'd think of Darfur today. Up until January 9th of this year, when a peace agreement was signed for South Sudan, two million Sudanese had perished in a 22-year long internal war.
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400,000 Sudanese die in Darfur, western Sudan

On December 8, some activists rallied at the US State Department in Washington DC challenging US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take immediate action to stop the genocide in Darfur.

400,000 Sudanese die in Darfur, W Sudan

Photo: Protesters participate in a 'Die in for Darfur: Turn Up the Heat on Rice' while demonstrating in front of the US State Department in Washington, DC, 8 Dec 2005. (AFP/File/Jim Watson)

Recently, Dr Rice launched a behind-the-scenes lobbying effort this week to persuade Congress to appropriate $50 million in funding for an African Union effort to halt genocidal killings in Darfur.

But on Dec 18 Congressional aides said that Rice's attempt may have been a case of too little, too late. They said lawmakers have no plan on Darfur troop funding adding extra funding for Darfur to a federal budget that is stretched thin by Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, the Iraq war, and planning for avian flu.

Dr Condoleezza Rice

Photo: Dr Condoleezza Rice
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Christmas, a new ray of hope

Excerpt from the spiritual journey by Celestino Paul published by Sudan Mirror December, 2003:

"In Sudan today how difficult it is to be a brother and sister to one another, how difficult it is to say to the one who has killed your parents and children, robbed you of all your possessions and rendered you homeless. To one before whom you are nothing but a slave. Yet it is what we must say this Christmas, the day on which God himself reaffirms the equal dignity of every human being, respect and love to everyone.

Our quest for peace can be sensible if it is based on the principle of brotherhood. The argument for peace cannot be the unity of the country alone. It cannot be the improvement of the economy alone. The victorious cry for peace is: Every Sudanese is my brother and sister. The cry for war is the denial of God who created the brotherhood and himself became part of it. May this Christmas be a turning point in our history, adding a new chapter to our presence in Sudan, where we will no longer identify ourselves as Keresh (Gbaya), Ndogo, Zande, Bari, Balanda, Nuer, Dinka, Lathuho; but simply as children of God. There will be news of great joy for Sudan. May this Christmas help us to walk together in peace. May the new year be a year of life. Remember God is with us in all endeavours for peace."
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Africa, Democracy and Human Rights For All

Dr D is an Associate Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College and specialises in human rights and African politics.

Dr D's Human rights 4 all-Africa blog has interesting comments at a post discussing Africa's ability to handle democracy or not.

My view is democracy might work if all the crazy men that Africans allow to rule their countries were deposed and replaced with strong African women. Read Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's story in recent New York Times and see how Africa's first female president is ready to repay a favour.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Photo: Dr Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
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Spotlight on Darfur - Christmas Edition

Congratulations to Catez of Allthings2all in New Zealand and fellow bloggers for the Christmas Edition of Spotlight on Darfur. This post is dedicated to them and all bloggers keeping the spotlight on Darfur day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year:

Jim, Joanne and Eric at Passion of the Present
Eric Reeves
Eugene's Coalition for Darfur
Genocide Intervention Network
Bill's Jewels in the Jungle
Eddie somewhere at sea with US navy
UN Dispatch
Global Voices
Sudan Man
The Sudan Project
Loaded Mouth.

Here's wishing peace for the tribes of Sudan [click on each photo], the 200,000 refugees trapped in Chad, those in Cairo, Egypt who are protesting but not getting anywhere) - and not forgetting the Baby Mogo's of Sudan.

Who does not wish peace within a united Sudan? The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent.

God bless them and all donors, peacemakers and foreign troops and aid workers who risk their lives to provide protection, food, shelter, medicine and comfort to millions of Sudanese in need.

African Union soldier in Darfur

Further reading:

The Darfur Collection
Spotlight on Darfur 1
Spotlight On Darfur 2
Spotlight on Darfur 3

Thursday, December 22, 2005

UN Security Council to hold accountable those blocking peace in Darfur?

The U.N. Security Council has demanded that the warring parties in Darfur honor a ceasefire agreement and reaffirmed its determination to hold accountable anyone impeding the peace process and breaking the arms embargo.

The council on Wednesday welcomed the start of a new round of peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, and called on the government and rebels "to fulfill their commitments to conclude a just and full peace accord without further delay." The African Union-sponsored talks ended Dec. 7 and are not expected to resume until next year.

In a statement read at a formal meeting, the council demanded "that all parties refrain from violence and put an end to atrocities on the ground, especially those committed against civilians, including women and children, humanitarian workers, and international peacekeepers."

Full report (PA/Scotsman) 22 Dec 2005.

Annan Threat

Note, Cox & Forkum's cartoon and report on Annan Threat date back to November 19, 2004 - more than one year ago.

December 17, 2005 Eric Reeves rightly says "Khartoum Triumphant: The international community has failed to prevent, and gives no promise of punishing the ultimate crime."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ugandan LRA terrorists pose significant threat to Sudan

The UN's humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, has warned that the aid operation in Darfur is at risk because of threats to aid workers. Killings, rapes and forced displacement were continuing and the situation was deteriorating, he told the UN Security Council in a report.

Mr Egeland also warned of the "significant threat" posed by the LRA rebels in Uganda. [As noted previously here at Sudan Watch, the U.S. sees LRA as a terrorist organisation]

On Dec 21, Kuwait News Agency reported that UNICEF say the security situation in Darfur imperils over one million children and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan late on Tuesday strongly condemned the vicious attack Monday on Abu Sarouj village in West Darfur.

Chad and its links to crisis in Sudan's Darfur

Launching a report to highlight the plight of Darfur's 3 million children after nearly three years of fighting, UNICEF appealed for a political solution and far more outside aid. "Darfur is complicated enough without the Chadians getting involved," UNICEF told reporters.

See Chad Chronology and its links to crisis in Darfur. 200,000 Darfur refugees are enterting their third year trapped in UN camps in Chad.

On Dec 29, the U.S. warned that Chadian rebel groups could launch new attacks against their government's forces across the Sudanese border after a clash on Sunday that the African country said killed hundreds.

On Dec 18, Chad accused Sudan after clashes:
A Chadian minister said Sudan was "wholly responsible" for an attack allegedly launched from Sudan on the eastern town of Adre. Apparently, the raid was repulsed by the Chadian army.

Several new rebel groups have begun operating in eastern Chad recently, led by mutinous military officers who say President Idriss Deby must step down. The raid on Adre is the second attack in the area in just three days, the BBC's Stephanie Hancock in Chad reports.
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UPDATE 22 Dec 2005: Chadian rebels say poised for fresh attack. Chad urges UN to stem spread of Darfur conflict.

Chadian troops guard rebels

Photo: Chadian government troops guard rebel prisoners following an attack by Chadian rebels and army deserters on the town of Adre on the eastern border with Sudan, December 19, 2005. (Reuters)

Several hundred militia attack Abu Sarouj in Darfur - UN

Militias riding on camels and horses attacked Abu Sarouj village in the West Darfur state of Sudan on Monday.

UN statement Dec 20 says twenty people are reported to have been brutally murdered, including several women and children, in the attack involving several hundred armed militia who also burned dozens of huts and looted livestock. Excerpt:
The Secretary-General urges the Government of Sudan to take immediate measures to prevent further attacks, protect its civilian population, and to pursue those responsible. The perpetrators of this and other attacks against civilians must be brought to justice.

The Secretary-General further condemns all the violent clashes, instances of banditry and inter-tribal fighting that have continued in Darfur in recent days. He calls on the parties to the conflict in the strongest terms to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to accelerate their efforts to reach an early, negotiated settlement in Abuja.
Note, two of the victims were burnt alive when their homes were torched. Those wounded included five policemen.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people affected by the raid on Abu Sarouj brought the bodies of the victims to the provincial hospital in West Darfur's capital, El-Geneina, where the crowd ran riot and stoned a policeman to death.

Sudanese police secure Abu Shouk camp

Photo: Sudanese police secures Abu Shouk camp. Governor of Western Darfur Jaafar Abdulhakam said Dec 20 that the militia attack mentioned above targeted Abu-Saruj police stations in Kulbus locality in Western Darfur State. Policemen returned fire and several civilians were killed because of the attack, he added. (ST)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Darfur betrayed: African Union summit to be presided and hosted next month by Khartoum's genocidaires

Without public objection from any African leader, the next African Union summit is scheduled to be held in Khartoum, January 23-24, 2006.

The countries of the AU have evidently concluded that a regime guilty of massive, ongoing genocidal destruction can serve as an appropriate host for the business of Africa.

The ominous prospect of an AU summit hosted by Khartoum's genocidaires calls into question whether the African Union has fully surmounted the political challenges of replacing the corrupt and self-serving Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Read more by Eric Reeves - if your stomach and brain can take it:

Darfur Betrayed: The African Union Summit in Khartoum (January 2006); A symbol of political, military, and moral failure. - Dec 11, 2005

Ghosts of Rwanda: The Failure of the African Union in Darfur; An international abandonment of the "Responsibility to Protect" (Part 1 of 2) - Nov 13, 2005.

Ghosts of Rwanda: The Failure of the African Union in Darfur An international abandonment of the "Responsibility to Protect" (Part 2 of 2) - Nov 21, 2005.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sudanese islamist Turabi, is back on the scene

A turbaned Hassan Turabi sinks back into a large, plush sitting-room sofa, his stockinged feet barely touching the floor.

It's hard to comprehend that this aging former law professor with a chipmunk grin is the same man condemned by Western leaders as a terrorism-loving extremist and jailed repeatedly by Sudanese dictators he once helped empower.

Sudanese islamist Turabi, is back on the scene

"I'm an old man," the white-bearded Turabi, fresh out of his latest stint in prison, says with unconvincing modesty.

But behind the glinting teeth and rectangular spectacles is one of Africa's most influential Islamists, a man who has arguably had more impact on Sudan than anyone else.

Nicknamed "The Fox" at home and "The Pope of Terrorism" abroad, Turabi is climbing his way back onto Sudan's political stage, forging an opposition alliance, preparing candidates for the next election and criticizing the recently formed unity government as a failure.

Full report by Edmund Sanders, LA Times 10 Dec 2005.

Friday, December 09, 2005

China sells fighter jets to Sudanese army

China has become the top supplier of fighter-bombers to Khartoum regime, a report published in Washington revealed.

China sells fighter jets to Sudanese army

Photo: Shenyang fighter

'The Russians and Chinese from their permanent seats on the Security Council have constantly opposed moves by other members to impose sanctions or an arms embargo on Sudan.

China has sold fighter jets and helicopters to Sudan since the 1990s, while Russia sent 12 MiG jet fighters to Sudan in July 2004.

Sudan's air force recently bought $100 million worth of Shenyang fighter planes, including a dozen supersonic F-7 jets, and also purchased 34 other fighter-bombers from Beijing.

Vice-Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Caihou, said that China is ready to increase military exchanges and cooperation with the Sudan. Mohamed Ismail, deputy chief of general staff of the Sudanese armed forces was in a visit to China at the end of November.' (UPI/MENL/ST) 8 Dec 2005.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sudan Watch: Pundita's 2005 Weblog Awards

Today, I found this blog Sudan Watch listed in Pundita's 2005 Weblog Awards - quote, "for reporting on atrocities and human rights abuses in Sudan and other countries; for fingering the world's biggest scoundrels and for calling again and again to conscience."

God bless you Pundita, and thanks for highlighting the plight of the people of Darfur. Death toll now stands at 400,000 and rising - half the number of Rwanda's genocide ten years ago when the world said "Never Again".

Darfur is Rwanda in slow motion. But after 20 months of blogging Darfur, still not many people, including Africans and Arabs, are interested - even when given today's technology and free blogging tools.

It's a funny old world. What's different this time though is you can turn the other cheek but cannot say you did not know about the hellhole of Darfur.