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The U.S. was put in a difficult diplomatic position this week as ICC indictee and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced his intent to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. An agreement between the U.S. and the UN legally requires the U.S. to issue Bashir a visa and facilitate his travel. Although it might seem like restrictive international laws have created this problem, some activists see law as also offering the solution. Read More »
WASHINGTON --- 25 Sudan experts, human rights groups, and leading voices on genocide prevention, including George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Omer Ismail and John Prendergast of the Enough Project released a letter addressed to President Obama today, calling on the U.S. government to do everything possible to dissuade President Bashir from travelling to New York City for next week's U.N. meetings.
Don Cheadle, Co-Founder of Not on Our Watch, said:
"Each time that President Bashir is allowed to travel freely, without the threat of arrest, is another blow to accountability and justice for his victims. The legal issues involved in Bashir's travel to the U.N. are complicated, but we hope that the U.S. and other countries do everything in their power to prevent this trip."
Citing the 2007 Genocide Accountability Act, which allows for the prosecution of genocidaires who are in the United States, even if their crimes were committed abroad, the letter urges the administration to announce that it will open a criminal prosecution once Bashir lands. While the letter acknowledges that the U.S. is generally obliged to facilitate travel for all visiting dignitaries, since it plays host to the United Nations, it goes on to outline a number of other diplomatic steps that the administration could be taking to dissuade President Bashir from persisting with his travel plans.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project, said:
"If Bashir ends up coming to the U.S. despite the administration's best efforts to convince him otherwise, all legal channels should be explored for prosecuting him under existing authority. His visit also highlights the deadly conflicts continuing to rage in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile regions of Sudan. President Obama should lead efforts at the U.N. General Assembly meetings to construct a credible and comprehensive peace process."
It is troubling that Sudan's president continues to travel around the world with impunity, notwithstanding a pending warrant for his arrest at the Hague. Now, he might even come to New York just as Sudan is facing some of the worst violence the region has seen in years. Human rights lawyers are investigating civil litigation to hold the Sudanese president accountable for his crimes and hope to serve him once he steps on U.S. soil. Meanwhile, activists are mobilizing on Capitol Hill, planning protests in New York City and warning Manhattan hotels against offering him accommodation.
The letter notes that if President Bashir attends next week's opening session at the U.N., it will be the first time that anyone who is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court has entered the country. It will also be President Bashir's first trip to the United States since 2006. Since then, at least 300,000 people have died in Sudan while millions more have been displaced from their homes.
# The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
The Enough Project is excited to announce its’ partnership with One Million Bones, a large-scale social arts practice founded by Naomi Natale that uses education and art to raise awareness of genocide and mass atrocities. From June 8-10, 2013, they are hosting an installation on the National Mall as a unique symbol of our common humanity and a call to action, followed by an Advocacy Day hosted by the Enough Project. The installation will consist of one million “bones,” made by activists around the country and meant to symbolize and honor lives lost through genocide and those still under threat in current crises. Read More »
A new Small Arms Survey report released last week cites evidence of external support of the White Army. After conducting research in Akobo, Likuongole, and the area surrounding Pibor town, Small Arms Survey found evidence of linking the White Army to weapons and ammunition identical to those used by both the SPLA and prominent rebel groups in South Sudan. Read More »
The Rt. Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, a Nuban community leader who goes by Bishop Andudu, serves as the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, the capital of the conflict-torn region of South Kordofan, Sudan. He recently responded to questions on Clooney's capacity to focus the attention of worldwide media and senior policymakers in Washington, D.C., on the plight of the Nuba people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile who face a campaign of indiscriminate bombardment and starvation by the Sudanese government. Read More »
As part of swell in attention to the ongoing crisis in the Nuba Mountains from Sudan seasoned advocates in Congress, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) delivered a speech on the House floor yesterday calling on the U.S. government to increase efforts to address the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the embattled state of South Kordofan. Read More »
Last week, the coalition known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, comprised of Darfuri rebel movements, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, and the Beja Congress, met with two prominent Sudanese opposition parties to discuss their common goal of overthrowing the regime in Khartoum.
The efforts of Sudan’s opposition parties to build a cohesive political strategy is wise, particularly if the coalition hopes to court international support for its fierce opposition to the NCP-led Khartoum regime. Read More »
“Al-Bashir to the ICC! Al-Bashir to the ICC!” The call-and-response rang out this morning as hundreds of people marched towards the Sudanese embassy to stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan and demand that its government abandon their weapons of mass starvation.
In the culminating event for the national day of action for Sudan, actor and activist George Clooney was joined by his father, Nick Clooney, Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, and an inspiring line-up of U.S. Congressmen, human rights activists, and faith leaders. Read More »
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime advocate for Sudan and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, just returned from a trip to South Sudan. In this guest blog post, he reflects on his visit, which he says reinforced his strong view that international action must be taken to curb Sudanese President Bashir. Read More »