Genocide in Sudan
An update on the recent elections in Sudan
Advocacy Forum, with thanks to Bill Andrus
specifically addresses the current status of the elections, the
results of which are scheduled to be released on Tuesday April
Center's monitoring team gives the following as their initial
"While it is
too early to offer a final overall assessment,
it is apparent that the
elections will fall short of meeting international standards and
Sudan's obligations for genuine elections in many
respects. Nonetheless, the elections are important as a key
benchmark in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and because
of the increased political and civic participation that has
occurred over the last several months. Ultimately, the success
of the elections will depend on whether Sudanese leaders take
action to promote lasting democratic transformation."
Carter Center Preliminary Report April 17, 2010 [emphasis added]
The Carter report
takes a long view of Sudan's elections; however, a view
anticipated by a prophetic statement issued very early in the
process suggests that the people rather than the leaders will
have the most to say about the future of Sudan:
for optimism would do better to scale back their expectations of
the polls and to look instead at the incredible resilience of
ordinary Sudanese people and the heroic efforts of a vibrant
civil society to fight for human rights, gender equality and
Inspirational leadership is more likely to come from the tens of
thousands of women and men working on a new Sudan at the
grassroots in Darfur, Jonglei and Kordofan, than from the
Islamists, generals and 'former' warlords who still run the
country." Harry Verhoeven guardian.co.uk, Monday 12 April 2010
What is critical for the Sudanese right now?
Indeed, it would appear that very little will change
immediately. That will result in disappointment for many
Sudanese who pinned their hopes on change via the ballot box.
Regardless, we believe that
at all cost the
Sudanese must avoid violence. We, whether Sudanese or
friends of the Sudanese, must all work and pray that the ongoing
phases of counting, tabulation and posting the results will be
carried out peacefully and without violent reaction from
disappointed voters. We join with those leaders who have called
for people to remain calm and demonstrate civility during the
elections process and beyond because it is only peace that will
take Sudan forward in the future.
said to his disciples: "Don't be frightened. No matter what,
don't be afraid." God is sovereign; His love is certain; and,
His justice will be done! Recognizing this, we encourage all
Sudanese and friends of Sudanese to
pray, and pray hard, and
to avoid any violence.
In His Service,
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
"I hereby command
you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed;
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
|"Thousands Made Slaves" in
reports that a recent study shows strong evidence of children and
adults being used as slaves in Sudan's Darfur region. Kidnapped men
have been forced to work on farmland controlled by Janjaweed
militias, the Darfur Consortium says. Eyewitnesses also say the
Sudanese army has been involved in abducting women and children to
be sex slaves and domestic staff for troops in Khartoum.
And for our
earlier reports on Darfur and Sudan >>
Bill Andress, of the
Sudan Advocacy Forum, provides the latest update on the situation in Sudan
and Darfur -- with continuing genocide, but some bits of hope
The main topics in this update:
Dear Friends of the Sudanese People,
I know that you
sometimes feel that things in Sudan are depressing and never will improve.
And, sometimes I feel the same. However, while the genocide continues in
Darfur, at least there has been no open warfare between the Government of
Sudan and the people of Southern Sudan for almost four years. People live
who would not if that war had continued. There is incremental improvement in
health and education programs in southern Sudan. For this, we praise God. I
am reminded of lines from an old American war song, "Praise the Lord and
pass the ammunition." But now I think it means, Praise the Lord and continue
to seek progress using all means available to us. Pray for Sudan!
In His Service,
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
PS: We are experiencing problems with our website and it
is not current.
UN Panel Proposes Sudan
A UN panel of experts has suggested that Sudan delay
elections due for July 2009 by at least four months, a senior UN official
said, noting that it would be impossible to run an election during Southern
Sudan's long rainy season. Conducting the elections prior to the rainy
season would be problematic given delays in setting up key electoral
legislation and bodies like the recently created electoral commission. Any
delay could face opposition from southerners worried that they may also have
to wait longer for a referendum on southern secession, promised in 2011
under the same north-south peace deal. Both northern and southern leaders
have so far publicly stressed the poll will take place before the July 2009
deadline. (Reuters, 11/28/08)
SAAF Note. Other issues such as settling boundary disputes
and acceptance of the recently completed census results remain before
elections can be held.
Year of Failure in Darfur.
Darfur ends 2008 more dangerous than ever with the UN
mission unable to protect civilians and a possible war crimes indictment
against Sudan's president casting a pall over 2009.
(1) "Genocide continues" was the blunt comment this week
from International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is
seeking an arrest warrant against President Omar al-Beshir over the six-year
(2) Hopes that the United Nations could bring some measure
of stability to the western Sudanese region by assuming control of
peacekeeping have been disappointing as the mission struggles to find its
footing. By the end of November it had deployed just 12,163 troops and
police, less than half its total planned strength of 26,000.
(3) An "unconditional" ceasefire declared by Beshir in
November as part of diplomatic efforts to stall international legal moves
against him was ineffective, and fighting and bombing has continued. (Agence
Tensions Rise in
Deployment of 6 battalions of the Sudanese Armed Forces
into Southern Kordofan raised tension in the volatile, energy-rich area of
central Sudan. The SPLM condemned the move as a violation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement while the Government of Sudan confirmed the
move noting that it was designed to ward off potential attacks by the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel group. (Reuters,
SAAF Note: Abyei, the flashpoint region which was the
scene of fighting six months ago is in Southern Kordofan. A fragile peace
exists in the town and area with most former residents unwilling to return.
LRA Peace Remains Elusive.
LRA leader Joseph Kony for the fourth time this year, on
November 30, refused to sign the Final Peace Agreement after agreeing to do
so. Indications are that Uganda and Southern Sudan continue to seek peace.
Northern Sudan Remains
a Security State.
SAAF Note: Recent reports, two of which appear below,
reinforce the view that northern Sudan is still an arbitrary, security state
and little has changed since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement of 2005.
• UN rights boss slams dissident detentions in Sudan. The UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights reported that Sudanese authorities routinely
arrest and detain political dissidents illegally and subject many to
mistreatment and torture. Furthermore, women, children and relatives of
criminal suspects are also arbitrarily detained by Sudanese police,
intelligence, and military forces. Excerpts from the report note:
"Ill-treatment and torture are repeatedly used to intimidate detainees, to
punish them, to extract information or to force them to incriminate
themselves or others," it said. "In some cases death threats are made
against detainees prior to their release to prevent them from speaking out
about the abuses they suffered in detention." (Reuters, 11/28/08)
• Sudan Government Orders Demolition of 10,000 Houses in Slum.
Sudan's government ordered the destruction of as many as 10,000 homes in a
slum outside the capital, Khartoum, as part of an urban planning program, a
local administration official said. However, the legal aid coordinator at
the Khartoum Center for Human Rights and Environmental Development, said the
removal of residents was one of a series of incidents in which the
government was clearing land to sell to investors. "After people have been
living a long time in a certain area, after the land becomes of value, the
government doesn't care about where people go and how they will get
services," Agab said by phone from Khartoum. "They just kick people out."
Save Darfur Coalition calls for ... divestment!
This announcement comes from
the Save Darfur Coalition, an
alliance of over 180 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations
whose mission is to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in
Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the atrocities that threaten
the lives of more than two million people in the Darfur region.
Have you heard of divestment? It's one of the key tactics
that was successfully used to end apartheid in South Africa.
It refers to the act of withdrawing investments from
companies that support the genocide in Darfur by doing business with the
government of Sudan and offers a powerful way to put economic pressure on
the Sudanese government to cooperate with international efforts to end the
The good news is that divestment is already taking place
in the United States. Eight courageous states
(California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon,
Vermont) have enacted divestment resolutions that will withdraw the states'
pension funds from any companies doing business with Sudan.
The bad news is that the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC)
is trying to stop them!The NFTC recently
successfully challenged Illinois's state divestment law in court, arguing
that the state of Illinois was violating the Constitution by trying to
conduct its own foreign policy in opposition to federal foreign policy.
Please help secure the rights of states to fight the
genocide in Darfur by urging your Senators to support a new bill that would
stop the NFTC's attacks.
Click here to send a message to your Senators now.
This new bill, the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act,
would make clear that state divestment is perfectly in line with U.S.
foreign policy, thereby rendering the NFTC's argument moot, and protecting
Illinois and other states from similar lawsuits. No state should be
obligated to invest its citizens' retirement funds in genocide.
Please help make sure that your state has the right to
fight the genocide in Darfur.
Click here now to contact your Senators to urge them to
support this new bill.
Once you've sent your message, please help us spread the
word by forwarding this message to your friends, family and co-workers and
ask them to join you.
Thank you again for your dedication to ending the violence
Save Darfur Coalition
Global Days for Darfur, a global week of rallies, marches and
vigils from April 23rd to April 30th.
Click here to find or host an event in your community and help
call attention to the fact that time is running out for the people of
Forum urges contacting Congress for action against continuing genocide
Their message includes current
information and a model letter to congressional representatives.
Sojourners calls for weekend of prayer and witness to end
genocide in Darfur
Join Us This Weekend to End Genocide in Darfur
Since the Darfur genocide began in 2003, up to 400,000 people have lost
their lives. More than two and a half million people have been displaced,
their livelihoods and villages destroyed by government forces and their
proxy militias, and many thousands of women and girls have been raped. The
religious community in the United States has the power to help end the
genocide and quell the humanitarian crisis that has come in its wake. We
only need to make our voices heard.
This weekend, people all over the country will be joining together in
prayer and political witness to call for an end to the genocide in Darfur.
We invite you to join us by attending a service near you.
Click here to
search and sign up for an event near you.
for more information on Sunday's service in Washington, DC.
Click here to learn
how to organize a Darfur event.
Please join us, in your hometown or in ours, in raising our voices to
give real meaning to the words Never Again.
Peace, Adam, Katie, and Matt
The Sojourners Organizing Team
CIA's close relationship with Sudan's government enables
genocide there to continue.
Religious groups from left to right
have been deeply concerned about the genocidal killing that continues in
Darfur, in the western area of Sudan. The US government has joined many
others in the UN in calling for an end to the killing – so far, to little
Nat Hentoff of The Village Voice now reports (based
on earlier reporting by the Los Angeles Times) that "the CIA, with
the blessings of the Bush administration, is closely connected to the
horrifying government of Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, the
head perpetrator of the ongoing genocide in Darfur." So while the White
House offers humanitarian aid, it has not supported stronger action against
the Sudanese government because it is working in partnership with Bashir to
gain more intelligence information in its "war on terror."
Read this report in
The Village Voice, or in
|The Washington Office provides
an update on the Sudan and the crisis in
Advocacy site for Sudan opens
The Sudan Advocacy Action
Forum (SAAF) announces the launch of its new Web site at
Sharing news and advocacy information on
Sudan, the site is a ministry of The Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, organized
as a Christian grassroots effort to advocate for a just and lasting peace in
SAAF is comprised of dedicated individuals
with complementing skills who have come together to increase advocacy
efforts and outreach focused on Sudan. Rapid growth of SAAF has come through
the PCUSA, Reformed Church in America, and individual congregations of other
denominations and non-denominational groups. While SAAF gets administrative
support from the Presbyterian Church (USA), it is an ecumenical group
primarily of Christians united in the same goal to work together to achieve
a just and lasting peace in Sudan.
The SAAF site promises situation updates,
prayer requests, lobbying and other action steps, and guidance for
contributions. Individuals who want to follow Sudanese advocacy more
actively can sign up for emailed reports and updates from the Website.
|US Congress names Darfur a
case of genocide
But it's complicated, adds The
this announcement on Saturday, July 24:
Wonderful news! Late last night, shortly before they adjourned until
September, the US House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed
resolutions designating Darfur a genocide and calling on the US government
to stop the killing, including through a possible intervention.
The situation in Congress was "touch and go" until the last minute with
several members threatening to water it down or block the vote. So the more
than 52,000 messages sent by
FaithfulAmerica.org members came at just the right time. Huge
congratulations to everyone; we really made a difference. You can read the
resolutions and relevant press coverage here:
These resolutions give us a powerful bipartisan mandate to push the US
government to act.
Yet while a significant victory, this means little until we see real
change on the ground to save lives. Unfortunately, the situation in Darfur
is getting worse. The people of Darfur are still praying that we will answer
God's call to aid our brothers and sisters in distress.
We must redouble our efforts, and make sure this is not a summer we
remember with regret. We hope to get a plan of action to you early next
Blessings, The FaithfulAmerica.org Team
For more information on Darfur, or to get involved in local activism,
But since life is never simple, you may want to
look at this report, too:
Darfur's deep grievances defy all hopes for an easy solution
The report begins:
Darfur, the war-torn province in western Sudan where a terrible
humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, has yet more awful secrets to
divulge. In addition to 1.2 million displaced people living and dying in
refugee camps in the region and across the border in neighbouring Chad,
there are hundreds of thousands more struggling to survive in their homes in
the vast areas held by the rebel movements fighting against the Khartoum
Click here for the rest of the story.
|A plea for people of faith to act to end the killing in
We've received this plea from
"an online community of
people of faith who want to build a more just and compassionate nation."
In Darfur, Sudan, 1,000 people are dying every day, and
that number is rising. Over one million black
Africans have been bombed and burnt out of their villages, and their crops
and water supplies destroyed by Arab "Janjaweed" militias. The
Government-backed Janjaweed surround the refugee camps and block life-giving
food and medicine getting through. Anyone leaving is raped or killed.
The US Government estimates that 370,000 human beings are
already dead or certain to die of starvation in these extermination camps.
Up to 1 million could die within the next few months.
As people of faith and members of the human family, we
cannot let this horror continue. Our government's response so far has been
slow and weak. Only an immediate international humanitarian intervention to
protect the people of Darfur and ensure aid gets to them will stop the
slaughter. Click below to send a fax to
Congress telling them to vote for the bi-partisan House and Senate
Resolutions demanding the US take these actions to stop the genocide in
We must act now. The people of Darfur need
a miracle, and are praying for it.
We must ask ourselves whether we are the
instruments through which that miracle can happen.
Just click here to send a fax to your representative and senators.
The faith community has mobilized to
address this moral outrage. Daily, peaceful protests at the Sudanese Embassy
in Washington DC have echoed protest tactics used against Apartheid in South
Africa. Religious leaders, celebrities and political leaders are being
arrested each day in acts of civil disobedience, including Reverend Bob
Edgar, Congressman Charlie Rangel, and actor Danny Glover.
The FaithfulAmerica.org Team
For more information on the crisis in
Darfur, or to get involved in activism in your community, please visit
Do you know of other information
or actions to deal with this crisis?
Please send a note,
and we'll share it here!
|For more information:
Disaster Assistance has provided $100,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing and
designated funds to help in the relief efforts.
Click here to read the latest report, and to send your own contribution.
The U.S. can
help end the genocide in Darfur
Writing in the Boston Globe, John Shattuck says
that it's very late, but still not too late for the United States to act to
stop the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. First we must put aside
partisan differences, for many conservatives (including conservative
Christians) are already acting to help in the situation, and others can join
them. Second, we must push for strong international action - and the recent
visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell suggests that he can be urged to
exercise strong leadership, both in Washington and in the UN.
And finally, he says, " we should recognize this as an
opportunity for the United States to begin to reestablish its role in the
world as a defender of human rights."
John Shattuck, author of Freedom on Fire: Human
Rights Wars and America's Response, is CEO of the John F. Kennedy
background report: Ethnic cleansing in Darfur threatens peace
negotiations in Sudan
Leon Spencer, in an article posted by the Presbyterian
Washington Office, traces the complex roots of the current crisis in Sudan,
and especially in the area of Darfur.
In one grim sentence he sums it up: "It is the classic
situation of Sudan: political marginalization, a mono-cultural approach to a
multi-cultural reality, insecurity, severe underdevelopment, religious
persecution, and human rights abuses."
He sees some hope in growing international involvement in
the situation - by the UN and the African Union - and tentative steps toward
Some blogs worth visiting
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog
for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship and activism,
Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of
feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students,
exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and
devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in
whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Witherspoon’s Facebook page
Mitch Trigger, Witherspoon’s
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views, or initiate
a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot
Theological and philosophical reflections on
everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing,
religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture,
travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the
Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as
pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs
about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and
disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!
Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch
GHOST RANCH SEMINAR
July 26-August 1, 2010
ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
CONFRONTING THE STRUCTURES OF INJUSTICE
If you like what you find
we hope you'll help us keep this website going ... and growing!
Please consider making a special
contribution -- large or small -- to help us continue and improve
Click here to send a
gift online, using your credit card, through PayPal.
Or send your check, made
out to "Witherspoon Society" and marked "web site," to our
9650 Clover Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55347