Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

Welcome to news and networking for progressive Presbyterians 

Home page

Ordination / inclusion

Health Care Reform

Immigrant rights

Search Archive
HAITI CRISIS Confronting torture The Economic Crisis Israel & Palestine About us Just for fun

News of the PC(USA)

Global & Social concerns Other churches, other faiths Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan Join us! Notes from your WebWeaver

What's Where

Our reports about the coming 219th General Assembly, July 2010

About us

The Winter 2010 issue of
Network News
is posted here
- in Adobe PDF format.

Click here for earlier issues
Adobe PDF  Click here to download (free!) Adobe Reader software to view this and all PDF files.

News of the Society
How to join us
Witherspoon's
Global Engagement Initiative

SEARCH

CONNECTIONS

Coming events calendar 

Do you want to announce an event?
Please send a note!
Food for the spirit
Book notes

Go to  Amazon.com

LINKS

NEWS of the Presbyterian Church

Got news??
Send us a note!
Social and global concerns
The U.S. political scene, 2009
The Middle East conflict
The Economic Crisis
Health Care Reform
Working for inclusive ordination
Peacemaking & international concerns
The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
Israel, Palestine, and Gaza
U. S. Politics
Election 2008
Economic justice
Fair Food Campaign
Labor rights
Women's Concerns
Sexual justice
Marriage Equality
Caring for the environment
Immigrant rights
Racial concerns
Church & State
The death penalty
The media
OTHER CHURCHES, OTHER FAITHS
Do you want regular e-mail updates when stories are added to our web site?
Just send a note!
The WebWeaver's Space
ARCHIVES
Just for fun
Want books?
Search Now:

 

Genocide in Sudan

An update on the recent elections in Sudan
[4-19-10]

From the Sudan Action Advocacy Forum, with thanks to Bill Andrus

This update specifically addresses the current status of the elections, the results of which are scheduled to be released on Tuesday April 20.

The Carter Center's monitoring team gives the following as their initial impression:

"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:

"Those looking 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 less hunger. 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.

Jesus frequently 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,

Bill Andress
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 Darfur
[12-19-08]

BBC News 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.

More >>

And for our earlier reports on Darfur and Sudan >>

Darfur update
[12-15-08]

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:

bullet

UN Panel Proposes Sudan Election Delay

bullet

2008 A Year of Failure in Darfur

bullet

Tensions Rise in Southern Kordofan

bullet

LRA Peace Remains Elusive

bullet

Northern Sudan Remains a Security State



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,

Bill

Bill Andress
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum

PS: We are experiencing problems with our website and it is not current.

------------------------------------------------

UN Panel Proposes Sudan Election Delay.

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.


2008 A 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 conflict.

(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 France-Presse, 12/07/08)


Tensions Rise in Southern Kordofan.

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, 12/7/08)

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. (various reports)


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." (Bloomberg, 12/1/08)

Save Darfur Coalition calls for ... divestment!    [4-16-07]

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 genocide.

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 in Darfur.

Best regards,

David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. Join 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 Darfur.

Sudan Advocacy Forum urges contacting Congress for action against continuing genocide in Darfur

Their message includes current information and a model letter to congressional representatives.  [10-28-05]

Sojourners calls for weekend of prayer and witness to end genocide in Darfur
[7-8-05]

From Sojourners:

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.
Click here 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.
[5-23-05]

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 effect.

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 TruthOut.org

The Washington Office provides an update on the Sudan and the crisis in Darfur.       [10-27-04]
Advocacy site for Sudan opens     [2-17-05]

The Sudan Advocacy Action Forum (SAAF) announces the launch of its new Web site at www.sudanadvocacy.com

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 Sudan.

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 Observer

FaithfulAmerica.org posted 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: www.darfurgenocide.org/success.htm

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 week.

Blessings, The FaithfulAmerica.org Team

For more information on Darfur, or to get involved in local activism, please visit www.darfurgenocide.org

 

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 government.

Click here for the rest of the story.

A plea for people of faith to act to end the killing in Darfur, Sudan
[7-16-04]

We've received this plea from FaithfulAmerica.org -- "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 Darfur:

http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M6462004431215247529555&iEvent=53987

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.

Blessings,
The FaithfulAmerica.org Team

For more information on the crisis in Darfur, or to get involved in activism in your community, please visit http://www.faithfulamerica.org/darfuraction.htm

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:
[7-16-04]

Presbyterian 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 Library Foundation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A 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 a cease-fire.

 

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 thoughtful community.

 

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 Flushing, NY.

 

John 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 up.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!

 

Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch Seminar!

GHOST RANCH SEMINAR

July 26-August 1, 2010

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
CONFRONTING THE STRUCTURES OF INJUSTICE

 

If you like what you find here,
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 this service.

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 Witherspoon  Bookkeeper:

Susan Robertson  
9650 Clover Circle
Eden Prairie, MN  55347

 

To top

© 2010 by Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  All material on this site is the responsibility of the WebWeaver unless other sources are acknowledged.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this site may be copied for personal use and sharing in small groups.  For permission to reproduce material for wider publication, please contact the WebWeaver, Doug King.  Any material reached by links on this site is outside the control and responsibility of the WebWeaver and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  Questions or comments?  Please send a note!