WASHINGTON - The Darfuri Leaders Network, a broad-based alliance representing Darfuri diaspora organizations across the U.S., today urged members of the U.N. Security Council to address the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur during an upcoming special session of the council this week.
In a letter to South African U.N. Ambassador and current Security Council President Dumisani S. Kumalo, the DLN encouraged the council to ensure the full and rapid deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force; impose immediate sanctions on the Sudanese government officials accused of crimes against humanity, violation of mandatory U.N. Security Council resolutions, obstruction of UNAMID deployment and non-compliance with decisions of the International Criminal Court; and outline measurable benchmarks to evaluate Sudanese government compliance with relevant U.N. resolutions.
"Our families, friends and people in Darfur narrate to us horrifying accounts of well orchestrated atrocities and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law on a daily basis," the letter said. "We are, therefore, obliged to remind the world of the systemic attacks against civilians."
The DLN also expressed its concern over the invitation of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to address the council at the special session. Bashir has shown contempt for international law and continues to obstruct deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force. Government security forces and allied janjaweed militia have, since the beginning of 2008, killed hundreds and forcibly displaced more than 80,000 Darfuris. Additionally, government forces are responsible for recent assaults against UNAMID peacekeepers.
The full text of the letter appears below:
H. E. Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo
President of the UN Security Council
Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations
333 East 38th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016 April 16, 2008
Dear Ambassador Kumalo,
We write to you as concerned leaders of civil society organizations of the Darfuri Diaspora.
The upcoming special session of the United Nations Security Council which, among other things, is scheduled to address the situation in Darfur represents not only an opportune moment but also a compelling one for us to raise, once again, our grave concern about the perpetually murderous situation in Darfur. Our families, friends and people in Darfur narrate to us horrifying accounts of well orchestrated atrocities and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law on a daily basis. We are, therefore, obliged to remind the world of the systemic attacks against civilians; destruction of habitats and livelihoods; targeting of internally displaced persons (IDPs); removal by force of indigenous people including Fur, Tunjur, Massaleet, Zaggawa and other African sedentary farmers from their respective villages; relocation of IPDs to new areas away from their villages of origin; the repopulation of certain parts of Darfur by alien nomads from across Sudan's international borders; the use of rape of women and girls as a means of warfare as well as the abduction of women and children into forced labor and sexual slavery.
The genocidal conflict in Darfur has now endured for more than five years. As a consequence of the obdurate policy of the government of Marshal Omar Al-Bashir, numerous UN Security Council resolutions have been adopted and supported by the international community but to no avail. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted two individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. These two individuals remain at large. One of them, Mr. Ahmed Harun, was even promoted to higher position in government in total disregard to the ICC and UN Security Council resolution 1593 (2005). The AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is faltering due to obstructionist policies and actions of the government of Marshal Al-Bashir.
Inviting Marshal Omar Al-Bashir to address this special session was utterly disturbing to the Darfur Diaspora community. Marshal Al-Bashir has shown intolerable intransigence and contempt for international law and continues to do so. Since the beginning of 2008, the government security forces and the Janjaweed militia have killed hundreds of people in Darfur and forcibly displaced more than 80,000. Government agents are also responsible for a series of assaults against AU and UNAMID soldiers including the injury of a UNAMID police office near Zamzam IDP camp, North Darfur, on 9th April 2008.
The Security Council could make substantive progress toward lasting peace and security in Darfur. We therefore encourage members of the Council to undertake the following:
* Ensure full and resourceful deployment of UNAMID without further delay. This protection force is largely expected to help end the growing state of impunity and lawlessness in Darfur and thereby create conditions of security allowing civilians safely and voluntarily return to their areas of origin. The deployment of UNAMID would also help put a halt and reverse the occupation of villages by foreign settlers.
* Impose immediate sanctions on the government of Sudan including a strict embargo on export of arms to the country. The sanction regime should also target high-ranking government officials for crimes against humanity, violation of mandatory UN Security Council resolutions, obstruction of UNAMID deployment and non-compliance with decisions of the International Criminal Court.
* Work out verifiable benchmarks to evaluate Sudan's compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1769 (2007), including creating a no fly zone, disarming the Janjaweed and creating conditions conducive to the safe return of IDPs to their villages of origin.
Dear Ambassador Kumalo,
While we appreciate the spirit of openness with which you cherish a productive dialogue with Sudan but our experience tells us that the government of Sudan would eventually make every efforts to sabotage such endeavors. The upcoming Security Council special session is another opportunity for strong and proactive measures to hold the government of Sudan accountable to its horrendous spate of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur. It should also be an occasion for the world to renew its commitment to protect defenseless civilians in Darfur.
Darfur Diaspora Association-Canada
Darfur Association of Canada
Darfur Call (The Netherlands)
Ahmed M. Mohamedain
Managing Director Human Rights and Advocac
Darfur Peace and Justice Organization (Belgium)
Mohmadain Mohmad Eshak
Darfur People's Association in Belgium
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (Switzerland)
Fur Association Europe
Union of the People of Darfur in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
Darfuri Leaders Network (United States)
Darfur Alert Coalition
Darfur Association in the United States
Darfur Association of Colorado
Ahmed Adam Ali
Darfur Association of Illinois
Mohamed Abdel Rahman
Darfur Association of Nebraska
Darfur Association of Texas
Bashir Gamous Abdelrasoul
Darfur Community Organization (Nebraska)
Darfur Human Rights Organization of the U.S.
Darfur People's Association of Iowa
Darfur People's Association of New York
Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Inc.
Fur Association of North America
Fur Cultural Revival
Western Sudan Aid Relief in the U.S.
Darfur Working Group
At-Large Members of the Darfuri Leaders Network in the U.S.
Marwa Salah Eddin
Fort Wayne, Indiana