Mass crimes against humanity and genocide
Currently active cases: Sudan
Government-sponsored genocide in Sudan:
About 75% of the people of Sudan are Sunni Muslim. Most of the
rest are Animists and Christians.
A civil conflict started one year before Sudan gained independence in 1956. The government of the predominately Muslim north of the country promoted a major civil war in Sudan since 1983 when Government of Sudan and the Sudan's People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLAM/A) initiated hostilities.
2000-MAY-02, Newsroom 1 wrote that the conflict has
resulted in the deaths of about 2 million people, "mostly Christians and
followers of animist religions. While the conflict has many contributing causes,
religious factors are the key. 2
On the order of 2.5 million people have died to date, 4 million have been displaced and 600,000 have become refugees.
"In 1993, the Heads of State of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) became involved attempted to resolve the conflict. Twelve years later, in 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. 3
In mid 2011-JAN, a plebiscite was held in the south of Sudan to decide whether to sever Southern Sudan from the North. Voter turnout was about 80%, which is greater than the 60% needed to legitimize the referendum. An Email from the Save Darfur Coalition on 2011-JAN-20 stated that:
"... according to election monitors from the European Union, the UN referendum panel, Carter Center and other observer missions, the referendum process was peaceful, free and fair."
On JAN-23, with almost 99% of the votes counted, results showed that almost 99% of the voters favor secession of the south from the north. 15
One year later, in early 2012, Southern Sudan has separated from the rest of Sudan. Unfortunately, the separation has generated a lot of oppression of Christian groups in Sudan which is now predominately Muslim.
Some developments in the civil war, leading to a Peace Conference, and division of the country:
- 2000-MAY-1: A panel commissioned by the United States
to monitor religious freedom issued its first report...calling for measures to
be taken against China and Sudan if they fail to improve their treatment of
religious believers. The "Reading Room" section of
the website of the United States Commission on International Religious
Freedom contains the full report. 2 The Commission designated China and Sudan as "countries of particular concern:" The
Commission proposes "a comprehensive 12-month plan to significantly
strengthen the United State's response to this crisis." They also suggest
that both aid and sanctions be increased. The Commission also expressed its
concern over freedom of religion in Russia, and human rights abuses against the
Muslim population of Chechnya.
- 2001-JUN: ReligionToday reported that the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2052, the Sudan Peace Act, by
a vote of 422-2. The bill condemns human rights abuses in Sudan, and the use of
food as a weapon while encouraging support for viable civil authorities and
institutions in non-government-controlled areas. Additionally, the measure
condemns slavery and the use of enslaving parties as a means of ethnic
cleansing. The Senate passed the bill in 2001-JUL as S-180. 4 The bill would have:
Condemned slavery and human rights abuses on both sides of the
Supported an internationally sanctioned peace process.
Provides US diplomatic support.
Placed multilateral pressure on the Government of Sudan,
through the United Nations.
Required reporting on: oil field exploration, a major
fund-base for the Government of Sudan; financing by US citizens; extent of
bombing; extent of humanitarian relief actually getting to its intended
Increased relief through more organizations, and a plan for
delivering relief in the event of a ban by the US Government of Sudan. 5
According to GetActive, the bill died because the Republican Senate leadership
did not allow the Sudan Peace Act to go to conference committee. 6
2001-AUG: OFFnews.info reported:
"The reality is that more than two million Christians and animists in southern Sudan have been systematically murdered, raped, brutalized, sold into slavery and banished from their homes by forces loyal to the government of Sudan. This 18-year old genocidal campaign was spawned by the determination of the Islamic supremacists in Khartoum to liquidate what they call dhimmis (or infidels). In recent years,however, the original justification for this bloodletting has been powerfully reinforced -- and its execution underwritten -- by an insidious economic development: The Christians and animists happen to live in areas rich with oil deposits. As a result, foreign oil companies (U.S. entities are barred from doing business in Sudan) have a shared interest with the Sudanese government in getting access to such areas so as to explore and exploit their reserves. The Khartoum regime clears promising locations of the local population -- either by killing them outright, enslaving them or terrifying them into fleeing. In return, oil concerns like Talisman Energy of Canada and China National Petroleum Company provide cash flow to an otherwise impoverished government, which has stated publicly that these oil-generated proceeds are enabling it to wage war in southern Sudan." 4
- 2001-SEP: President Bush appointed Senator John Danforth as
Special Envoy to the Sudan. 7
- 2002-MAY-16, the president
asked Danforth to continue to serve as a peace envoy. 8
- 2002-OCT-7: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a
replacement bill by a vote of 359-8. It passed the Senate unanimously on OCT-9. President Bush signed the Sudan Peace Act into law on
2002-OCT-21. The Act requires the President to certify every
six months that the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement (SPLM) are negotiating in good faith. "If the President finds
that the Khartoum government is not negotiating in good faith, or has been
interfering in aid efforts, it can seek sanctions from the United Nations that
include an arms embargo, actively oppose loans and credit and take steps to deny
oil revenue." 9
The reaction of the Sudanese government was negative. "President
and Chairman of the ruling National Congress Umar Al-Bashir was quoted as
saying that the act undermines the peace efforts in his nation. 'Why should
such an act be issued at a time when we are negotiating and when we have
overcome major obstacles? ...We are saying that the objective of this act is
to ensure that the people in Sudan do not achieve peace'." 9
- 2004-APR: CNN reported that: "Earlier this month,
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency
Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland reported an organized, 'scorched-earth'
policy of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Egeland said there were credible
and frequent reports that Janjaweed militias, which are Arab and allied
to the Sudanese Government, had committed atrocities -- including
murders, rapes and acts of looting and destruction -- against local
black Africans, especially members of the Fur, Zaghawas and Massalit
Phil Cox, a British
journalist, said that he had: "witnessed
evidence of genocide in the region, including 'hastily dug graves and a
pile of bodies' in the village of Tadera. 'What I saw was village after village which has been burnt down....Usually there are bodies around the villages. There are mass graves
outside. When I say mass graves, I mean large pits in the earth, maybe
10 to 20 bodies in them, and these pits, 20 to 30 pits around the
villages." He has: "come to the
conclusion that the Sudanese government have a systematic intention of
removing many black Africans from Darfur by violent means."
The government of Sudan signed a temporary cease-fire agreement with
two main rebel groups. The agreement includes access by
humanitarian groups in to the western region of the country. Initially,
the Sudan government refused access. However,
they finally allowed UN human rights investigators to come on APR-21.
After interviewing refugees in Chad, the UN finds that "serious allegations of a troubling
nature" have been raised. 10
- 2004-JULY: For about 18 months, the war between Arab militias, which are fully integrated with the Sudanese army,
and black villagers in the Darfur region of Sudan has continued. The motivation appears to be oil which the region has in abundance. One million
residents have been displaced; over 110,000 have been forced across the border in to Chad.
On JUL-30, under American government pressure, the UN Security Council passed a
resolution which threatened diplomatic and economic sanctions unless the
Sudanese government reigns in the Arab militia within 30 days. Parallels to the
Rwanda and Bosnia genocides are obvious. 11
- 2005-JAN: A Comprehensive Peace Agreement (a.k.a. CPA, a.k.a. Naivasha Agreement) was signed on JAN-09, promising an eventual cessation of hostilities. It was "... signed between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. The Naivasha Agreement was meant to end the Second Sudanese Civil War, develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence. 12,13
- 2005-JUL-09: The Interim National Constitution (INC) was established. This marks the start of a six-year interim period
- 2011-JAN-09 to 15: The final provision in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was implemented. It is a referendum that, as passed by the people of Southern Sudan, will sever Sudan. Millions of refugees would then be expected to return to Southern Sudan from the north. 14
- 2012-JAN-20: According to the Anglican Journal:
"Christians and churches in Sudan are facing increased restrictions and hostility, since the secession of the southern part of the country six months ago, according to some church leaders.
The leaders are highlighting arrests and abduction of Christians and threats directed at clergy, while warning of more challenges when the country implements Sharia (Islamic law).
'Restrictions in Sudan are not new, but we are worried things are getting harder since the secession of the south. With Sharia law we expect things to get even harder,' the Rev. Mark Akec Cien, the Sudan Council of Churches', deputy general secretary of the told ENInews on Jan. 20 in a telephone interview.
Against the growing tensions, President Omar al-Bashir on Jan. 3 reiterated that the north's constitution will deeply entrench the law since the non-Islamic south had seceded. Around the same time, Sudan's Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment threatened to arrest church leaders if they carried out evangelistic activities, according to Compass Direct News, a service that reports on Christians' persecution.
The ministry has also been demanding names and contact places of churches, the service said. It referred to a warning letter sent to the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church on [2012-]Jan. 3 by Hamid Yousif Adam, the ministry undersecretary.
'This is a critical situation faced by our church in Sudan,' the Rev. Yousif Matar told the news service.
John Ashworth, an advisor of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum on [2012-]Jan. 19 said that this could prove very damaging for church life in Sudan. 'Christianity is now regarded as a foreign,' he said.
At the same time, fear intensified among Christians on Jan. 16 following the abduction of two Roman Catholic priests by a militia in Rabak, south of the capital of Khartoum.
Commenting on the kidnap, the Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Adwok, an auxiliary of the Khartoum Archdiocese, told ENInews the militia was demanding a ransom of 500,000 Sudanese pounds (US$180,000) to release the clerics." 16
Related essay in this website:
- Newsroom was a free
service of Worldwide Newsroom Inc. Their articles were written by "a
network of journalists, scholars and other professional contacts in country."
They were one of the ".com" failures.
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, at: http://www.uscirf.gov/
- "The background to Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement," United Nations Mission in Sudan, 2004?, at: http://unmis.unmissions.org/
- "Mission Impossible: Sudan envoy without leverage would be an exercise
in futility," Center for Security Policy, at: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/ and http://www.offnews.info/
- "Sudan Peace Act 2001," Church of the Brethren, at: http://www.brethren.org/
- "Take Action! Keep the Sudan Peace Act Alive," GetActive, at: http://ga0.org/campaign/
- "President Appoints Danforth as Special Envoy to the Sudan," The
White House, 2001-SEP-6, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
- "President Asks Danforth to Continue to Serve as Envoy to Sudan,"
The White House, 2002-MAY-16, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
- "Bush Signs Sudan Peace Act into Law,"
2002-OCT-22, AllAfrica.com, at: http://allafrica.com/
- "Probe into Sudan genocide claims," CNN International,
2004-APR-22, at: http://edition.cnn.com/
- "Sudan's odious lie," Toronto Star, 2004-AUG-15, Page
- "Comprehensive Peace Agreement," Wikipedia, as of 2010-JAN-11, at: http://en.wikipedia.org
- Text of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Republic of the Sudan: Assessment & Evaluation Commission, at: http://www.aec-sudan.org/ This is a PDF file
- "Sudanese bishop speaks about referendum, international partnerships," Anglican Journal, 2011-JAN-14, at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/
- "Provisional results show South Sudan votes to secede," Reuters, 2011-JAN-23, at: http://www.reuters.com/
- Fredrick Nzwili, "Churches in Sudan encounter more hostility after south's independence," Anglican Journal, 2012-JAN-20, at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/
Copyright © 2002 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-NOV-16
Latest update: 2012-JAN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson