Entries tagged with “Omar al-Bashir”.


Is it possible to have both peace and justice at the same time? Yes, but not always.

We have some great historical examples of where peace reigned and justice prevailed. Tragically, there are probably more examples of when this didn’t occur.

The most recent and relevant is related to Sudan and the ongoing extermination of the Darfuri people.

What are Peace & Justice?

PeaceFor our purposes, peace is a freedom from civil disturbance a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom or a state or period of mutual concord between governments as in a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity. (Webster)

Justiceis the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness and equity. (Wikipedia)

So in the case of Darfur, peace would be the absence of conflict, improved security and safety around refugee camps, and a return of the refugees to their original homes without a fear of violence.  Justice would be the prosecution and imprisonment of individuals involved in illegal activities, such as rape, murder, pillaging, arson, and other similar atrocities.

Advocates around the world have been actively seeking a combination of the two to occur in the Texas sized province of Darfur in Western Sudan.  However, at times their actions and advocacy have not always aligned with the best interests of the refugees and aid workers.  I am just as guilty as the next advocate in this instance.  We have been advocating for peace since 2003 and haven’t had any real success in that regard.

Governments around the world took action… but failed the people of Darfur with their token responses.  We send peacekeepers without proper equipment, underfund them, and understaff them – setting them up for failure yet again.  What is the purpose of documenting atrocities instead of preventing them?  Yes, you must document a crime to prosecute it… but how many must die in the process?

In the past few weeks the International Criminal Court issued an indictment for the President of Sudan.  The first time such an indictment has been issued for a sitting head of state.  It may also be the first time that it is clearly a head of state allowing crimes against humanity and war crimes to occur.  Read more at the ICC’s Darfur Page.

This indictment was a clear step toward justice and holding an individual accountable for the actions they knowingly allowed to occur.  The debate in many circles is… was that a wise move?

I don’t know claim to know everything but there definitely are some problems related to this.  Everyone knew that after the indictment all the humanitarian aid workers would be either kicked out or harrased and that came to pass.  Everyone also knew that the indictment is almost impossible to enforce – Sudan and many of its closest allies are not signators (nor is the US) on the charter of the ICC.  This means that we and they have no responsibility to act on its warrants.  The president is fairly safe to travel around within those countries without risking arrest.  It is almost impossible to arrest him in Sudan because he has popular support within the capital and much of north Sudan.

So why go after justice knowing that it will be hard to serve and create everything but peace? I agree it should give Darfuri people hope that ultimately justice will be served and their death and suffering will be vindicated.  I can’t imagine that will mean much as they continue to suffer each day.

Jim Wallis gives a clear account of what has happened since the ICC indictment:

Over the past few weeks, 13 international humanitarian organizations have been expelled from Sudan at the dictate of Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan. These actions came soon after the International Criminal Court handed down an indictment of al-Bashir and issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur. As a result, 1.1 million Darfuris are without food, 1.5 million without health care, and more than 1 million without access to clean drinking water. If there was any doubt as to whether or not he was truly acting in the best interest of his people, his use of food and water as weapons of war show that he just does not care about the people of Darfur.

and continues

With the expulsion of these humanitarian organizations, al-Bashir has shown that he has no interest in the well-being of the people of Darfur or in bringing piece. These actions show that once again there comes a time when a political leader has so violated standards of international law and morality that he should no longer be treated as a sovereign, even in his own country, but as a criminal. Actions like this show that he should no longer be president, but prosecuted and brought to justice like the international fugitive of the law he now is. If he was serious about peace and progress, the first thing he should do is welcome the aid organizations back into his country, and without that he has ensured that this warrant will be pursued.

There is no doubt that if we continue to watch there will be neither peace nor justice.  We must act for both. Hoping and praying that somewhere along the way somebody with power will stand up and say ENOUGH and take immediate action that will end the pain and suffering of millions of innocent children, women, and men.

Other good reads include

ICC Not as stupid as the cynics may have thought

If Not Peace, Then Justice

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The deadly genocide in Darfur has continued pretty much unabated, despite growing pressure from the world community.  Sudanese President al-Bashir continues to encourage the violence despite repeated promises for peace and security.  He continues to stonewall and prevent UN troops from entering the region and expects the 7,000 African Union troops to provide security for an area the size of Texas! Already about 400,000 men, women, and children have been killed while over 2 million have been forced to leave their homes. This is sad and ridiculous.

Here are a few videos you can watch and then a few links to actions that you can take to try and help stop this horrific atrocity.

Genocide Intervention Network

Save Darfur

Sudan Divestment Task Force

24 Hours for Darfur

World Vision

Fort Wayne’s Darfur Peace & Development Org

There are so many more resources.  Please take a moment and take an action that has the chance of saving so many lives.

How many more need to die before we take action?

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Rubenstein, Save Darfur Coalition;
Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:46 PM
Subject: Breaking News: Cease-Fire Agreement in Darfur
To: me

Dear Nick,

I want to share some important news from Khartoum. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson just released a joint statement with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir that, if implemented, would bring some immediate security and relief to the people of Darfur as well as provide a clear path forward to long-term peace in the region.

We asked Governor Richardson to travel to Sudan to discuss ways to secure peace in Darfur and to end the genocide. The Governor was accompanied by Save Darfur Senior International Coordinator Ambassador (ret.) Lawrence Rossin, Refugees International Executive Director Kenneth Bacon, and Public and International Law and Policy Group senior attorney Amjad Atallah. Since Sunday, when they arrived in Khartoum, Governor Richardson and the delegation have visited Darfur and participated in a variety of meetings with government officials, rebel leaders, humanitarian officials, AU commanders and UN officials.

The promises from President Bashir in this agreement are encouraging. They include commitments to:

  • A 60-day ceasefire with an international peace summit to be held before March 15, 2007.
  • Sudan’s cooperation to work with the African Union and United Nations on the deployment of a hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur.
  • Ensuring “zero tolerance” policies for gender-based violence in Darfur.
  • Free access for humanitarian aid workers and journalists.

Click here to read the full joint statement and the press release.

Your concerns for the people of Darfur were voiced directly to President Bashir by Governor Richardson and Ambassador Rossin. We believe that today’s agreement offers a promising step forward to end this four-year nightmare for the people of Darfur. By no means, however, has the genocide ended.

We call urgently upon Sudan, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Bush Administration to make these promises become a reality for the long-suffering people of Darfur.

We must demand that the international community take advantage of this dramatic progress. Your help in this effort will be vital in the months ahead.

Thank you for your contribution to these new developments.

Best regards,

David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition

The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of over 175 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. To learn more, please visit http://www.SaveDarfur.org.


To unsubscribe from the Save Darfur Coalition email list, visit this link.

http://www.savedarfur.org



If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has his foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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