*Darfur Union in the UK – Darfur Report 2017-2018:- Will 2018 Brings a Renewed Hope for Peace in Sudan under Bashir? Thus far… Darfur Begs to Differ*
Prepared by Osama Mahmoud
The past calendar year was a tough one for our beloved Sudan. The year 2017 was a leap one in the literal and metaphorical senses. It was christened and ended with waves of violence and aggression by the government of Sudan against the civilians across the country, in the capital, major cities, towns, localities and villages. Before getting into the listing of atrocities and the failures of the international community to apply pressure on Bashir regime, one has to talk about the way the government of Sudan (GoS) reacted to the peaceful demos across the country on the wake of the ongoing economic turmoil in Sudan.
GoS ordered the troops to use excessive force to dismantle the Demos accords Sudan. However, and as per usual the use of force reach the level of shoot to kill in West Darfur, El-Geneina once again where a student, El-Zubair Sukairan was killed and many were between injuries and detained across the country among which Darfur Bar Association Chairperson Mohamed Abdella Adoma and 160 other detainee since the 17th of January 2018. Darfur in general and the west region in particular has been marked as a focal point for all the GoS atrocious activities over the of the last two years and the scale was tipped after the normalisation of some aspects of relationship between the western powers and government.
The direction taken by the GoS have cemented their approach towards the issue of Sudan in Darfur since 2003, which was kill kill kill, cause fear, displace the native population and subsequently cause a forced demographic change in the region. Accumulation of crimes over the last 15 years had lead to the indictment of the only sitting president in the world, Bashir, by the international criminal court (ICC), and the criminal is still at large and the world is standing still.
To add insult to injury, the Trump administration could have not step in of the White House with out granting the perpetrators of Sudan their first wish which is a step towards normalisation of relation with the regime. The baby steps started with a proposal that carries the uplifting of some of the monitory sanctions against the Sudan. The move was based on the “improvement of the humanitarian situation in war zones including west Darfur and most importantly it was based on the full collaboration of the government of Sudan with the US in regards to intelligence exchange and providing access to information about terror suspects etc.. All of that and both the current US administration is fully aware of the extent of GoS involvement in funding the very war the administration is fighting; and not to mention the Never Again slogan that is pledged by the US, UK, EU and other powers to the Diaspora (Darfuri/Sudanese) and it was never fulfilled.
Nonetheless, while seeking/ waiting for international community to act and to fulfil its pledges to the people of Sudan in Darfur, the ultimate goal is for our people to have one voice and also to gather all their efforts to face the adversity to gain our freedom.
The following is a listing of crimes, atrocities, setbacks committed by the government of Sudan against the people of Sudan in Darfur and the region marginalised students in 2017. The list is far from comprehensive. However it captures the major events which surfaced to the media. They are listed in an approx. chronological order.
a) The First of January 2017 Marks the First Atrocity Committed by the Government of Sudan in Central Darfur. The residents of Nertiti and its localities have welcomed the new year with much sadness and sorrow. Reports from Central Darfur region (01 January 2017) are just in stating that the Janjaweed militias backed by the government of Sudan troops entered the town of Nertiti killing 11 and injuring 24 civilians
b) From Central to West Darfur, Same Crime Different Day; El-Geneina is the Crime Scene This Time. On the 5th of January 2017, a Janjaweed militia entered Hai Eljabal, specifically district Square 7, El-Geneina, West Darfur, and to the surprise of the locals there, the militia carried an unprovoked attacked on the civilians killing 6 and injuring 12.
c) Bashir and his Janjaweed are Fighting Education in Darfur by All Means Necessary. On the eve of the 1st of February, the two female teachers were kidnapped to an area outskirt of Addar. They were raped by two arm militia men, and then they were dropped near their place if residency by the two armed militia men.
d) UK – Sudan Relations – Interests vs. Atrocities and Human Rights Abuses. The verdict is in and the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group ) inquiry report regarding the future of UK- Sudan relations was published on Tuesday 21st February 2017; it is a worth reminder that ca. 40 organisations, individual and governments across the world have submitted written and oral evidence with regards to the relationship. Darfur Union in the UK was one of the organisations to summit evidence which argued against the continuing of bilateral relationship between Her Majesty’s Government and the Government of Sudan (lead by the ICC indictee Omer Al-Bashir).
e) Darfur Union In the UK Commemorated the 8th Anniversary of Bashir Indictment by International Criminal Court (ICC) in Leicester on the 4th March 2017. This was a big event by all means. It was a stand to send a strong message to our people and the whole world, justice will prevail regardless of the timelines and the power of the perpetrators. It is a reminder that Omer Bashir, the sitting president of Sudan, has been indicted by the ICC for crimes committed under his commands, that counts for the following:
5 counts for crimes against humanity
2 counts of war crimes
3 counts of genocide
f) Torture of British journalist and his translator in Sudan. Channel 4 News has aired 1st and 2nd parts of Phil Cox & Daoud Hari journey into Darfur to investigate GoS human rights abuses. Below is a good summary and useful links put together by Waging Peace team. Please help us spread the word..
g) GoS Claims of ‘Absolute Security’ in Darfur is a Farce, Kidnapping, Forced Displacement and Demographic Changes are Ongoing. Last week, it was yet a another kidnapping of a prominent figure in North Darfur. On Wednesday, the 19th of April, and just after the sunset, Abdelrahman Abdullahi Hassan Daldam, a lawyer, was kidnapped in Elamiria district, Kabkabia.
h) April 2017 – Dismantling of IDP in Gereida, South Darfur
Two days ago, and under the orders of Adam Elfakki, the Governor of South Darfur, IDP camps in Gereida were to transform into mini villages and the IDP will be given residency there or if they decided against the decision they have to evacuate the area immediately without any guidance or means of travel. In other words there is no choice but to agree with the plan. Also in the northern part of Darfur, the Muzbad Locality, is labelled by the GoS as the next target of forced displacement, followed by demographic changes. The area belonged mainly to native Zaghawa people (African tribe) for decades living with other tribes in peace. Now the area is been designated as a stretch of the RSF reward lands by the GoS.
i) Horrific Rape Crimes continue in Darfur – This Time, it was a 13 Years Old Girl Rapped by GoS Militia. Fadna Adam Mohammed, a 13 years old girl, was walking with her sister in the outskirt of Kabkabia, North Darfur, on Tuesday the 25th of April 2017, to gather some firewood fuel for cooking. Their journey was intercepted by Rapid Speed Force militia men. Fadna was brutally rapped by more than one person and at the end one of the RSF militia men stabbed Fadna with a sharp object on her private area. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/darfurunionuk.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/darfur-union-in-the-uk-horrific-rape-crimes-continue-in-darfur-this-time-it-was-a-13-years-old-girl-rapped-by-gos-militia/amp/
j) May 2017: Prosecution of our People by the GoS will never Deter The Masses from Pursuing Justice. Darfur Union in the UK is a civil body and an advocate of peace (true peace that is aligned with justice for the victims) and uses the stand to call upon all the parties to exercise restrain and to end the war now. Also the union calls the international community to make sure the GoS is not prosecuting the POW and to put pressure on the government to treat the POW according the Geneva Convention 1949 (Article 60 – The Treatment of Prisoners of War, ref.1)
The track record of the GoS and POW is not a good one since the days of the war waged by the Bashir against the people of the then the South, to the days of May 2008 and 2015 when POW were killed in South Darfur in captivity at the hands of GoS militias.
Also the union call upon the international community and the UNAMID forces on the ground to protect the civilians of the region, as the GoS and their militias tend to justify more heinous actions and retaliation especially after they suffered diplomatic humiliation after the de-invite of Bashir to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum on the back of the statement issued by the US Embassy in Khartoum (ref. 2). GoS continues to harbour terrorists and also it provides access and route for radicalised individuals from EU and other part of the world to reach the shores of ISIS (ref. 3).
Ref. 1: Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (Article 60)
Ref. 2: U.S. Embassy Khartoum Reiterates that the United States has made its Position with Respect to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s Travel Clear
Ref. 3: UK – Sudan Relations – Interests vs. Atrocities and Human Rights Abuses
k) 30 April 2017:- Heinous Murder and Rape Crimes of Two Sisters:-Three sisters were on their way out of Zamzam IDP camp to gather firewoods so that they could sell the fuel to feed their family. Their journey was intercepted by three Janjaweed men who wanted to rape them. The sisters tried to flee first then they attempted to defend one another. One of the sisters, Um Eldor Osman Issa, was killed after she was slaughtered from ear to ear, and her sister Mariam, was stabbed five times with a sharp object on her private area. She is now in the intensive care unit at Elfashir Hospital. The third sister managed to flee and she reported the atrocious crimes to her relatives and the elders of Zamzam IDP camp. The latter gathered and went to the crime scene and started to follow the footsteps of the perpetrators, and they ended up five kilometres away from the crimes scene at an Arab village called Bobai. The Sheikh of the village, Reefa Abdel Allah Reefa, refused to hand the perpetrators to the authority nor to help the victims. The relative of the victims contacted the authorities, from police and local government to the head of the North Darfur state, with no response because the criminals belong to the Janjaweed who exercise more power than the local police. The crimes took place on Sunday, 30th April 2017.
l) 30 April 2018:- Forced Displacement of more than 40,000 Civilians in Darfur:- Ain Siro and the nearby villages, North Darfur, were subjected to raids by the rapid speed force (RSF) government militia after the fighting broke a few weeks ago. As a result of this, more than 40,000 civilians were forced to flee the area and they are now living in trouble conditions, and are in much need medical attention, food and shelter. The crime is a continuation of violence against the people of the region to clear the lands of the natives to bring new settlers to occupy the region at all cost to reach the GoS ultimate go of demographic changes in the whole region.
m) Excellent report by UNA-UK and Waging Peace focusing on the importance of maintaining/ increasing UNAMID presence in Darfur instead of subjecting the force to the planned major cuts in numbers and resources. The reports used testimonies from the ground which overwhelmingly sided with the importance of keeping the force in Darfur from the perspective of security. The western countries however, had different views and decided to downsize the UNAMID Force in the ground in spite of repeated calls by the vulnerable people on the ground.
For the full report,please click on the following link https://www.una.org.uk/peacekeeping-cuts-–-decision-darfur
n) The Continuum of Targeting Sudanese Youth and Students from Darfur Across Sudan by GoS: The University of Bakhtalruda Incident as an Example. From May the 1st to July the 19th, the Sudanese Darfuri Student at the University of Bakhtalruda in White Nile State, Ed Dueim to be specific, have been subjected to various sorts of harassment by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). The harassment was in form of racial abuse, imprisonment and torture. This goes back to a few months ago when the students decided to ask for their rights. Under the current constitution and the multiple peace agreement and cemented by a presidential decree, Students from the region of Darfur are to be exempt from tuition fees. However, as many other aspects of the constitution and decrees, most of the chapters were/are not there to be implemented/executed. As a result, the governing body of the White Nile State, plus the university refused the implement the exemption chapter, and the students were subjected to the aforementioned treatments because they dare to ask.
o) Blood of Darfur Students on the Hands of Bashir: This is How Sudanese Students Received Eid.
The scenario was as follows:- A group of Sudanese students (from Darfur) resides at Omdurman University halls/dorms, came under attack from Sudan government militias and pro government thugs after the later group forced entered the dorm and violently attacked the students. As a result, one student was killed, named Jafaar Mohammed Abdel Bari (aka Guevara). Two other students were seriously injured
Mohammed Ali Kalol – seriously injured by sharp object
Ashraf Elhadi Eldooma – died as a result of his injuries.
Two funerals were held in Khartoum where masses of Sudanese activists, students, opposition groups have gathered in a rally to bury the bodies of the two students. Jafaar was buried at Hamad Elnil Cemetery and Ashraf was buried at Al-Sahafa Cemetery.
p) Video Showing Rapid Speed Force Troopers Training Children In Muzbad, Northern Darfur, Sudan. A short video surfaced on social media in last couple of days showing three rapid speed force personals ordering ‘young recruits’ (Children) around to carry out some para military performance. This appeared to take place back at Eid Elfitr (holidays after Ramadan 2017) in the town of Muzbad, Northern Darfur. The main speaker also said that those kids are in good spirit and they belong to the Zaghawa tribe.
Muzbad is regards as one of the areas/spreads of the aforementioned tribe.
q) Kalma IDP Refusal To Welcome Bashir Met with a Massacre in South Darfur at the Hands of the Government of Sudan
Bashir and his government have planned to end the month of September by showing the whole world that the people of Sudan in Darfur do rally behind them. Bashir decided to visit Darfur, particularly IDP camp’s such as Kalma , the largest in southern Darfur on Sept. 22nd. The chiefs of the Kalma IDP camps made it clear that the people in Kalma were not happy to meet Bashir, the perpetrator, the orchestrator of genocide against the people of Sudan in Darfur. They made it clear that they prefer for Bashir to go to the International Criminal Court to face justice as shown in photos accompanying this statement. Bashir delayed his visit there to Kalma and decided to start his trip by visiting West Darfur and the governor there gathered some people for him to meet. The speech by Bashir was incoherent and as per usual he was blaming everyone but his government for the war in Sudan. He continued to say that he will encourage the governor of West Darfur, Fadel Almoula Elhija, to kick start the conversion of the IDP camps in his state to mini towns/ districts to resettle the people there. Not at any point he mentioned the return of the people to their original lands or compensations. One direct quote from his speech was “the war on Darfur has cost Sudan many lives, so we will invest in setting up midwifery so to that the people of the Darfur in these IDP camps will reproduce and deliver babies in a correct, healthy manors to repopulate Darfur” end of quote.
r) Belgium Government is Consulting Genocidré Ambassador Mutrif Siddig on the Fate of Sudanese Migrants at Detention Centres in Belgium
After the recent rise of hostilities by the government in Sudan against the people of Sudan in Darfur, Blue Nile State and Nuba Mountains plus the prosecution of Students in the White Nile State and in the capital Khartoum, some of the world powers seem turning a blind eye on the crimes committed by GoS on the soil of Sudan. More worrying is that the desperate Sudanese from the marginalised areas fleeing the oppression of Bashir regime by making the dangerous journey from Africa to Europe, are now having to be assessed by their oppressors in Europe, and Italy and Belgium are the prime example.
Sudanese Ambassador to Belgium, Mutrif Siddig, is also GoS highest envoy to the European Union, has been chosen carefully for this post to be Bashir eyes in Europe. He has open channels with the Belgian government to bush on Sudan role on “tackle migration from the Horn of Africa to Europe” on the back of the so called Khartoum Process.
s) journalist Matt Broom wrote on the new Alaraby website: EU pays Sudan blood-money to stop migrant routes:- Janjaweed militias fighting for the regime have been linked to human rights atrocities [AFP]EU governments are silencing their internal concerns over massive human rights violations in Sudan while paying out money to prevent the flow
The European Union is paying Sudan to stem the flow of migrants into Europe – despite internal worries the money will help Khartoum commit atrocities against its own citizens.
t) Ratko Mladic Sentenced to Life in Prison – Bashir to ICC.
It took more than 22 years for the victims of the Bosnian war (Srebrenica genocide) and their relatives to see the sentencing of main perpetrator before their eyes.
u) One has to conclude the listing by doing a 360 degree and bring it by to 2018, Saturday, 20th January which saw yet another episode of systematic violence against the people of Sudan in Darfur. 4 people were killed and 44 were injuries as the group of the vicious rapid speed force (RSF) entered Hasahisa IDP camp and opened fire on the residents with lead to the killing of the innocents.
The aforementioned accounts are by no means an exclusive listing of all the events or atrocities related to Darfur. However, they do highlight the major points captured by independent local and international media outlets, and the sources are from local persons.
The Darfur Union in the United Kingdom is a civil society organisation that aims to promote the just case of Darfur by raising awareness of the humanitarian aspect of the case. Part of the job is to continue to knock on the doors of the decision makers and major players in the international community to push the stakeholders towards peace and stability.
Diplomacy and negotiations are often the best approaches to solve problems, overcome atrocities, and to bring about a lasting peace that would help in healing the wounds and despair of war. However, justice is an ever accompanying factor of peace in the formula of stability. Both usually go side by side. The government of Sudan has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, and currently they are repeating the same scenario in Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State. The war in Darfur is not over yet and scores of people fled western Darfur to IDP camps across the province over the 2nd quarter of 2017. Damning evidence of systematic rape, killing, abuse, torture and imprisonment have been provided by NGOs and whistleblowers who used to work for organisations such as UNAMID. Yet the aforementioned bilateral dealings between UK government and its counterpart in Sudan are ongoing. We plea to Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) to rethink its position regarding the government of Sudan and its dealing with President Bashir, an ICC indictee.
Furthermore, we ask HMG to continue it support with respect to the following:
1) The process of restructuring UNAMID to be a fully oriented force towards protecting Darfur’s displaced, and also to be more committed to documenting and addressing the aerial bombardment against civilian targets. At the moment the force is weak and fails event to protect its members, let alone the civilian. However, it’s present is important and any attempt of ousting the force and ending their mandate in Darfur will be a blatant green light for the government to speed up the execution of the second genocide in the region.
2) The above point will in turn help to provide a much needed protection to the vulnerable civilians of the marginalised regions in particular the women and children which make the majority of the population of IDP camps scattered across Darfur. As well as excreting more pressure on the GoS to allow/ facilitate access of humanitarian aids (food and medication) to the war areas in Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains.
3) The peace process and negotiations needs an independent mediator. We ask HMG to be part of the process given Britain’s historic ties with Sudan and due to the current mediators seeming bias towards protecting dictatorships in the region.
4) HMG should continue its support of the international criminal court and also should push countries not to receive President Bashir for visits. The UK should also urge the ICC to amend arrest warrants in light of recent atrocities and consider advocating for expansion of the mandate to include atrocities committed in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and other parts of Sudan.
In conclusion, any attempts of a full resumption of bilateral relations between the two governments, especially in regards to the training of military and police personnel as well as the lack of a clear condemnation of atrocities against innocent civilians will give the current government of Sudan the green light to commit more crimes and presume there is no accountability.
More importantly is the much needed unity of all the people of Sudan from all walks of life to rise up to the challenges awaiting us to reach the ultimate goals of stability, peace and justice in our country.
Darfur Union in the UK is wishing you all a peaceful 2018.
Deputy Press Officer – Darfur Union in the UK
Twitter handle: @darfurunionuk