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Saturday, January 10, 2009

WHILE WE DELAY ~ GENOCIDE CARRIES ON

DARFUR UPDATE

Sudan President al-Bashir's repeated threats to escalate violence against, and completely cut off humanitarian aid to, Darfuris and other marginalized people of Sudan if the International Criminal Court issues the arrest warrant against him, remain unanswered by the US, other nations, and the UN.

The ICC arrest warrant may be issued as early as January 15, 2009. We cannot wait for the Obama administration.

Please address an email to President Bush at comments@whitehouse.gov and to US Special Envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson at williamsonRS@state.gov with the subject Heading "Need Your Urgent Attention on Darfur" and copy and paste the following as the message:

"Dear Mr. President and Mr. Williamson:

I respectfully urge you to use all diplomatic means available to prevent Sudan President Al-Bashir from carrying out his threats to escalate violence against, and cut off all humanitarian aid to, Darfuris and other marginalized populations of Sudan if the ICC issues the arrest warrant against him. As you know, the warrant may issue as early as January 15, 2009; your immediate attention is needed. Please ensure that an emergency response plan is in place if the GoS follows through on its threats."

and sign your name and indicate your state of residence.

Feel free to use the above text or make your own
personal message.

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Press Release

Investors Against Genocide

Draw the line at investing in genocide

Susan Morgan – Investors Against Genocide (001) 617-797-0451, susan@paxcommunications.org
Phillip Honour – Act for Darfur -
+44 7979 541520, philhonour@googlemail.com

PETROCHINA ACCUSED OF COMPLICITY IN GENOCIDE BY OVER 80 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
Groups ask UN Global Compact to remove PetroChina as a participant unless it acts to help end genocide

Boston, MA – January 7, 2009 - Today, over 80 civil society organizations including human rights, corporate accountability, and religious groups from 25 countries, as well as government officials and actor, Mia Farrow, submitted an open letter to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in support of a formal complaint against PetroChina, a Global Compact participant. (See letter at investorsagainstgenocide.org/ungcandpetrochina2.) PetroChina, the publicly traded arm of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), is Sudan's largest oil industry partner and has financial links to the regime perpetuating the six-year humanitarian crisis in Darfur which many consider to be genocide.

The UN Global Compact’s founding principles call for businesses to support and respect human rights, and its “Integrity Measures” define steps to safeguard the reputation, integrity and good efforts of the Global Compact and its participants. The complaint, which was submitted under these Integrity Measures, asks the UNGC to use its “good offices” to influence PetroChina to engage with the government of Sudan on behalf of the Darfuri people. If, after three months, there is no satisfactory resolution of the issues raised, the group requests that the Global Compact “consider PetroChina’s participation to be detrimental to the reputation and integrity of the Global Compact and remove the company from the list of participants.”

“The UNGC must take a strong stand against the abuse of its founding principles,” states Eric Cohen, Chairperson of Investors Against Genocide. “PetroChina is in violation of UNGC principles for its failure to respect human rights, its lack of due diligence in avoiding human rights violations, its continuing refusal to correct the abuses and the widespread recognition that it is a major contributor to the conflict in Darfur.”

The Government of Sudan has a well-documented history of susceptibility to economic pressure. It is highly reliant on foreign direct investment not only to pay its debts and subsidize government expenditures, but also to fund its military and finance the conflict in Darfur. The government’s financial dependence on PetroChina/CNPC creates a unique opportunity for the company to influence events in the region.

Although PetroChina has claimed independence from CNPC, the two companies are inseparable. In a May 2007 report on the relationship between PetroChina and CNPC, KLD Research & Analytics, an independent research firm, concluded that “investors should treat CNPC and PetroChina as if they were a single entity.” Comprehensive research by the Genocide Intervention Network reaches the same conclusion. The Multinational Monitor named CNPC as one of the worst companies of 2008 as a result of its role “fueling violence in Darfur”.

This request for the UN Global Compact to engage with its participant, PetroChina, follows the UN’s year-long campaign in 2008 to recognize the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UN Global Compact derives the first two of its ten principles from the UDHR. The first principle of the UN Global Compact states that businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. The second principle requires that businesses ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

In his remarks on December 15, 2008 to the Global Compact Board at a meeting in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “When we met for the first time in this room more than a year-and-a-half ago, I called on you to ensure that the momentum of the Global Compact is not lost on the slippery slope of the lowest common denominator. This is now more urgent than ever. In particular, I will be relying on you to further refine the good measures that have been taken to strengthen the quality and accountability of the corporate commitment to the Compact. As we move forward, it will be critical that the integrity of the initiative and the credibility of this Organization remain beyond reproach.”

In order to follow up on this request by the Secretary-General, the UNGC must address the allegations made against PetroChina using the processes defined by its own Integrity Measures.

In an April 2008 report, John Ruggie, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative for business and human rights, specifically addressed the issue of financial support for genocide. The report states, “The Global Compact also suggests that businesses establish clear safeguards to ensure that if financial or material support is provided to security forces it is not used to violate human rights.” Similarly, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has written, “A company is complicit in human rights abuses if it authorizes, tolerates, or knowingly ignores human rights abuses committed by an entity associated with it.”


The Global Compact is currently the world’s largest and most widely known voluntary corporate responsibility initiative, with nearly 5,000 corporate participants. It is often criticized by civil society organizations because of its purely voluntary nature. Bart Slob, a senior researcher at the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), said: “Unfortunately the Global Compact has admitted companies with dubious humanitarian and environmental records. These records are in stark contrast to the principles advocated by the Compact. Those Compact participants, such as PetroChina, who merely pay lip service to the principles, will inevitably be denounced by civil society organizations and will have to abandon the UNGC. The public image of the UN should not be used by companies to cover up irresponsible behaviour.”

Today’s open letter follows an earlier letter (available at investorsagainstgenocide.org/ungcandpetrochina) sent May 12, 2008, which was also signed by numerous civil society organizations. Since May, representatives of Investors Against Genocide (IAG) and Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), have privately engaged with representatives of the UNGC in an effort to address the concern. On December 15, 2008, after more than seven months and with still no response from PetroChina, IAG and SOMO submitted a formal complaint (available at investorsagainstgenocide.org/ungcandpetrochina2) against PetroChina to the UNGC of “systematic or egregious abuse” of the Global Compact’s overall aims and principles.
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Investors Against Genocide
is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending investment in genocide. The organization works to build awareness of this problem and to advocate for investment firms and companies to change. The ultimate goals are that the Government of Sudan ends its deadly genocide in Darfur and that companies and investment firms avoid investing in genocide. For more information, visit www.investorsagainstgenocide.org.

The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) is a Dutch non-profit research organization. Established in 1973, SOMO undertakes research on the impact of multinational enterprises and the consequences of the internationalization of business, particularly for developing countries. For more information, visit http://somo.nl/

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January 7, 2009 I received the following email from an expatriate of Sudan


Dear All,

1-I got many calls from North Darfur - Area of Anka
and Donkey Housh. They said Antonov plane is dropping
bombs for hours. Itis circulating an area where many
villages are there. One eye witness said he could see
fire all over around Donkey Housh. He said he is
afraid that there may be casualties because the
bombing is around a water source (wells) where natives
come with their animals to get water.

Another source said his place is far from the ;ocation
of bombings but he can hear and feel the loud
explosions.

The last caller said the Antonov kept making rounds of
bombings while circulating for hours.

2- Sources in 2 camps ( Kassap in North Darfur and
Shangel Tobai in central Darfur) said the Government
troops made mock raids on the camps ( stayed outside
the camps but took pictures), 2 days ago. In Shangel
Tobai a gunship Helicopter flew over the camp and kept
criss-crossing over the camp for close to an hour.

3- I am trying to have Radio Darfur to broadcast these
news to alert UNAMID and other NGO's in North Darfur.

This evening I will be travelling ( family emergency)
but I will keep you posted.

Mohamed Suleiman
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Editorial - Action in Darfur

Los Angeles Times

January 7, 2009

After years of standing on the sidelines and making ineffective threats about punishing Sudanese leaders for slaughtering the people of Darfur, the Bush administration finally took concrete action this week. Its decision to airlift vehicles and heavy equipment to an undersupplied United Nations peacekeeping force was a welcome, if largely symbolic, gesture, but more interesting was the timing of the move.

In his announcement of the airlift Monday, National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley took pains to point out that it was "further evidence that Nicholas Kristof's portrayal last week of this administration's response to the genocide in Darfur was inaccurate." Hadley was referring to a Dec. 28 column in the New York Times in which Kristof cited a leaked memo by Ambassador Richard Williamson, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, that laid out three possible military responses aimed at the Sudanese regime: The U.S. could jam all communications in Khartoum, the nation's capital; it could blockade Port Sudan, from which the country exports its oil; or it could destroy Sudan's air force.

Kristof reported that these options were ruled out by Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Hadley acknowledged Monday that military responses had been considered and rejected, but he said the decision was driven by pleas from leading church, advocacy and humanitarian organizations that feared such actions would only make things worse for Darfuris. That came as news to the Save Darfur Coalition, an umbrella organization for Darfur advocacy groups that has long favored a tougher response by Washington, and whose spokesman told this page on Tuesday that the coalition hadn't been consulted by the administration.

It's perfectly true that implementing any of Williamson's recommendations would have dangerous repercussions. A blockade would infuriate China, Sudan's main oil buyer. Attacks on communications or aircraft could result in the expulsion of humanitarian aid workers. Yet the weak sanctions imposed so far by the U.S. have done nothing to stop Sudanese soldiers and government-backed Arab militias from murdering, raping and displacing Darfuri civilians, and it's obvious that tougher measures are needed. Fortunately, they're probably on the way.

In 2007, Susan E. Rice, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for U.N. ambassador, advocated strong actions against Khartoum in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including a bombing campaign against Sudanese aircraft and other military assets. The fact that Obama almost certainly will take Darfur more seriously than President Bush did might explain the timing of the airlift, a last-minute attempt to show that a president whose positive legacy rests largely on his generous approach to Africa didn't entirely ignore the crisis. Too bad it's much too little, too late.

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Defusing Sudan's Ticking Time Bomb

In a matter of weeks, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is widely expected to issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudan's genocidal president, Omar al-Bashir. The ICC prosecutor has charged him with ten counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Bashir has openly and brazenly threatened to accelerate violence against innocent Darfuri civilians and completely block humanitarian aid if the warrant is issued. Last week, the Sudanese army unveiled new fighter planes and missiles in a "parade" seen as a show of strength aimed at critics supporting the ICC prosecution.

With 2.7 million displaced Darfuri people vulnerable in IDP camps and the UN estimating that at least 300,000 Darfuris have already been killed, threats of "more violence and blood" from Bashir are deeply concerning.

Is the world prepared? Have we established consequences that will be imposed on Bashir and his murderous sidekicks in the National Congress Party (NCP) if the violence escalates? Have we proactively communicated those consequences to the NCP as a deterrent to this unacceptable course of action? Have we developed a rapid response plan that will enable us to live up to our responsibility to protect innocent civilians if deterrence is unsuccessful?

On December 8th, the Genocide Prevention Task Force, a prestigious group co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and jointly convened by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the American Academy of Diplomacy, released a ground-breaking report which makes recommendations to enhance the U.S. government's capacity to recognize and respond to emerging threats of genocide and mass atrocities.

The report states, "Even when signs of preparation for genocide are apparent, there are opportunities to alter leaders' decisions and interrupt their plans. By improving our crisis response system, we will be better prepared to mount coherent, carefully calibrated, and timely preventive diplomacy strategies."

Today in Sudan, the signs are not only apparent, but explicit. What is our "coherent, carefully calibrated, and timely preventive" strategy?

In the USIP press release announcing the report, Albright states, "We believe that preventing genocide is possible, and that striving to do so is imperative both for our national interests and our leadership position in the world." Yet as Richard Solomon, president of the USIP wisely points out , a key part of getting genocide prevention beyond a worthy goal will be stepped-up international diplomacy and more capacity for multilateral organizations like the UN to stop mass atrocities before they occur.

Omar al-Bashir has given the world loud and clear warning signs of his intent to commit more mass atrocities. Sudan is precisely the type of situation that calls out for this stepped up diplomacy and multilateral cooperation.

It is therefore urgent for the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration to work quickly and decisively, together with the UN and other international partners, to formulate a plan to deter and prevent any actions by Bashir that would pose an immediate threat to the lives of the millions of completely vulnerable Darfuri citizens.

President Bush will host two meetings this week which present opportunities for discussion on this urgent issue. On Monday, he will meet with Salva Kiir, president of the semi-autonomous southern Sudan as well as national vice president. The White House said that the two will meet to discuss the situation in Darfur as well as the troubled Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of civil war between the north and south in Sudan and established the foundation for democracy in Sudan. On Tuesday, President Bush will have his final meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. According to White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, the two leaders will discuss Darfur among other topics.

In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, world leaders, including former president Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Susan Rice, incoming US Ambassador to the UN, expressed remorse and regret over the failure, on their watch, of the world community to react swiftly to save hundreds of thousands of lives during the Rwandan genocide. The current and future US administrations, as well as the world community, must act now to ensure that the nightmare of Rwanda is not replayed again and again in Sudan.
Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-morgan/defusing-sudans-ticking-t_b_155029.html

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Sudan says indicting president would risk bloodshed

Jan 5, 2009
Source: Reuters

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Sudan's government accused Darfur rebels on Monday of planning to launch attacks if President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is indicted for war crimes and said that would bring a new round of bloodshed. Sudan has been trying to head off a possible International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Bashir after the court's prosecutor accused the president of genocide in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Khartoum's rule since 2003. Foreign ministry undersecretary Mutrif Siddiq said rebels were building up forces just over the border in neighbouring Chad, ready for an attack on Sudanese cities and oil fields in South Kordofan, a region neighbouring Darfur. The international court's judges are expected to decide later this month on whether to issue a warrant against Bashir. "If this happens it is going to have a very negative impact," Siddiq told Reuters and the BBC. "The rebellion in Darfur will escalate. (The rebels) will feel jubilant... They will say they are fighting a legitimate cause against a criminal government and a criminal president." Nobody was immediately available for comment from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement but leaders have repeatedly said they were preparing to attack "anytime, anywhere" in Sudan. Siddiq said Sudan had solid information from inside Chad on the preparations for a possible attack by the rebel faction, which was driven back last May after an assault that reached the gates of Khartoum. "We are preparing for such a step -- we will never allow it to happen. Definitely it will cost us lives and some publicity," said Siddiq, referring to possible further damage to Sudan's reputation abroad. In July, the international court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of orchestrating genocide and other war crimes in Darfur. Sudan has rejected the accusations. Siddiq said the government also suspected "political forces" in Khartoum could create instability if Bashir is indicted, adding that it might also fuel anti-western sentiment. He promised to warn westerners if there was any danger. "If at any moment we feel we are not ready or able to protect them we will tell them to leave peacefully," he said, accusing western countries of using the court case decision to try to put pressure on Sudan. Arab and African countries want any indictment for Bashir put on hold, believing it would damage hopes of peace in Sudan, but western states with permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council have the power to veto any postponement.

International experts say 200,000 have died since rebels took up arms against Sudan's government in 2003 accusing it of neglect. Khartoum puts the death count at 10,000.

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