Monday, June 7, 2010



Sandra Hammel


This week, Vice President Joe Biden travels in Africa, meeting with several heads of state and other high ranking officials to discuss a host of global and regional issues.

Some of Joe Biden statements about Darfur:

This is incredible…what’s happening. And I promise you...I promise you.

We're all going to sit here 5 and 10 years from now and we’re going to be saying "Why didn’t we do the things that we can do?" You know, we got to stop talking about it. A lot of talk goes on about it. You’re going to have thousands and thousands and thousands of people die. We got to stop talking and act.


We cannot let months and years continue to tick away while they continue to suffer. (July 2008)

Send a letter to Vice President Biden, urging him to make the situation in Sudan a priority during his trip to Africa. Go to

Post this video on the WhiteHouse Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse

Tweet this: VP #Biden, as you travel in Africa, build and use leverage towards lasting peace in #Sudan @WhiteHouse @StateDept http://bit.ly/bwDIxP


Uploaded June 7, 2010 by stopgenocidenow

Gabriel Stauring and his team at Stop Genocide Now put together this powerful video on behalf of Sudan Now. The video highlights statements that Biden has made over the years regarding Darfur.

You can download the video at:

Here are a few actions that you can take to maximize this powerful
advocacy tool. These are time-sensitive actions so please act quickly:

- Post it on your organization's website
- Send it out in email blasts
- Twitter link to with message: VP #Biden, as you travel in Africa,
build and use leverage towards lasting peace in #Sudan @WhiteHouse @StateDept

Another effective action is to post the video at

Biden’s Africa trip is all about Sudan

Posted By Josh Rogin

Source: the cable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/07/biden_s_africa_trip_is_all_about_sudan

Vice President Joseph Biden is leading an interagency delegation to Africa this week, but his final stop at the 2010 World Cup is not the point of the journey. Biden is there to get involved in Sudan policy and lend some senior-level supervision to an issue that has split the Obama administration for months.

On Wednesday, Biden will become the senior-most Obama administration official to meet with Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir. The purpose of the meeting will be "to talk about the necessary steps to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to plan for post-referendum Sudan," a senior administration official told The Cable, adding that the conversation will be "mostly about the future of southern Sudan." That's an indication that the Obama team is getting concerned that the January 2011 elections, when the South is widely expected to vote to separate from the North, a result that could spark violence or even a return to civil war.

There are Sudan meetings woven throughout Biden's seven-day journey through Africa. He already spoke about the future of southern Sudan with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Monday in Sharm el-Sheikh, it's sure to come up in his Tuesday meetings with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and the vice president's office has said Sudan will be at the top of the agenda during Biden's meeting Thursday with former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Sudan Special Envoy J. Scott Gration is on the trip with Biden, along with Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs Johnnie Carson and the National Security Council's senior director for Africa Michelle Gavin, among others.

The elevation of the Sudan issue to the top levels of the White House is exactly what leading Sudan activists have been demanding of the administration for months. They are fed up with what they see as deep divisions inside the Obama team about how to approach Sudan.

"It really is time for the president, the vice president, and Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton to get more directly involved in this issue," said John Norris, executive director of the Enough Project. But it's still not clear whether Biden's involvement will lead to a sustained level of attention for Sudan at the top levels of the White House, Norris cautioned.

The divisions inside the administration are not new, but were reinforced last month during what multiple administration sources describe as a vigorous and heated internal debate over whether or not to send a U.S. government representative to the re-inauguration ceremony for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Multiple administration sources tell The Cable that Gration and Carson were among those who advocated internally for sending a representative to the inauguration (which was also a ceremony to inaugurate Kiir, the State Department is quick to point out). Administration officials who argued against sending an envoy included U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and the NSC's Samantha Power.

An administration official told The Cable that Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg supported the decision to send an envoy. But NGO sources contradicted that account, saying that Steinberg, at least at one point, argued against it.

It was Secretary Clinton who ultimately made the decision to send the chief consular officer at the U.S Embassy in Khartoum to attend Bashir's inauguration. Sending a junior-level representative was a compromise, but one that apparently left both sides equally unhappy.

"Our presence at this ceremony should not be confused in any way with our continuing pledge that President Bashir should respond to the warrant for his arrest for war crimes in Darfur," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "We have nothing to do whatsoever with President Bashir."

The decision and that explanation puzzled and irritated advocacy leaders.

"President Obama has said that genocide has been committed in Darfur by the Bashir-led government. The ICC indicted Bashir for war crimes," said John Prendergast, cofounder of the Enough Project and an increasingly outspoken critic of the administration's Sudan policy. "The Obama administration has thus broken with precedent in bestowing a measure of legitimacy by sending a U.S. diplomat, however low-ranking, to the inauguration of an indicted war criminal head of state."

Prendergast said that the Obama team had argued that it was necessary to keep lines of communication open to ensure the safe return of the American hostage being held in Sudan, but dismissed that assertion because there was nothing the U.S. side got in return for attending the ceremony.

Officials have also argued that not sending an envoy would have broken protocol, another claim advocacy leaders dismiss.

"The issue of war crimes charges makes this an entirely different kettle of fish, whether or not that's in the protocol book," said Norris, who added that not sending a representative would have sent the message that Obama was serious about the ICC.

The Sudan advocacy community has had increasingly strained relations with Gration, who is seen as being too soft on the brutal Khartoum regime and too powerful inside the administration, using his personal relationship with Obama to exert control over the issue often outside the purview of officials above his station, including Clinton.

Sometimes, the internal tension has spilled over into public, such as when ABC News reported that Rice was "furious" in June when Gration said that Darfur was experiencing only the "remnants of genocide." The State Department quickly confirmed that its official position is that genocide is ongoing.

Above all, Sudan watchers worry that the U.S. government is failing to prepare for what could be a very bloody aftermath to the January referendum. They also lament that details of the "benchmarks" upon which the administration's Sudan policy is supposed to be based have never been revealed publicly and are said to be still undefined.

Back in October, Clinton said when announcing the administration's new Sudan policy: "Assessment of progress and decisions regarding incentives and disincentives will be based on verifiable changes in conditions on the ground. Backsliding by any party will be met with credible pressure in the form of disincentives leveraged by our government and our international partners."

But despite what many, including Rice, see as lots of backsliding, no disincentives can be seen and, as the discussion over sending the envoy illustrates, the internal policy debate seems to be at a stalemate.

"If they're fighting on an issue like that, it's hard to believe there's great clarity on the larger issues," said Norris. "We're at something of a standstill. They seem to be stuck at how do you calibrate how exactly you deploy the pressures or incentives."

Those frustrations are shared by some on Capitol Hill.

"I have expressed concern at different times, including in the run-up to last month's election, that the administration has not spoken out more forcefully about abuses by the NCP or sought to hold them accountable," said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, referring to Bashir's ruling National Congress Party. "Although I am not opposed to engagement, we need to be firm and to ensure any engagement is based on evidence that the NCP is willing to cooperate and has made concrete progress on previous promises."



We Are All the Keepers of Justice.

In Sudan, there is an emergency.

Silence kills in its complicity to killing by treachery.

Uploaded March 19, 2009 by ilovemylifesblog


Monday, June 7, 2010 Round-up of

Darfur In the News

Reuters: Bashir says Darfur peace talks are final round. Sudan's president said on Saturday the current round of Darfur peace talks would be the final negotiations with any armed group. Qatar-hosted peace talks are due to open on Sunday but the leaders of the two original Darfur guerrilla groups are both refusing to join. Smaller factions who have few forces on the ground are participating. "The current Doha round will be the last for any armed group and there will be no legitimacy through the gun, only through the ballot box," Bashir told a meeting of his ruling National Congress Party late on Saturday.

Rueters Africa : Uganda says Sudan's Bashir not invited to AU meeting. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who faces the risk of arrest on war crimes charges, has not been invited to next month's African Union conference in Uganda, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a statement. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has an indictment against Bashir over crimes in Sudan's western Darfur region and African states that are signatories to the agreement establishing the court are obliged to arrest him. Museveni's office issued a statement late on Saturday saying Sudan would be represented at the conference by "other government officials" and not Bashir.

AFP: 41 killed in Darfur fighting: Sudan tribal source. Clashes between rival Arab tribes in Sudan's western region of Darfur killed 41 people in three days, a tribal leader told AFP on Sunday. According to Ezzedin Eissa al-Mandil of the Misseriya tribe, the fighting broke out on Thursday when "members of the Rezeigat tribe attacked one of our villages west of the town of Kass" in South Darfur. "They killed one person and returned on Friday, with fighting taking place from morning to night. There were also clashes on Saturday and in total 41 people were killed and 17 wounded," Mandil told AFP. The claim could not be immediately confirmed with the Rezeigat tribe or the governor of South Darfur. But a spokesman for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur said UNAMID had received reports of fighting between the Nuwayba tribe, a branch of the Rezeigat, and the Misseriya tribe, without casualty figures.

Sudan Tribune: Sudan in critical stage, requires AU intervention-envoy. Sudan's much anticipated referendum is just months away, but preparations for this historic event remains a critical issue that requires the intervention of African Union (AU) members, Mr. Jonas Gahr Store, the Norwegian Foreign Minister has observed. "The peace process in Sudan is in a decisive and critical phase. We can already see that this will be a key issue on the international agenda the next 12 months," Mr. Store said. According to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, if Southern Sudanese opted to vote for their independence, the process must be peaceful, and that both the north and south should cooperate, particularly on the distribution of oil revenues.

Times: South Sudan Moves Toward Independence. The referendum in January 2011 which, if the vote goes as predicted, could be followed by official secession as early as that July. The North will likely resist the South splitting away, for fear that it will lose territory and oil, most of which will lie - as far as the North is concerned - on the wrong side of any new border that's created. But in theory, the question of whether to separate or not will be one for the South alone to answer - and, as most Southerners see it, independence would finally put a merciful end to centuries of subjugation and neglect. But independence will hardly solve all of the South's problems. Kiir must build a functional state out of his war-ravaged land - and without infrastructure, institutions or even much know-how. The fear is that, in a place where war has become a way of life and guns seem as plentiful as people, still more violence could follow.

Rueters: Sudanese paper halts printing in censorship protest. A Sudanese newspaper said on Sunday it would suspend publication for one week in protest at stringent censorship by authorities, as five other papers were censored in Africa's largest country, journalists said. Journalists from six independent or opposition papers told Reuters they were visited and directly censored by the security forces late on Saturday night. Other papers said they were called and told not to write about specific news including the strike by doctors over pay and working conditions and the International Criminal Court, unless it was from a government source. "We will suspend our newspaper for a week in protest at the pre-(publication) censorship," said Faiz Al-Silaik, acting editor in chief of the Ajras Al-Huriya paper, aligned to the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement



Genocide will not end

enough people
pressure our elected officials to take a stand

Contact President Obama

For organizations

For everybody

You can also call or write to the President:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
They request that you include your e-mail address

Phone Number
Comments: 202-456-1111


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Websites with the goal to help Darfuris get justice

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