Letter to the German government on the release of Darfuri activists


Published: 9 Aug 2016

August 9, 2016

The Honourable Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
c/o German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC 20007

Dear Minister Steinmeier,

We, the undersigned 77 human rights groups, civic leaders, scholars and activists, write to request your assistance in securing the immediate release of internally displaced Darfuris who were arrested by the Sudan government after recent meetings with Ambassador Donald Booth, the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. In addition, we ask you to intervene on behalf of the people of Sudan to pressure the Sudan government to abide by the ceasefires it declared on the 17th and 30th of June and to end all attacks by its forces and militias. Finally, as a leader of the European Union (EU), we ask Germany to exert its influence to end support to the Sudan government as part of its program to curb the flow of immigrants into Europe.

On July 27th, Ambassador Booth began a visit to Darfur to assess the humanitarian situation and to understand the perspective of the people with regard to the national dialogue process, the Darfur referendum and the effectiveness of UNAMID. He met with Darfuris who were displaced by violence and he was told very frankly, as reported by Radio Dabanga on July 29th, “the killings, rapes, arrests and torture by the government and its militias and the occupation of their land by new settlers are still ongoing.” On July 31st, Radio Dabanga reported that five of the displaced people who met with Ambassador Booth were arrested. On August 2nd, we received reports that 16 people have now been arrested and additional arrests are expected. The people of Darfur have suffered and bravely endured over 13 years of targeted attacks by the Sudan government for the purpose of permanently removing them from their homes and land. According to the most recent OCHA Darfur Humanitarian Overview and the report of the UNAMID Peacekeeping Chief to the UN Security Council, currently 3.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Darfur and in the first five months of this year, 138,000 people were newly displaced in Darfur. In addition, over 300,000 are refugees in Chad and Central African Republic. It is imperative that the international community stand with the people of Darfur who seek international assistance in addressing the crimes that have been committed against them. Those who commit these crimes must not be allowed to punish their victims for speaking out. Please intervene on behalf of those who have been arrested by demanding that the government of Sudan drop all charges and immediately grant their release.

On June 18th, Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, announced a four month ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, followed on June 30th by a unilateral ceasefire in Darfur. However since then, according to Nuba Reports, SAF-aligned militia have since attacked civilians in the Nuba Mountains, and Radio Dabanga has reported multiple attacks on civilians in Darfur. For example as reported by Radio Dabanga on June 19th, seven barrel bombs were dropped in Jebel Marra and a father and his eight year old son were killed. On July 10th, barrel bombs in East Jebel Marra killed three people and livestock and homes were destroyed. On July 19th, Sudanese soldiers and its militia, Rapid Support Forces, attacked villages in South and North Darfur. Among those killed were a mother and her 12 year old son. On August 3rd, bombs were dropped again in Jebel Marra injuring civilians, killing livestock and destroying homes. The war against the people of Sudan by its government has not ended despite meaningless declarations by Bashir. State sponsored violence and the refusal to allow international humanitarian aid into the country has resulted in the deaths of countless Sudanese throughout the entire country. Ignoring this reality for millions of people is unconscionable. Therefore, we urge you to exert tremendous pressure on the Sudan regime to stop all attacks against the people of Sudan and to allow international humanitarian aid into Darfur, the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan and to all Sudanese in need.

Given the role the Sudan regime is playing in harming and displacing its own citizens as described above, it is extremely concerning that it should be entrusted with protecting people who are trying to escape desperate situations in their own countries. Due to the failed policies of Bashir, the economy of the country is in shambles and the regime is frantic in its efforts to find outside funding in order to maintain its grip on power. The regime fears for its own survival if it cannot pay off those it has hired to intimidate the people of Sudan and to destroy those who seek a better future for the country. This is a regime whose leader is charged by the International Criminal Court with “three counts of genocide by killing, by causing serious bodily harm or mental harm, and by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.” In addition, Bashir is charged with “five counts of crimes against humanity [for] murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape” and with “two counts of war crimes [for] intentionally directing attacks against civilian populations…” Needless to say, the Sudan regime is an inappropriate partner for Germany and the European Union. Neither Germany nor the European Union should allow themselves to be complicit in advancing genocide and mass atrocities by supporting the Sudan regime for any purpose.

This is a critical time in history for Germany, Europe and the world. The world needs leaders and nations who will defend the rights of all humans and will oppose those who seek power and wealth above all else and at the expense of humanity. Germany has a unique opportunity and responsibility in Sudan and we strongly urge you to use your influence to free those who have been detained for speaking out; to protect and provide for those who are harmed by the Sudan regime; and to find alternative ways to address the refugee crisis that does not prop up a genocidal regime.

Sincerely,

Act for Sudan, Martina Knee, Co-Founder, San Francisco, CA, USA
African Freedom Coalition, Al Sutton M.D., President, New York, NY, USA
Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment & Human Development (KACE), Albaqir A Mukhtar (PhD), Director, Khartoum, Sudan
American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (AFRECS), Richard Parkins, Executive Director, Alexandria, VA, USA
Blue Nile Association for Peace and Development, Omer Abdelsawi Omer, Mulberry, FL, USA
Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan, Laura Limuli, Coordinator, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Carl Wilkens Fellowship, Beth McDaniel Woskow, Advisory Board, Redondo Beach, CA, USA
Christian Solidarity International-USA, The Rev. Heidi McGinness, Director of Outreach, Denver, CO, USA
CLIP-Poverty, Samuel Geng, Team Leader, South Sudan
Collectif Urgence Darfour, Dr. Jacky Mamou, President, Paris, France
Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, Roz Duman, Founder/Director, Denver, CO,USA
Concerned Citizens for Change, Gene Binder, Steering Committee Member, Bronx, NY, USA
Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, Daowd Salih, Co-Founder and Board President, Peapack, NJ, USA
Darfur Action Group of South Carolina, Richard Sribnick, MD, Chairman, Columbia, SC, USA
Darfur and Beyond, Cory Williams, Co-Founder, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA, Abdelgabar Adam, President, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Darfur Interfaith Network, Martha Boshnick and Richard Young, Co-Chairs, Washington, DC, USA
Darfur People’s Association of New York, Mohamed Ebead, President, Motasim Adam, Secretary General, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, Abdelbagi Jibril, Vice President, Geneva, Switzerland
Darfur Solidarity Group, Sabir Abusaadia, Executive Director, South Africa
Darfur TV, Jacob Berry, Founder, Uganda
Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG), Niemat Ahmadi, Founder and President, Washington, DC, USA
Dear Sudan Love Marin, Gerri Miller, Coordinator, Tiburon, CA, USA
Doctors to the World, C. Louis “PJ” Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Breckenridge, CO, USA
Face Past for Future Foundation (FP4F), Abdelrahman Gasim, President, Kampala, Uganda
Genocide No More – Save Darfur, Marv Steinberg, Coordinator, Redding, CA, USA
Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, Melanie Nelkin, Co-Founder, Atlanta, GA, USA
Greater Nuba Action Coalition (GNAC), John Jefferson, Co-Founder, San Mateo, CA, USA
Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, Corinna Loges, Chief Executive, London, UK
Institute for the Study of Genocide, Dr. Ernesto Verdeja, Executive Director, New York, NY,
International Justice Project, Monica Feltz, Esq., Executive Director, Newark, NJ, USA
International Refugee Rights Initiative, Andie Lambe, Executive Director, Kampala, Uganda
Investors Against Genocide, Eric Cohen, Chairperson, Boston, MA, USA
Jewish World Watch, Mike Brand, Director of Policy and Programs, Encino, CA, USA
Joining Our Voices, Slater Armstrong, Founder/Director, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
Justice Centre for Advocacy and Legal Consultations, Mohaned Elnour, Director, Khartoum, Sudan
Massachusetts Coalition for Darfur, William Rosenfeld, Director, Boston, MA, USA
Never Again Coalition, Diane Koosed, Co-Chair, Portland, OR, USA
New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), Benjamin Kuku, Executive Director, Juba, South Sudan
New York Coalition for Sudan / Jews Against Genocide, Eileen Weiss, Co-Founder, New York, NY, USA
Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group USA, Gogadi Amoga, Chair, Amelia, OH, USA
Nuba Mountains International Association, Komi Elaiaiser, President, Lorton, VA, USA
Nubia Project, Nuraddin Abdulmannan, President, Washington, DC, USA
Operation Broken Silence, Mark C. Hackett, Executive Director, Memphis, TN, USA
People4Sudan, Geneva, Switzerland
Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, David L. Rosenberg, Coordinator, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
San Diego Lost Boys of Sudan Charitable Corporation, Karen Richards, President, Carlsbad, CA, USA
San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, Mohamed Suleiman, President, San Francisco, CA, USA
Skills for Nuba Mountains, Lazim Suleiman El basha, Director, Kauda, South Kordofan, Sudan
Society for Threatened Peoples, Sharon Silber, US Representative, New York, NY, USA
South Sudanese Community of Colorado, Robert Odeki, President, Denver, CO, USA
Stop Genocide Now, Katie Jay Scott, Managing Director, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, Dr. Eleanor Wright, Moderator, Birmingham, AL, USA
Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG)
Sudan Unlimited, Esther Sprague, Director, San Francisco, CA, USA
Sudanese Human Rights Initiative (SHRI), Elshareef Mohammed, Head of SHRI, Khartoum, Sudan
Sudanese Marginalized Forum, Magid Kabash, Chair, New York, NY, USA
The Elsa-Gopa Trust, Nell Okie, Director, Madison, CT, USA
The Institute on Religion and Democracy, Faith J.H. McDonnell, Director, Church Alliance for a New Sudan, Washington, DC, USA
The Sudanese Community Church of Denver, Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, Ayyoubawaga B. Gafour, PhD, Vicar, Denver, CO, USA
UK & US Nuba Civil Society Organizations Activities, Dr. Yasir Hamouda, Coordinator, London, UK
Unite for Darfur Organization, Bahar Arabie, CEO, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
Waging Peace, Olivia Warham MBE, Director, London, UK
Ahmed H. Adam, Visiting Fellow, Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University, New York, NY, USA
David Alton, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords, Professor
of Citzenship, Liverpool John Moores University, London, UK
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center
The Baroness Cox, House of Lords, The Parliament of the United Kingdom, Westminster, London, UK
Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., Executive Director, World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN, USA
Eric Reeves, Northampton, MA, USA
Hawa Abdalla Salih, Human Rights and Women’s Rights Activist, Recipient, 2012 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Victoria Sanford, PhD, Professor & Chair, Department of Anthropology, Lehman College, Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
Professor Paul Slovic, Co-Director, Genocide Prevention Initiative, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
Henry C. Theriault, Ph.D., Founding Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Worchester State University, Worcester, MA, USA
Dr. Samuel Totten, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Author of Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains, Sudan, Fayetteville, AK, USA
Philip Tutu, Nuba Human Rights Activist, Kansas City, MO, USA
Elhag Warrag, Editor in Chief, Hurriyat, Egypt
John H. Weiss, Professor of History, Director, Genocide Action Group, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Programmes: Resolving Displacement, Accountability, Responsibility to Protect
Regions: North and Horn of Africa, Sudan
Type: Open Letter