UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
S U D A N A NEWSLETTER COMMITTED TO THE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF AFRICAN SUDANESE PEOPLE INSIDE THIS ISSUE... Money and politics .............................. p. 1 In Honour of Sudan Missionaries ................. p. 1 Editorial ....................................... p. 2 The Sudan Newsletter information ................ p. 2 Aidid Syndrome .................................. p. 3 Poem ............................................ p. 5 Sudanese Refugee Claims in Canada ............... p. 6 Dr. Fadhalla Speaks about Sudanese Conflict ..... p. 7 Congressman Wolf Speaks ......................... p. 8 Washington Declaration .......................... p. 9 Nyoun Attacks Chukudum .......................... p. 10 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Articles in part 1: Money and politics .............................. p. 1 In Honour of Sudan Missionaries ................. p. 1 Editorial ....................................... p. 2 The Sudan Newsletter information ................ p. 2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ M O N E Y A N D P O L I T I C S IMF Suspends Sudan
In an unprecedented move, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) voted last September to suspend the Sudan's membership in the Organization. The Sudan has been deprived of its voting rights as well as privileges thereof.
The IMF charged Sudan for "persistent failure" to fulfill its obligations and in paying the accumulated $1.6 billion in arrears -- so far considered the largest arrears in the Fund. Last year, Washington estimated that the Sudan's foreign debts, staggering between $16 to $17 billion, is equal to 33 years of its current receipts and debt service alone equals 3 years of current receipts.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Islamic fundamentalist government of Lieutenant General Omer Hassan el-Beshir, strongly protested the IMF's decision. General Beshir accused the U.S. for masterminding the Sudan's removal from the Fund and that the decision was not economically warranted as the Sudan has accepted almost all of the terms of the Fund. Meanwhile, the Sudanese government has been surviving on Middle East aid, especially Iranian aid, that is now the main artery pumping blood into the Sudanese government. Some loans and aid from the IMF would have helped the Sudanese "underground economy," where most transactions are not done in official monetary channels but through the black market. Broke and desperate, as evidenced by the many "begging trips" made by Abu Salih (the Sudanese foreign minister) to the Middle East nations, Khartoum feels it has reason to be bitter against Washington.
____________________________________________________________________ It is a well known dichotomy that dictators are not only politically repressive; they are economically repressive as well. ____________________________________________________________________
The decision to remove the Sudan out of the Fund was preceded by several stages of pressure from the Fund since the mid-1980s. By 1990, the Sudan was declared "uncooperative." Last year (1992), the Sudanese Minister of Finance, Abdel Rahim Hamdi, spent part of the summer in Washington wooing the Fund to reconsider some modalities which would make it easier for Sudan to start servicing its debts. Hamdi was optimistic that the IMF would remove the Sudan's "non- cooperative" status.
It seems the IMF was not impressed by Khartoum's momentary economic liberalization: lifting of price controls, liberalizing trade, deregulating investment, removing subsidies on basic commodities, and floating the Sudanese pound. A "liberal economic culture" would certainly need to be inculcated into the system of governance, and as economics go hand in hand with politics, the political side of the equation is equally critical to balance the other side. It is a well known dichotomy that dictators are not only politically repressive; they are economically repressive as well.
The Sudanese pound indicated signs of hyper-inflationary conditions generally common in war situation. Since August 1993, the United States dollar was exchanged at about 200 Sudanese pounds. By the middle of October, 1993, the dollar was exchanged at 320 Sudanese pound. It is reported to be much higher in the black market. Being unable to control this, the Central Bank of Sudan made it a criminal offense to possess foreign currencies and that individuals found with possession of foreign currencies would be imprisoned. At least 30 money changers in possession of foreign currencies were arrested in November (1993). They were released some few days later when one of the ministers intervened in their behalf, but the defendants were asked to swear under Islamic oath not to repeat the offense again.
Furthermore, gasoline disappeared in the market which forced the government to ration gasoline for essential public transport which had come to a stand still. Essential commodities were either unavailable or too expensive for even the middle class working people. Demonstrations broke-out in Khartoum and major cities in the North -- not against the Americans, whom the government urges the people to vilify -- but against difficult living conditions caused by civil war draining millions of dollars daily.
STUDENTS' RIOTS, DEAN TAKEN HOSTAGE
Meanwhile, students at the University of Khartoum went on a rampage smashing windows, burning cars, and seizing the University's dean, Dr. Mamun Hamoda, whom they detained for 6 hours on November 10th, 1993. The students' unrest was sparked by the Students Union election which they claimed had been rigged by pro-government Islamists. All of the 40 seats of the Students' Union body were taken by the Islamic Front. With the support of the establishment, the latter maneuvered the election by bringing in four bus loads of Islamists from the streets to come and cast votes on campus.
The non-Islamists students, calling themselves "independents," rioted and battled with the police on campus. The police, using tear- gas and clubs, arrested more than 300 students and at least 40 were reported injured. No deaths were reported. Meanwhile, the vice chancellor denied there were injuries nor arrests except for five ladies who fainted.
In a broader spectrum, the Sudanese people are tired of the malgovernment in Sudan. They no longer trust any party: Islamists or the traditional UMMA and DUP. But at the same time they have no other alternative as long as the politicians continue to meddle. A Khartoum resident recently intimated to a Western journalist that "There were more freedoms under the democratic government of Sadig el- Mahdi. But we were not any better off economically. ... I would demonstrate in the streets for my children's [future] if there was an alternative. But not for Sadig el-Mahdi." The ordinary people want change; a real change that could only come by ending the war and rehabilitating the nation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 1, cont. 4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ IN HONOR OF SUDAN MISSIONARIES Thirty Years After Their Expulsion From Sudan: What Has Changed?
The Sudan Newsletter would like to devote its Spring issue to the Christian Missionaries who have served in the Sudan since the 1960s. We would like those who might have served the Church in the Sudan under those difficult conditions to write short articles about their experiences there. We want this to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of forceful closure and destruction of Churches in South Sudan and the expulsion of foreign missionaries by the Islamic fundamentalist military regime of General Ibrahim Abboud in February 1964. During that time, there were only three denominations in Sudan: the Church Missionary Society (Anglicans), the American Presbyterians, and the Catholics.
After 1972, many Protestant denominations came and worked in various schemes, such as relief, education, rural health, agriculture, religious activities, and other social rehabilitation efforts. Their services were indispensable in rehabilitating a nation that had been torn by the then 17 years civil war (1955-72). The most active one was the African Christian Relief Organization of South Sudan (ACROSS), which comprised many church groups by then. Their activities were terminated by the Arab/Islamic governments in Khartoum in the mid- 1980s. As this Newsletter has been created purposely to speak for the rights and liberties of the African ethnic groups in the Sudan -- who benefitted from the services offered by these Christian organizations -- we are please to honor them.
If you know other people who have been to Sudan, and may not be on our mailing list, please pass the message on to them. The clergy and lay ministers representing these churches and others are highly encouraged to send articles reflecting their past work in the Sudan. Stories may also connect the past with the on-going persecution of Christians by the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Khartoum. Suggestions which could foster harmony between Islam and Christianity are highly welcomed. We hope February will become the SUDAN MISSIONARY month, hoping that toleration of other beliefs will become an acceptable arrangement in Sudanese society. We also ask for your prayers that 1994 be the year of peace in Sudan.
Articles for publication should be sent directly to editorial address. May the Blessings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you now and forever. Wishing you all a happy New Year.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 1. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ E D I T O R I A L Sudan: Have the Generals Really Gone to Barracks?
On October 16, 1993, the Islamic fundamentalist junta led by Lieutenant General Omer Hassan al-Beshir dissolved itself and created what many observers saw as mere "cosmetic change". "The generals might have tipped off their hats but the uniforms and the drills remain; they have not gone to barracks yet," said a Sudanese scholar who supports the banned UMMA party.
Essentially, if there might have been any change, perhaps it was the removal of Abdel Rahim Hamdi, the former Minister of Finance who failed to convince the IMF on his regime's war economics. The latter, not Hamdi, forced the IMF to suspend Sudan indefinitely from the Organization. Hamdi was replaced by Abdallah Hassan Ahmed, a staunch supporter of the Islamic fundamentalist agenda. Ahmed had worked for the Faisal Islamic Bank, a financial institution created by Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia in early 1980s to finance Islamic institutions in the Arab World -- build schools, hospitals, and support small business entrepreneurs. In the Sudan, Faisal financial networks strengthened grassroots support for the National Islamic Front (NIF). By the mid- 1980s, the NIF had gained a substantial amount of cadres, like Abdallah Hassan Ahmed, in strategic positions, such as in management, banking, education, and the military.
However, the Sudanese military junta -- the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC) -- that seized power in the June 1989 coup after toppling an inept civilian government of Prime Minister Sadig el-Mahdi, chose Lt. General Beshir as "president" of the Sudan. President Beshir enjoys the same jurisdiction and dictatorial powers [as when he was the Chairman of the disbanded RCC], including the powers to issue republican decrees, to declare war and the state of emergency, and to abolish the legislature at will.
Addressing the disbanded RCC, Lt. General Beshir, stated that: "Today, we stress to the world that we are not power seekers and that we came to hand over power [to the people] after purging it of all blemishes and deficiencies." The Sudan Newsletter believes that the status quo has not changed except for the reshuffling of cabinet positions and concentrating power in the hands of die-hard fundamentalists -- who see the world as inherently evil and they are the apostles to purify it. Power hasn't been handed to the people.
Beshir went on to praise the Revolutionary Command Council for making satisfactory achievements, progress and security, and the promotion of education, health, roads, airports, and so on. The Sudan Newsletter does not see any of these abstrusive successes. Instead, it sees debilitating living standards, poor health services, and derelicting infrastructure and school buildings. In the case of the South, the educational system has been non-existent for the last six years. The University of Juba, for instance, has been transferred to Khartoum, and now is used as one of the Mujahiddin training centers.
Beshir also stressed that "I assure you of our commitment to the cultural orientation as planned .... advancement of society ..... and purifying it of all flaws and shortcomings that used to prevail. We will pursue this course until the ideal healthy society free from all illnesses and flaws is set up." True, the Islamic fundamentalist agenda is vividly pursued. "Purifying it of all flaws" means purging every trait that is not in line with their view of Islamic puritanism. The message is unambiguous. The Islamists are there to stay -- to build what they called an "ideal healthy society."
Moreover, the Islamist diplomats routinely tour major world cities to entertain journalists and deceive them that they indeed are interested in peace. But at home, the Islamists pursue scourged-earth brutalities that are hardly closer to peace. Peace is not the word which ordinary people understand to mean harmony or the absence of hostilities. In their view, "peace" is military victory against the freedom fighters.
Two weeks after dissolving the RCC, General Beshir reappointed all his generals and Islamists to ministerial positions except of those whose loyalty to Islamic fundamentalist course has been in doubt. As made clear by Beshir's speech and the manner in which power has been apportioned to the die-hard fundamentalists, there is no doubt that these generals -- supposedly in turbans or plain clothes -- have not changed their particular agenda and the basis in which they seized power in 1989. Under these circumstances, we are reluctant to make unnecessary details but to state that the generals have not gone to barracks. The international community should not be deceived by a "mere tipping of hats" to think otherwise. It should not relax sanctions against the Sudan. Instead, a two pronged approach to reduce social and economic incentives of maintaining power by reversing war successes in favor of constructive dialogue and reconciliation should be morally pursued. This is because war costs money; and the generals would fight until they run out of money to buy more ammunition, and then they would become inclined to postpone war. Sanctions, therefore, must block supplies from Iran and Iraq that subsidizes the Sudanese conflict and keep the generals war-ready than peace-ready. We believe this is a moral obligation that should be pursued by the international community against the few tigers hiding in the marshes of the Nile river.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 2, cont. 4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Sudan Newsletter P.O. Box 24233 Lansing, MI. 48909-4233 U.S.A.
The Sudan Newsletter is published quarterly by Pax Sudani Network, a charitable organization committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people. If you want to be a regular columnist, please let us know. Contributions in a form of articles or letters to the editor are also welcomed from the public. However, the Newsletter reserves the right to edit, publish or reject any written material.
Note that: Articles printed here do not necessarily represent the goals of the organization.
Editor and Publisher Mr. David Nailo N. Mayo President Augustine A. Lado, PhD Secretary Mr. Bakindi Leno Unvu Treasurer Mr. James P. Morgan ------------------------------------------------------------------ Subscriptions, Gifts or Donations Individuals $12 per year Organizations $20 per year (Please, use the form provided below for your subscriptions to the Sudan Newsletter or donations to Pax Sudani Network). ------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIPTION FORM Please, I/we wish to subscribe to the SUDAN Newsletter. Find attached a check for: __Individuals: $12 per year ___Organizations: $20 per year I/we would like to support the activities of Pax Sudani Newtork. Here is a donation of: $25___, $50___, $100___, $200___, Other___ Name: Address: Checks [cheques] or Money Orders should be made out and mailed to: Pax Sudani Network - P.O. Box 15188 - Cleveland, Ohio 44115-0118 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 2. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ HAS THE AIDID SYNDROME PARALYZED COMMITMENT FOR UN'S INTERVENTION IN SUDAN?
Human rights activists calling for the United Nations and the United States to intervene in the Sudan's disastrous conflict are more or less chilled by the U.N/U.S. fiasco with General Mohammed Farrah Aidid in Somalia. Aidid Syndrome, a term coined by the press to describe Washington's fear of creating another Vietnam in Somalia, has almost threatened the concept of the New World Order. The human rights activists echoed the same fear that the loss of American lives in Somalia has weakened a concerted action for intervention in the Sudan in the near future. A Congressman opposed to intervention in Sudan was quoted recently as saying: "If intervention doesn't work in Somalia, what would make it work in Sudan?" But this comment outraged some human rights activists in Washington. Citing the usual benign neglect African issues receive from Washington or New York, they warned that the Somali case should not be used as an excuse to dump Africa into the abyss of hopelessness.
However, there are very important issues at stake: has the Aidid syndrome made the international institutions for conflict resolution obsolete? In other words, are the international laws not going to be enforceable simply because they have met a challenge in Somalia? Should the idea of global government under the UN's mediation role be put aside in favor of sovereignties -- no matter how ruthless these sovereignties may be to their own people and others?
It is clear that President Clinton's administration, in cooperation with the international community, wants to pursue a humanitarian agenda: withholding aid until human rights conditions improve, and supporting democracy and free economies in regions with greater humanitarian need.
_____________________________________________________________________ Every medicine does not work badly for every patient. _____________________________________________________________________
We support such a view because the international community has the moral obligation to intercede and help settle conflicts in disastrous situations such as in Sudan, Bosnia/Harzegovina, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Togo, and other places.
The Sudanese conflict, between the successive Sudanese governments in Khartoum and the freedom fighters of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), has been going on for the last 11 years without any signs that the war will come to an end soon. The war has claimed more than one million lives, mostly from the South and the Nuba regions where a silent repression has been going on without international attention or regular press coverage. The split in the SPLA in 1991, has added another spiral of violence and displacement of thousands of civilians, specially in the Eastern part of the Nile River region where anarchy has far exceeded that seen in Bosnian.
In late October 1993, the U.S. Congressional (House) African Sub- Committee and the U.S. Institute of Peace brokered a symposium in Washington entitled the "Forgotten Tragedy In Sudan" -- that brought the two factions of the SPLA together for the first time since they parted two years ago. Colonel John Garang, founder and leader of the SPLA and his breakaway officer Major Riak Machar agreed to put aside their differences and work together in the interest of their people. Since the Washington Symposium, there has been no follow up by the international community to continue to encourage these two leaders to realize the provisions of the Washington Declaration that resulted from the Symposium. Moreover, even the most intractable parties in a conflict can be brought together under respectable third-party mediation, as is witnessed in the PLO/Israeli Peace Negotiations. This is a common ethic of diplomacy which certainly should not be denied to the Sudanese people at this desperate moment.
Meanwhile, the Washington Declaration brought some relief to many sympathizers of the "Forgotten Tragedy in Sudan." Unfortunately, the Washington Declaration has not gone any further to realize its objectives because serious commitment on the part of the U.S. Government and the U.N. to courageously settle the Sudanese conflict has been minimal.
There has been some regional initiatives by the North-East African Intergovernmental Agency for Drought and Development (IGADD) to mediate in the conflict, but IGADD has met some obstacles too. A conference scheduled for November 20, 1993 was postponed indefinitely for unknown reasons, but rumors suggest that the IGADD wanted further consultations with Khartoum on some essential issues. Khartoum has attempted to dictate the terms and framework for negotiations, which many observers think would not lead to peace but to the usual impasse. Since it seized power in a June 1989 coup, the Islamic fundamentalist regime of General Omer Hassan el-Beshir, has been advocating for peace within the framework of Islamic Sharia law --the law that the regime says is not "negotiable." In reality this puts the cart in front of the horse and would not lead the nation anywhere but to the status quo. The Islamic Sharia is one of the major causes of war in Sudan because it discriminates against the non-Islamic majority as well as Muslims of non-Arabic descent -- a pure case of racism hidden beneath the Qu'ran.
We also believe that the Aidid syndrome should not apply in the Sudanese situation because every medicine does not work badly for every patient. Since the UN was formed, some of its missions have certainly failed, but there are many cases where its operations have been successful, especially in arbitrating disputes (peacekeeping) as well as laying conditions for harmonious relations (peacemaking) hitherto. The Somali situation may be seen by pessimists as a failure, but optimists would agree that the UN's presence in Somalia has helped that country gain the attention it did not previously have, especially if one recalls the kind of turpitude that shocked the modern world before the U.S. Marines landed in Mogadishu one year ago.
Most of the international resolutions against the incumbent regime in Khartoum including the U.S. Resolutions (Senate 94, House 131), the UN Resolution, the British House of Lords, and the European Community Parliamentary Proceedings have never been tried nor implemented in practice. It is necessary that these resolutions are implemented to realize their original intentions because nothing has changed in the Sudan.
Second, the Nuba and South Sudanese people, who are the victims of intermittent conflicts in Sudan, are unanimously calling for international intervention. We are asking for something much more than the humanitarian assistance. We need peace and our own government that would guarantee rights and liberties of the oppressed and disenfranchised majority in the country.
We believe the international community should not exonerate itself from taking charge in the Sudan on the account of the Aidid Syndrome. We, therefore, urge peace loving people, sympathizers and friends to continue with a peace agenda within the framework of the international resolutions (especially U.S. House Resolution 131), and at least go one step beyond the humanitarian assistance which is currently the only concern of the international community. A comprehensive peace agenda should be directed to the following areas: requesting President Clinton to ask the U.N. Security Council to discuss the situation in Sudan as soon as possible; the UN should be asked to initiate and supervise peace talks between the Sudanese government and the freedom fighters in the South with emphasis on ending the 11-year conflict immediately; and the UN should press for a cease-fire with monitors in the field as soon as possible. President Clinton should also send his personal envoy to Sudan and give Donald Petterson, the U.S. ambassador to Khartoum, the full backing he needs. If the incumbent regime in Khartoum fails to cooperate with the U.N/U.S comprehensive peace agenda, strict arms embargo and international economic sanctions should be imposed and enforced immediately. Sanctions would force the generals in Khartoum to negotiate in good faith and 1994 could become the year of peace in Sudan.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 3, cont. 5. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ POEMS OF THE LAND ______________________ By Mark Muzere, PhD. _____________________ A G E N D A At the outset, great excitement Freedom for Greatlanders, intoned the masses But like the sun rising on a clear day The agenda came in unequivocal terms Citizens of Greatland, open your mind and hearts To the purest civilization from ancestral land The culture, the language, and religion of our ancestors Shall determine the Greatland heritage Replacing all others Governance of Greatland, and rank of citizenship Shall reflect the Greatland heritage Brown, the Greatland color, Shall be reflected in Greatland passports A true testament of our homogeneity Greatland is an outpost An artery in our civilization Down river long into continental heartland. And beyond In the heartland, lie great pastures -- they are ready for seeds of our civilization The gateway to the heartland must be opened by any means possible Ambassadors of our civilization The mission calls on us all It calls for dedication and sacrifice They are generous rewards in this world and in the next one Southland is a barrier -- it is political it is religious it is racial it is cultural it is psychological Some of these were planted by imperialists, enemies of our civilization Southland must be neutralized It must conform to the Greatland outlook Methods for implementing the agenda Will range from persuasion to assimilation Through the educational system Through public programs Through social contact Through other means Whose agenda? Like a house built on a weak foundation Greatland was created on false premises A divided, troubled nation A nation at war with itself from the outset ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 5. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ HUMAN RIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS
The Islamic Fundamentalist regime of General Omer Hassan al-Beshir in Khartoum, has consistently condemned any attempts by the international community to intervene in the Sudanese conflict. Pointing the finger at the U.S., Khartoum condemns the Resolution 131 in its entirety. When it was debated again on November 21, 1993, Mr. Ali al- Hajj Mohammed, the Sudanese government's official spokesman called it a "provocation" by the U.S. against the Sudan.
In another development, the UN has just issued a report following a trip to Sudan by Casper Biro, a delegate of the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. The report indicated that human rights violations in the Sudan continue in a very disturbing proportion. But, the UN's report was equally condemned by the Sudanese government which dismissed it as "false information." It instead published its own version compiled by it Attorney General, Abdel Aziz Shiddu, but that version was nothing but a mockery of and impediment to international justice.
Having blatantly misled the international community, the Sudanese government believes other organizations survive by terror and political mischief as it does. A letter smuggled out of Port Sudan prison narrated a shocking story about Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed al- Rayah Faki. Mr. Faki was arrested two years ago (August 20, 1991) and kept in Nyala Prison and then later moved to Port Sudan. After sustaining serious injuries as a result of constant torture in the "ghost houses" (torture chambers where suspects are left to rot), Mr. Faki appealed to the Minister of Justice to have his case tried in a Court of Law. In his letter, Mr. Faki, told the Minister that "Allah demands justice and kindness, and Prophet Mohammed said: Allah does not value a nation in which its weak are not done justice..." The appeal made things worse instead. Mr. Faki was reportedly tortured subsequently and is feared dead from his wounds.
Whereas the stories of victims and their relatives keep trickling out as people disappear without a trace, or are released with horrible wounds and scars, the Sudanese authorities routinely defend their outrageous brutalities. They deny these ills exist in the Sudan. One wonders at the mortality and the end of government itself when large sections of the population are consistently being subjected to Salvadorian style massacres, and the regime continues to behave criminally incorrigible and ignores international interests to bring peace to the country. For further information about Sudan human rights, please see the recent reports by Amnesty International, the Sudan Human Rights Organization, and the U.S. Committee on Refugees.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 5. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ CANADIAN REFUGEE LAW AND ITS APPLICATION TO SUDANESE CLAIMANTS ________________________ By Mangesh Duggal, LLB. ________________________
An unfortunate aspect of practicing Refugee Law is that it provides me with a glimpse of human behavior in its most cruel manifestation. However, this feeling is often overcome by knowing that I can make a difference with regards to my client's life. Knowing that my clients can have a better life in Canada, by receiving the protection of the Canadian government, provides me with a great deal of job satisfaction.
This is certainly true about my Sudanese clients. The present day situation in Sudan can only mildly be described as horrific. The human rights abuses committed by the Sudanese government against its citizens are among the worst in the world. This is certainly reflected in the very high acceptance rate regarding the Sudanese claimants.
Section 2 of the Immigration Act defines a Convention Refugee as any person who (a) by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion (i) is outside the country of the person's nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country or (ii) not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of the person's former habitual residence and is unable or, by reason of that fear is unwilling to return to that country and (b) has not ceased to be a convention refugee by virtue of subsection 2. Convention refers to the UN Convention relating to the status of refugees signed at Geneva on July 28, 1951 and include the protocol thereto signed in New York City on January 31, 1967.
The legal onus for deciding who is a refugee claimant is in terms of reasonable chance; that is, is there a reasonable chance that the claimant would suffer persecution if returned to his country of origin. A subjective and objective component must be met before one can be found to be a refugee. Subjective component relates to the existence of the fear of persecution in the mind of the refugee. The objective component requires that the refugee's fear be evaluated objectively to determine if their is a valid basis for that fear. In other words, does the documentary evidence objectively corroborate the claimant's subjective fear. There is little doubt in my mind that any Sudanese claimant would not satisfy the objective component of the refugee definition as enunciated by the Canadian Law.
A refugee claim may be made in one of three ways: First, a claimant may make a refugee claim at any Canadian High Commission outside Canada. Secondly, a claim can be made at a Canadian port of entry "the airport" or "the border." The majority of my clients make their refugee claim at the American border. The procedure involves filing a refugee claim at any port of entry. With claims made at the American border, a claimant usually arrives at the port of entry. He or she declares an intention to file a refugee claim. That person is finger-printed by Canadian Immigration Officials and is then sent back to the United States for a waiting period, approximately two weeks. An assessment is then made by a senior immigration officer to determine if the claimant is eligible to make his or her refugee claim. If a claimant is determined to be eligible, he or she is then allowed into Canada. A third method of making a refugee claim is to file a document called a notice of intention to file a refugee claim at a local Canada Immigration Center (CIC) inside Canada.
However, from a claimant's perspective, there are three principal benefits in making a refugee claim at a port of entry. Firs, a claimant will receive his or her "Personal Information Form" (PIF), and all the necessary documentary materials at the border before he or she is allowed to enter Canada. This is not the case with someone who makes a refugee claim inside Canada at a local CIC office, because there is often a long waiting period before the local immigration office contacts a claimant and/or obtain the necessary documents. The second advantage of filing at the port of entry is that once a claimant is found to be eligible right at the port of entry, a Section 20 report is prepared, which entitles a claimant to receive social assistance benefits including the Health Card. Another advantage of this method is that the likelihood of a person's documentary materials being lost by the immigration department is much lower than if one makes a claim at CIC office.
After one has made a refugee claim, the next step is the preparation of the PIF within 28 days. The PIF sets out the factual basis upon which a claimant is making his or her refugee claim. It is very important that a claimant contacts a lawyer to help him or her in the preparation of this form. A claimant has to attend the refugee hearing before the Convention Refugee Determination Division. Here the claimant must established the agents of persecution -- a group or groups the claimant is afraid of; prove of identity (that the claimant is who he is, and from a particular nationality) and to corroborate route of travel. However, the Refugee Board realizes that in many countries, a refugee claimant may not have access to identity documents or that she may be in such a hurry to leave the country that obtaining documents is not feasible. In such situations, a claimant is often asked particulars (geography or political conditions) about his or her country of nationality in order to confirm his or her identity. Other materials, such as a report by Amnesty International, are helpful in the hearing to corroborate a refugee claim, and to assess the credibility of the claimant. Again a legal counsel is important before the claimant appears before the CRDD hearing. Once a claimant has been accepted by the CRDD, he or she is then entitled to make an application (within 60 days from the date of acceptance) for permanent resident in Canada. The processing time for obtaining permanent residence in Canada once a refugee has been accepted varies between 6 to 18 months. My general feeling regarding the Sudanese claims is that the Sudanese claimants have been successful in Canada. Recent statistics from the Immigration and Refugee Board revealed that out of 504 Sudanese claims were heard to completion; of these 480 (or 95 percent) were successful in making their claims against the Sudan. I do not believe that there has been any material change to conclude otherwise.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 6. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ FADHALLA SPEAKS ABOUT SUDANESE CONFLICT
A Sudanese scholar and one of the experts on African human rights' issues spoke about the Sudanese conflict at Michigan State University's African Studies Center.
Dr. Ali Suleiman Fadhalla, formerly the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Khartoum, is currently a visiting scholar at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Dr. Fadhalla introduced himself as an "Arabized Sudanese." "And at the sub- set I am a Shaiqqi (one of the Northern Sudanese tribes). I am a black lawyer", he stressed. This introduction was probably directed to dispel the confused Sudanese identity; whether the citizens are Arabs or Africans. Dr. Fadhalla stressed that "I have not considered myself as an Arab. I describe myself as an Arabized Nubian." He went on to state how the Arabization process took place in the Northern provinces of Sudan, in which his people had to abandon their own customs and languages in favor of Arabic culture and language. But the lawyer, though he appeared to regret this Arabization process among his own ancestors, did not specify whether it should continue Southward or not.
Fadhalla stated that the conflict in Sudan has its roots in the early formation of the Sudan by the Ottoman Turks (Ottoman Empire) that conquered the Sudan in 1820s. The Turks, then latter the Anglo- Egyptian Condominium, concentrated most of their economic activities in the northern Sudan. And as the history is more or less shaped in the north, economic concentration became more established there. He observed that the Sudanese society -- especially in the West and the South -- is quite undeveloped. He attributed this economic disparity to the British Closed District Ordinances of 1920s. The lawyer also attributed the Sudanese crisis to the short period of devolution of power from the British to the Sudanese. He argued that the Closed District Ordinances had separated the Sudanese people for a long time, and after 1946 the British hastened re-unification, thus giving little time for integration between the north and the south. However, he did not narrate whether there had been unity between the south and the north prior to the British conquest of the Sudan, by which the British policy could have been the sole factor dividing the two regions.
He continued that the Sudanization policy did not address the north-south issues, as the early administration did not seem to understand its sensitivity. Fadhalla quoted Ismail al-Azhari as having said that: "The national policy was that of liberation not of reconstruction." Moreover, Fadhalla had to lament that the policy of affirmative action (giving more opportunities to the under-represented areas or groups) should have been adopted as early as the independence period. He blamed the northern community for agitating General Abboud's government (1958-64) to undertake Islamization and Arabization policy in the South, which in his opinion did not help the north-south discord either.
Dr. Fadhalla, drifting from time to time, nevertheless praised Nimeiri's regime for ending the 17-years war (1955-1972) and for helping frame the 1973 Constitution which gave basic human rights protection. During Nimeiri's era, the Regional Government in Juba was much more democratic. "In elections, the South in fact had freer elections than the north. The north resented that. They (northerners) couldn't imagine democracy being practiced in the south than in the north", he said with a friendly smile and chuckle.
Fadhalla went on to state how Nimeiri started to uproot the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, that ended the 17 years of conflict, and redivided the South into three regions in 1983. As though that was not enough, Nimeiri proceeded to imposed the Islamic sharia laws -- known as the September Laws.
During an interview, the Sudan Newsletter asked him two questions: If the South were to secede, do you think it could survive economically and socially? And how much intrinsic economic and political loss would the north incur?
Dr. Fadhalla replied that if the South were to secede it would have the same problems the Sudan has. "Look at how the SPLA is being composed.... and the split is more or less on tribal lines, and many atrocities has been committed by each side. That is likely to continue." He went on to say that in terms of economic viability, the South is certainly rich in resources. The discovery of Oil in the South, as you could see international interests -- like Lohro's "Tiny Rowland" -- are directed there; there's a potential incentive for development.
The second question was probably too tough for the lawyer to answer. But he murmured that he does not know any intrinsic economic and political loss that the north would incur. "But Egypt probably wouldn't like the idea of another state on the Nile, even though it has friendly relations with the South right now" he said.
Was the lawyer really unaware of any intrinsic economic or political loss that the north could incur if the south secedes? If there is no loss of any sort, then, why is the north fighting the South so fiercely? Like many northern Sudanese elites, Dr. Fadhalla seemed to disapprove the idea of secession of the South but was probably uncomfortable to state his views in such an environment. He nevertheless wished the north had handled the situation much differently before the Islamists took over. Whether this view depicts a transformed opinion of northern Sudanese elites or Fadhalla was simply pleasing the audience, was unclear.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 7. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ AMIDST INDIFFERENCE BY THE UNITED NATIONS The Indefatigable Congressman Applauds Legislation on Resolution 131
Honorable Frank R. Wolf (R. Va) is one of the leading representatives and senators in Washington D.C. urging President Clinton's administration to act on the forgotten tragedy in the Sudan. During proceedings in the United States House of Representatives on November 21, 1993, the Congress once more debated the deteriorating situation in the Sudan. The House affirmed its earlier (U.S. House) Resolution 131, which it passed in August of 1993.
In supporting the decision taken by the House, Congressman Frank Wolf was grateful that the House is now moving this "crucial legislation forward and -- for the first time -- clearly stating to the international community that the U.S. can no longer stand idly by as whole generations of Sudanese are wiped away in one of the most tragic situations in any nation today."
_____________________________________________________________________ Crimes against humanity stop only when we address them, and not when we ignore them. -- Frank Wolf _____________________________________________________________________
Mr. Wolf quoted to his colleagues, a recent report issued by a French medical relief organization, Medicenes San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders), currently working in South Sudan: "The people of Sudan are suffering one of the gravest and most enduring human crises in the world -- the result of a ruthless dictatorship that violates every human right in the book, and the international community's lack of interest and political resolve."
The Sudan is a country in unprecedented turmoil which pits the successive Arab/Islamic governments in Khartoum against the rebellion led by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in the South. Since the war erupted in April 1983, over a million people are estimated to have died, especially from the South and the Nuba regions where the government's forces are engaged in "unhindered" scourge-earth genocide and ethnic cleansing upon these non-Arabic majority in these regions.
Resolution 131 is very important legislation; it's an encouraging sign that the U.S. Congress will no longer ignore the mounting evidence of the egregious crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, slavery, and religious persecution carried out by the successive Sudanese regimes in Khartoum -- especially the current Islamic fundamentalist regime of General Omer Hassan al-Beshir.
Congressman Wolf also applauded the recent efforts of the Washington Symposium entitled "Sudan: The Forgotten Tragedy" in October 1993, which was sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Congressional House Sub-Committee on Africa. He said that attempts to bring peace in Sudan, in spite of the long silence and inaction by the international community, were. imperative. The Congressman asserted that the brutalities of the previous century seems to have taught us tough lessons that "... crimes against humanity stop only when we address them, and not when we ignore them."
Congressman Wolf blew the horn much earlier this year, when he had just returned from his third visit to South Sudan in February 1993. While in the small town of Kajo Keji, just a few miles to Uganda border, the Congressman was able to witness first hand the tragedy of war; he saw bomb craters created by government aerial bombardments which were dropped in the market, just a few days before he got there. He also saw the wounded civilians who had been brought to and cared for in a small nearby hospital. Wolf saw this as nothing but a "filthy place" not worth calling a hospital. Inside the bedless hospital lay one of the civilians with a bomb shrapnel still in his head. There were no surgeons or surgical instruments to remove the shrapnel. The Congressman also recalled talking to Rebekka, a Dinka woman, who told him that the world was silent about the suffering in South Sudan because they (the victims) are black people, and have been discriminated against (by the international community), as this kind of suffering would not be tolerated in other parts of the world. However, stories coming out of South Sudan and the Nuba regions just before Christmas, are much more depressing than what the Congressman saw in Kajo Keji last February.
The Congressman has brought the obscure tragedy in the Sudan into the spotlight of international attention, the tragedy which the successive Sudanese governments do not want it to be publicized. He has spoken several times to the press, written letters to President Clinton, the Secretary of State, and to his colleagues and other important people, just to ask them to glance at the tragedy in Sudan. Congressman Wolf had also declassified a report about the on-going slavery in the Sudan last Spring, 1993. The report, which had been compiled by the intelligence agencies in the region, documented stories about Dinka children being smuggled out of Sudan by their captors and sold to Libyan businessmen as slaves. Bishop Macram of El-Obeid (in north-western Sudan) also confirmed the rampant slavery in the province. When the Bishop toured the Western nations last year, he told the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva that on numerous occasions the displaced children mostly from the South, were kidnapped, or their parents were forced to sell their children to the government's security agents, who later disposed of them to the market. Slavery is not history in Sudan; it is an ongoing activity -- a silent testimony that people's lives are worthless to the successive Sudanese governments.
The South Sudanese and the Nuba people, as much as they would like to be a part of the global society, have not received the kind of attention given to other humanitarian crises elsewhere. Surprisingly, the UN has also been indifferent, in spite of hundreds of letters urging it to broker peace talks between the warring parties in the Sudan. Instead it intervenes in the Sudanese crisis at the humanitarian level only, which according to Bishop Paride Taban, is like "feeding the chickens for slaughter." The UN seems not to be getting the message. We are asking the UN to help us stop the conflict; after that, we would not need its food anyway because we will grow our own.
Meanwhile, individuals like Congressmen Frank Wolf and Harry Johnston, Senators Paul Simon and Nancy Kassabaum, and many others whom we couldn't list here, are truly echoing the thud cries of the South Sudanese and the Nuba people. We strongly support the Congressmen and the Senators for responding to the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan.
HUMAN RIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS
The Islamic fundamentalist regime of General Omer Hassan al- Beshir in Khartoum, has consistently condemned any attempts by the international community to intervene in the Sudanese conflict. Pointing the finger at the U.S., Khartoum condemns the Resolution 131 in its entirety. When it was debated again on November 21, 1993, Mr. Ali al- Hajj Mohammed, the Sudanese government's official spokesman called it a "provocation" by the U.S. against the Sudan.
In another development, the UN has just issued a report following a trip to Sudan by Casper Biro, a delegate of the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. The report indicated that human rights violations in the Sudan continue in a very disturbing proportions. But, the UN's report was equally condemned by the Sudanese government which dismissed it as "false information." It instead published its own version compiled by its Attorney General, Abdal Aziz Shiddu, but that version was nothing but a mockery of and impediment to international justice.
Having blatantly misled the international community, the Sudanese government believes other organizations survive by terror and political mischief as it does. A letter smuggled out of Port Sudan prison narrated a shocking story about Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed al- Rayah Faki. Mr. Faki had been arrested two years ago (August 20, 1991) and kept in Nyala prison and then later moved to Port Sudan. After sustaining serious injuries as a result of constant torture in the "ghost houses" (torture chambers where suspects are left to rot), Mr. Faki appealed to the Minister of Justice to have his case tried in the Court of Law. In his letter, Mr. Faki, told the Minister that "Allah demands justice and kindness, and Prophet Mohammed said: Allah does not value a nation in which its weak are not done justice....." The appeal made things worst instead. Mr. Faki was reportedly tortured subsequently and is feared dead from his wounds.
Whereas the stories of victims and their relatives keep trickling out as people disappear without a trace, or are released with horrible wounds and scars, the Sudanese authorities routinely defend their outrageous brutalities. They deny these ills exist in the Sudan. One wonders at the morality and the end of government itself when large sections of the population are consistently being subjected to Salvadorian style massacres, and the regime continues to behave criminally incorrigible and ignores international interests to bring peace in the country. For further information about the Sudan human rights, please see the recent reports by Amnesty International, the Sudan Human Rights Organization, and the U.S. Committee of Refugees.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 8. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ WASHINGTON DECLARATION FOR SELF-DETERMINATION Is South Sudan Ready to Settle for an Independent State? _____________________________________________________________________ "There is only one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." -- Victor Hugo ___________________________________________________________________
On October 21, 1993, a window of opportunity was opened in a symposium entitled "Sudan: The Forgotten Tragedy" which was organized by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the United States House Africa Subcommittee, and the State Department's office of African Affairs. In the Symposium, Colonel John Garang de Mabior, the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) -- the freedom fighters fighting the Sudanese government for autonomy of South Sudan -- and his breakaway officer Major Riak Machar agreed on an 'eight-points' document known as the 'WASHINGTON DECLARATION.' This agreement was to be followed by a South-South conference before November 15.
The 'Washington Declaration' was a continuation of the U.S. House Resolution 131, passed August 3rd, 1993, and the U.S. Senate Resolution 94, passed October 1992. These Resolutions have detailed a comprehensive agenda for conflict resolution in the long Sudanese civil war. If the Washington Declaration takes its course, the South would likely achieve what it wanted in 1947 Juba Conference, the 1965 Round Table Conference, and all other dishonored agreements between the South and the North.
The Washington Declaration was also an "about-turn" in the goals of the SPLA to restructure the whole Sudan. The independence of Eritrea and other smaller republics in the former Soviet Union have made the solution of the longest struggle in Sudan -- between the South and the North -- much more imperative to settle it now. The SPLA has, regrettably, realized that the Northern Sudanese people -- socially and psychologically -- do not want any change that emanates from the South, regardless of its philosophy. The concept of a "New Sudan" has been suspected as the South's attempt to take over power from the dominant Arab-Islamic rulers, rather than a need for national reconstruction. Mr. Sadig el-Mahdi, for instance, made direct reference to this in 1988/89 when the SPLA overran several garrisons in Southern Blue Nile region. In a bid to gain sympathy and support from the Arab World, Mr. el-Mahdi told a Middle Eastern press that the "Arab nation had been invaded...." Such a statement was not mentioned when Jikou, Torit, Kapwata, or any other towns in the South were captured by the SPLA. Since, the idea of a New Sudan was not reciprocated by the North, the South is certainly justified in its decision to secede -- a move which should be considered as the last resort.
Unfortunately, the North wants to block that direction too. The message the South gets sounds like this: "You want the whole Sudan, you're damned; You want the South, you're damned." But the South could escape this damnation by jumping through this window of opportunity and settle for Self-Determination. With a united spirit, the South could achieve this easily; no question about that. If the South Sudanese leaders -- notably, the breakaway officers -- continue to collaborate with Khartoum, this window of opportunity might as well be delayed or closed on their faces and the South remains doomed.
Although Riak Machar did not sign the final document in front of Congressman Harry Johnston, who mediated the negotiations, the outcry by Southern Sudanese and probably the suasion of Carter's words brought Machar to sign the similar document without the signatures of Johnston and Garang. However, the paper did not mean anything; but if he truly felt morally obligated to save his own society, he could have as well made it verbally.
REACTION FROM THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE
The Washington Declaration did not surprise many Northern Sudanese opposition groups, known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), although some appeared to be surprised. The NDA is aware of the difficult phase that the Sudan faces. Many in this group wished they had created change before the Islamists (1989 coup) threw them out of power. Now, they may be a little confused as to how they should response to the Washington Declaration.
Although the South is a great liability rather than an asset to the North, politically it has an intrinsic value. Ruling a nation about one third the size of U.S.A., since independence from colonial rule, is much an esteem by itself. Even though the North has no full control of the South -- mentally, economically or physically -- yet it does everything it can to prevent it from 'breaking away.' This is a general human behavior even if there is no justification to back it up.
Meanwhile, the NDA wants to be given a chance to bring real change in Sudan -- a change that has been difficult for it to create since 1989. Furthermore, the NDA wants to reinvigorate the Nairobi "entente", which was agreed between it and Col. John Garang last Spring 1993 -- to maintain a united Sudan. Pitifully, the NDA wants unity for unity's sake and behave as though there has never been any challenge to it. There seems to be a hidden fear too. The fear from the NDA is that if the South goes, the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Khartoum would therefore strengthen itself and would be there to stay. Hence, it would become difficult for the Umma and DUP parties, that formed the NDA, to go back and reinstate their traditional aristocratic lifestyle. One particular reason why the NDA could not come up with a clear post-war Sudan is that it does not want to commit itself to promises which it might not execute should power be restored to UMMA and DUP. But some cosmetic change should appear to occur on their own terms provided it leaves their privileges intact.
REACTION FROM KHARTOUM
Meanwhile, Khartoum's reaction to the 'Washington Declaration' was A "stormy frustration." First, the Sudan is still struggling to have its name removed from the list of nations sponsoring international terrorism. Second, it wants to restore its image in diplomatic circles, to relieve itself from the ecstacy of isolationism. It is also struggling to be reinstated in the IMF's membership which it lost recently (Summer 1993). Therefore, the Washington Declaration was another embarrassment which, according to Khartoum, deserves serious condemnation of the agreement itself as well as the organizers.
Khartoum views the attempt to unify the Southerners as tantamount to interference in its internal matters.
_____________________________________________________________________ If IGADD and Jimmy Carter come up with a peace formula similar to that presented by the Nigerian government, Khartoum will certainly reject it. _____________________________________________________________________
Although initially, the Islamists wanted the South to secede in order to allow the consolidation of a pure Islamic state in the North, this view changed after the SPLA's split in 1991. The Islamists realized that they could successfully beat one Southerner against another and finally they (Islamists) would triumph. Triumph has been expected so long as the freedom fighters fight among themselves. The Washington Declaration made the Southern unity a priority, which Khartoum strongly detested.
Speaking over the national radio, Lieutenant General Omer Hassan al-Beshir said that Washington's Symposium was "a hostile act" against his government. He strongly opposed what he called "foreign solutions" to the Sudanese problems. But on the other hand, he desperately needs foreign help to keep himself in power. He has asked the Inter- governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) and the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, to mediate in the conflict, but on his terms. We believe if IGADD and Jimmy Carter come up with a peace formula similar to that presented by the Nigerian government, then mediating a series of peace talks at Abuja, the Khartoum government will certainly reject it. This is because none of the solutions from outside, as General Beshir stated, will satisfy Khartoum's agenda.
MACHAR DECIDED NOT TO DECIDE
While the Beshir's government has been opposed to the outside initiatives, it has strongly capitalized on the SPLA's split by supporting the dissident SPLA officers -- Major Riak Machar and Lam Akol -- to continue to disagree with their leader Col. John Garang. This is a great weapon of Khartoum; for a divided Movement wouldn't be as effective as if it were united. Indeed, Riak Machar and company, behaved exactly in a manner reflecting the wishes of Khartoum.
Meanwhile, the Washington Declaration was made with an understanding that the South-South negotiations would be convened before November 15, to finalize strategies for implementing the agreement. But in the Kampala and Nairobi talks, organized by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Drought and Development (IGADD), Machar decided not to decide. He surprised the group by insisting that he preferred an elected leader of the SPLA than the one who assumes leadership. A condition he knows would not lead the South anywhere. This was also contrary to his earlier statements, on his way to Washington, that he wanted the unification of the Movement without preconditions. Machar has learned a new style of driving the Movement with one foot on the brake pedal and the other on the accelerator. The speed he picks is "democracy first, unity later" while the people continue to perish in the South.
While democracy is certainly a cherished value, realities in South Sudan make it completely irrelevant for reasons stated by Patrice Lumumba:
"To introduce the ferment of political life prematurely among the ignorant and irresponsible masses in response to a craving for modernisation would be to introduce the ferments of discord and dissention; it would not be a victory for democratic idea nor would it lead to such a victory; it would open the way for a return to the old tribal concepts with each person wishing to be the head of the new tribe; this would give rise to petty quarrels which would be detrimental to harmonious social relationship. It has proved necessary to give the people peace and happiness instead of disorder and wrangling, disguised as democracy."
If this African hero were to rise today and see the plight of the Southern Sudanese people in the camps, what would he say? If he were to talk to John Garang, Riak Machar or Lam Akol; what would he tell them? If he were to talk to the silent masses of South Sudanese scholars in North America or in Europe; what would he tell them? Patrice Lumumba would certainly repeat the words he said to the Congolese people before the Katanga crisis of 1960.
South Sudanese people are starving in filthy camps; they are continuously being bombarded by the Khartoum airforce; and they are killed by their own people because the yoke of anarchy has been unleashed in exchange for democracy. The Sudan Newsletter believes it is necessary to give our people peace, they need peace now. No one in the camps is asking for democracy but peace in South Sudan. Such a society needs a "guardian first," to rehabilitate it and provide the basic needs and infrastructure. Once the people are settled, then the search for power, prestige, and democratic idealism would naturally follow.
When individuals choose to volunteer to speak on behalf of the masses, as much as the SPLA are not elected officials but volunteers, there is a minimum expectation that such volunteers would act in the interest of the society. But, giving the society such a hard time and ordeal is contrary to the spirit of volunteerism. In South Sudan, however, a leader is understood to be someone who fights for the Southern Sudanese people, someone who faces the other way not facing backwards.
BACK TO THE 1950s
The current frustration among Sudanese people about the system of government in Sudan and the demand for an alternative system, such as proposed by the Movement, stems from lack of statecraft in the center. It's quite incomprehensible that the Northern Sudanese elites have been totally captured by the traditions of the UMMA and DUP parties. They are either belonging to one of the two parties or Islamists. They have no emerging leaders and therefore, have nothing new to offer to the Sudanese people. For instance, instead of putting a system that is attractive to the Southerners, Northern Sudanese elites waste too much time and energy trying to prevent the South from breaking away. This approach by itself -- especially the pattern of repression and persecution -- helps the South gain the sympathy it needs for Self- Determination.
Moreover, the same pattern didn't help Egypt in the 1950s when it sought to prevent the Sudan from gaining her independence. If it were not for the British presence and their support for the Sudanese right for self-determination, the Sudan would have not achieved her independence in 1956. Moreover, the Egyptians had often argued that the Sudan was a primitive and backward country and a union with Egypt was necessary to civilize it. Without the British, the Egyptian troops (then still stationed in Khartoum) would have routed the pro-Umma demonstrations against the union with Egypt in March 1954.
Gamal Abdel Nassir was less conceding to allow the Sudan to proceed towards independence; so was his predecessor, the Sudanese born Col. Neguib, who wanted confederation with Sudan instead of outright independence. Politically, the Egyptians kept interfering in the Sudanese politics. They succeeded in keeping the UMMA party at bay in favor of the pro-Egyptian National Unionist Party. The latter, through vivid Egyptian support and open buying of votes, won overwhelming majority in 1954 elections.
In spite of dirty buying of votes, political gimmickry and blackmail as well as desperate anguish to keep the Sudan united with Egypt, these tactics did not prevent Sudan from gaining her independence. Similarly, the split in the SPLA should not preoccupy the Northern groups -- or inhibit them from creating a system that could change the course of Sudanese politics. The South wants to be free from the North, just as the Sudan wanted to be free from Egypt. Col. Garang may no longer want to persuade the unbending North to accept reconstruction. In fact it's a futile game to do so, as Sudanese history could attest. Once people are determined to pursue a particular course, it is always arduous to turn them back by less attractive initiatives or force. The philosopher, Victor Hugo, once observed: "There is only one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." The time for the South to achieve her rights and liberties may be only a few months away. Most political solutions in history came by surprise; we do not know how this will come.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 9, cont. 11. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ NYUON ATTACKS CHUKUDUM AND IKOTOS
While international attention is focused on SPLA's Re-union, and the possibility of forging peace through self-determination for the South, remorseless military campaigns have been going on in the South. William Nyuon, an SPLA officer who defected and joined the Nasir faction (SPLA- united), sent a huge force to the border towns of Chukudum and Ikotos in late October. Chukudum, a small town near the border with Kenya and Uganda, was attacked and occupied for two days. The attackers killed three people: Joseph Lokwatamoi, the Sub-Chief of the town, a policeman Awongiro Lotekerimoi, and Luka Lobathio. All the three were patients in Chukudum Health Center when the attackers cordoned the town at dawn. They also wounded more than 6 other in the area, looted the mission and the relief distribution stores, and destroyed a lot of property in the town.
Chukudum, the first town to be occupied by the SPLA in Equatoria Province on 28 November 1985, has been quiet since then. It has been a relatively safe district, and thousands of refugees from other districts have settled in Chukudum. When Kapwata (Kapoeta) town, about 62 miles northward, was retaken by government troops last year, Chukudum remained undisturbed even with the government's militia in the area.
Meanwhile, the main SPLA force which was in Chukudum, was overwhelmed by the huge attacking force and was pushed out. The following day, the Didinga people (natives of Chukudum) descended from the mountains and sealed off the town and literally stormed it ruthlessly. Nyuon's militia lost 174 people in the town. The flank which was sent by the attackers to Lotukei in an attempt to secure the Uganda/Kenya borders, was repulsed and routed at Kikilai village (9 miles East of Chukudum). As they were fleeing Chukudum they also fell into a series of ambushes laid by the Longarim (Buya) and Topotha tribesmen, and untold horror swept Nyuon's militiamen, of whom only less than a dozen were reported to have narrowly escaped. The latest reports indicated that, at least 324 of Nyuon's militia have been reported killed, and the fate of many more is unknown, especially the wounded who have been abandoned in the Kidepo Valley grassland.
The tribesmen believed they were defending their villages from new waves of inter-SPLA conflicts by keeping one side out of the scene. They also swore that William Nyuon will never attempt to go back to Chukudum or Ikotos.
In Ikotos, about 40 miles West of Chukudum and about 26 miles from the Uganda border, Nyuon's militiamen were also destroyed by the Logir and Lotuho warriors. The saddest news in these merciless killings is that the militiamen were mostly an army of young boys under 17 years old from the Lokoro tribe in Lafon. William Nyuon had established his base there since he defected from Col. Garang in September 1992. In early 1993, the Lokoro people became victims of atrocities when Col. Garang sent a punitive force against Nyuon. In the in-fighting at least 17 Lokoro villages were burned down and hundreds of civilians were killed in the incidents. This made Kenyatta's famous statement much more relevant in South Sudan that: "When two elephants are fighting, the grass will suffer." In reality, the Lokoro people would have not lost their sweet ones had Nyuon gone a different way other than established a base in Lafon -- the elephants would have not been fighting there but may have been somewhere else.
Meanwhile, the attack on Chukudum and Ikotos, was a part of the overall "Dry Season" offensives by the government's army (in collaboration with the SPLA-united) against the main SPLA, in a bid to secure the borders. Since early 1993, the Khartoum government arms Nyuon to destablize Torit, Bor, and Juba districts, while the military concentrate their forces in Yei-Kaya and Juba-Nimule roads. Had Nyuon succeeded in taking Chukudum and Ikotos, the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Khartoum would have received some fresh roses as a Christmas present from Nyuon, "the handing over of these towns" to Khartoum. The failure to secure Kenya/Uganda borders remains an embarrassment for Khartoum, for its trusted proxy officers seems not to be the making gains it envisions.
Although the news reaching the Newsletter speaks of glory on the side of Chukudum and Ikotos, yet we are really breathless as to the continuous loss of lives in the region. Can a society justify the continuous loss of lives in South Sudan just because some inane officers want things their own way, and do not care that they are continuously plunging the society into the anarchical world long ago described by Hobbes? We may lament: why did William Nyuon, in the first place, sent such a heartless campaign? What real purposes were those innocent boys going to accomplish by taking Chukudum and Ikotos anyway? Who is responsible for their deaths now? But we have realized that we cannot end that kind of turmoil just by blaming either side or telling them to stop doing it. It seems a pen is not mightier than a sword whose blades continue to devour innocent lives in the region. But we believe that some level of conscientization is lacking, therefore, the people are receiving wrong signals. If the militiamen under such commander(s) were to reason, or at least knew -- before attacking a neighboring village, town or camp -- who the SPLA's real enemy is, they would not have obeyed orders to go and prey upon the innocent people or to lose their own lives for a misplaced cause. They would have certainly faced the other way.
Meanwhile, all is not sad news; there is some good news too. The Didinga people (of Sudan) have concluded a permanent treaty with the Turkana of Kenya, and the Dodoth, Karamojong, and Jie of Uganda -- a resuscitation of the pre-colonial "native conflict resolution" modalities long ignored by European international laws. Surprisingly, this is an international treaty whose articles are unwritten nor are they deposited in the United Nations, and no peace observers have ever been sent there. But solid peace prevails without stick and carrot from any of the Sudanese, Ugandan, and Kenyan governments. How we wish the rest of the world were that easy to manage. How we wish we could go back to the basics, where conflicts were less destructive, where reasonable restraint was exercised. A mere throwing of stones against the other, signalling aggression, and the other would respond by collecting a bundle of grass signalling peace, and the imminent war just ends with a party. Our ancestors did not know contests carried on at a tremendous cost to society. They did not know power struggle among brothers, but a new sadistic generation calling themselves elites or civilized, are much more merciless and unforgiving. Each must fight to become a chief of South Sudan, while their foe rejoices at their self- destruction.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Source: _Sudan_: a newsletter committed to the rights and liberties of African Sudanese people, III(4): 10. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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