Weekly Education and Advocacy Update
Intenational Aid, Syria Sanctions Act, Sudan, DRC, Libya
International Aid and Syria Sanctions Act
2012 International Affairs Budget
Discussion of various international affairs budgets slated to happen last week has been delayed, though this vote must take place before November 18th, which is the next deadline before the government will face a shutdown. Complicating this process are "half dozen Republican senators [who] have confirmed that they are considering introducing one or more amendments to the State-Foreign Operations spending bill on a variety of foreign policy issues. Many are likely to include significant cuts to foreign aid," writes CQ Staff Writer Emily Cadei. These senators include:
- Mark Kirk [R-IL],
- Tom Coburn [R-OK],
- Jim Risch [R-ID],
- John Isakson [R-GA], and
- Bob Corker [R-TN],
though not all have provided details on the amendments they are considering proposing.
Earlier this week, United to End Genocide, American Jewish World Service, Jewish World Watch, Humanity United, The Institute on Religion and Public Policy, and Investors Against Genocide joined in writing a letter urging members of the United States Senate to fully support international affairs funding. The text focused on the current challenges facing Sudan and the need to ensure that adequate resources are available for humanitarian aid, development assistance, economic support, and peacekeeping funding. Please call your Senator and join us in supporting full funding for this critical section of the US budget.
Syria Sanctions Act of 2011 (S. 1472)
Keep an eye out for a Call-In Day and letter writing campaign (plus letter-writing resources) in the next couple of days in support of the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011, which aims to implement penalties in the US for all companies engaging with Syria’s petroleum sector. The bill currently has twelve co-sponsors, but additional co-sponsors are key in demonstrating political will for the sanctions. Please take action now by calling your Senators through 1-800-GENOCIDE or sending them a message through POPVOX to ask for their support for this legislation.
Sudan and South Sudan
The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Thursday announced its troops have entered the border town of Kurmuk after heavy battles with fighters from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).SAF said in a statement that they managed to “fully liberate and secure” the town which lies on the borders with Ethiopia.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) remains committed to its strong protection of civilian mandate in line with Chapter seven of the Security Council’s resolution 1996 (2011), said Hilde F. Johnson, the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General (SRSG).
A senior official from South Sudan’s military intelligence has openly accused a Khartoum-based airline company of backing rebel groups intending to overthrow the southern government.
The chairman of the opposition party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), Lam Akol Ajawin, said his party will contest in the 2015 general elections in South Sudan.
The Sudanese government on Thursday, October 27th claimed that its forces are now on the outskirts of Al-Kurmuk district which is currently under the control by rebel forces.
Payinjiar county, one of the counties of Unity state most affected by illegal arms, has been peacefully taking part in a disarmament program; however, 200 illegal AK-47s were just collected from the Unity state.
A South Korean delegation will visit South Sudan in mid-November in order to follow up previous assessments intended to lead to the deployment there of peacekeepers from the east Asian country.
Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday became the latest human rights organization to campaign for the release of Sudan Tribune journalist Peter Ngor Arol Garang and another journalist Dengdit Ayok. Amnesty International (AI) has also released a statement calling for the release of the two South Sudanese journalists. Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists were the first to call for the release of Sudan Tribune journalist Ngor Garang, who was arrested Wednesday after a newspaper he edits in Juba published an article critical of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan has rejected a US proposal aimed at resolving the conflict in the country’s oil-rich state of South Kordofan, saying Khartoum will never accept to cede any part of it.
The UN Security Council urged the Sudanese government to bring to justice those who attack the peacekeepers of the joint African Union United Nations mission operating in Darfur (UNAMID).
A peacekeeper from Sierra Leone serving with the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed on November 6 near the capital of South Darfur state, the United Nations disclosed from New York.
The Sudan people’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has arrested a key opposition leader over allegations linking him to the formation of a new rebel group fighting against the South Sudan government.
Sudan has accused Chad of harboring and helping the Sudanese rebels who have been fighting the government and its allied militias in Darfur.
The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on November 28 represent an important milestone in Congolese democracy, as it will be the second democratic election in the country’s history. However factors such as fraud, violence and lack of preparation continue to undermine the election’s potential for success and the country’s development and peace-building as a whole.
On Tuesday, opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi announced on Radio Lisanga TV that due to the vast support he has in the country, he is the president of Congo today. He said, "We don’t need to wait for the elections. In a democracy, whoever has the power is the majority of the people. Therefore, from this day on I am the Head of State of the DRC." This declaration came from South Africa, where he has spent the past 10 days. He also denied claims that his party had made that the Congolese government had refused his plane permission to land. Finally he advocated for all of his supporters who had been jailed to be released; if they were not released, he told his supporters to “break the prisons” in order to free them.
The reverberations of his comments were felt around the global community, as well as in the country itself where opposition supports continue to demonstrate in Kinshasa. The government responded to his comments saying they could amount to “treason”. Also, African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping traveled to Congo this week to urge presidential candidates to adhere to the election results at the end of the month.
The UN announced that it has documented a “worrying number” of human rights violations in the DRC in the build up to the elections. umanHiDocumented human rights violations include fraud in the electoral process, infringement of the rights to assemble and the right to free speech. The report also cited the potential of the human rights violations to not only undermine the electoral process, but also spark violence after the polls.
According to a recent report by Radio Okapi, approximately 10,000 electoral observers will be deployed to the country as part of the National Observation Mission. However this falls short of the goal of placing one observer in each of the 62,000 polling stations.
Reuters just published a list of key political risks to watch in the November 28th elections, noting that there are “increasingly concerns about the country’s readiness for the polls and what impact a troubled vote might have on efforts to stabilize the nation”.
A court in Tunis decided Wednesday to extradite former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi back to his native country. Al-Mahmudi who served as PM in Qaddafi’s government until the battle for Tripoli, had been arrested in September by Tunisian authorities as he tried to cross the border into nearby Algeria. Amnesty International has expressed opposition to the extradition however, Amnesty’s North Africa spokesperson stating that, “if he would be returned to Libya, he would at present face real risks, serious human rights violations, including torture … extra-judicial execution and unfair trial.”
Libya’s Interim Minister of Justice, has announced Mohammed al-Alagi, announced last week tentative plans to investigate and catalog decades worth of human rights abuses undertaken under the Qaddafi regime. Looking to precedents set by nations such as Argentina and South Africa, whose efforts to grapple with the past emphasized “fact-finding and accountability rather than punishment”.
NYT reported meanwhile last week on a protest outside a Tripoli prison on Tuesday held primarily by relatives of Qaddafi loyalists being held there, in which they made claims of abuse by NTC forces and militias. An NTC spokesperson responded to the charges saying that “we have a lot of problems in the prisons,” but also emphasized many were still under the control of autonomous militia forces and not official NTC control. Such claims follow reports made late last month by Human Rights Watch that certain militia groups terrorized civilians deemed pro-Qaddafi during the final stages of the conflict and into the present, HRW called upon the NTC to take firmer control over the largely autonomous militia forces.
The education update is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information contact the following:
Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith email@example.com
DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com