Weekly Update from the STAND Education Team
Sudan, DRC, and Syria
- President Obama announced Thursday, August 18, 2011 his nomination of Susan D. Page as the Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan, Department of State Susan D. Page currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs. Prior to this assignment, she was Regional Director for Southern and East Africa at the National Democratic Institute.
- Sudan has once again threatened to expel the UN-AU Joint Peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) over the contents of a UN Security Council’s resolution extending the mission’s mandate. On 29 July, the UN Security Council voted the extension of UNAMID for one more year, asking the world’s largest peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s troubled region to make full use of its capabilities and prioritize the protection of civilians; safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access. The resolution further asked Khartoum to create suitable conditions to engage a process for political dialogue in Darfur and remove a number of restrictions in freedom of expression and other rights limited by the state of emergency law imposed in the region. Sudan has quickly denounced the resolution, saying it attempts to manipulate the mission’s mandate and tarnish the image of the country.
- The Enough Project released information about possible mass graves in South Kordofan on August 17th. Following closely on the U.N. report calling for investigations into human rights violations in Sudan, the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, released a report of possible mass graves in and around Kadugli, the state capital of South Kordofan, where heavy fighting has taken place since June. The evidence of these mass graves is based on satellite imagery that has been corroborated by multiple eyewitness accounts.
- A new UN report has reiterated claims that human rights abuses allegedly committed during the conflict in Sudan’s state of South Kordofan may amount to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” and must therefore be fully investigated. A UN official last week said that at least 200,000 people in South Kordofan have been killed, injured or forced to flee their homes and land since the fighting erupted. Al-Bashir denies any wrongdoing and denigrates the ICC as a tool of a Western conspiracy to dismantle his regime. The current governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun is also wanted by the Hague tribunal. On August 14th, a Sudanese parliamentarian accused South Sudan and the West of supporting the rebellion in the country’s southern state of South Kordofan in order to create a pretext for the deployment of UN troops.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
- Voter registration wrapped up for the November elections with 31 million registering to vote out of a total population of 71 million. This is up from 26 million registered voters in the 2006 elections. Presidential candidates also officially declared candidacy with Kabila as the frontrunner. Currently, there are two main opposition candidates and it is thought they will have to form a coalition in order to defeat Kabila.
- David Aronson’s article “How Congress Devastated Congo” sparked heated debate in the DRC advocacy community. The article states the Dodd-Frank law has “unintended and devastating consequences” and criticizes the conflict-minerals narrative as simplistic. The Enough Project, led by John Pendergast and proponent of the conflict-free movement, issued a response that defended the Dodd-Frank provision which requires companies to trace supply lines of minerals mined in the DRC. The advocacy community opposed to the conflict-free exclusive narrative argue that issues such as civil society empowerment, security sector reform, and governance reform need to be addressed for real progress to be made.
- Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad continued his assault on civilians following protests against his administration. Most recently, al-Assad ordered an assault on the port-city of Latakia. Warships and tanks killed more than twenty-four people before being called away from the city. In response to the ongoing violence, President Obama called for al-Assad to resign and issued new sanctions against Syria. Below are links from the US government and EU administration regarding their withdrawal of support.
http://goo.gl/IMmRx White House Fact Sheet
http://goo.gl/Geci7 Obama’s statement on Syria
http://goo.gl/35rQx EU statement on Syria
http://goo.gl/KAWvu Clinton’s remarks on Syria
http://goo.gl/s5LJs Executive order issuing sanctions
The education update is produced every Friday 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 Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com