Laura Heaton

5 Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A weekly round-up of must-read stories, posted every Friday.  Read More »

Field Report: Somalia Famine Relief: A View from Mogadishu

While the U.N. declared the famine in Somalia over in February, a third of the country's population still faces a food crisis. The Enough Project reports from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, where famine conditions were the greatest and most persistent.


Field Dispatch: Bombardments on Sudan’s Disputed Border: Hint of What’s to Come?

Enough recently traveled to the bombing site in Kiir Adem, where aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Armed Forces of a South Sudanese army installation and surrounding community conjure up memories of Sudan’s long civil war and underscore the fragility of peace, especially along the country’s long, contested border.

Field Dispatch: The Arrow Boys of Southern Sudan - An Army of the Willing

In the absence of an effective response by the Sudanese government to the LRA, many local men and boys have taken community security into their own hands. They are part of a loose-knit, meagerly armed, local defense force called the Arrow Boys.

The Clock Is Ticking on Sudan

Jan 29, 2010
Maggie Fick and Laura Heaton

(Jan. 29) -- On Jan. 22, a little-known but highly influential group of senior policymakers met in Washington to hash out the next steps for U.S. policy toward Sudan.

Because of the confidential nature of this meeting at the National Security Council, we may never know the exact decisions made, but in the coming weeks we hope to see indications that the Obama administration is willing to ratchet up pressures in Sudan to produce meaningful progress toward peace at a time when a return to large-scale war looks increasingly possible.

Continue reading here.

Barack Obama Opts for Softer Approach to Darfur Crisis in Sudan - The Guardian

Oct 18, 2009
Ewen MacAskill

The Obama administration will tomorrow roll out a new policy aimed at resolving the Darfur crisis in Sudan, a much softer and more conciliatory line than the president promised during his election campaign.

Barack Obama is dropping a plan to isolate the Sudanese government and introduce tougher sanctions. Instead he will offer incentives aimed at the normalisation of relations with President Omar al-Bashir.

Continue reading here.

Sudan’s Bashir cancels trip after Uganda mulls arrest warrant-The Christian Science Monitor

Jul 16, 2009
Kristen Chick

 A new poll shows public support in Muslim and African nations for the war crimes indictment handed down against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court.


And though the leaders of those countries have so far stonewalled efforts to arrest Bashir – the Monitor reported in March that Arab and African opposition to the indictment largely stemmed from leaders’ desire for self-preservation in a region plagued by human rights violations – there are some signs that regional leaders are falling out of step with Bashir.

This week he reportedly dropped plans to visit Uganda after that country’s foreign minister announced that Uganda would honor the ICC’s arrest warrant if Bashir entered the country. The Ugandan government later retracted that claim, with an official saying the country wanted to avoid “embarrassment and inconvenience,” but the earlier hint was enough to keep Bashir away.

The back and forth on Bashir in Uganda would appear to support the claim made by Enough, the antigenocide project of the Center for American Progress, that African Union (AU) support for Bashir is growing shaky. The AU, to which Uganda belongs, has officially promised to disregard the warrant. But Laura Heaton writes on Enough’s blog that there is more behind-the-scenes opposition to the AU’s decision than is readily apparent.

“The language of the AU’s statement was hotly contested and the final version did not represent consensus; there are certainly more countries voicing support behind-the-scenes for ICC’s work to hold Bashir accountable than one might surmise from news reports,” Ms. Heaton wrote.

Matthew Duss, a research associate at the Center for American Progress, says the developments in Uganda could mean that AU solidarity with Bashir is fading. “I think it clearly does indicate that there’s a potential for it to fall apart … for cracks to begin,” he says.

The survey, conducted by, found much stronger support for the indictment among African Union populations than in the Arab League. The poll found a majority in favor of the indictment in Kenya, Nigeria, and Turkey, a plurality approving in Pakistan and opposition in Iraq, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories.

Mr. Duss said the divide between African and Arab nations could be due to the nature of the conflict in Darfur, where the ethnically Arab government has been accused of violence against non-Arab civilians, and the experiences of the Palestinians.

“I think in these countries, especially in the Palestinian territories, they’ve more often seen international power and international institutions used against them,” he says. “What they see as Western-based systnmes of jsutcie has not served them particularly well and that could be an explanation” for their opposition to the ICC.

Nevertheless the African Union continues to join the Arab League in considering the arrest warrant to be illegitimate. Bashir, the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC, is accused of orchestrating attacks on civilians in Darfur and the ICC’s prosecutor has recently called for the charge of genocide to be added. Bashir until now flaunted his support in the Arab and African world, travelling freely and being warmly received by his neighbors.

The poll, conducted between April 25 and June 6, also found overwhelming support for UN intervention in Sudanese refugee camps to alleviate suffering caused by the expulsion of aid organizations. Every nation surveyed except Pakistan supported an intervention, even if escorted by military forces and contrary to the will of the Sudanese government.

Bashir kicked out 13 international humanitarian aid groups in March in response to the ICC warrant. The Monitor reported in April that that the situation in the world’s largest humanitarian effort was growing ever more grim in the absence of some aid providers.


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