In a welcome move on May 29, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called on the Ugandan/African Union mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army to restart operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the African Union Heads of State Summit this weekend. Kerry’s participation in the summit —which marks 50 years of African regional cooperation—presents an opportunity to improve leverage for substantive outcomes. In partnership with African leaders, Kerry can help ensure that this summit has an impact by pushing for credible peace processes in Africa’s two deadliest wars: Sudan and Congo. Read More »
More than 70 Heads of State will gather this week to attend the 21st Africa Union summit which coincides with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the continental institution. The summit’s theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance” will unfold with a call for Africans to “realize the dream of the founding fathers for a peaceful, prosperous, and united Africa”. Read More »
Right now, in 2013, it has been ten years since the tragedy occurring in Darfur started. In 2003, the Sudanese government began supporting militia groups called the Janjaweed (“Devil on Horseback” in Arabic) to terrorize villages in Darfur because of their ethnicity and with goals of acquiring land and resources. These actions have been widely recognized as genocide. Read More »
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, email@example.com
Darfur's Gold Rush Spurs Violence, Instability, and Humanitarian Crisis
WASHINGTON – The Sudanese government's interest the unprecedented level of gold production from the Jebel 'Amer area of North Darfur – where workers and rescuers recently died in multiple mine collapses – has spurred state-sponsored violence and displacement, argues a new report by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.
The report, which draws on extensive interviews and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, challenges Khartoum's characterization of violence in the region as "inter-tribal" battles.
Report co-author Omer Ismail, a Sudanese activist on Darfur and a senior adviser to the Enough Project, stated:
"The Sudanese government asserts that Darfur is beset by 'inter-tribal' tensions that inevitably result in violence. However, the evidence shows that Khartoum systematically spurs these clashes by sponsoring militias and taking sides. This year alone, we've seen government forces exacerbate clashes by backing the Abbala versus the Beni Hussein; the Beni Halba versus the Gimr; and the Taaysha versus the Salamat. Government-armed Abbala militias' recent power play to control North Darfur's gold mines represents a continuation of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder."
Co-author Akshaya Kumar, an Enough Project policy analyst, stated:
"Ten years after the genocide began; state-sponsored violence has once more taken hold of the region. Cash-strapped and dollar-starved, Sudan sees gold as its new oil. The recent gold discoveries are fueling atrocities again in Darfur. More than five times as many people were displaced in the first few months of 2013 than in the entirety of 2012."
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery featured in the report illustrates the major influx of thousands of artisanal miners into Jebel 'Amer, North Darfur, between February 2012 and January 2013, as well as confirming major displacement, consistent with U.N. reports that by April 2013, more than 150,000 people have been displaced due to the recent fighting. In December 2012, Sudan's minerals ministry declared that 4,000 new gold mines, which yielded approximately $2.2 billion in 2012, are operating in the Jebel Amir area.
"Most of the gold from Darfur has been produced by unlicensed, artisanal mines, which are difficult for Khartoum to tax," explained Kumar. "This helps explain the government's drive to consolidate control over the mines."
Following the regional violence in January and February, which displaced some 150,000 miners and their families, the governor of North Darfur banned mining in the Jebel 'Amer area. However, many mines continued to operate.
On April 29, Sudanese officials – including Jebel 'Amer District Chief Haroun al-Hassan -- initially reported that at least 60 workers died there in two collapses of a gold mine shaft that descended 131 feet (40m). On May 6, Sudan's state-owned SUNA news agency sharply revised the estimated number of casualties downward to five deaths and five injuries. However, miners who had been on the scene during the disaster and failed rescue efforts reported to the Agence France-Presse wire service that more than 100 workers were trapped and killed when several mines close together collapsed, and that nine rescuers also disappeared when the ground crumbled underneath them.
A joint report by the Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project examines the Abbala militias' recent power play to gain control over lucrative gold mines in North Darfur and makes the case that these actions are a continuation of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder.
As we gather to mark April as Genocide Awareness month, to recognize atrocities across the world and throughout history, it's important not just to recognize the past, but to learn from it. Read More »
A report co-produced by The Resolve, Invisible Children, and the Enough Project uses satellite imagery and testimony from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) defectors to document the renewal of Sudan’s support to the LRA from 2009 until at least early 2013, and to pinpoint the likely location of rebel leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory.
By The Resolve, Invisible Children and the Enough Project | Apr 26, 2013
The “Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013” would create a comprehensive U.S. strategy to end serious human rights violations in Sudan, provide genuine accountability for persons who have committed or assisted in serious human rights violations, support Sudanese aspiration for democratic reforms, encourage other governments and persons to end support of and assistance to the government of Sudan, and reinvigorate genuinely comprehensive and sustainable peace efforts that can end Sudan’s multiple crises.
“The bill comes at a critical moment: 2013 marks ten years from the start of crimes in Darfur that the U.S. government found to constitute genocide,” said Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw. “It calls for a strategy that embraces the need for democratic change within Sudan and deals with the root causes of the human rights crisis unfolding in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and continued unrest in Darfur and Abyei."
“With the introduction of this new Sudan legislation, the message is clear: the crisis in Sudan is far from over and neither should be the outcry for peace, security, and accountability,” said United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews. “The spreading abuses of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir show that the cost of inaction is human life. We thank the courageous lawmakers who are standing with the people of Sudan and demanding action to protect those at risk.”
"With ongoing government-sponsored mass atrocities and grave human rights violations in Sudan, this legislation is a crucial step towards creating effective policy that re-asserts the important role the U.S. should play in saving lives, encouraging democratic transformation and ending impunity,'' said Act for Sudan Co-Founder Martina Knee.
“Ten years after beginning our campaign to end the genocide in Darfur, we are gravely concerned that the Sudanese government is blocking the delivery of food and medicine and bombing its own people," said American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger. "This legislation is a step in the right direction towards ending this unacceptable assault on human dignity."
The legislation seeks to do the following:
Create a strategy focused on all of Sudan;
Demand free and unfettered access for international humanitarian aid to all parts of Sudan and take steps to mitigate the lack of such humanitarian aid;
Promote free and transparent democratic reform in Sudan;
Increase engagement with other stakeholders who have influence over the Sudanese government in Khartoum, such as the African Union, Arab League, and China;
Create a broad-based sanctions regime to target governments and individuals whose support assists the Sudanese government in committing serious human rights abuses;
Seek more effective enforcement of existing sanctions including adequate resources and personnel and extending to all of the existing Sudan sanctions regimes included in prior enacted legislation that were specific only for “Darfur”; and
Provide genuine accountability for crimes committed in Darfur and encourage other countries to expand international accountability efforts to include crimes committed in other regions of Sudan.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.