African American Professionals Claim Findings Suggest No Genocide Was Committed During Two-Year Crisis
In agreement with the United Nations report released last Monday absolving the Sudanese government of genocide, a delegation of African-American professionals who recently returned from western Sudan also rejected accusations that genocide was and is being committed in the east African country.
“While we were in Sudan, a committee of inquiry determined that serious human rights abuses were committed in Darfur, but rejected claims of ethnic cleaning and systematic rape, and, we concur,” the delegation reported at a press conference at the National Press Club.
One member of the delegation points a finger at the media for inaccurately portraying the situation in Sudan and at the United States government for using this conflict as a smokescreen to mask others calling Sudan a “convenient diversion.”
“[The situation in Sudan] has been blown out of proportion,” says Executive Director of the Give Peace a Chance Coalition in Washington DC, Hodari Abdul-Ali.
“Sudan is the sixth richest country on earth and, in my opinion, the reason it receives so much attention. Really, it isn’t genocide. The [African Union] never called it genocide; neither did the Arab League or the European Union. Only the U.S Congress, under pressure from right wing groups called it genocide.”
The two main rebel groups in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Movement, are especially angered that the UN report did not find that genocide had occurred during the two-year conflict.
Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement told the Boston Globe that the report was incomplete.
“If this report says there is no genocide in Darfur, then we reject this report. “There are hundreds of mass graves that the commission did not go to.”
“These are tribal conflicts and anytime there is violence, bad things happen but both the government and the rebel forces are guilty of committing these crimes,” says Abdul-Ali, who disagrees that the Sudanese government is solely responsible.
But amidst the conflict, optimism is also flourishing. After speaking to a number of government officials, opposition leaders, academic representatives, religious figures and ordinary citizens, Abdul-Ali confirms that peace is on the minds of many Sudanese.
“Because of the peace treaty there is a fence of optimism in Sudan; optimism because the war has ended. With this peace treaty the government has the obligation to develop the infrastructure in the south because there is no denying that the south got a bad share.”
The BBC reported that in Khartoum, shortly after the peace treaty was signed on January 9, “you have the impression of a city opening up to the world again, after years of isolation. The Sudanese, it seems, want to shake off their image as a pariah nation.”
For more information on the Give Peace a Chance Coalition
African-American Leadership Delegation to Sudan, please contact Mr. Hodari Abdul-Ali, Executive Director of the Give Peace a Chance Coalition:
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE COALITION
2905 11th St. #201 Washington, D.C. 20001
202-232-4101; 202-232-4142 fax