US to Appoint Special Envoy

While no formal announcement has been made, several media outlets are reporting that US President Barack Obama will appoint retired Air Force General Scott Gration as his special envoy to Sudan. Such a formal announcement may come as early as tomorrow.

Gration has an interesting history – raised in the Congo, served as a fighter pilot, won a Purple Heart. He also traveled to Africa with Obama in 2006 and referred to the president as a “leader committed to end that genocide (Darfur)”.

Also Tuesday, the US State Department delivered harsh words to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the “catastrophe” he has created by kicking aid organizations out of the country.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton appeared ready to take Bashir head-on –

They will be held responsible for every single death that occurs in those camps because by their expulsion of the aid workers, they are putting those 1.4 million lives at risk.

Thank you to those who urged the White House to wake up to the Darfur crisis and appoint a special envoy to Sudan.

Hope Remains at IDP Camp’s Obama School

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Camp Djabal - Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

After Barack Obama was elected US president in November, School No. 1 at the Djabal refugee camp in Chad was renamed the Obama School.

NY Times writer and Darfur advocate Nicholas Kristof recently visited Djabal, home to thousands who have fled the genocide in Sudan.

Regarding the Obama School, Kristof writes –

It’s a pathetic building of mud bricks with a tin roof, and the windows are holes in the wall, but it’s caulked with hope that Obama may help end the long slaughter and instability in Sudan.

Is there reason for the residents of Djabal to be hopeful?

Kristof thinks so.

This Wednesday, the International Criminal Court will release its decision on issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. There is talk that top Sudanese officials may oust Bashir if a warrant is issued.

Additionally, several current US leaders back the Darfur cause, including President Barack Obama, VP Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice. The Obama administration plans to conduct a review of the policy on Darfur led by human rights defender Samantha Power.

I agree with Kristof. Hope is not lost. Not for those living in Djabal. Not for the refugees in other Darfur IDP camps. And not for the millions around the world who refuse to turn a blind eye to the extermination of a people.

Sudan, Congo, and Zimbabwe Hurt Africa’s Human Rights Record

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Today, the US State Department presented to Congress its annual report on global human rights.

The report revealed that “human rights worsened across Africa despite some bright spots”.

The major contributors to Africa’s lamentable human rights record?

Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe.

Recently, these three countries have been ravaged by government-sponsored genocide, sexual violence, use of child soldiers, attacks on peacekeepers, a lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and security, and other gross violations of human rights.

In response to the report, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton vowed to uphold human rights in America and abroad

Not only will we seek to live up to our ideals on American soil, we will pursue greater respect for human rights as we engage other nations and people around the world.

Clinton Ready to “Sound the Alarm”

Yesterday, standing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing, Secretary of State nominee Hilary Clinton called ending “human devastation in Darfur” an aim of the incoming Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy.
This is an area of great concern to me, as it is to the president-elect. We are putting together the options that we think are available and workable.
Upon her arrival to the hearing, Clinton was met by 15 student activists belonging to the anti-genocide organization STAND. These individuals were there to kindly remind Clinton of her previous strong words for Sudan and its president Omar Al-Bashir. However, Clinton appears to be in no need of reminding – stating that she is ready to “sound the alarm” about the Darfur crisis.