Should Scott Gration support the elections in Sudan?

Hi everyone,

Earlier today, United States Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration was blasted by leaders of the opposition parties for supporting the upcoming elections in Sudan. We were surprised by his optimistic support despite the fact that most candidates running against President Omar Al-Bashir do not feel them to be free or fair and have withdrawn from the election.

“So he went to the Election Commission and they assured him that they are fair and unbiased. It is like asking a thief to swear he is honest and then believing him” a 26-years old student in Khartoum by the name of Khalid told Sudan Tribune.

Read the complete article here.

There are quite a few events coming up this weekend. Please see the listing below. We hope you will join us as we keep the people of Sudan caught in the middle of this chaos in our hearts and minds.

Barbara & Anshul
Orange County for Darfur, a project of Living Ubuntu


Friday April 9, Screening of Children of the Congo: From War to Witches
6:30p refreshments, 7-9p screening and discussion. Hosted by Sister’s of St. Joseph of Orange
Address: St. Joseph Center, Mother Louis Room, 480 S. Batavia Street, Orange, CA 92868

Saturday April 10, The 25th Annual Great American Write-In
9:30a. Sponsored by Women For: Orange County
Address: Lakeview Senior Center, Woodbridge Community Park, 20 Lake Road, Irvine, between Alton and Barranca

Saturday April 10, Screening of “Rebuilding Hope” and panel discussion with Sudanese
7:00p screening and discussion. Sponsored by OC for Darfur, IUCC Peace & Justice Advocates and Amnesty International, Irvine chapter.
For additional information and to RSVP, please visit

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Sudan arrests opposition SPLM leaders; prevents Al Jazeera from covering the demonstration

SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and his deputy Yassir Arman

SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and his deputy Yassir Arman

The Sudan Tribune is reporting that the Sudanese government arrested “SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and his deputy Yassir Arman”,  opposition leaders from the Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM). In addition, Al Jazeera was prevented from covering the demonstration and had their tapes confiscated.

The detention of these SPLM leaders is a troublesome sign that the upcoming elections in Sudan in April 2010 will not be free and fair.

UPDATE: The leaders along with 500 other protesters have now been released.

UPDATE on Tuesday, December 7th:  I’m glad the US State Dept has condemned the use of violence against the protesters.  Here is what General Scott Gration had to say.

“I am deeply concerned about these developments and urge all parties to exercise restraint. Negotiations on issues of urgent importance to all of the Sudanese people cannot proceed in an atmosphere of intimidation.”

– Scott Gration

Read the complete article at Sudan Tribune.

Here is the statement from the US State Dept condemning the use of violence against protestors in Sudan.

Gration: We don’t have all the monitoring mechanisms that we need yet

Yesterday, Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration and National Security Council Director, Samantha Power sat down with Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition and Layla Amjadi of STAND.  They discussed a wide range of topics regarding the recently released policy by the Obama Administration.

Click here to watch the complete webcast.

Gration:  We don’t have yet all the monitoring mechanisms that we need.  When the NGOs were expelled, we lost some very valuable NGOs that we have not gotten back in yet…  And the fact is that while we’ve been able to compensate for food and water and healthcare and sanitation, some of the protection NGOs have not been able to get back in…

For us to objectively verify, we’re going to have to have different types of NGOs on the ground and more of those NGOs on the ground. And we’re going to have UNAMID with more freedom of movement and the ability to monitor better what’s happening on the ground, so that we can take action.  And those are the things we’re working on right now.

Other highlights that stuck out at me in this illuminating conference include:

  • Samantha Power mentioned that  everytime President Obama has sat down with Chinese President, Hu Jintao,  “this issue has been discussed”.
  • And Scott Gration mentioned that “a major impediment to [Darfuri] people returning home is the ‘pschological stuff’.”

I’m glad senior officials in the Administration recognize the deep impact of such trauma and how that affects peacemaking.

Darfur update: New United States policy for Sudan

Hi everyone,

The Obama Administration finally released their long-awaited official foreign policy on Sudan. Here is a quick summary. The administration’s policy lays out three strategic U.S. objectives:

  1. A definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur.
  2. Implementation of the North-South CPA that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other.
  3. Ensure that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorists.

You can watch the whole briefing by Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and General Scott Gration on the State Department blog. I highly recommend it.

On paper, this policy is a step in the right direction. However, the devil is in the details and we are concerned about it’s implementation. The Save Darfur Coaltion, Enough Project and GI-Net are holding a conference call tomorrow morning at 10a to discuss the implications of this new development. All details are below.

Also, there are quite a few events coming up this week that a few of us will be attending (details below). I hope you will join us.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur | calendar | photos | shop | blog | facebook | twitter

Sudan Policy Review Conference Call
Tuesday, October 20th at 10:00a PST

Call-in Info: (877) 254 – 9825
Participant Code: There’s no code, just say that you’re calling in for the Sudan Policy Activist Call

Screening of “Worse Than War”

Thursday, October 22th at 7:00pm
Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA

Worse than War visits the sites of the worst mass slaughters of the 20th Century with Holocaust scholar Daniel Goldhagen. Encounter killers, survivors, witnesses, journalists and political leaders whose stories provide powerful insights into the scourge of genocide. Followed by a conversation with Rabbis Schulweis and Feinstein and Enough Project founder John Prendergast. RSVP at

Ending Violence Against Women in Congo
Saturday, October 24th at 5p
6360 W. Sunset Blvd (between Vine and Ivar, with DeLongpre to the south)
Los Angeles, CA

Please join the Hollywood Film Festival and Enough Project for a symposium, “Ending Violence Against Women in Congo,” which will examine the root causes of the conflict and rape epidemic in Congo, and explore practical ways that American citizens and consumers can play a role in ending the violence. For more information, click here.

IDPs To Boycott US Envoy

Unless he changes his position and takes account of our demands, he is not welcomed in our camps because he does not consider us.

Those words were spoken by a representative of Darfur’s internally displaced persons, who have decided against meeting US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration when he visits their camps.

The IDPs feel that Gration has “ignored their demand for security” and refused to acknowledge Darfur for what it is – a humanitarian crisis.

Put simply by the representative –

It is better for President Obama to appoint someone else.

Many in the US agree with this view of Gration and what he has accomplished (or hasn’t accomplished). Several had high hopes when he was appointed. Now, many are left wanting more.

Text Secretary of State Clinton

US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has asked for an “easing” of sanctions against the country.

Help the Enough project’s efforts to keep sanctions in place  –


Darfur… still genocide


U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration (Reuters)

Special envoy to Sudan, General Scott Gration does not seem to be in-sync with the US State Dept.  This past Wednesday, after a series of visits with the government of Sudan, he released a statement saying

“What we see is the remnants of genocide. What we see are the consequences of genocide, the results of genocide.”

On the other hand, the Assistant Secretary of the US State Department said

“We continue to characterize the circumstances in Darfur as genocide,”

This clearly contradicts General Gration’s earlier statement.  Is there room for debate? Is the situation in Darfur genocide?

I think so.  And General Gration’s boss agrees.

Read the complete article at the Sudan Tribune.