Bashir in South Sudan/"Darfur Forgotten?"
Web Series, Politics
Despite recent activism on behalf of Darfur human rights - George Clo0ney, Mia Farrow, (Dream of Darfur) John Pendergast, Don Cheadle, Sharon Silber & NYC Coalition for Darfur - is President Bashir of Sudan moving to have global community forget Darfur and indictments by ICC in his apparent overtures toward referendum for secession of South Sudan?
President Bashir's motives in visiting South Sudan immediately preceding referendum on regions secession from Sudan is analyzed:
---to try to persuade a vote against recession and for unity? - not likely to be persuasive;
---to give assurances of good intentions and future deeds on part of his regime in very likely result of South Sudan vote opting for independence? - this may have logic in context of his efforts to avoid ICC, (international Criminal Court), arrest for already delivered indictment and in effort to exhibit why UN and global community should not "mess" with him as he projects to be shepherd of stability in country and region.
---To secure more free reign in Darfur? - this may be also likely as Darfur has slipped from global leaders/capitals talking points (presumably temporarily in favor of South Sudan), but Bashir also perceives that he may be able to grasp freer hand in Darfur as it is overwhelmingly Muslim, unlike South Sudan, and Bashir speculates that world is less likely to intervene on Muslim v Muslim conflict. (Announcement on potentially "more Sharia" if South Sudan splits is consistent with such "strategy').
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
Arriving in southern Sudan's capital Juba, Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir tells Southerners that his government will, "consider the new state in the south and accept it."
Dressed in traditional southern robes, President Al-Bashir was greeted by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir, senior southern politicians, diplomats, religious leaders and a guard of honour from the combined armed forces of north and south Sudan.
Thousands of jubilant people gathered as well outside the airport to welcome the President, shouting slogans for separation and waving southern Sudanese flags.
SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Omer Al-Bashir, President, Sudan: "Because our interest for unity is a channel for power, security, advancement and change in the Sudan. But if the southerners decide to separate, well and good."
Addressing the Southern Sudanese Council of Ministers, Bashir said unity was the best choice for the southerners, but he also insisted that if the south secedes from the north, he wanted good relations with the region.
He also mentioned the links between north and south Sudan saying that they were unique and reiterated his support for the referendum result. He added that Khartoum will support the south even if it separates from the north.
SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Omer Al-Bashir, President, Sudan: "Anything you need in terms of technical, logistical or professional support from Khartoum, you will find us ready to give it. We shall also consider the new state in the south and I will accept it."
A parallel referendum on the future of the oil rich town of Abyei remains contentious however, with both sides in disagreement on who should vote. President Bashir talking to journalists before his departure to Khartoum addressed the situation in Abyei. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Omer Al-Bashir, President, Sudan: "On Abyei issue, according to the CPA protocol, Abyei belongs to the Dinka Ngok and other citizens. No other constitution can change that."
The Abyei referendum is also meant to take place on the 9 January but nothing has been put in place yet for the vote.
The referendum is a key milestone of the 2005 north-south peace deal that ended a devastating 22-year of civil war in which some two million people were killed and another four million displaced.
Meanwhile, as the referendum approaches, questions have been raised by influential activists about reports of increased attacks throughout Darfur in recent months, as well as a disturbing uptick in arrests of some of the most eminent human rights defenders and journalists throughout Sudan.
Sharon Silber of the organization, "Save Darfur" claims that many of these people have been largely held incommunicado for the last two months and that their detention without explanation has hampered the ability to know what is happening and has caused civil unrest. Silber has questioned why the UN Security Council does not press for the release of those detained and demand action to stem the violence.
Silber went on to say that there have been no reports on humanitarian conditions in Darfur since March when the Government of Sudan began its attack on the Jebel Marra region. She also questioned the UN's director of humanitarian affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, for agreeing to allow the Government of Sudan to vet his reports on humanitarian conditions, in effect allowing it to define which attacks would be investigated and which would not.
Silber has called for more transparency regarding humanitarian conditions in Sudan and to allow the UN mission there to fulfill its mandate and guarantee civilian protection.
Year of Production: 2011
Length: 4 minutes
- Tom Osborne UNTV
- Susan Sacirbey