Voices for Sudan has spearheaded many public events, including vigils, marches and protests. In 2012 alone, Voices for Sudan held the Vigil to Restore Hope at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., a silent auction benefiting U.S. members of the Sudanese diaspora, a meeting with the South Sudan embassy, multiple meetings with congressional staffers and briefings with the state department. Through this process, we highlight policies and issues vital to progress in Sudan that are to often ignored.
Voices for Sudan advocates for indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir and his associates to face justice. The ICC continues to issue arrest warrants, most of which remain unfulfilled, and push for the reestablishment of the rule of law in Sudan. True justice would require fulfilling these arrest warrants.
The best hope for the future of peace and stability in Sudan and South Sudan would entail sending Bashir to the ICC. Bashir has implemented strategies that have destabilized or oppressed many regions of Sudan. Bashir’s policies have also negatively affected Sudan’s bordering countries, by sending an influx of refugees and by supporting militia groups and terrorist organizations. The regional and the global community have a responsibility to support justice in Sudan by pushing for the extradition or voluntary acquiescence of Bashir. All nations have a responsibility to submit to the ICC’s extradition request and to minimize Bashir’s scope of support, further isolating him and reigning in his range of power.
Removing Bashir from power would provide a new opportunity for positive relations between the two Sudanese nations. Achieving justice in Sudan would send a message to the world that no leader should use impunity as a shield; no person or political party should be allowed to commit atrocities while the world stands by and accepts it as an unfortunate consequence of war. By removing Bashir from the political situation in Sudan and showing the nation that all individuals can be held accountable, it would allow the country a real chance for peace and prosperity. Voices for Sudan stands with other organizations and world governments in calling for an end to impunity and the recognition of the traditionally voiceless, faceless Sudanese that have been lost in the long years of conflict.
HR 4169: the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012, is a bill introduced by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) that aims to make the government in Khartoum accountable for their actions and addresses the mounting humanitarian concerns.
The bill engages a more comprehensive strategy to address human rights violations and promoting an inclusive peace initiative within Sudan. It acknowledges that the human rights violations have been shifting from region to region throughout the nation, and calls on the President to create a strategy that incorporates the use of an interagency network that works to bring peace and justice to the entire nation. It works to hold those in the Sudanese government accountable for their role in human rights violations, and for impeding the movement of humanitarian aid to regions in need. It also carries provisions to penalize governments across the globe that provide sanctuary to those in the Sudanese regime wanted for war crimes. HR 4169 will be helpful in the fight to end human rights violations in Sudan because it makes necessary adjustments to policy on Sudan that will allow the United States and international leaders to be a more effective facilitators of peace within the country.
To support the passage of HR 4169, write to your congressional representative and urge them to become a co-sponsor.
As part of our mission Voices for Sudan aims to elevate perhaps the most critical voices in advocating for Sudanese issues, the Sudanese themselves, as they can speak from personal experience and/or with a direct connection to Sudan. However, Sudanese voices are often absent or limited during press and advocacy outreach, in large part this is because (as reported by Sudanese diaspora) there is a lack of comfort or know-how in this community in the United States.
Voices for Sudan has implemented a successful “Training Day” for members of the Sudanese diaspora. This included workshops on communication, media and public speaking. The goal is to increase the level of Sudanese participation in press outreach and advocacy. By increasing the number of Sudanese advocates whose opinions are expressed and heard, the NGO community and government officials can act with a deeper understanding of the most critical issues in Sudan and South Sudan.
National, regional, and local collaboration between STAND and diaspora communities allows for a valuable mechanism for mutual empowerment and dynamic constituency-building. Diaspora members’ continued leadership, familiarity, and personal experiences serve as an important model for youth activism in the United States. Coordinated mobilization between STAND activists and diaspora communities can strengthen STAND’s resource mobilization, as well as our ability to promote sustainable change in STAND’s areas of concern. Collaborative mobilization will develop a solid foundation for a lasting, global movement for atrocities prevention and civilian protection.
Voices for Sudan is proud of the continued efforts for advocacy and empowerment within the Restore Hope program. This ongoing project was established by Voices for Sudan to facilitate communication and humanitarian efforts. This global effort involves visiting various regions of the world to meet with populations of the diaspora, political and religious leaders as well as key organizations to help facilitate progress for the wellbeing of the Sudanese.
Restore Hope Israel was the first implementation of this project. In 2008 Jimmy Mulla traveled to Israel and Canada to meet with Sudanese refugees. Through these efforts, he won support from members of the U.S. congress concerning the Sudanese refugees being killed at the Israel-Egyptian border. Thirty-three members of congress signed a letter to the Egyptian government demanding investigation into the shooting of refugees at the border. This advocacy mission led to successful publication of the piece “Voice for the Voiceless: Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom Report on Sudanese Refugees in Israel.” Please click here to access the report. This year, Voices for Sudan plans another Restore Hope trip to Israel. This time, our efforts will focus on the deportation legislation and repatriation of refugees to South Sudan. Having already met with members of the South Sudan embassy and multiple congressional staffers for representatives of the United States Sudan Caucus, Voices for Sudan feels confident that this trip will result in positive outcomes for all parties involved.