Archive for April, 2012


April 25th, 2012

ACTION ALERT: Sudan Declares War on South Sudan

Yesterday, April 24, 2012, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir stated that Sudan had “declared war” on the South. Negotiations between the two countries have increasingly been tense since South Sudan gained independence last July. Sudan has accused the South of aiding rebel groups against Sudan, a claim which both the government in Juba and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) have denied.

The most recent clash has been over the town of Heglig, an oil-rich region and an important source of revenue for both nations. Sudanese forces regained control over the region last week as South Sudan ordered SPLM-N troops to withdraw.

The Sudanese Air Force (SAF) has bombed at least 3 locations in South Sudan. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir stated that Sudan’s “dialogue with these people will be through the gun because they only understand the language of the gun.”

Join us as we encourage the Canadian government to condemn the violence against South Sudan and pressure both nations to end hostilities and resume negotiations on issues still outstanding from South Sudanese secession. Please tell Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that you are concerned about these acts of war against South Sudan. We, as Canadians, have an obligation to raise our voices in an effort to prevent a war between the two Sudans.

An email template is available below.

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April 20th, 2012

A Positive Step Forward

For over five years, STAND Canada has researched and promoted a number of policy recommendations, that sought to bring an end to the conflict taking place in Sudan.  One of our most recent policy recommendations asked that a fact-finding mission be established in order to collect information and document human rights abuses and mass atrocities that are being committed in Sudan’s border regions.

Last week, Amnesty International launched a human rights mission to Sudan. Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary-General, Alex Neve, is travelling to South Sudan to join an important human rights research mission to document such human rights abuses.  This mission will be investigating attacks on villages and the aerial bombings of the tens of thousands of civilians that have been occurring in Sudan’s border regions since the Summer of 2011 and inside South Sudan.

We applaud Amnesty International for taking initiative and implementing this fact-finding mission and we urge our supporters to follow Alex Neve and Amnesty International as they travel to Sudan to collect this critical information.  You can watch their video online HERE.  For more information about STAND’s policy recommendations please read our monthly STAND Digest.

Laurie Drake is Deputy Principal Director of STAND Canada.

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April 18th, 2012

Ethical Sourcing in the Congo

In a recent article in the Globe & Mail, analysts discussed the benefits of ethical sourcing which included greater brand reputation and secure supply chains.  Any conversation on conflict minerals easily brings up the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  However, we often forget that the DRC is also a source for ethical conflict-free minerals. This highlights the importance of tracing the origins of these minerals to not just the country but the smelter or refinery that processes them.

The EICC-GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter Assessment Program does just this. The Program is being developed by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). The voluntary program acts as an independent third party investigator, tracing the sources of smelters and refineries. The assessment is made be a third party and the Conflict-Free Smelter Audit Review Committee then reviews the findings to decide whether the smelter/refinery has met Conflict-Free Smelter assessment protocol.

Conflict-free does not mean a boycott on minerals sourced in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Sourcing minerals is intended to prevent the indirect funding of the violence in the Congo but still provide revenue for those who rely on mining for their livelihoods. Boycotting Congo minerals altogether only hurts the DRC economy and, more importantly the civilians.

By demanding conflict free products, we are raising our voices as consumers and saying that we do not want to enable rape and murder.  We’re calling for conflict free products and ethical sourcing procedures that do not threaten the livelihood of innocent civilians. That’s why, as we campaign for ethical sourcing, we need to remember that the DRC already has conflict-free minerals.

Navdeep Johal is Campaign Director of STAND Canada.

Sources:
Globe and Mail. “Ending trade in conflict minerals trickier than it sounds: analysts.” Accessed April 3, 2012.

The EICC-GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Assessment Program. Accessed April 3, 2012.

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April 16th, 2012

Bi-weekly News Update

SUDAN

Analyst: Sudan and South Sudan Engaged in Unofficial War
Violence between Sudan and South Sudan surged this week when both countries attempted to assert control over the Heglig oilfield, cancelling plans for a summit between these countries’ respective presidents, Omar al Bashir and Slava Kiir. On Thursday, South Sudan accused its northern neighbour of aerial bombing the South Sudanese town of Bentiu. With both countries accusing each other of initiating the current level of violence, which has been at its highest since South Sudan gained independence last year, each side is also vying to defend itself. Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute in Kenya, has likened the situation to a smaller version of previous civil warfare between these two regions, maintaining that Sudan and South Sudan are “effectively . . . at war.” On Wednesday, the United Nations officially requested “an immediate de-escalation of the situation… to avoid further bloodshed.”

Sudan Accuses US of Waging “Stealth War”
This week, Sudanese parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir accused the United States of waging a “stealth war” against Sudan. The accusations surround 15-year-old American economic sanctions against Sudan, which recently contributed to the postponing of the inauguration of a $1 billion sugar plant in White Nile State, as well as American pressuring of Khartoum to allow the international community to provide aid to Sudanese civilians living in war-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile. He argued that the United States is prohibiting Sudan from progressing as a country and maintained that the Sudanese people would choose food deprivation over loss of dignity.

Sudan Arming Civilians Against Rebels
Civilians in Talodi town claimed to have been provided with guns supplied by Khartoum to aid in fighting against Sudanese rebel groups along the Sudan-South Sudan border. Such civilian soldiers have been suspected by a human rights organization to be committing human rights abuses. This news comes amid speculation that South Sudan is similarly arming its civilians in the event of war and that the rate of South Kordofan refugees entering South Sudan has recently increased 8-fold.

DRC

Kabila Calls for Former Rebel Leader’s ICC Arrest
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila recently advocated for the arrest of former rebel leader, Bosco Ntaganda, for whom the International Crime Court issued an arrest warrant five years ago for recruitment child soldiers, rape, and murder. Ntaganda, whose current location is unknown, is believed to have as many as 600 defectors with him; any attempt to arrest him will inevitably cause considerable conflict, according to BBC analyst Martin Plaut.

Kabila Suspends Main Military Operation in East Congo
In response to hundreds of recent desertions within the Congolese army, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has halted military operation Amani Leo in eastern North and South Kivu. Though Amani Leo has been relatively successful in its focus on pursuing members of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, many civilians have suffered human rights abuses in association with the operation. A representative for Kabila stated that the decision was meant to keep the well-being of the public in mind; meanwhile, Amani Leo will be re-strategized.

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April 12th, 2012

STAND April Digest

This month’s issue includes coverage of two days of the worst direct confrontation between Sudan and South Sudan since they separated last July; an exploration of the legal status dilemma faced by stateless citizens of Abyei attempting to flee from violence in the border region; and an analysis of the ICC’s first ever verdict at the Hague.

Download the pdf here.

Posted in STAND Digest | No Comments »

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