Sudan Loss at UN Applauded by Human Rights Coalition
The ad hoc coalition of human rights and church groups that formed to draw attention to genocide and slavery in Sudan celebrated the news that Sudan lost its bid for a seat in the UN Security Council today, October 10, 2000. In a 113-55 vote, after four rounds of secret ballot voting, the UN General Assembly voted to give the African seat at the Security Council to the tiny island democracy of Mauritius. Sudan has fought fiercely for the seat over much of the past year.
"This shows that the United States can prevail on Sudan when it has a policy and makes an effort," commented Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House. "The Clinton Administration and the next administration need to explain to the American public and to the world that the Sudanese government is waging a campaign of genocide and slavery in southern Sudan. The silence must be broken," said Shea, whose organization has worked to end the bombings, calculated starvation, massacres and slavery in Sudan, which have already taken 2 million south Sudanese lives.
Charles Jacobs, President of the American Anti-Slavery Group and Director of the Sudan Campaign said, "This is a stunning, upset victory for justice and for our movement. It gives hope to the victims of a brutal regime that the world has not abandoned them after all. At the same time, it reveals the growing strength of a broad grass roots movement in this country. The Administration is beginning to listen to us."
Hundreds of human rights groups, churches, scholars, and individual leaders have joined together over the past two years to protest the atrocities by Khartoum and U.S. government indifference to the plight of the south Sudanese. This coalition and its members has sponsored innumerous rallies, conferences, petitions, teach-ins , seminars, and prayer vigils on Sudan throughout the nation.
At a briefing on Thursday, October 5, 2000, attended by officers of United Nations missions, Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom and other groups such as the American Anti-Slavery Group, the U.S. Committee on Refugees, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and the New York City Comptroller, denounced the Sudanese regime for flagrant human rights abuses and systematic acts of religious persecution against its animist, Christian and other minority populations. They called on the missions to vote against granting Sudan a seat on the UN Security Council.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.