Don’t We Matter? Four Years of Unrelenting Attacks Against Civilians of Sudan’s South Kordofan State

Four displaced children in Tungoli village of South Kordofan, bombed repeatedly by Sudan Air Force. (c) Amnesty International

Government forces in Sudan have committed war crimes against the civilian population of South Kordofan, Amnesty International has definitively confirmed for the first time in a new report published today.

The report, Don’t We Matter? Four Years of Unrelenting Attacks Against Civilians of Sudan’s South Kordofan State, chronicles the human cost of the conflict which has claimed hundreds of civilian lives and sparked a dire humanitarian crisis. It finds that indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground offensives as well as the deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals constitute war crimes.

“For years Sudanese Armed Forces have been raining down bombs and shells indiscriminately on civilian populations, destroying lives and livelihoods and triggering a major humanitarian crisis,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s ‎Deputy Regional Director.

“Targeting civilian infrastructure and civilian areas which have no legitimate military objective, using prohibited weapons and other weapons in an indiscriminate way are war crimes. It is time for the international community to stop averting its gaze from South Kordofan and take urgent action to end this conflict.”

Conclusive evidence of war crimes

Based on a research mission to the country, Amnesty International has found that Sudanese Armed Forces have targeted civilian areas and infrastructure which have no legitimate military objective.

The use of prohibited weapons – such as cluster bombs – launched from high flying aircraft, has resulted in civilian casualties. Amnesty International found cluster munitions at four sites in two separate locations in Dalami and Umm Dorain counties and heard testimony of how children have been killed playing with unexploded ordinance.

Between January and April 2015, the Sudanese Air Force dropped more than 374 bombs on 60 locations across South Kordofan under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N). The aerial bombardments and ground shelling over this period resulted in the deaths of at least 35 civilians, injured a further 70 individuals, and damaged civilian buildings including schools.

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, 26 health facilities (hospitals, clinics and health units) have been bombed in SPLA-N controlled areas, some of which were clearly identified with flags and crosses on their roofs. Only two out of four hospitals in SPLA-N controlled areas are still functioning.

Alfadil Khalifa Mohamed described to Amnesty International how an Antonov aircraft bombing raid killed his pregnant wife and unborn child in an IDP camp where they sought refuge in Dalami county on February 6.

“The bomb fell, only about ten meters from where she was standing. I ran to where she was, but she was already dead. Our baby was still alive. But there was no medical treatment available to save the baby’s life.”

The bombing campaign has left many afraid to work in their fields with devastating consequences for food security. The intensification of bombings during harvest time and the planting season raises concerns that this might be part of a deliberate strategy by the Sudanese government to hinder people’s ability to cultivate their crops.

Salha, an internally displaced person in Kimli IDP site, told Amnesty International researchers: “We haven’t planted anything for the past two years. We couldn’t because we had to run away. We are too afraid to work in our fields.”

Humanitarian crisis

The Sudanese government has refused to allow humanitarian relief into areas controlled by the SPLA-N exacerbating a protracted humanitarian crisis that has left the population without access to vaccinations and essential medicines. Children in SPLA-N controlled areas in South Kordofan are excluded from an ongoing UNICEF/WHO immunization campaign against measles in Sudan. Between May 2014 and January 2015 an outbreak of measles claimed the lives of at least 30 of these children in one hospital alone.

Massive displacement has left around one-third of South Kordofan’s population of approximately 1.4 million people internally displaced, living in precarious and insecure conditions. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, close to 100,000 people have fled to refugee camps in neighbouring South Sudan, itself wracked by internal conflict.

“We have been telling the world but nothing changes”

Despite the ongoing conflict, now in its fifth year, and escalation of attacks in recent months, the regional and international response has all but ceased. There has been no UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on South Kordofan since 2012. Recent UNSC resolutions and statements failed to address concerns in South Kordofan. African Union (AU) efforts to mediate the conflict between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N, facilitated by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, ground to a halt in December 2014.

Alfadil Khalifa Mohamed, told Amnesty International: “We have been telling the world for four years about what is happening to us. The facts are well known. But nothing changes.”

Amnesty International is calling on the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council, to put pressure on the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N to allow for unfettered humanitarian access in South Kordofan.

“This conflict has settled into a vicious deadlock and international bodies must urgently re-engage in order to end these grave human rights violations and war crimes and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Michelle Kagari.

“War crimes cannot be allowed to be committed with impunity and a population facing a protracted humanitarian crisis can no longer be ignored by the world.”

Bashir’s arrest in New York is the responsibility of the U.S. government:UN

August 5, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq said the decision to arrest the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir during his planned visit to New York next month falls in the hands of the United States government..

United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq

On Monday, Sudan’s deputy UN ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan said that Bashir, who faces war crimes and genocide charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC), would attend a UN summit dedicated to sustainable development in New York late September.

Haq told reporters Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said all UN member states have to take ICC warrants “seriously.”

“As you know, there are relevant resolutions of the security council also about this matter, which we expect the member states will abide by” he added.

Haq’s statements came following appearance of Bashir’s name on a provisional list of speakers at the summit. If he speaks, Bashir would be the first head of state to address the general assembly while facing charges by the ICC.

Asked whether the U.S. is required to give visas to every head of state or government coming to the general assembly for the annual general debate, Haq said that the basic understanding is that the heads of state and government who come for the general debate will be able to come to the U.S. in order to speak.

Under the UN headquarters agreement, the US is obligated to promptly issue visas for officials seeking to participate in UN events except under very limited circumstances related to national security.

Haq stressed they are not yet aware of the arrangements regarding the names on list of speakers, saying the names could be changed in the final moments by the missions of the member states in New York.

He also underscored they are not aware whether the US has granted Bashir a visa to attend the general assembly next month or not, saying they don’t know if the Sudanese president has applied for a U.S. visa in the first place.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Mark Toner, on Tuesday said his government is aware of reports that Bashir will speak at the UN, stressing they haven’t seen anything beyond that.

“We’ve been very clear how we feel about the president of Sudan and that he’s wanted for crimes, and we want to see him held accountable for those crimes,” he added
Bashir was also scheduled to speak at the general assembly’s annual ministerial meeting in September 2013 but the government cancelled his appearance.

The U.S. made it clear then that it did not want Bashir to show up in New York. Also, human rights groups had warned they would seek legal action against him if he arrived.

The U.S. is not an ICC member but in 2013 said the ICC arrest warrant will be a factor in deciding his visa request.

Last June, Bashir was forced to flee South Africa where he attended an African Union (AU) summit after a court ruled he should be banned from leaving pending the outcome of a hearing on his possible arrest.

The court eventually ordered taking him into custody pending his transfer to the ICC. South Africa, an ICC member, was accused of flouting its constitutional and international obligation by allowing him to leave.

AUHIP chief to meet Sudan rebel leaders

August 4, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of the African High level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki announced his intention to hold a meeting with Sudanese armed movements in mid-August to consult on the national dialogue process called for by the government last year.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki (L) meets with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir at the new Presidential palace in Khartoum on August 3, 2015 (Photo AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Mbeki said at a news conference held in Khartoum on Tuesday following three days of consultations that the government categorically rejected any attempt to move the national dialogue process abroad.

He added that Khartoum expressed commitment and readiness to stop the fighting once and for all in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan border states which has witnessed fighting since 2011.

The chief mediator said he will convey the government’s position to the rebels during al meeting with them later this month.

On Monday, Sudan’s first vice-president, Bakri Hassan Salih, vowed that the government would provide the necessary guarantees to secure the participation of the rebel umbrella, Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) leaders in the national dialogue inside Sudan.

Salih asserted that president Omer al-Bashir has offered religious and moral commitment to ensure the safety of the SRF leaders to come to Khartoum to participate in the national dialogue.

“We will sit with them to discuss the nature of the guarantees which they demand,” he said.

Mbeki said that his team “is keen on meeting all parties and rebel movements to find out their position on the dialogue and the peace process in the country”.

He pointed out that he had met in Khartoum with a delegation from the opposition parties who told him that they refuse to participate in the dialogue unless the government undertakes a package of requirements namely the release of detainees and the abolition of laws restricting freedoms.

The opposition also demanded prior preparations for the dialogue process and the establishment of a charter and a roadmap and adherence to Addis Ababa agreements.

On the Darfur peace process Mbeki said that government officials told him of their willingness to end the conflict in the region

“The door is open for Darfur rebels, should they want to stop the fighting through an agreement with the government, provided that it is within the framework of the Doha Document as desired by Khartoum” Mbeki said.

The former South African president said he will submit a detailed report to the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) following completion of his consultations with all the Sudanese stakeholders.

On relations between Khartoum and Juba, Mbeki said that defense ministers of the two countries will soon meet in Addis Ababa to discuss mutual accusations of backing the rebels and demarcation of the borders and determining “demilitarized” zone as well as deployment of joint border patrols.

GENOCIDE! I don’t get a vote on this one (but I wish I did): a movement to impeach South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma – his government is accused of helping mass murderer President Bashir of Sudan escape

I realize this is a political move – impeaching a President – but IF THE ALLEGATIONS ARE TRUE, if I were from South Africa, I would want President Zuma out. How could his government have let a mass murderer, in their grips, escape?

You have read here on GretaWire multiple times about the cruelty of Sudan’s President Bashir (see pic below of his ‘handiwork’) and he was IN SOUTH AFRICA and South Africa is a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and yet he was able to get away – escape.

“The supremacy of the Constitution and respect for the rule of law “were directly contravened by the executive‚ under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma‚ when they facilitated the escape of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South Africa on 15 June”‚ a statement by DA [Democratic Alliance] leader Mmusi Maimane said.

“The DA will move to have the motion debated in the House on 18 August‚ whereupon a vote by a third of the House will be required to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate the impeachment charge.”

The events that led to the escape of al-Bashir represented “a clear violation of the president’s oath to ‘obey‚ observe‚ uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic’‚ and serve as nothing less than grounds for his removal from office in terms of section 89(1)(a) of the Constitution”.

Maimane said al-Bashir was wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)‚ under two warrants issued in 2009 and 2010 respectively‚ for war crimes‚ crimes against humanity and genocide. As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC‚ enacted into domestic law through the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act of 2002‚ the South African government had a legal obligation under both international and domestic law to arrest al-Bashir...”

click here for entire article.


These pictures below were taken when I traveled to Sudan with Reverend Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse. Those who were lucky enough to avoid the killings (bombings and arson) and the rapes, hid in caves as Bashir continued to hunt them down with the intention of killing them. That is why Bashir is under indictment for genocide — he is hunting down innocent people and killing them. You can’t much crueler than Bashir — and South Africa could have made sure he faced justice….but South Africa did not. Shame on those who let him escape.

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AFRICA/SUDAN – Acquazzoni e tormente di vento stanno causando gravi danni in Sud Darfur

Nyala (Agenzia Fides) – Oltre un centinaio di case di sfollati sono state distrutte da violenti acquazzoni che si stanno abbattendo vicino Nyala, capitale del Sud Darfur. Un portavoce del campo di El Salam ha riferito alla stazione radiofonica locale Radio Dabanga che alle piogge si era aggiunta anche una forte tormenta di vento durata oltre quattro ore. La tempesta ha distrutto le abitazioni di tante famiglie che sono rimaste senza alcun riparo. Nel campo di Kalma le piogge torrenziali, insieme a forti venti, hanno distrutto quattro aule di una scuola che normalmente accoglie circa 400 studenti. Le acque accumulate hanno bloccato le strade impedendone il transito. Inoltre, molti bambini del campo profughi iniziano a mostrare segni di malnutrizione visto che dipendono dai generi alimentari consegnati dal Programma Alimentare Mondiale che ha sospeso la distribuzione due mesi fa. In un comunicato di Radio Dabanga si legge che numerosi degli oltre 163 mila sfollati nel campo di Kalma si trovano in condizioni alimentari precarie e privi di servizi sanitari, visto che le inondazioni hanno allagato le latrine. L’Ufficio delle Nazioni Unite per il coordinamento degli affari umanitari, tuttavia, ha riferito che due organizzazioni umanitarie internazionali stanno disinfettando o rimpiazzando le latrine domestiche danneggiate. Ulteriori acquazzoni nel Darfur Centrale hanno distrutto 20 abitazioni e 170 tende nel campo Hassahissa a Zalingei. In previsione della stagione delle piogge di quest’anno, nel mese di maggio, il Consiglio nazionale del Sudan per la Protezione Civile aveva annunciato l’evacuazione in luoghi sicuri di 114 su 182 villaggi a rischio di piogge torrenziali e inondazioni. (AP) (5/8/2015 Agenzia Fides)

America’s not so exceptional foreign policy

What can explain the myopia of US policy towards Sudan, when it knows Sudan has been facilitating ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and other terror groups?

The US Special Envoy, Donald Booth, will be given a warm welcome when he visits Sudan at the end of July. Khartoum’s hard-line Islamist regime anticipates the normalisation of relations with America, and the end of sanctions imposed by Bill Clinton in 1997, following Sudan’s role in bombing US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Five years ago Sudan’s President, Omar Bashir, was indicted for the crime of genocide against his own citizens in Darfur. However, Washington justifies this diplomatic thaw by claiming Sudan is no longer harbouring terrorists.

What can explain this myopia, when US security services know Sudan has been facilitating ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and sundry other terror groups?

Khartoum’s ruling elite has supported terror for decades, giving Bin Laden sanctuary, supplying weapons to the rebels currently doing their utmost to destroy South Sudan , the Central African Republic , Syria and Iraq , and Libya ,not to mention sheltering Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army—according to Ugandan intelligence.

Inthe face of US inaction, Israel has three times recently bombed arms convoysgoing through Sudan, carrying Iranian weapons to Hamas. Khartoum makes Iranian weapons under licence, and has had military partnerships with Tehran for years, with whom they share a fundamentalist ideology. Like Iran, Sudan is committed to spreading Islamism by force. For the sake of appearances Khartoum is obliging its Saudi creditors by joining its onslaught on the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, but its deep relationship with Tehran endures.

At home in Sudan, this bleak ideology finds expression in the ethnic cleansing of anyone who does not fit the regime’s narrow view of Islamic or Arab identity. An estimated one and a half million people have been killed in its non-Arab, non-Muslim southern states (now South Sudan). In Darfur ,South Kordofan and Blue Nile the regime-sponsored bloodshed is back at devastating levels, albeit in a media vacuum since the regime makes it almost impossible to access these vast areas of suffering.

Washington insiders suggest Sudan cleverly drip-feeds the US morsels of intelligence of questionable value. The career of a State Department or CIA functionary may rest on whether or not they followed up every lead, in case it results in a terror attack on the USA. For instance, Khartoum might hint it has information about an Al Qaeda bank account,and after six months coaxing from the US, it might divulge the details of an inactive account with $100 in it. There is no proof anything useful has ever been revealed by the Sudanese, but in the absence of a greater appreciation of Sudan’s end-game, and without sufficient knowledge of Sudan’s track record, staffers ignore leads at their peril.

Moreover,Khartoum does not represent a direct threat to American life. Evidently it is irrelevant that the International Criminal Court indicted Sudan’s President, Field Marshall Omar al-Bashir, for the crime of genocide five years ago. Threats to Sudan’s neighbours, or its long-suffering citizens,are of no consequence.

US foreign policy priorities are stopping Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and containing ISIS. So why is the US turning a blind eye to Sudan’s links with ISIS and other terror groups?

President Obama’s previous special envoy, Princeton Lyman, believed regime change in Sudan was unnecessary because the Khartoum elite would reform itself. If so, it would be the first genocidal government in history to do so, according to the former UN chief in Darfur, Mukesh Kapila. In all other cases,only force has dislodged leaders who systematically slaughter their people,Kapila points out . Lyman’s predecessor, Scott Gration, thought he could influence Sudan’s leaders by treating them like children, “handing out
cookies or gold stars” for good behaviour.  

America can and should be better than this. US citizens may be unaware of the democratic governments overthrown in their name or the monstrous regimes America has propped up. But the citizens of those countries are not so ahistoric, and in the absence of development and hope, their grievances fester. In the long run, Americans may pay the price.

There is another way to avoid putting US boots on the ground. In the case of Sudan, many provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions have yet to be implemented. For instance, the UN voted to apply smart sanctions, targeting the architects of the genocide in Darfur. We know that when sanctions are personal, hitting the ruling elite rather than citizens, they have an effect. We should freeze the finances of Sudan’s bloated rulers, and impose a travel ban, preventing their frequent shopping trips to Paris, and their visits to London clinics. Although these measures were approved, they have never been enacted.

America tells the world it is both exceptional and essential. Yet, US foreign policy in practice is no more principled than the cynical old Realpolitik of European diplomacy. Forget the high moral tone about human rights, freedom and democracy; America is just as calculating as the former colonial rulers-turned-arms-salesmen in France and Britain.

So long as American lives are not under immediate threat, it selectively turns a blind eye to governments that crush dissent at home, ethnically cleanse their minorities, or support terrorism. Yet, recent history in Afghanistan and the Middle East teaches us our short-term allies may quickly become our enemies.Surely we must look more critically at regimes offering us warm words and smiles, while facilitating the spread of hate ideology and terrorism.

DA moves to impeach Zuma for al-Bashir saga

HEH HEH HEH: In the National Assembly in May, President Jacob Zuma mocked the way some South Africans pronounce ‘Nkandla’
Image by: Sunday Times

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday that it had given notice in the National Assembly of a motion of impeachment against President Jacob Zuma.

The supremacy of the Constitution and respect for the rule of law “were directly contravened by the executive‚ under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma‚ when they facilitated the escape of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South Africa on 15 June”‚ a statement by DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

“The DA will move to have the motion debated in the House on 18 August‚ whereupon a vote by a third of the House will be required to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate the impeachment charge.”

The events that led to the escape of al-Bashir represented “a clear violation of the president’s oath to ‘obey‚ observe‚ uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic’‚ and serve as nothing less than grounds for his removal from office in terms of section 89(1)(a) of the Constitution”.

Maimane said al-Bashir was wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)‚ under two warrants issued in 2009 and 2010 respectively‚ for war crimes‚ crimes against humanity and genocide. As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC‚ enacted into domestic law through the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act of 2002‚ the South African government had a legal obligation under both international and domestic law to arrest al-Bashir.

“In blatant disregard of their legal obligations‚ however‚ Cabinet granted al-Bashir immunity while attending the summit of the African Union in June‚ and subsequently allowed him to escape the country. President Zuma‚ as the head of the Cabinet‚ bears ultimate responsibility for this decision.

“The decision to allow al-Bashir to escape was also made in contravention the two High Court orders. On 15 June the North Gauteng High Court found that the failure to arrest Al Bashir was inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic and that he should not have been allowed to leave. By ignoring these rulings‚ the executive undermined the independence and authority of the judiciary as a separate branch of the state in terms of section 165 of the Constitution‚” Maimane said.

Al Bashir planea viajar en septiembre a EE.UU. para participar en la cumbre de la ONU

El presidente de Sudán, Omar Hasan al Bashir, sobre el que pesa una orden de arresto por crímenes de guerra y contra la humanidad emitida por la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI), planea viajar el próximo mes de septiembre a Nueva York para participar en una cumbre de la ONU.

Al Bashir aparece en la última lista provisional de oradores para esa cita distribuida por las Naciones Unidas, un documento elaborado con las notificaciones hechas por parte de cada país, según explicó hoy un portavoz de la organización.

I massacri in Darfur e l’ignavia del mondo

When Secretary of State Colin Powell in August 2004, returning from a mission in Sudan, called for the first time what was happening in Darfur as “the first genocide of the 21st century” came on instantly the spotlight on the conflict since February 2003, was tearing the western Sudanese region.

The position US appeared as the litmus test for the international community to be able to stop, compactly, mass atrocities. But it soon emerged the inevitability of failure of the regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, a former general who came to power nall’89 thanks to a coup.

Today, 11 years after the journey to Powell, the spotlights are turned off and the media attention on the tragedy of Darfur is long gone. They are not, however, finished the massacres, abuses, rapes and all kinds of human rights violations against the Darfuri population which is now under the edge of survival.

All this against the deployment in the region of a hybrid peacekeeping force UN / African Union, made up of over 20 thousand people, which proved to be right from the start costly and ineffective.

Not to mention the mockery of a Sudanese President in office, accused by the Criminal Court in The Hague to be a war criminal and genocidal, able to travel with relative freedom in Africa, as evidenced by the recent visit to South Africa, and elsewhere, despite an international arrest warrant.

And so in Darfur will continue to live in fear and misery.

At 12 years since the conflict to UN estimates speak of more than 300 thousand victims and about 6 million people in need of all kinds, of which over 30 percent are hosted in camps managed by the agency of ‘ UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

In the first half 2015 well 385mila were new refugees because of the resurgence of conflict in many parts of the region, which has seen the flow of displaced is higher from 2006 to present. Since the beginning of the possibilities of assisting hundreds of thousands of new refugees, mostly women and children, and at risk throughout Darfur.

The threats are always the same: insufficient availability of water and food, sanitary conditions and inadequate security. Mortality continues to be very high. In just over 50 years as one of the many children do not reach the sixth year of life. Malnutrition and infection are the main causes of death for children.

The health sector is the one that registers the most critical and is considered even by chronic humanitarian workers on the ground who continue to operate in a difficult environment as evidenced by the repeated expulsions from the country.

The protection of the mission peacekeeping is totally inadequate. Continues to experience armed clashes involving civilians especially in North Darfur and episodes of mass crimes, especially rapes, used as a weapon of war.

November 2, 2014 have been reported by some Sudanese refugees in Italy, Italians for Darfur was the first organization to report on its blog mass rape in Tabit, a village north of al-Fasher. Over 200 women and girls were raped during the night of Thursday, October 30 and November 1 by government soldiers and Arab militias, former Janjaweed.

According to witnesses , the punitive raid was a result of the disappearance of a military garrison of the Sudanese army patrol in the area. The UN force deployed in Darfur could not perform an immediate inspection and confirm, at first, the episode.

After talking again with locals, without the presence of government soldiers, the soldiers of the international contingent have instead collected items that no longer have left no doubt about what had happened to Tabit.

Human Rights Watch has also published on 11 February this year an in-depth research that has highlighted the responsibility of the Sudanese army troops who had carried out a series of attacks against the civilian population of the town near al-Fasher, arbitrary detentions, beatings and maltreatment of dozens of people over the mass rape of women and girls.

Research by Human Rights Watch, conducted during November and December, were based on interviews with 130 people who provided details on what happened.

The military operations took place in three phases over a period of 36 hours: the first took place in the night of Thursday, 30 October, the second in the morning of Friday, October 31 and the last to horse between October 31 and November 1. HRW found no trace of responsibility on the part of the rebels, but only, of government actions. During each attack, the soldiers forced the men to leave, under threat of weapons, their homes to be able to abuse their wives and daughters.

The military justified abuse stating that the victims provided assistance to the guerrillas involved in the operations against the government.

And the world, in spite of the evidence of this and other atrocities in Darfur, stands by in silence guilty and disconcerting that the sloth international’ve ever experienced.

Antonella Napoli
Journalist and President of Italians for Darfur

German MP Patzelt opens home to two Eritrean migrants

Martin Patzelt: “To house someone… to ensure that refugees have a face and a name… that reduces polarisation, enmity and fear”

A German conservative MP, Martin Patzelt, has taken two Eritrean refugees into his home and is helping the young men find jobs locally.

Mr Patzelt, of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), lives near Frankfurt (Oder) in eastern Germany. The Eritreans have been staying with him for a month.

Such initiatives help to “get rid of the polarisation and hostility” towards migrants, he told German ARD TV.

Many Eritreans have fled to Europe.

The country in the Horn of Africa has an authoritarian government which forces citizens into military service – often for many years and in deplorable conditions.

Generally Eritreans and Syrians are granted refugee status when they reach Germany, allowing them to stay there.

But Germany is gripped by an intense debate over migrants, as the numbers have soared this year – largely because of the boatloads crossing the Mediterranean. That is putting local authorities under pressure.

The migrants – Haben (left) and Awet – are pictured in Mr Patzelt’s garden.

Mr Patzelt has a large house in Briesen, a village near Frankfurt, and the two Eritreans – Haben, 19, and Awet, 24 – are sharing the top floor with one of his grown-up sons, Germany’s Die Welt daily reports.

He met the pair at his local Catholic church and invited them back. Later he offered to put them up at his home.

They communicate in broken English, but the Eritreans are taking German lessons, reports say. One now has some temporary work in the local administration, and the other in a supermarket, thanks to Mr Patzelt’s help.

Local acceptance

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Patzelt said many people had told him they felt very sympathetic and admired his commitment.

He received a huge pile of birthday cards this year, including from people who had never sent one to him before, he said.

But as for reaction from fellow CDU politicians, he said only that “it is a process”. He said his motivation was political – not religious – from the start. Hostility towards the influx of refugees could only be solved by engaging ordinary German citizens, he told the BBC.

The two Eritreans are made to feel at home in Briesen, he said, and people wave when they walk past.

“Sponsorships, to house someone, company, to welcome someone – these small bridges help to give refugees a face and a name, so that they emerge from the anonymous mass of asylum seekers,” Mr Patzelt told ARD TV earlier.

“If more people did that… we’d be on a good path.”

Martin Patzelt and his wife met the two Eritreans in church.

Martin Patzelt says Germans should give shelter to people fleeing from war.

But local businesses were generally sceptical when he approached them seeking job placements for the Eritrean pair, ARD reported. There were concerns about their language difficulties and ability to adapt to the workplace.

Mr Patzelt told Die Welt that for each refugee he was receiving €100 a month (£70; $110) from the German refugee welfare authority, to cover everyday expenses.

It would cost the state about €2,000 a month to house each refugee in a migrant hostel.

Haben and Awet get a monthly state allowance of €326 each to cover their welfare, including new clothes.

Last year Mr Patzelt wrote an open letter to Green politician Hans-Christian Stroebele, suggesting that more citizens accommodate refugees in their homes, as a better option than migrant hostels. That letter drew some anonymous death threats.

“Many thought it was a cheek even to think about such a thing as accommodating a refugee,” he said.

A tented camp for refugees in Dresden. Space in migrant hostels is running out because of the influx.