Human Rights Leader Calls Bashir’s Libya Visit an Embarrassment, Urges International Condemnation

(Washington, DC) – United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews released the following statement today condemning Libya’s decision to allow Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for counts of genocide, into the country: “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s welcome by Libya is an insult to international justice and a shameful blow to the reputation of post-Qaddafi Libya. Libya’s decision to consult with Bashir on post-conflict reconstruction – on the heels of the Arab League’s appointment of Bashir’s close associate to head its monitoring mission to Syria – sends a chilling message about the world’s willingness to excuse one of the world’s most brutal leaders and ignore international justice. “The people of Libya were only recently freed from their own tyrant wanted by the International Criminal Court. That their new leaders would open their arms to a man wanted for genocide by the same court that helped to focus international condemnation and action to protect the people of Libya should be a great embarrassment.” “Sadly Libya’s decision to invite Bashir to visit was undoubtedly made easier by the silence following past visits by Bashir to countries like Iran, China and Malawi. Those who are suffering in Sudan today - and those who will suffer in the future if the world refuses to hold those who commit genocide accountable – cannot afford silence and diplomatic niceties from government leaders. The United States and other countries who took action on behalf of Libya’s civilians to must lead the international community in condemning this latest egregious affront to international justice.   Background: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir traveled to Libya on Saturday, January 7th, to meet with leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur, where over 300,000 people have died since 2003. The ICC had also issued an arrest warrant for former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, his son Saif, and the head of intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi. Since the issuance of the arrest warrant for Bashir, he has traveled to ICC-signatory countries Chad, Kenya, Djibouti, and Malawi, as well as to non-ICC signatory countries including Eritrea, Egypt, Libya, Iran, and China. Several other planned visits have been canceled after public pressure, including to Central African Republic, Kenya, Turkey, Zambia, and Malaysia. Ongoing violence against civilians in the Abyei, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur regions of Sudan has displaced over half a million people this year.

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 The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network are now United to End Genocide. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities. The merger creates the world's largest anti-genocide activist organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management.
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