In a span of two days, the Sudanese government received two undeserved rewards from the international community prompting outrage among human rights groups and activists.
On Monday, the United Nations elected Sudan as vice-president of its 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC a top U.N. body that coordinates the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies and five regional commissions.
“The election of Sudan as vice-president of this influential U.N. council is incomprehensible and unacceptable,” said film star and human rights activist Mia Farrow, who last year led a campaign, organized by UN Watch and 30 other human rights groups, that successfully pressured Sudan to withdraw its candidacy for another body, the UN Human Rights Council.
UN Watch is calling on UN chief Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, Catherine Ashton of the European Union, and Dr. Dlamini Zuma of the African Union to condemn the U.N. election of “genocidal, misogynistic and repressive” Sudan to ECOSOC.
On Suday, Sudan received another perk — a summit hosted by the German government promoting economic development in Sudan. The economic forum was seen as an opportunity for Khartoum to attract European companies to work in the country, which is still reeling under a severe economic crisis that resulted from the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan in July 2011. Despite protests by international NGOs, genocide scholars and notable human rights advocates, the German government defended its decision to host the conference on Sudan.
A letter to the German government, coordinated by Act for Sudan, argued, “Efforts to promote investments in Sudan are premature and put the international community at risk of funding a government that continues to perpetrate massive human rights violations against its own people.”
The international community should be adding pressure instead of giving rewards to the Sudanese regime. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
More troubling is that these rewards were given while the crimes continue. For more than 18 months, Sudanese armed forces have indiscriminately bombed and attacked civilians in Sudan’s border regions, and the Nuba Mountains, where some 700,000 people, mainly women, children and the elderly, have little or no access to food, water, sanitation or healthcare.
These rewards will only further embolden Bashir and the Sudanese government. Ten years after the genocide in Darfur, the world has seemingly forgotten his past and current atrocities.