In a September 29th report in the Washington Post, Major General Scott Gration, the US Special Envoy for Sudan, stated that he plans to implement a “normative” relations policy to solve the Darfur crisis with the only war-crime indicted President in the world, Omar Al-Bashir. Gration believes that positive cooperation with the Sudanese government is the best way to end the genocide: “We've got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk,” Gration stated.
The Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy is extremely saddened by Gration’s proposal and naïve remarks about Darfur and the Sudanese government. It is clear that Gration and the Obama administration fail to realize or choose to ignore the severity of the genocide and rampant corruption within the Sudanese government. As fellow Darfur activist John Prendergast bluntly criticized Gration in the report, “They [The Sudanese Government] do not respond to nice guys [like Gration] coming over and saying, 'We have to be a good guest…they eat these people for dinner.”
It appears that Gration and the Obama administration have no plans to hold the Sudanese government and President Omar Al-Bashir accountable for their crimes against humanity-killing more than 450,000 innocent people thus far. As Gration begins his normative relations process with ICC-indicted Bashir, countless Darfuris will continue to be killed, detained, and raped while their villages, from Jabel Mara to Kornoy to El-geneina on the western border, are pillaged and destroyed. It is obvious now that Gration, who denied a full-fledged Darfuri genocide and merely called it “a remnant genocide," is paving the way for the Sudanese government to escape accountability and punishment for their crimes against humanity; it is shame that the U.S. seems to be working for the criminal government rather than protecting the victims of Darfur.
Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy strongly condemns Gration’s naïve and unfair policy and strongly urges the following actions to be implemented:
- Immediately act to reconsider this policy before any serious implementation occurs.
- Replace Gration with a strong, honest, and effective new envoy for Sudan.
- Terminate U.S. relations with the Sudanese government to protect the rights of Darfuris.
- Arrest Al-Bashir and the associated Sudanese government officials and transport them to the ICC before any peace negotiations take place.
- Suspend elections in Sudan until all refugees are returned, their villages rebuilt, and the Janjaweed settlers are evacuated.
- Fully deploy the promised 26,000 UN Peace keepers with helicopters and associated financial and logistical resources to fully protect the Darfuri refugees.
- Enact a non-fly zone over Darfur to protect innocent Darfuris from Sudanese aircraft bombings.
-Disarm the Janjaweed Arab militias immediately.