- Text smaller
- Text bigger
With tens of thousands of black slaves remaining in bondage in Northern Sudan, a group is appealing to President Bush to help eradicate slavery under the radical Islamic regime in Khartoum, which used it as a weapon in its war against the mostly Christian and animist south.
Christian Solidarity International, which has participated in the controversial buy-back of slaves in the African nation, is latching onto a speech by Salva Kiir, president of the now-autonomous Southern Sudan.
Kiir told his parliament in Juba April 10 his government “remains deeply committed to the retrieval of Southern Sudanese women and children abducted and enslaved in Northern Sudan.”
The executive director of CSI’s U.S. office, John Eibner, wants Bush to establish an independent U.S. Commission to Monitor the Eradication of Slavery in Sudan, to make emergency funds available to facilitate the release of located slaves, and to help Kiir’s government establish an effective mechanism for slave liberation and repatriation.”
The slavery crisis remains unresolved, Eibner points out, despite the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January 2005 by Sudan’s Islamist President Gen. Omer Bashir, and the late chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army Col. John Garang.
Islamic militias under the Khartoum regime systematically raided black, non-Muslim villages in the south during 22 years of civil war. The Sudan government’s declared aim was to make the entire nation Islamic.
CSI says its interviews with liberated slaves “reveal a clear pattern of physical and psychological abuse, including rape, beatings, female genital mutilation, forced conversion to Islam, Arabization, racial and religious insults.”
In 1999, the United Nations touted Gen. Bashir’s establishment of the Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children. But CSI says the results have been “meager.”
The committee has located and documented more than 8,000 black slaves from Southern Sudan – a fraction of the total, CSI says – but this year it has liberated and repatriated fewer than 300.
A senior CEAWC official says the Khartoum government has suspended financial support for slave liberation activity.
Also, a U.N. report in January 2005 showed Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias continued to abduct and enslave black women and children in Darfur, Northern Sudan, in an onslaught designated by the U.S. government as genocide.
CSI points out that five years ago, at the beginning of the current U.S.-led Sudan peace initiative, President Bush’s special envoy, former Sen. John Danforth, identified eradication of slavery – an internationally recognized crime against humanity – as an issue of deep concern to Americans and set it as a pre-condition for a just and lasting peace.
As WorldNetDaily reported in 2004, CSI said it helped free 191 slaves captured during Sudanese government-sponsored raids against black villages.
The country’s cleric-backed National Islamic Front regime in the Arab and Muslim north declared a jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine and many millions more have become refugees. The Khartoum government denies slavery exists in Sudan.