Germany : Put People Before Profit !

Girifna est un mouvement de jeunes qui pratique la désobéissance civile. Cette organisation a émergé lors des récentes manifestations contre la vie chère au Soudan.


January 26, 2013 12:04 am

GIRIFNA strongly condemns Germany’s efforts to assist the Government of Sudan (GoS) with financial support, economic development and the bolstering of ties between the GoS and Germany’s business community.

By hosting the forthcoming economic investment conference, planned for Tuesday, January 29, (hosted by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Germany is sending the wrong message to a regime that has had a horrendous human rights record in the last 12 months alone–not to mention the last 23 years.


The German Foreign Minister, Mr. Westerwelle, by hosting this conference, is putting into question his own values of human rights, which he promotes in his Ministry’s website . This invitation by the German-African Business Association makes it clear that Germany’s main interests are its business benefits and the exploitation of resources for the enrichment of German companies.


Germany has to hold the regime in Khartoum accountable for crimes against its people instead of rewarding it.


Two thirds of Sudan is drowning in wars


The National Congress Party (NCP) is spending more than 80 percent of Sudan’s national budget in waging a full-fledged war against the citizens of Sudan.


As we write this, the conflict in Darfur has entered its first decade, with no sign of political will from the NCP to resolve this war that has killed more than 250,000 in the last 10 years; and displaced thousands of Darfuris. Moreover, the President of Sudan and his Minister of Defence are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.


Since June 2011, two new conflicts erupted in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State , where the government is fighting armed opposition groups. Thousands of citizens are facing daily aerial bombardment and the situation of food security and access to medical services is critical. The GoS has so far refused to give secure and open access to the international community to provide humanitarian aid to assist those civilians.


Attacks on the independent civil society and on the right for peaceful association


The attacks on the independent civil society have taken an unprecedented turn in 2012. Activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) speaking out against those new wars, and exposing the atrocities against civilians are being targeted and have been subjected to long-term detentions , closures of their organizations, forced exile from Sudan , raids on their homes and confiscation of their computers and cameras. Moreover, families of human rights activists have been subjected to threats and harassment by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).


Between November and December 2012, five CSOs and cultural centers in Khartoum were closed down by NISS and the Ministry of Culture. Those CSOs were havens of free expression, creativity and knowledge. And more importantly, they worked on spreading a culture of democracy, human rights and peaceful co-existence. They were closed without warning and in some cases with no justification or formal documentation given.


Complete closing down of the independent media and attacks on freedom of expression


Newspapers continue to be censored with editor-in-chiefs receiving text messages warning them not to publish on certain topics. Moreover, since the independence of South Sudan, over 15 journalists were banned by NISS from writing in local newspapers. Independent newspapers are confiscated on a regular basis, which carries a heavy financial toll on publishers.


Somia Hundosa , a Sudanese journalist, was kidnapped by NISS from near her house on October 29, 2012 only to be found a few days later, thrown in a remote area; tortured, burned and with a shaved head. Hundosa was tortured because of her constitutional right to exercise free speech, and we hold NISS responsible for every iron burn on her arms and back, as well as every derogatory word uttered to her.


In the last few weeks, a draft of a restrictive press law made its way into parliament. The new press law aims at legalizing all the vicious actions taken by NISS against newspapers and journalists in the past few months; from fines to stopping a journalist from writing, as well as suspending a newspaper.


Violent attacks on peaceful protestors and a massive rise in political detentions


The right to peaceful protest and assembly continues to be violated by the GoS. Peaceful protests during June and July 2012 triggered by university students were met with a violent reaction from the regime. This included mass detentions of citizens, students, youth movement leaders, journalists, members of political parties and civil society members who spend up to two months in prisons without charges or access to due process.


In universities the government mobilized a large force of riot police and pro-government students equipped with metal rods, knives, tear gas and other weapons used to intimidate and assault the peaceful student protesters.


On July 31, the protests reached Nyala, in Darfur. These protests were dispersed by State police using live ammunition, batons and tear gas resulting in the deaths of 12 people, mostly students; and wounding about 80.


In early December 2012, a new wave of student protests hit the country after four students from the University of El Gaziera were killed by NISS agents. This happened after students of Darfuri origin organized a peaceful sit-in to demand a waiver on university fees, which is a right granted to them as per the Doha agreement and a Presidential decree.


What we want from Germany


With this intolerable repressive environment, GIRIFNA expects that any kind of support and relief should come to the Sudanese people, and not to the most murderous regime in the African continent.


The mass street protests of the the last year, and the recent unification of the opposition, under the banner of the New Dawn Charter , are a clear indication that the Sudanese people have spoken, and have spoken very loudly. It is now time for Germany and for the European Union to listen.


WE WANT THE NCP OUT, and by supporting it economically you are giving a dead regime a longer lease on life; and you are on the wrong side.

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