RIGHTS GROUPS CONDEMN U.S. DECISION TO ATTEND BASHIR INAUGURATION

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2010

Contact:
Susan Morgan, Investors Against Genocide, 617-797-0451, susan@paxcommnications.org
Jonathan Hutson, the Enough Project, 857-919-5130, jhutson@enoughproject.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several U.S.-based human rights groups have criticized the U.S. government’s decision to send a representative to the inauguration of Omar al-Bashir as president of Sudan. Bashir, the sole sitting head of state wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was sworn in on Thursday after his re-election in voting that was marred by boycotts and widespread fraud. Human rights groups had urged countries to boycott the inauguration to demonstrate their commitment to international justice.

“The administration missed an opportunity to build leverage and lead by example,” states John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress. “An announcement a week before the inauguration that the US would not participate would have stiffened the spines of other wavering countries and highlighted the issue, reasserting US leadership on principle. Getting nothing in return for this reversal of long-standing US policy is baffling and ineffective diplomacy.”

According to news reports, the inauguration was attended by the presidents of Chad, Eritrea, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Malawi and Mauritania. No top Arab leaders were reportedly present. The UN was represented by the heads of its two peacekeeping missions in Sudan.

According to the above human rights organizations, the current implementation of the U.S. policy on Sudan has not addressed a number of extremely concerning developments including clear indications that the national election was neither free nor fair, non-implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, ongoing government attacks on civilians, and ongoing obstruction by the Government of Sudan in access for aid workers and UN investigators to Darfur.

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Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve. www.enoughproject.org

Stop Genocide Now (SGN) is a grassroots community dedicated to working to protect populations in grave danger of violence, death and displacement resulting from genocide. Through active education, advocacy and policy change SGN resolves to change the way the world responds to genocide. SGN is currently focused on creating awareness and action to stop the genocide in Darfur and deal appropriately with its aftermath. All of our projects focus on and utilize the strength and power in grassroots connectivity. For information, visit www.stopgenocidenow.org.

Investors Against Genocide is a non-profit organization dedicated to convincing mutual fund and other investment firms to change their investing strategy so as to avoid complicity in genocide. The organization works with individuals, companies, organizations, financial institutions, the press, and government agencies to build awareness and to create financial, public relations, and regulatory pressure for investment firms to change. The ultimate goals are that the Government of Sudan ends its deadly genocide in Darfur and that investment firms avoid investing in genocide. For more information, visit www.investorsagainstgenocide.org.

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

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