Join the Sudan Day of Action on April 24th

Join the Day of Action Campaign and tell your representative it’s the wrong time to accelerate U.S.-Sudan normalization

The United States is considering removing Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List as part of a path to a full normalization of relations with Sudan. However, moving at this time towards normalization ignores critical developments that affect core U.S. national security interests. This is the same regime that has conducted genocide against the people of Darfur, bombed and starved the populations in the Nuba Mountains, and denied millions of Sudanese citizens access to critical humanitarian aid. The regime has not fundamentally changed and continues to be led by the same leader President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity.

On April 24th activists are coming together for a Day of Action to demand their Members of Congress speak out against Sudan’s removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. We’re providing resources and materials to help activists contact their representatives. To join the campaign and contact your Member of Congress on April 24th, please sign up here:

SIGN UP FOR THE DAY OF ACTION

 

Learn more about the Day of Action campaign here.

Civil Society Welcomes Bipartisan Legislation to Tackle Global Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2018

CONTACT

Christy Delafield | 202.394.1712 | cdelafield@mercycorps.org

Laura Strawmyer | 317.340.1085 | laura@allianceforpeacebuilding.org

WASHINGTON, DC – 35 Alliance for Peacebuilding members and partners welcome H.R. 5273, the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018, introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Adam Smith (D-WA), Bill Keating (D-MA), and Paul Cook (R-CA) in the United States House of Representatives. This timely legislation would require the U.S. government – in collaboration with global civil society – to develop a 10-year strategy to bring down current levels of global violence and better address the root causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility that drive recurrent global crises.

Violence containment costs the global economy $14.3 trillion each year – 13% of global GDP.  This makes violence containment one of the largest industries in the world.  Violence and violent conflict, rather than natural disasters, are now the primary driver of forced displacement and migration worldwide. Yet, according to Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) data, major global donors spend roughly 1% of total overseas development assistance on peacebuilding and conflict management and 8% on politics, justice, and security. This means we’re spending just 9% of international funds addressing violence and its causes, while 91% on development challenges often caused or exacerbated by violence.

It is high time for the United States to make violence reduction and prevention more central elements of its foreign policy and assistance. The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018 applies best practices from some of the U.S. government’s most effective and renowned foreign assistance programs – notably the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Feed the Future, and Water for the World – to provide the administration the guidance, authorities, funds and flexibility it needs to better tackle violence and conflict overseas.

Below is a list of organizations that endorse this legislation. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to move the effort forward.

  1. Alliance for Peacebuilding
  2. American Friends Service Committee
  3. CARE
  4. Carl Wilkens Fellowship
  5. Center for Civilians in Conflict
  6. Center on Conscience & War
  7. Charity & Security Network
  8. Chemonics
  9. Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness
  10. Conference of Major Superiors of Men
  11. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
  12. Cure Violence
  13. Educators Institute for Human Rights
  14. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  15. Global Communities
  16. Humanity United Action
  17. i-ACT
  18. International Alert
  19. International Crisis Group
  20. International Rescue Committee
  21. Jewish World Watch
  22. Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
  23. Mercy Corps
  24. National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  25. National Latino Evangelical Coalition
  26. Pax Christi International
  27. Pax Christi USA
  28. Peace Direct
  29. PRBB Foundation
  30. SaferWorld
  31. Search for Common Ground
  32. STAND: Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
  33. Stop Genocide Now
  34. World Relief
  35. World Vision

South Sudan’s Ceasefire

A permanent ceasefire was signed on the 22nd of December between the military forces of South Sudan, led by President Salva Kiir, and the opposition forces led by former vice-president Riek Machar. A permanent ceasefire is a much needed first step towards ending the five-year conflict which began as a duel for power between Kiir and Machar. After a failed peace deal in 2015, the conflict evolved to include several more armed opposition groups. The ceasefire was negotiated in Addis Ababa, and brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa, and includes multiple parties of the conflict. The factions also agreed to grant humanitarian access to areas most affected by conflict, providing hope that aid may be able to reach those who need it most and more information will be made available in these conflict areas.

Despite the high hopes placed on this ceasefire, which went into effect on December 24th, there have been reports of violence between South Sudanese armed forces and opposition groups in Unity state, near the town of Koch. Both sides claimed they were acting in self-defense, creating more confusion just as the ceasefire came into effect. NPR’s East Africa correspondent, Eyder Peralta reports that some on the opposition side view the violence as an attempt by the government to grab as much land as possible before peace talks begin in early 2018, which reflects the fear that the ceasefire may not represent the future that the international community was hoping for during the building of this initial agreement.

Learn More:
South Sudan Cease-Fire Is Signed, but ‘Difficult’ Period Awaits, NYT
South Sudan army, rebels clash hours after ceasefire, Reuters
South Sudan’s Prospects For 2018, NPR

Joint Appeal to the UN Security Council to Act on Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis

In advance of the United Nations Security Council’s December 12 meeting on the situation in
Myanmar, we, a global coalition of 148 human rights, faith-based and humanitarian organizations, urgently call on the Council to take immediate action to address the campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocity crimes, including crimes against humanity, committed against the ethnic Rohingya population by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State, as well as the continuing restrictions on humanitarian assistance throughout the state since October 2016.

Words of condemnation by the UN, including the Security Council’s Presidential Statement on
November 6 and the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee’s adoption of a resolution on
Myanmar, have not resulted in Myanmar’s government ending its abuses or holding those
responsible to account. It is time for prompt, concerted and effective international action.

Myanmar authorities are still heavily restricting access to northern Rakhine State for most
international humanitarian organizations, human rights monitors, and independent media. Most of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, estimated at more than one million, have been forced to flee to Bangladesh as refugees. Despite a bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, there are insufficient guarantees that return at this time can be informed, safe and voluntary, that requirements for documentation of prior residence will not be used as a pretext to reject legitimate returns, that temporary holding centers will not become semi-permanent internment camps and that returnees will have the same rights of movement, access to livelihoods and health and education services as other residents of Rakhine State. The UN Fact-Finding Mission, which is tasked with preparing a report on abuses nationwide, has thus far been prevented from gaining access to the country.

Over 646,000 Rohingya have been made refugees since August 25, when Myanmar security forces launched “clearance operations” in response to armed attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Refugee testimonies provide overwhelming evidence of
Myanmar military-led atrocities during these operations, and a similar campaign that had begun in October 2016. The crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Rohingya include massacres and other unlawful killings, widespread rape and other sexual violence, looting, deportation and mass arson of hundreds of Rohingya villages. The violence also displaced tens of thousands of people from other ethnic minorities. Rohingya who remain in Myanmar continue to face severe food insecurity and threats in addition to systematic violations of their rights to a nationality, freedom of movement, and access to healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities.

The Myanmar government has the primary responsibility to protect its diverse population without discrimination and regardless of ethnicity, religion or citizenship status. But, the civilian and military leadership of Myanmar, including the military’s Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, refuse to even acknowledge the serious human rights violations against the Rohingya and continue to deny any wrongdoing by state security forces in Rakhine State while ignoring decades of institutionalized discrimination against the Rohingya community.

We urge the Security Council to immediately impose an arms embargo against Myanmar’s military
that covers the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer, including transit and transshipment of all weapons, munitions, and other military and security equipment, as well as the provision of training and other military and security assistance. The Security Council should also place targeted sanctions on senior officers responsible for crimes against humanity or other serious human rights violations. Financial sanctions should target senior officers who ordered criminal acts or are liable as a matter of command responsibility. The Security Council should explore all avenues for justice and accountability, including through international courts.

If the pledge to “never again” allow atrocities means anything, the Security Council cannot delay action any longer.

ALTSEAN-Burma
African Council of Imams
African Life Center
Al-Heera Islamic Institute
Al-Janed Islamic Center
Ameinu
American Jewish World Service
Amnesty International
Andalusia Islamic Center
Arab American Bar Association
Association Suisse Birmanie
Baitul Islam Masjid & Community Center Inc.
Brooklyn Broadway Jame Masjid & Islamic Center
Brooklyn Islamic Center
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Human Rights Network
Burma Task Force
Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Canarsie Islamic Center
Carl Wilkens Fellowship
Center for Development of International Law
Center for Justice & Accountability
Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP-Liberia)
Darfur Women’s Action Group
David Rockefeller Fund
Emgage Action
Entrepreneurs du Monde
Equal Rights Trust
European Rohingya Council
Fortify Rights
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Genocide Watch
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Justice Center
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA)
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Harlem Islamic Cultural Center
Hillside Islamic Center
Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College
Hudson Valley Islamic Community Center
Human Rights First
Human Rights Now
Human Rights Watch
Humanity United Action
Info Birmanie
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Interfaith Center of New York
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect ICR2P
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Investors Against Genocide
Islamic Center of Five Town
Islamic Center of Long Island
Islamic Circle of North America – NY
Islamic Foundation Of New York
Islamic Mission of America
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jewish Alliance of Concern over Burma (JACOB)
Jewish World Watch
Law at the Margins
Long Island Muslim Society
Majlis Ashura – The Islamic Leadership Council of New York
Markaz Saqafi
Masji Al-Ansar
Masjid Abdul Muhaymin
Masjid Ahlu Sunna Walkhurabba’a
Masjid Al Tawheed
Masjid Al-Arqam
Masjid Al-Hamdu-Lilla
Masjid Alaqsa
Masjid Alfarouqe
Masjid Allah Akbar
Masjid Darul Da’wah
Masjid Darul Quran
Masjid Hefaz
Masjid Highbridge Islamic Center
Masjid Ibaadu Rahmaan
Masjid Ibun Abass
Masjid Iqamatiddeen
Masjid Kawthar
Masjid Makkie
Masjid Manhattan
Masjid Musa’b bin Umair
Masjid Nassr
Masjid Noor
Masjid Omar Ben-Abdel Aziz
Masjid Rahma
Masjid Rahman
Masjid Rahmatillah
Masjid Sabur
Masjid Siddiq
Masjid Ta Ha
Masjid Taqwa
Masjid Tawba
Masjid Tawheed
Masjid Wahab
Médecins du Monde
Mid Hudson Islamic
Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Preventing of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC)
Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc.
Muslim American Society (MAS) – Community Center
Muslim American Society (MAS) – New York
Muslim American Society (MAS) – Sheepshead Bay
Muslim American Society (MAS) – Upper NY Bronx Muslim Center
Muslim American Society (MAS) – Youth Center
Muslim Bar Association of New York
Muslim Center of New York
Muslim Community Center
Muslim Foundation of America
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Muslim Ummah of North America
Muslin Social Justice Initiative (MSJI)
National Lawyer’s Guild – International
Network of Spiritual Progressives
Nurudeen Islamic Charity Org.
Parkchester Islamic Center
Partners Relief & Development
Pax Christi Metro New York
Permanent Peace Movement (PPM)
Physicians for Human Rights
Rabbinical Assembly
Refugee Center Online
Refugees International
Rohingya Community Ireland
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
Save the Children
Society for Threatened Peoples – Germany
STAND Canada
Stanley Foundation
Stop Genocide Now
Swedish Burma Committee
Syrian Network for Human Rights
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Tauhid: Center for Islamic Development
The Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
Turning Point for Women and Children
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Nations Association – Sweden
Viet Tan
Woodhaven Jame Masjid
World Federalist Movement – Canada
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP)

Myanmar Military Denies Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya

The Myanmar military is denying all accounts of widespread violence towards the Rohingya population in Rakhine state. While the military has denied the genocide for some time now, Tatmadaw True News Information Team posted the results of a military investigation which claims that the Myanmar military followed rules of engagement, never shot at innocent “Bengalis,” did not burn houses, committed no rape or sexual violence, and did not use excessive force. The report further notes that any violence committed was by “Bengali” terrorists, and any violence used by the military was used against “terrorists” and “terrorist mobs.” The military gave power to civilian government in late 2015, however they retain control of some ministries, giving them particular power in ending or continuing the conflict.

These claims are directly refuted by the BBC, the United Nations, and Amnesty International, which have based their investigations on the half-million refugees that have fled Myanmar and reported widespread murder, rape, and the burning of villages by local Buddhist mobs supported by the Myanmar military.  Amnesty International has responded to the report, calling it an attempt to “whitewash crimes against humanity,” and pointing to an earlier report exploring the satellite and human rights evidence that shows that Rohingya areas were being targeted, while the homes of others were kept safe. Aung San Suu Kyi has further distorted the truth by falsely claiming that the military has ended their attacks on Rohingya villages, and denying the discrimination against the people in Rakhine prior to the violence.

Given these efforts to deny the reality of widespread violence, verifying statements against those of organizations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations is of vital importance to those wishing to understand ongoing conflict in Myanmar. Even when the news cycle moves on, the Rohingya people in Myanmar continue to suffer. We may hope that violence will go down as time goes on, but current actions and presentations by the Myanmar military makes it clear that violence is continuing, and they are maintaining the façade of innocence. Now is the time to put pressure on government officials, and other organizations, to condemn the investigation, and pressure Myanmar to give unfettered access to human rights investigators and journalists.



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