Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sudan President Kneels to God, Crushing the Poor in the Process

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's expulsion of thirteen international aid agencies working in the country - as retaliation for the arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court - is a contemporary example of a long tradition of tyrants invoking God's name in justification of the oppression of the poor - a tradition that includes Medieval Europe's anti-semitism and South Africa's apartheid laws.

In rejecting the authoity of the Court, the unelected President, who came to power in a military coup twenty years ago, announced to a large and enthusiatic crowd of supporters that "We will remain firm and never bow to anyone except the Almighty God."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has warned that more than 2.2 million Sudanese face the risk of starvation and disease if the aid agencies are expelled.
The thirteen international aid agencies have been working in a varity of projects, including healthcare, education and agriculture (picture from Oxfam).

According to the United Nations, meanwhile, some 300,000 people have died in Darfur since the conflict started in 2003. More than two million have been displaced.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Mr Bashir on 4 March, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. It is the first such warrant to be issued against a serving head of state. The arrest warrant, which includes an appeal to UN member states to support its implementation, lists 7 charges, including:
  • five counts of crimes against humanity: murder ; extermination ; forcible transfer ; torture ; rape
  • two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population; pillaging

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

No comments: