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Meanwhile, Sudan’s oil minister said that TotalFina had bid for another concession, and that Sudan was eager to offer TotalFina the possibility of acquiring another tract.1471 On October 27, 1999, the French ambassador to Khartoum Michel Raimbaud reportedly told a Sudanese official that more French 1469 “Sudan: Energy Minister Working Hard,” Indian Ocean Newsletter (Paris), September 11, 1999. This followed a July 1999 trip abroad by John Dor, then deputy minister of energy and mining, who tried but failed to convince Western oil majors to take up new petroleum exploration permits in Sudan. Ibid.
1470 “Total Fina Plans to Resume Oil, Gas Exploration In Sudan,” October 1, 1999.
companies would invest in Sudan, particularly in the field of energy. The French ambassador made his comments the day after the Canadian government said it might impose sanctions on Sudan.1472 As of the writing of this report, TotalFinaElf has not taken any visible steps to expand its activity or interest in Sudan. Its concession is far from the pipeline and from the front line of the oil war. But the possibility that this giant would step in to the largest block in the south was always in the air, behind the government’s push to clear the way for the smaller companies on the smaller blocks.
Royal Dutch/Shell The Shell Transport and Trading Company, the U.K. holding company of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies, acquired the first oil exported from Sudan in 1999, to be refined in its Singapore refinery.
Royal Dutch/Shell was trying to get an integrated, continuous, and long-term contract to purchase Sudanese crude oil, the government said.1473 Royal Dutch/Shell produced aviation fuel in Sudan. In May 2000, the Sudanese ministry of energy and mining declared that Sudan had begun producing aviation fuel.1474 Shell would have less of the Sudanese aviation fuel market and could expect its profits to drop.
Royal Dutch/Shell met with European campaigners urging it to withdraw from Sudan in early 2001. At its annual meeting, it was subjected to criticism for doing business in Sudan. It undertook to prevent the sale of its aviation fuel to the Sudan military. This decision not to sell aviation fuel to the Sudanese government was made easier by local competition from a Sudanese government enterprise.
1472 “French investment in Sudan to increase: ambassador,” AFP, Khartoum, October 27, 1999.
1473 “Shell Seeks More Contracts to Purchase Oil,” Omdurman Republic of Sudan Radio Network, Omdurman, in Arabic, September 4, 1999, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., September 7, 1999.
Overview After 1989, when a coup deposed the elected government and imposed a military-Islamist junta on Sudan, the Sudanese government became internationally ostracized for its gross human rights abuses.
The U.S. was legislatively mandated to vote against the Sudanese government in international lending institutions, and did so. The U.S. under the administration of Pres. Bill Clinton (1993-2001) developed a policy of isolation of the hard-line Sudanese government and worked diplomatically with U.S. regional allies (also referred to as the “Front Line States,” Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda) to bring pressure to bear on the Sudanese government. In late 1997 the U.S. also imposed economic sanctions prohibiting U.S.
entities from doing business with the Sudanese government.
When the “Front Line States” isolation strategy failed because the key regional actors became sucked into their own wars (Uganda in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Ethiopia against each other), nothing replaced it.
The conservative religious lobby in the U.S., which began in the 1990s to develop greater concern with religious persecution in other countries, put Sudan at or close to the top of its priority list, describing the situation there as “genocide.” It attracted grassroots attention with campaigns to collect money to free slaves (described as “Christians” enslaved by Arabs or Muslims) in Sudan. It pressured the U.S.
government to maintain a harder line on Sudan, including increased sanctions and “nonlethal” support for the rebel SPLM/A, despite its bad human rights record.
Sudan attracted the concern of high-level officials in the administration of Pres. George W. Bush starting in early 2001, including the president himself. On September 6, 2001, in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush announced the appointment of his special envoy for peace in Sudan, former U.S. Sen.
John Danforth. He initiated a process to establish whether either side—the Sudanese government or the SPLM/A—was interested in peace.
478Foreign Corporate Complicity, Foreign Government Support
The forward momentum on Sudan was accelerated when U.S. foreign policy after September 11, 2001, became concentrated on a war on the terrorists who attacked the U.S., believed to be part of an international conspiracy headed by Osama bin Laden. The U.S. called on all countries to cooperate.
Sudan, which had hosted Osama bin Laden between 1990 and 1996, quickly announced that it would cooperate with the U.S.
The U.S. did not limit its interest in Sudan to the sole issue of terrorism. Senator Danforth vigorously pursued his mandate, setting up four tests for the two Sudanese parties to pass to demonstrate their commitment to peace. In May 2002 he found that their interest was sufficient to warrant serious U.S.
engagement in a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Further talks resulted in a July 2002 agreement at Machakos, Kenya, between the warring parties addressing the key issues of self-determination and the relationship between the state and religion, and a ceasefire agreement was reached in October 2002 in the context of the on-going peace negotiations. As of the writing of this report, the negotiations have not produced a final peace agreement.
Clinton Administration Policy on Sudan The Clinton administration policy on Sudan evolved into a hardline policy of attempting to isolate that country as a “pariah state.” Sudan had been one of the few countries in the world to side with Iraq after that country invaded Kuwait in 1990. In 1992, several Sudanese employees of U.S. AID working in Juba were summarily executed by the army following an SPLA incursion into that southern capital city. In 1993, the U.S. State Department designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism whereby additional sanctions were imposed on U.S. relations with Sudan.1475 In June 1995 there was an attempted assassination of Pres. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt while he was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend an OAU conference. Three Egyptians, apparently part of the assassination team in Sudan, fled back to Sudan immediately after the attempt with the help of the 1475 See Human Rights Watch, Civilian Devastation, p. 60.
Sudanese embassy in Addis. Sudan’s know-nothing response to Ethiopia’s extradition request for the three lead the U.S. to try to impose Security Council sanctions on Sudan for its failure to honor the extradition order. Minor diplomatic and air travel sanctions went into effect.1476 They were not lifted until September 2001: the extradition order was never honored.
The U.S. Congress also passed a military assistance bill providing funds to help the three “Front Line States” fight their own rebels—which rebels were supported by Khartoum. It was widely assumed that this money was intended to pass through to the SPLM/A, which each of these countries had a history of supporting. The SPLM/A, however, complained bitterly that it saw none of it at all.1477 In February 1996, the U.S., for security reasons, withdrew its American staff from its embassy in Khartoum, although the embassy was never closed. In April 1996, President Clinton signed the Antiterrorism Act, which restricted U.S. commerce with nations designated as sponsors of terrorism by the State Department. The U.S. Treasury Department granted the Occidental Petroleum company a secret waiver from restrictions on investment in Sudan in August 1996. The Sudanese government, however, claimed it excluded the company from consideration as an investor because of uncertainly about diplomatic relations with the U.S., in November 1996. The whole story was not known publicly in the U.S. until January 1997.1478 U.S. Bombs Khartoum, August 1998 In June 1998, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were simultaneously attacked by suicide bombers in trucks, killing hundreds, mostly Kenyans and Tanzanians. The U.S.
attributed the attacks to the Islamist militant group Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden from bases in Afghanistan.
1476 See Human Rights Watch, Behind the Red Line.
1477 “Sudan: Global Trade, Local Impact, Arms Transfers to all Sides in the Civil War in Sudan,” p. 47.
1478 “U.S. Eased Law on Terrorism To Aid Oil Firm,” Washington Post, January 23, 1997.
On August 20, 1998, the U.S. struck Khartoum with two cruise missiles, destroying its target, the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant, which the U.S. suspected of involvement with the alleged embassy bombers and chemical weapons. One person was killed and eleven workers injured in the nighttime attack.
The Sudanese government strongly protested the attack and called on the U.N. Security Council to investigate the plant and determine if chemical weapons had been there, but the U.S. defeated efforts to put the matter on the Security Council agenda. The U.S. further refused to disclose evidence which would be sufficient to justify—to the international community—its belief that the factory or its owners were involved in the embassy bombings, chemical weapons, or terrorism, claiming that this would compromise U.S. security methods and personnel.1479 The Al Shifa bombing therefore became a setback to U.S. diplomatic efforts to lead its allies and world opinion with regard to Sudan, particularly to lead them to isolate Khartoum as a means of pressuring the Sudanese government. In addition, the U.S. regional allies, the “Front Line States” of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Uganda—who had long been assisting the SPLA militarily for their own reasons—lost interest in Sudan as they became mired in other wars. Eritrea and Ethiopia fought each other in a bloody crossborder war from 1998-2000, and Uganda in 1998 ventured into Congo, where its fought on the side of rebel groups in northeast Congo, agreeing only in 2002 to withdraw. The Ugandan forces also participated—with strong-arm tactics—in exploiting and trading in Congo’s abundant and valuable mineral wealth, according to a report by a U.N. panel of experts.1480 To show its disapproval, the U.S.
held up part of the U.S. military package (wrongly but popularly believed to be destined for the 1479 Tom Raum, “CIA: 1998 Sudan Bombing Not Mistake,” AP, October 19, 1999; Milt Bearden, “U.S. Should Admit Its Mistake in Sudan Bombing,” Wall Street Journal (New York), May 20, 1999.
1480 United Nations, “Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” S/2002/1146, October 2002, http://www.monuc.org/downloads/N0262179.pdf (accessed August 21, 2003). “The Uganda People’s Defence Forces and their associated rebel militias have been used as the de facto enforcement arm of the network [in northeastern Congo], ensuring the network’s pre-eminent commercial position through intimidation, and the threat and use of force. UPDF or militias associated with individual UPDF officers have established physical control over areas containing commercially viable natural resources – coltan, diamonds, timber and gold.” Ibid., p. 20.
SPLM/A) designated for the Ugandan military. Since that withdrawal from Congo, it appears that U.S.
military assistance to Uganda has been recommenced.1481 U.S at the U.N.
The U.S., as noted, was opposed to the Canadian effort to put Sudan and the East African regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) talks on the agenda for the U.N. Security Council to consider in 2000, when Canada had the presidency of the Security Council and could set the agenda. The U.S. did not want to open up discussion of its August 1998 bombing of the Khartoum pharmaceutical plant. Ultimately, the only action involving Sudan and the Security Council for 2000 was a vote at the General Assembly in September 2000 against seating Sudan on the Security Council. The U.S. used all its diplomatic muscle to achieve this unprecedented result.1482 After September 11, 2001, and Sudanese cooperation on terrorism, however, the U.S. did not oppose the motion to lift the minor Security Council sanctions on Sudan imposed in 1996 related to the Sudanese failure to extradite to Ethiopia suspects in the Mubarak assassination attempt.1483 U.S. Congress Gets in on the Act In 1998 Congress overwhelmingly passed the International Religious Freedom Bill. The bill resulted in the creation of a new office in the State Department to monitor and issue yearly reports on the state of international religious freedom, and in the establishment of a U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (U.S. CIRF) as a watchdog over that office.
The U.S. CIRF was to suggest countries that the U.S. might consider taking action against on account of their violations of religious freedom. Most of the commissioners initially appointed to the U.S. CIRF by 1481 U.S. State Department official, briefing, Washington, D.C., August 27, 2003.
1482 U.S. State Department official, meeting held by outgoing special envoy Harry Johnston, Washington, D.C., November 2000.
1483 “UN End Sanctions Against Sudan,” AP, New York, September 29, 2001.
President Clinton were conservative rather than liberal in outlook, reflecting the outlook of the bill’s sponsors.1484 In September 1999 the State Department designated Sudan as a “country of particular concern” under the legislation although it did not impose any sanctions on Sudan additional to the broad ones in effect.