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499Human Rights Watch
U.S. Special Envoy for Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan: May 2001 The new administration, which took office in January 2001, early on expressed its interest in resolving the Sudan conflict and bringing an end to the suffering of its peoples. On March 6, 2001, the new Secretary of State, Colin Powell, testified at a House International Relations Committee hearing, “There is perhaps no greater tragedy on the face of the Earth today than the tragedy that is unfolding in the Sudan.”1557 While Colin Powell was determined to cut back substantially on the proliferation of special envoys and return diplomacy to the State Department, Sudan was an exception. The term of appointment had lapsed for former U.S. Representative Harry Johnston, President Clinton’s special envoy for humanitarian affairs, peace, and human rights to Sudan. Recognizing, however, the serious nature of the permanent humanitarian emergency in Sudan, President George W. Bush appointed his U.S. AID director, Andrew
Natsios, as special envoy for humanitarian assistance to Sudan in May 2001, announcing:
Such crimes [as a Russian pogrom in 1903] are being committed today by the government of Sudan, which is waging war against that country's traditionalist and Christian peoples. Some 2 million Sudanese have lost their lives; 4 million more have lost their homes. Hospitals, schools, churches and international relief stations have often been bombed by government warplanes over the 18 years of Sudan's civil war.
The government claims to have halted air attacks. But they continue. Women and children have been abducted and sold into slavery. UNICEF estimates that some 12,000 to 15,000 people are now held in bondage in Sudan.
... Sudan is a disaster area for human rights. The right of conscience has been singled out for special abuse by the Sudanese authorities. Aid agencies report that food assistance is sometimes distributed only to those willing to undergo conversion to Islam.
1557 Pauline Jelinek, “Sudan's 18-year civil war ‘a priority,’ Powell says,” AP, Washington, D.C., March 9, 2001.
We must turn the eyes of the world upon the atrocities in the Sudan. Today, I have appointed a special humanitarian coordinator, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios.
He will provide the leadership necessary to ensure that our aid goes to the needy, without manipulation by those ravaging that troubled land. This is the first step. More will follow. Our actions begin today—and my administration will continue to speak and act for as long as the persecution and atrocities in the Sudan last.1558 Andrew Natsios was no stranger to Sudan. He had served in U.S. AID before, and was later director of the American nongovernmental relief agency World Vision. He had visited World Vision’s projects in rebel-held areas of southern Sudan. (which had been substantially discontinued in March 2000 because of the Memorandum of Understanding dispute with the SPLM/A). Roger Winter, who had just been named as one of the top executives at U.S. AID, quickly became a key member of the Sudan team inside AID.
The AID team, led by Natsios, visited Sudan, north and south, in July 2001 and Natsios promised, and delivered, emergency relief to the government side for the drought and displaced persons in Darfur— uprooted as a result of SPLA capture of a town in western Bahr El Ghazal.1559 This was the first delivery of emergency relief supplies by the U.S. government to the Sudanese government side of the conflict in many years. The AID team expanded as did the AID budget for Sudan, and its members became involved in the Danforth initiative and the IGAD peace process. It played a major role in successfully negotiating with the Sudanese government for humanitarian access to the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, and most of southern Sudan, which was achieved after much effort.
U.S. Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan: September 2001
1558 Remarks by the President to the American Jewish Committee, National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., May 3, 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010504.html (accessed June 24, 2002).
1559 The government at the time was showcasing several thousand needy displaced persons who fled north to Darfur when the SPLA captured Raga in western Bahr El Ghazal. It continued to ignore the much larger number of persons it had caused to be displaced from the oilfields of Western Upper Nile/Unity State, and to actively forbid humanitarian access to them.
President George W. Bush appointed former Sen. John Danforth as his special envoy for peace in Sudan on September 6, 2001. Announcing the appointment in the Rose Garden of the White House, President
For nearly two decades, the government of Sudan has waged a brutal and shameful war against its own people. And this isn't right, and this must stop. The government has targeted civilians for violence and terror. It permits and encourages slavery. And the responsibility to end the war is on their shoulders. They must now seek the peace, and we want to help.1560 Danforth’s mission was to report to the president as to whether the two main parties to Sudan's nineteen-year civil war—the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A—were ready for peace negotiations. If he found that they were, then the U.S. would undertake an intensive diplomatic effort to assist in the negotiating process. If they were not serious about peace, then the U.S. would not substantially set up its engagement in Sudan. Senator Danforth and his team of U.S. State Department and U.S. AID officials and others especially appointed to serve on this task force, including Amb. (Ret.) Robert Oakley, visited Sudan and the region in waves from October 2001 to January 2002; several higher-level officials went more than once.
Senator Danforth approached his mission by proposing four tests that the two main parties to the conflict—the Sudanese government and the rebel SPLM/A—must meet in order to satisfy the U.S. that they were committed to the search for peace: (1) The signing of a ceasefire agreement in the Nuba Mountains, allowing humanitarian access, to be monitored by a team of fifteen to twenty-five international personnel; (2) An agreement by both sides not to attack or target civilians or civilian objects in the war in the south, also to be monitored, by a verification mission of fifteen international professional staff; (3) The appointment of a commission consisting of eminent persons from many 1560 “President Appoints Danforth as Special Envoy to the Sudan.” Remarks by the President and Senator John Danforth on Danforth's Appointment as Special Envoy to the Sudan, The Rose Garden, Washington, D.C., September 6, 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010906-3.html (accessed June 24, 2002).
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countries which would investigate and make recommendations for practical solutions to the problem of slavery in Sudan; and (4) respect for “zones of tranquility” in the conflict areas, enabling medical humanitarian agencies to carry out polio immunizations and campaigns against bovine rinderpest and guinea worm.1561 U.S. Policy in Sudan, 2002 The forward momentum on Sudan was accelerated when overall U.S. foreign policy after September 11, 2001, became focused on the response to the terrorists who attacked the U.S., believed to be part of an international conspiracy headed by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda movement. The U.S. called on all countries to cooperate. The Sudanese government and individual Islamists in the Sudanese government had hosted and done considerable business with Osama bin Laden when he lived and invested in Sudan between 1990 and 1996. The Sudanese government asked him to leave in 1996 (he moved to Afghanistan), as part of a campaign since 1993 to remove itself from the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism. Sudan remained eager to improve its poor relations with the U.S. government, and perhaps feared a repeat of the cruise missile bombings of Khartoum (August 1998). After September 11 the Sudanese government immediately and publicly announced its cooperation with the U.S. on terrorism.
Senator Danforth’s work as special envoy and the imposition of the four tests, initially received with skepticism, produced some positive results for the promotion of human rights and the prospects for peace in Sudan. There was early agreement on a slavery/abduction investigation to be conducted by an international commission of eminent persons. The Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreement was signed by both parties January 19, 2002, in Switzerland. Progress was also made on negotiating “zones of tranquility” access for three medical programs.
The agreement to cease attacking civilians and civilian structures, as it was expanded, was the most difficult to negotiate. A February 20,2002, attack by government helicopters on an emergency food 1561 See Human Rights Watch backgrounder on the Danforth initiative, http://hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/danforth-bck0515.htm
delivery location in the village of Bieh, not far from the Ryer/Thar Jath drilling site in the Lundin Block 5A area, resulted in a death toll of at least seventeen [later confirmed to be twenty-four] civilians.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The U.S. State Department demanded “an explanation of how one part of the government can negotiate with the United States an agreement to end attacks against civilians while another part of the government is deliberately targeting civilians.”1562 It suspended all negotiations with Sudan on the war until the explanation was forthcoming.1563 The Sudanese government protested the U.S. suspension of peace talks and denied that it deliberately targeted civilians.
According to Senator Danforth, the government had accepted an international mechanism to verify protection of civilians (part of the agreement not to attack civilians) just one week before the Bieh bombing. “This is part of a pattern of repeated attacks. It is also part of a pattern whereby the government says one thing and does another,”1564 he noted.
The Sudanese government finally signed the “no attacks on civilians or civilian objects” agreement proposed by Danforth, on March 10, 2002. The SPLA signed on March 25.1565 Oil remained central to the parties’ concern about this “no-targeting civilians” agreement. The Sudanese government sought language stating that oil installations were “civilian objects” and the SPLA sought the reverse language.
The agreement was silent on this point, leaving it to the monitors to decide on a case-by-case basis, should there be any other attacks on oil installations.
1562 Richard Boucher, Press Statement, “Aerial Attacks on Feeding Site in Sudan,” U.S. Department of State, February 21, 2002, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/8205.htm (accessed June 20, 2002).
1563 “U.S. suspends talks with Sudan,” February 21, 2002.
1564 John C. Danforth, “Hope for peace? Gunship rockets blow up government promises,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, commentary column, February 24, 2002.
1565 The language of the agreement was broadened from a prohibition on aerial bombardment of civilians to include all forms of attacks on civilians and civilian objects when it became clear that Khartoum would read the “no aerial bombardment” provision to permit it to conduct ground attacks on civilians. In addition, the government sought to include SPLA attacks in the agreement.
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Senator John Danforth’s report to President Bush was made public on May 10, 2002. It summarized the state of compliance by the parties with the four agreements and concluded that the parties had shown sufficient commitment to finding a negotiated end to the war that the U.S. should continue its engagement. The report concluded that there were massive human rights abuses being committed in Sudan, and that its judicial system was completely unable to provide any redress.
Senator Danforth also put forth his opinion that “the fair allocation of oil resources could be the key to working out broader political issues if it were possible to find a monetary formula for sharing oil revenue between the central government and the people of the south” in whose territory the oil is found. He urged the U.S. government to dedicate resources and staff to “develop our best thinking on how the distribution of oil revenues might further the cause of peace in Sudan.”1566 The peace talks, hosted by Kenya under the auspices of IGAD, the East African and Horn intergovernmental authority, proceeded with noticeable momentum in June and July 2002. These talks under IGAD had intermittently engaged the parties’ attention since 1994 when the government and the SPLM/A reached an initial breakthrough in the signing of a Declaration of Principles (DOP).1567 Under the Clinton administration the U.S., Norway, Canada, and several other countries formed an IGAD Partners’ Forum group (IPF) designed to provide stepped-updiplomatic and financial support to the IGAD peace process.1568 In 2002 the international actors coordinated their pressure on Sudan, lead 1566 Indeed, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) graphically demonstrated to the parties in mid-2002, through expert oil industry advice in a Nairobi workshop attended by important representatives from both sides, how much more oil revenue could be expected in the event of peace. See http://www.csis.org/africa/index.htm (accessed October 30, 2002).
1567 The parties agreed to the Declaration of Principles (DOP) in 1994. In the DOP the parties affirmed the “rights of selfdetermination of the people of South Sudan to determine their future status through a referendum” and agreed that a “secular and democratic state must be established in the Sudan.” Declaration of Principles, articles 2 and 4, signed by representatives of the government of Sudan and the SPLM/A, Nairobi, May 20, 1994. The Sudanese government spent considerable effort backing away from it until the Machakos Protocol was signed in Machakos, Kenya, on July 20, 2002.