News / Africa

Rights Activists Describe Sudanese Elections as Rigged, say U.S. Not Tough Enough

Joe DeCapua

Human rights activists sharply criticized the Obama administration’s efforts in Sudan Wednesday and described the ongoing Sudanese elections as rigged and a sham.

John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, says, “As bad as they are, the elections are a real diversion from the issues that are going to determine whether Sudan goes back to full-scale national war or not.”

He describes U.S. diplomatic efforts in Sudan leading up to the elections as “amateur hour,” saying the Obama administration has failed to address “multiple crises.”

Get tough

“By not responding forcefully or robustly,” he says, “to the multiple violations of the electoral process and the other things that are happening in Sudan, the U.S. sends a very important signal that emboldens the (ruling) National Congress Party in Khartoum and it demoralizes the Sudanese people.”

Prendergast outlines what he sees as threats to peace in Sudan.

“We’re not responding to the resuscitation of the (Ugandan) Lord’s Resistance Army (rebels).  We’re not responding to this major offensive in Darfur in Jebal Marra over the last couple of months that led to so many people being killed and displaced,” he says.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has become a regional threat, launching raids on towns and villages in the DRC, southern Sudan and elsewhere.

The U.S. Congress is considering the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda recovery Act.  The bill aims to develop “a regional strategy to support multilateral efforts to successfully protect civilians and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA.”

He says the U.S. has also failed to respond to unfulfilled “key provisions” of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between north and south Sudan.  This includes the north-south border demarcation.

“You combine that with a seriously flawed if not a stolen election, and it becomes baffling why the Obama administration allows General (Scott) Gration, its special envoy, to continue make public statements that literally defy the facts on the ground on a very fundamental level,” he says.

Recently, Gration told the media the Sudanese elections “would be as free and fair as possible.”  He’s expected to return from Sudan to the United States soon to present his report on the elections.

More than just irregularities

Joining Prendergast was American actress Mia Farrow, a former U.N. goodwill ambassador to Sudan.

“The flaws in this widely boycotted election transcend mere irregularities or technical glitches.  We have known there were many problems with the election process for a long time.  This was apparent last June and there were reports in the press.  But these problems were not addressed,” she says.

Farrow voting problems include intimidation, vote rigging, bribing of tribal leaders and manipulation of the census.

“Most of the refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Darfur were unable or unwilling to be counted at all,” she says.

The activist describes Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir as a “thug.”  The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Bashir, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.  Nevertheless, he’s expected to win another term in office.

“Bashir’s so-called win in the election will not represent progress.  But will serve to consolidate the power of the Sudanese government.  It will give them the ability to alter the constitution and to change the conditions of the CPA, the north-south agreement,” she says.

The CPA was signed in 2005, ending many years of civil war.

“We watch and have watched a series of American diplomats and envoys blow in and out of Khartoum believing they can end the Khartoum campaign of destruction.  But it’s delusionary,” she says.

Right groups plan to hold more news conferences Thursday and Friday in response to the Sudanese elections.  Voting ends Thursday, following a two-day extension.  

A U.S. State Department statement on Sudan, says, “Sudan is at an important crossroads that can either lead to steady improvements in the lives of the Sudanese people or degenerate into even more violent conflict and state failure.  Now is the time for the United States to act with a sense of urgency and purpose to protect civilians and work toward a comprehensive peace.  The consequences are stark.”

It says lessons from the past indicate, “The United States cannot succeed in achieving our policy goals by focusing exclusively on Darfur or CPA implementation -- both must be addressed seriously and simultaneously, while also working to resolve and prevent conflict throughout Sudan.”

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid