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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.