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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid