Thursday, July 21, 2011

117. SUDAN: Southerners lose citizenship; evidence of Nuba genocide

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 117 | Wed 20 Jul 2011


By Elizabeth Kendal

On 19 December 2010 Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir addressed a rally in Gedaref, northern Sudan, about 400km south-east of Khartoum. He told the crowds, 'If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity. Sharia [Islamic law] and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.' The President was never going to accept cultural diversity -- at least not with equality and liberty. Islamic imperialism and Arab supremacy are the root of all Sudan's troubles. That is exactly why South Sudan seceded on 9 July 2011. And this is why ethnically and religiously diverse Sudan will never have peace under the regime of Omar el-Bashir.

On Wednesday 13 July 2011 Sudan's parliament in Khartoum passed a new nationality law that automatically strips South Sudanese of their citizenship. As MP Ismail al-Haj Musa confirmed: 'All the southerners are going to lose their Sudanese nationality directly.' Whilst dual citizenship will be available in South Sudan, it will not be available in Sudan. Essentially, southerners will have to decide whether they want to take northern or southern citizenship. While hundreds of thousands of southerners have recently returned to the south, more than a million still live in the north, with many having lived there all their lives. According to the Sudan Tribune (13 July) government institutions have sacked their southern employees and government advertisements are calling for private sector companies to provide a list of their southern employees. From now on South Sudanese will be treated as foreigners in the north, needing residency and work permits. Prominent lawyer and human rights advocate Dr Amin Maki Madani maintains that the law is unconstitutional.

In a speech to the National Assembly on Tuesday 12 July, President el-Bashir told the parliament that Sudan was entering a new era, a 'second republic'. Adlan el-Hardello, a political science professor at the University of Khartoum, believes el-Bashir is posturing and appeasing, raising the hopes of those who long for change, without the intention of ever delivering any. El-Bashir also offered to extend the deadlines for 'popular consultations' in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, 'to allow the people of both states more time to consult and remedy the situations'. Whilst this sounds generous, doubtless its intent is either to surreptitiously deny the citizens their rights or to provide Sudan's Armed Forces and Arab militias more time to complete their ethnic cleansing. On 1 July el-Bashir unashamedly declared on State television: 'I ordered the Sudanese Armed Forces to continue their operations in South Kordofan until they cleanse the state of rebels.' Consultation is so much easier after the opposition has been annihilated.

Like South Kordofan, Blue Nile is an ethnically diverse, predominantly non-Arab state in the north. Like South Kordofan, Blue Nile is defended by the army of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLMN). The Sudan government recently deemed the SPLMN army a foreign (i.e. southern) force -- which it is not -- and ordered the disarming of all SPLMN soldiers. Naturally, the long-persecuted, war-ravaged peoples of South Kordofan and Blue Nile are resisting. Of course the regime is using this resistance as a pretext for war. According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), South Kordofan (which has oil) and Blue Nile (Sudan's main source of hydroelectric power) are entitled to determine their own futures by means of 'popular consultations'. If the CPA is not implemented, war will span the whole width of Sudan, through Darfur (west), South Kordofan (centre) and Blue Nile (east).


The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has revealed visual evidence of mass graves in South Kordofan, which it says 'corroborates new eyewitness reports . . . of systematic killings and mass burials'. The three mass graves recently appeared adjacent to the Episcopal Church of Sudan compound in Kadugli. Each measures about 26m by 5m so is large enough to hold many thousands of corpses. Many members of the Diocese of Kadugli are believed to be among the dead. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli is stranded in the US where he has been receiving medical treatment. He said he is devastated that his 'friends, brothers and sisters, children, my flock, have been killed mercilessly and are lying now in mass graves in Kadugli'. The UN expresses concern for some 7000 Nuba who were receiving aid and protection in the UN Headquarters in Kadugli. They were forcibly removed by Sudanese forces on 20 June and remain 'unaccounted for'.

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1 ESV)

Like the wicked of Psalm 10:2-9, President Omar el-Bashir crushes the helpless (v10) while saying in his heart: 'God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it (v11). [He] will not call [me] to account' (v13).

PLEASE PRAY FOR SUDAN (using Psalm 10)

* 'Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted' (v12). This we know: God does see and take note in order that he might act (v14).

* O LORD, break the power -- political, economic, military -- of the wicked and evildoer, 'call his wickedness to account till you find none' (v15).

* O LORD, you who are king forever, hear the desire of the afflicted; strengthen their heart; incline your ear to do justice, 'so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more' (vv16-18).



South Sudan seceded from the north on 9 July 2011. Only four days later, Sudan's parliament in Khartoum passed a law that stripped citizenship from over a million South Sudanese who live in the north. Those predominantly Christian Southerners are also losing their jobs and rights. President El-Bashir has already stated he will amend the constitution, making Islam the state religion, Islamic Sharia the main source of law and Arabic the official language. Meanwhile, the Satellite Sentinel Project has revealed visual evidence of three mass graves capable of holding many thousands of corpses, adjoining the Episcopal Church of Sudan compound in Kadugli, South Kordofan. Many thousands of African, predominantly Christian Nuba are believed to be buried there, victims of the new Nuba Genocide. Please pray for Sudan and its Christians.