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Thousands of Activists Gather in 15 Countries to Warn of Worsening Conflict
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Jan 9, 2010 - 9:09:55 PM

MEDIA RELEASE: SATURDAY 9 JANUARY 2010

 

Sudan365: A beat for peace

 

 

 

Thousands of Activists Gather in 15 Countries to Warn of Worsening Conflict

Celebrities and Activists Caution One Year to Prevent War in Sudan


LONDON : Today (9 January 2010) thousands of activists are gathering at events in 15 countries in a global coordinated effort, calling on world leaders to take urgent steps to prevent a return to severe and widespread conflict in Sudan.

Sudan365 (www.sudan365.org),   a year of campaigning for Sudan, has been organised by a coalition of groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Save Darfur Coalition, FIDH, Refugees International, Darfur Consortium and Arab Coalition for Darfur.

In London, Sudanese Archbishop Daniel Deng will speak at a gathering of hundreds of activists opposite No 10 Downing Street ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Archbishop Rowan William on Monday 11 January.

 

The effort comes with one year remaining until a referendum that will decide the future of Sudan and marks the five year anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan and called for this referendum. With many highly contentious issues still to be resolved and amidst increasing inter-ethnic violence in the South and continued attacks on civilians in Darfur, there is a real risk of a return to conflict that could destabilise the entire region and place civilians in grave danger.


Sudan365 is being supported by some of the world’s most famous drummers - including Phil Selway, Radiohead; Stewart Copeland, The Police; Nick Mason, Pink Floyd; Jonny Quinn, Snow Patrol; Caroline Corr; Richard Jupp, Elbow;  Middle Eastern star Mohammed Mounir and Mustapha Tettey Addy who has been drumming since the 1970s. The celebrity drummers are coming together to create a ‘beat for peace’ in Sudan. A film of this global beat for peace, featuring drummers from five continents, will be released to coincide with the launch of the campaign. Today, activists will also drum along at events worldwide to call on governments to take action to prevent worsening violence and ensure civilians are protected.
 

Activists are calling on world leaders to dramatically increase their engagement to:

·          Provide intensive and coherent diplomatic support to Northern and Southern Sudanese parties on unresolved issues such as wealth sharing, borders and security;

·          Increase international monitoring and reporting on human rights violations throughout Sudan in the run-up to the April elections and referendum, and support measures to protect civilians from potential violence related to these events;

·          Push the United Nations Security Council to strengthen the civilian protection mandate of the Sudan peacekeeping force (UNMIS) by increasing its presence in remote and volatile areas and by rapidly deploying its personnel to conflict-prone areas.

 

The 2011 referendum will determine whether or not the Southern region of Sudan becomes independent from the North. Experts fear that instability in the run-up to the referendum or its aftermath could reignite a civil war and cause massive human rights abuses unless international efforts are intensified to find a peaceful path through the next 12 months.

 

  “The people of Sudan experienced 22 years of civil war,” said Dr James Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Aegis Trust. “The conflict was finally ended by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which required massive investment and support from the international community. We now see a real risk of this agreement breaking down and a return to devastating conflict with disastrous consequences for the people of Sudan and for the region. The UK Government must provide intensive diplomatic support over the next year.”

 

‘We are already seeing a grave increase in inter-ethnic violence in the South and violence continues in Darfur,' said Tawanda Hond ora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme. ‘The coming year poses serious threats to human rights in Sudan that can be prevented if governments act now.'

 

More than 2 million people lost their lives in the 22 year long civil war between the North and the South. 2009 has seen a serious spike in violence in which more than 2,500 have been killed and 350,000 displaced in South Sudan. In Darfur, the conflict in which hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed remains unresolved and millions continue to suffer daily in camps.

 

“The African Union has declared 2010 the Year of Peace and Security in Africa. No people in Africa deserve peace or security more than the people of Sudan. On this day, people are coming together around the world to ask world leaders to take urgent diplomatic action to protect civilians and promote peace and justice in Sudan.  To make peace and security real for the people of Sudan in this critical year, Africa's leaders must take risks, put real muscle behind their declarations and show that they take their duties to the people of Sudan seriously.  The people of Sudan have already waited too long,” said Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, co-chair of the Darfur Consortium.

 

‘On the 9th of January, we stand in solidarity for Peace, we will not talk too much about politics, about war, weapons or the military. We will stand together to drum one global beat for Sudan in one specific moment in history. We in the Arab Coalition for Darfur, support and value all efforts for long lasting peace in Sudan and ask of our governments to ensure a true path for the stability of Sudan in this coming year. ’    Haggag Nayel, Secretary General, Arab Coalition for Darfur.

 

“Ideally the parties will reach agreement on a path to avoiding renewed conflict,” said Joel Charny, Acting President of Refugees International. “At the same time the international community must be prepared to respond to increases in violence, attacks on civilians and new population flows, which may occur around the referendum. We recognize the real potential for renewed conflict and we must prepare ourselves to respond.”

 

“We urge world leaders to pay particular attention to the human rights situation in Sudan in 2010 and to act to prevent the country from spiralling again into bloodshed, violence and impunity ,” said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH .


"This campaign is unprecedented. It's incredibly exciting. Thousands of drummers from some of the most famous drummers in the world – Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Snow Patrol, Elbow – to community groups across 5 continents coming together to create a global beat for peace in Sudan. The next 365 days will be critical for the people of Sudan,” said Jamie Catto, founder member of 1 Giant Leap and Faithless. And this global drumbeat is a cry for positive action from world leaders to prevent conflict from returning."

 

"I wanted to be involved in this project because I think music is such a powerful way of bringing people together. Of course, I'm biased in thinking that what's underpinning it all is always the beat - always drummers! Hopefully this film will show that together people can make a huge noise and through this film I hope people's focus will be brought back to what is happening in the Sudan over this very important next year," said Phil Selway of Radiohead who is supporting the campaign.

 

 

‘’We believe that women and children are the sectors that have been mostly affected by the civil war in Sudan. War and conflict undoubtedly have hindered the socio-economic development which has had a direct impact on health, education, environmental sanitation and, needless to highlight, the security and safety of women and children.

We therefore urge the International Community to exert pressure on the Government of Sudan and the SPLM in order to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to lead the Sudan through the coming general elections and the referendum for the self determination to the people of the South transparently, fairly and peacefully ‘ Said Suhair Sharif of National Sudanese Women Alliance (NSWA) and Secretary for Women Development & Child Care (Umma National Party) - in Diaspora

 


 

 



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