A panel including a refugee from Darfur who has served as Chair of the Darfur Community in the UK and Northern Ireland, Amer Adam Hesabu; a refugee from Sudan and a survivor of child slavery, Simon Deng; and President and owner of the Geneva School of Diplomacy & International Relations, who has served as a UN Human Rights Officer more than 15 years, address the 2nd Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you very much, another statement that humbles us, in the face of people who’ve lived through this. Would you like to ask them some questions? I’ll take questions from the floor. Yes.
Question from Audience: Thank you. The international community purports to want to prevent genocide. The Secretary General of the United Nations even has a special adviser to try and help him do that, who has the same name as the gentleman on the platform. I don’t know if they are related: Francis Dane. I wonder if either or both of your panelists could say what they think the international community could or should have done to prevent the genocide that happened both in the South and the West of Sudan.
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: I think the international community needs to act responsibly because for two decades the international community, they know, has had plenty of documents signed by the president Al-bashir and the government of Sudan. But actually, there is [not] any progress [on] the ground whether in the south of Darfur. People are still suffering and it’s just signing peace on paper, but actually [on] the ground, there is no[t] any improvement. That’s why the international community are very important to play rules and to bring pressure to the government of Sudan to act responsibly because life is getting worse and, our people, [experience danger] day by day. Without the international community, life will get very sad and people are still suffering.
Mr Simon Deng: Adding to my colleagues and my brother from Sudan. To answer that question, I hope Dr. Francis Dane whom you mentioned should tell the secretary generals and international community according to him, and I quote Francis Dane, that “what dividing us in Sudan is what i’m told, I hope you will tell the United Nations and the world community what you know is dividing people in Sudan.”
Of course the UN, even though I personally am not a fan of the UN, has more obligations, it has more authority to live up, to uphold, the documents that they have, in which I have in my hands today; the principles that are guiding the world today. All the right and all the responsibility that the UN is supposed to be [following], it is here. But as I said before, I’m very optimistic and nervous at the same time because the UN is now in Sudan. The [inaudible] is part of the UN even though the whole work was not done by the UN, was done by the others. But the UN is the one in charge now. We want them to do the right things.
I was very [troubled] when the UN itself was the one trying to speak the Khartoum language. Yes peace has to be found in Darfur and with that we need a comprehensive peace in the entire Sudan. You cannot shift the war from the South to the West. And, assuming that things will be peaceful in Southern Sudan, Khartoum has to be held accountable. Somebody in Sudan for the first time has to take the responsibility for the bad thing[s]. The Sudanese in the government, they always take the credit for the good things. But no one ever took the responsibility for the bad things. Millions of lives perished in Southern Sudan, hundreds of thousands in the Nuba Mountain. Nobody talk[s] about it here in Darfur. For G-d’s sake, how many million more do we need so the UN can act. [The] UN has to act and act now.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Very eloquent answer. Just before I go to your question, I think one of the things that we are doing, is that you are here and you are not the United Nations. This is civil society in action. I think it was H.G Wells, the author of ‘The War Of The Worlds,’ who said that civilization is a race between education and catastrophe and maybe we’ve been losing that race. We all know the 20th century was the most destructive of all time and the question is, are we stronger in the 21st century in our institutions? Most people around the world are not aware that the budget of the United Nations, the regular budget of the United Nations, and that includes in Geneva and in New York and in Vienna and Santiago, etc., is less than the budget of the fire departments of the cities of New York and London. The budget is less than the budgets of five or six major McDonald’s outlets. So the international institutions that we look to, let’s criticize them, let’s try to improve them, but we are new in this business of building international institutions, so let’s continue to build them. And, [in] the eloquent way that my colleagues have mentioned, let’s not despair of the UN but rather seek to make it an awful lot better. There’s a question over here, please.
Audience Member #1: My name is Ablam Adi from [the] [inaudible] organization. We are an organization initiated in Sudan 1983. Really I hear two very sad stories from our brother from Darfur and [the] South of Sudan. If really, this story is a real story, really it is very sad. But i would like to raise a big question to my brother: if there is genocide in Darfur the international community itself and [the] ICC itself they can’t prove that there is genocide in Sudan. And you see also I would like to raise another question. You know the number of displaced people from Darfur inside Darfur [is] more than the figures from Darfur in shared camps. Why [do] they kill them like that, if they cut them like pieces? We are human beings. Do you think in Sudan people like that they kill each other in pieces? Is this the truth? From what time, from what date are you going back to the UK, United Kingdom? From what time? How many years [have you been] out of Sudan? Do you believe that [they took] them alive and put them and burned them? Do you think that happens in Sudan? If [it] happened, why [can’t they] prove it by ICC? Why is it not improved by [the] international community? I would like to raise a big question: what’s going in Gaza, Palestine, is this a genocide or what? We should do justice, as the international community to do the justice for the world, not only to say that there is genocide in Sudan, that there is genocide in Darfur, because [in] other large countries, like [the] USA and this country, they don’t like Sudan, more because of our resources. They [are] looking after our resources. They would like for us not to live [in] peace. Therefore they said we have genocide. I am sure that there is no genocide [in] Sudan, really I am sure. As a Sudanese, no genocide in Sudan. Thank you.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you. Let me just say before I give the floor to my guest to answer this. Curiously I was the chair of a similar panel here last year and we talked about genocide in Sudan, and there was an entire room full of people like you madam shouting at us and asking that the international community prove some of its allegations. It’s coming, it’s coming, and we’re not intimidated by that. But I think our guests here will answer what you have to say a lot better than I will.
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: Thank you. First of all, thank you for the [inaudible] organizations. Actually, just [simply] and the fact[s]. Since this war began in Darfur, and that took place in 2003, the government of Sudan tried to lie to [the] international community while our people of Darfur are being killed, raped, cutting them in pieces, torturing them, taking them to prisons. And many hundreds of thousands of people they have been killed and raped; women systematically raped. This is evidence you cannot destroy it. Another thing: over 600 thousand people have been killed in Darfur. What, do you think this is not a genocide? What do you think when you see the image? You are an [inaudible] organization, you know exactly what is going on. We are not talking yesterday, of the recent time. [Another] thing, about the refugees you’re talking about, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees today between Chatu and neighboring Chad and Darfur. They have been dying, result of hunger suffering and torturing, and they being living in middle of nowhere. What do you think of those refugees? [The] international communities are going to help them. As you’re saying 2.7 million people are refugees in Darfur today and another 2.5 million inside Sudan. Those refugees are all from Sudan and Darfur and this is what the Sudan government is trying to destroy. The Sudanese government has got an experience for their non-commitment and [non]-cooperation with the international community and that’s why the genocide has taken place. Regarding the peace agreement and peace sound agreement, it’s not the peace but the sound agreement they have [has been] done only just because of their personal interest for the coming elections and that’s why they want to win the support of the group, which I said we are signing peace with the Darfurian group. But actually, [on] the ground today, there’s hundreds of people, they’ve been dying and fled, and you know that exactly. So you cannot deny what is going on [in] Darfur. Only you have to pray for hope and equality and people have to return eventually.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Mr Deng.
Mr Simon Deng: Let me add some things. Like former President Ronald Reagan said, here we go again. My sister, probably being so typical Sudanese, I wish you were in the shoes of the women in Southern Sudan to know. I wish you would be in the shoes of the women in Western Sudans, the region of Darfur, to know it and to feel it. But probably you wouldn’t feel it because you are probably sitting in Khartoum or somewhere peaceful, in a crystal house, in the center of Sudan. We all know for facts as Sudanese, the hypocrisy and [the] denial of the truth. If somebody said “this is a light,” you as a Sudanese will say no because it did come from somebody else and that’s why you’re mixing apples with oranges.
What happened in Sudan is all we know, and you know it very well. In the South when brutality, genocide, – even [though] the world didn’t call it by the right names – [is] taking place. The Northern Sudanese, peaceful like you, always call it ‘waqat alhadith,’ which is ‘time of incident.’ You don’t have [an] incident, my fellow human being, [for] 17 years.
Again, you use another word in Southern Sudan when you are slaughtering 2 million Southern Sudanese: ‘mashakil aljanub,‘ which is ‘southern problems.’ And we heard that again when you turn your arms against your fellow muslims in Darfur and you call it [inaudible]. We know it for facts. We [are] all Sudanese but you cannot fool people all the time. Time has come for us as Sudanese to realize that something wrong took place. You may not agree with the figures but let me tell you Bashir himself will disagree with you because he admitted when he said to the world that two hundred thousand is an exaggeration, four hundred thousand is [an] exaggeration, only nine thousand. What do we call these nine thousand? You’re speaking like that because you didn’t have a loved one among [the] nine thousand Bashir talk[ed] about.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: I have several questions here on the Sudan but just before I come to them. Since we’re talking about genocide in different parts of the world, let me add this about Bosnia. When I first arrived there, I was one of the few civilians. And, one spent a lot of time in the cellars because the city, unprotected, was taking an average of a thousand shells a day fired at the unprotected city of Sarajevo. One spent a lot of time in the cellars with the dust falling on one’s hair and walls trembling and so on. And I got to listen to a lot of the discussion between local Sarajevons and in my own mind, divided them into realists and idealists. The realists – and this may pertain to Sudan also – the realists, as I saw it, said: this can’t continue, civilization will put a stop to it, the UN will put a stop to it, NATO will end it in 24 or 48 hours. Those were the idealists, I’m sorry. The realist said no, it’ll take a little longer. You have to have bureaucratic meetings of the UN security council or the NATO council and so on. It’ll probably take a week. And the others said if it takes a week we’ll all be dead. It went on for three and a half years before the international community used force. And now, Mr Radovan Karadžić is in the dock in the Hague saying it never happened at all! So it’s hard not to draw similarities with Sudan. Last year when we had this meeting, three quarters of the room shouted at us that we were imagining things. Well the way forward is to press on with due process and the examination of the evidence. And the evidence, I’m afraid madam, shows very terrible things have happened in Sudan as my guests have clearly attested to.
Now the question I have here is: why has the African Union, from somebody here, refused to pursue the due process against Omar Al-bashir?’ Would anybody like to answer that? Why [has] the African Union failed to act in regard to the president of Sudan?
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: The fact is [that] President Bashir is already named the criminal and he [has] been wanted by the international criminal court to face justice. And the inspector of the ICC, he said Omar Bashir should face justice, whether it be, I guess, matter of time to be captured and he has to face justice like what he has done to my people in Darfur and also to South Sudan and many issues going on. Meanwhile the African Union, they came to protect the civilian[s] in Darfur but [they have] got no order to catch President Bashir. But President Bashir, in just a matter of time, will be captured and he will be facing justice for what he has done for the Sudanese and the Darfurian people.
Mr Simon Deng: I think most African Nations follow the Roman Statues. Some of them said it was because there [was] the pressure from the madman from Libya, but when he was chair, he went and twisted the arm[s] of the African rulers, not leaders. And some of them said that since they are not signatories to the Roman Statutes then they will not follow it because they agree and disagree with them. And some of them had their own reasons why they cannot pursue that, because some of them are guilty of some kind of atrocity in their own home. But we should not forget there are countries in Africa who came out very clearly that, if Bashir stepped foot in their country, they will arrest him. And he should not be the case that we [are] talk[ing] about if he is not guilty of some things. Why he should not go forward and clear his name. That is all we need.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you. Here’s a question which seems to be in line with some of our previous discussion. It says: “if slavery and genocide against Southern Sudanese exist then how come more than 1.5 million Southerners fled to Khartoum seeking security and shelter from the war. When slavery in America,” and i’m reading this. I think it’s, “during the period of slavery in America, did slaves from the south escape to the north?” Unquote. Actually the answer is yes. Let’s go on to the next question. This says, I don’t know who this is from, it says, I’m reading, “how can we regulate,” is the word it says here, “religion? So that religion won’t be misused as a tool for discrimination and killing.”
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: Okay, to answer this, basically, the Sudan government, actually, they commit this killing and murder to destroy people[’s] culture, people[’s] life. Because Sudan is not an Arab country, Sudan is an African country geographically and historically, and they killed the South of Sudan people,up to 2 million people, because they [say] the problem is between the South and between the North, and [the] problem is religious. But later on, when they tried and they [could not] find the destiny to solve any problem with the South of Sudan, they turn[ed] their guns to their own fellow muslims from Darfur and this is what the challenge [is]. How come the government of Sudan is turning up their guns to their own people in their war, which they are muslims. As I have to mention, Darfurian people, there up to 90 percent of them [who are] muslims, and they turn their gun[s], which they killed over 600 people [with], and destroy [the lives] of eight million. And now, they are trying to solve problems [with] one another, and there really is, because the government of Sudan, they are Arab. They are not original[ly] Sudanese even, because they [are] followers, [and] they came to settle in the 19th century. [This] is when the British [withdrew] and they left power in their hand[s] and then they want[ed] to destroy the African culture remaining in Sudan. They start to destroy Darfur as [a] Muslim region, which [is] in the West of Sudan, to transfer the Arab culture to the African, which is their belief, they are not arab, and to destroy the miracle history for centuries. This is the real problem for the Sudan government to commit this crime against us. Also, this discrimination is playing [a] part for this genocide happening in Darfur because Darfurian people they were black and they were not Arab and they have got their own culture and own identity and that[’s] what the real problem began.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you very much. Mr Deng, religion.
Mr Simon Deng: You know as a victims, where the religion was used as a tools as an umbrella to savage slaughterings [of] my peoples, I always ask the same question, which is being posed to me now: how come that the others, whom are far away from Sudans, who happen to be good muslims, distance and turn a blind eye when their religions are being used by the governments in Khartoum as an umbrella to commit the gross atrocity. The gross [murder of] two million Southern Sudanese was a slaughter in the name of jihad. Everybody in Sudan, everybody in the world, knew it and turned a blind eye. This question, I ask this question over and over, where are the good muslims? And even I go further. How can you have a moral religion to be [a] bystander when your religion is being used to [commit] the evil acts by the government of Khartoum. And this question need to be answered by anyone with a good conscience as a good Muslim, that to distance herself or himself from the evil government that used the religion to committed the evil act.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you. There’s a question here from Mr. David Litman of the Association of World Education. He says in February 1999 he was the representative of Christian Solidarity International, I think in Southern Sudan, and he says I would like to ask, and then he ran out of time or paper. So if you would like to, please go ahead.
Audience Member #2: Can you hear me?
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Yes very well.
Audience Member #2: Good yes. I was then the representative and introduced the late Dr. John Garang to Mary Robinson, at the time when all these horrors were taking place for more than 10 years. I have two questions to ask, but I would like to point out that I was not surprised to hear the representative from the Khartoum regime on our left there, speak as she did. Because when Dr Gaspar Biro was the special representative on Sudan, he was threatened in 1994 with death simply for asking Sudan to bring its legislation into accord with the covenants they had signed and ratified.
My question now concerns the question of the jihad that was declared several times by Bashir and which Dr John Garang, when he came to the United Nations in 1999 before he was ruled out of order by the Sudan, tried to explain. Why is it that the crimes that have been done in the name of jihad in the Sudan are not being recognized? And at that time, curiously enough, the former Prime Minister Al-Mahdi also wrote to Mary Robinson explaining that slavery was inevitably a result from jihad and this was a muslim speaking. So my question is when the jihad is proclaimed, we’re speaking about the Arab North, the Arab Sudanese declaring a jihad against the African Sudanese. Why, as Simon Deng has said, [has] there has been no reaction from the United Nations over all the years. And now again it’s Darfur. We were the first association, World Education, in 2003 to take the defense of those in Darfur. This time they’re Muslims. But again it’s the Arab North who are declaring the jihad against their African brethren. So the first question to Simon would be how many slaves are there still. CSI managed to free, helped free, up to 85 000 of them. How many are still remaining in slavery in the North? And the second question refers to the racial situation. When will the United Nations recognize that we have here, as one of the special rapporteurs said very clearly, we have a case of racism the Arab North against the African South. The last thing I would like to say is if you want to know more about slavery in the Sudan you just have to consult Churchill as a young reporter when he went in 1899 and he describes the same slave trade that has existed from the 8th century until today, which is more than a thousand years. Why is that not being condemned every day at the United Nations council here. Thank you.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Mr Deng, and then we have a question over here.
Mr Simon Deng: Thank you, let me answer the first questions in part. Of course, as you mentioned Sedigal Mahadi – or you call it Sardigal Mahadi we call it Sadigal Mahadi – he himself, when he was in prime minister in Khartoum was interviewed by the Canadian journalists after two months in his office about the slavery and in which he admitted, yes slavery still exists. He went on to give the definitions of the reasons why the slavery exists and he blame[d] it on war. He went on to explain that usually the Arabs will go and capture the African kids and the Africans will come and capture the Arab kids, which he lied by saying that. We never have victims [in] power being in a position where he or she [can] say no to his masters and will go and take anything from the master. He lied there. The numbers of the slavery up to now nobody for sure can come and give the accurate counts. What we have now it is what is being documented by this government, the government of Bashir, through the organization SIWA, put together by them, to do the work so that they will not call it a slave recall, abductees, people being abducted. In that book there are more than eight thousand documented by the government of Khartoum, the government of today. But, the numbers can be within ten thousand, nobody knows. Some of them are no longer being enslaved because they already converted to Islam. And that [was] an offer which was given to me when I was a child; if I want to be treated like a human being I have an offer on the table, to convert, give an Arab name and become their son. [Among] most of the Southern Sudanese slaves they’re already, even some of them I know for fact, went and got [the] education. They are now hauling positions in which they cannot come and talk about it. The other thing about races. Of course, Khartoum is the most racist government ever G-d has created, simply because I know it for facts. There was a law being designed by the government. And for those who know Arabic, those who try to defend Khartoum, can they explain to us the law of [inaudible arabic phrase]. What [are] those laws designed for? Those laws are designed to clean the city from the black peoples. Take them back to the war zone because Southern Sudan used to be called a war zone, to be killed. Or, those who want to stay in the North then there [is an] option, which is they will convert to Islam. And even Sadi himself said it. Why should we worry about peace? Because he signed peace with the southern groups before he became prime minister. When he became a prime minister he changed it and he came to say [inaudible sudanese phrase], which is [that] things change because he became a prime minister. We should not worry about the peace because the southerners are dying. Those who will come to the North, they will enter to Islam. And that is exactly what we are here for. So Khartoum is racist and you can see [by] what happened in Darfur, those who are being slaughtered all of them in Darfur: the Masalit, the Zaghawa, these are the African tribes. Those whom you call today as Janjaweed, there is no such thing in Sudan called Janjaweed as a tribe. These are the Arab tribes. These [were] the Arab tribe[s] armed by Khartoum then not to kill people in Darfur to kill people in the Southern Sudan and take kid[s] into the slavery. So racist Khartoum is on the top of it. The numbers of slaves, nobody has a definition. And I wish Dr John Garang would have not yet die soon because that was something in his own agenda that he [had] to pursue, to address the issue of the slavery in Sudan. Because according to him, not me, when jihad was declared – jihad is part of the war and this is what you address – and Sadiq Al-Mahdi himself, we have it in on tape for anyone who wanted to see it I will give it to him.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Okay thank you, I have first of all some written questions, but first a question over here and then from the gentleman here. Madam.
Audience Member #3: Thank you very much for giving me the floor. My name is Amna, I’m independent. My background is law and anthropology by education. I appreciate very much having listened to both gentlemen at the panel. I believe that they’re both very personal experiences and they’re both very difficult and sad situations indeed. The narration of Mr Simon Deng touches on many issues one of which is Islamization and Arabization. And the question on that would be when you are in Sudan in Khartoum, having been a humanitarian worker myself in Sudan, there are churches in Khartoum in neighboring towns, so and church bells do ring, and people do go to church, so Islamization, Arabization I question that. And in the South as well, there are churches and mosques, side by side. Whereas unlike in some Western countries you can’t even have your mosque up but we won’t go into that, no mention has made has been made of tribal conflicts, which exist between tribes in the South, tribal conflicts which exist between tribes in the West, tribal conflicts which exist between tribes in the North and in the East. So North, East, South, West Central all have tribes. Sudan is a country with many tribes as we know.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Sorry, can I ask what your question is?
Audience Member #3: Yes, of course. Mr Simon Deng did mention, if I may just may, Mr Simon Deng did mention that we need to remember the international principles guiding the world body. I assume those you’re mentioning are referred to the U.N charter, which is itself an outdated and colonial document. Unfortunately if these are your references we need to go way beyond that because both the panelists appreciated their experiences are very difficult, but they have been out of Sudan for very long, Sudan has moved on and so what is it exactly that they propose concretely to do where they’re sitting from. Because for a fact we know and I know that Southern Sudanese in Sudan question their compatriots from the South and their compatriots from the West who have not been part of the struggle in the country.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: All right, thank you
Audience Member #3: So what is it that they concretely are proposing? Because these are personal experiences.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: What concrete proposals are made. Let me wrap several questions together and we’ll come back to that and ask what concrete things can be done. I don’t agree of course that these tremendously important documents like the universal declaration of human rights, which is truly a Magna Carta, are ever out of date.
Audience Member #3: I didn’t say the universal declaration of human rights, I did say the UN charter.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Yes I understand, I understand.
Audience Member #3: Colonial chapter.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Colonial, indeed. Right actually I think well anyway let’s come to the question over here and then we’ll refer back to these points at the end and we have a time problem. Sir.
Audience Member #4: Oh yes yes Mr Chairman, I don’t know you Mr Chairman but I developed great respect for you. You express opinions very close to mine about the UN and Mr Mortimer here also is like you, after me. I retired before you joined the UN. But I’m very sad Mr Chairman because when I come to a Human Rights meeting I leave my nationalism, my religion, my beliefs behind. And I come here to try to talk to find a solution for these tremendous problems that we have in the whole world. I’m now emotional I can’t even talk. Mr Chairman I have been in Sudan, I was the representative of the [inaudible] in Sudan for two years in the 70’s. Maybe I have seen Mr. Simon Deng as a young man in Southern Sudan. Both Southern Sudanese and the Sunnis in the north are lovely, tender, wonderful people. The problem [is] the politicians. The problem Mr Chairman is the people who seek power and seek money and want to use the innocent people for their own ends. The problem is fanaticism, bigotism and extremism. Whether it is Islamic, whether it is Jewish, whether it’s Hindu, whether it’s Christian, doesn’t matter. These are the problems we have. The biggest problem in Sudan, Mr Chairman, is the fundamentalist regime, Islamic regime, who is trying to impose its position on the people of the whole Sudan, the Northern Sudanese don’t like it either.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: And your question sir?
Audience Member #4: Mr Chairman I don’t have any question to make. I’m making a statement, please allow me one more minute.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Sure, of course.
Audience Member #4: Mr Chairman. My question is that the problems in Iran, in Chechnya, in Igor, in China, in Tibet, they’re all in Sudan, in Southern Sudan, in Darfur. They’re all the same, they’re of the same nature. There are people who, the majority of people in the world, are good people. The people who are of the power and money, they are to suppress the good people of this world, and we are coming here and fighting among each other. I’m sorry my sister from Sudan that you allowed yourself to be so difficult and so violent against these two gentlemen. Just forget about the genocide. If it is one woman is raped in Southern Sudan, if one woman is raped in Darfur, that’s enough for me. I don’t care about definition of genocide, whether it’s a genocide or not. If a child is torn apart one child is torn apart for me this is genocide, I don’t care about the thing. Thank you Mr Chairman.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: I’m afraid we have to come to the last few minutes now. I have three questions left but I’ll just blend them together. Basically they ask, is there an increase or decrease in tolerance in Sudan, is any progress in that psychological sense being made? And two of the questions deal with whether there will be a renewed outbreak of fighting. And I’d ask the two gentlemen on my right or my left to comment but very briefly on this. Mr Deng.
Mr Simon Deng: Yes when it comes to progress, because of the works of the people of goodwill as I mentioned in my remarks, yes there [is] progress. But still, there [is] a lot[s] of work [that] need to be done and this is what I always encourage my fellows from Darfur to re-unite, to become one group so that they will articulate their problems so that these evil acts have to be removed as soon, as quick, as we can. Because we cannot wait for tomorrow, for [other] victims.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you.
Mr Simon Deng: The other ones which were?
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Whether violence is going to or I mean large-scale fighting will break out again?
Mr Simon Deng: Yes. The Southerners are the one upholding the CPA which is being signed. Believe it or not, my sister can deny it and can deny it but he can’t deny it here. If that promise will not stand, the war is going to be, and it’s going to be brutal and it’s going to be dirty. Believe it or not you are not going to deny that that war is going to be in wherever you are.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Mr Hesabu.
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: I think what Mr Simon has said is very clear. What we want, we want actually this government to face their
justice because the government is a distress for his own people. For years there have been the same and similar issues going around and nothing has been improved, only the part which they believe in the North side of Sudan, even the capital. But to anyone out of Khartoum in just 20 mile[s], you will see exactly [the] horrible, difficult situation down there and the Government of Sudan does not agree. So we are just asking for hope and people need to be protected more and more. Last thing, for the next nine months, I think there will be the referendum in South Sudan and I think the international community should put pressure and attention [on] it because lives will be getting worse if there is no[t] any solution [on] the ground. I think there will be more bloodshed so we [are] just asking for hope and praying for peace and [for] people to live in peace.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you very much. It just remains to conclude, we’re out of time if you don’t mind. Just a quick, very quick question, very quickly.
Audience Member #5: Yeah very quickly, in French.Do you think that with the regime in Sudan, which took power through a coup and commits massacres, do you believe that the current electoral process could lead to regime change? Could a democratic country appear in Sudan?
Mr Amer Adam Hesabu: So we hope that this regime is totally changed because of this coming election. Basically the people, they [are] praying for hope for this regime to be changed and to be [a real] democracy. People have to access their right. But if the situation is still in Sudan the same [as it is] right now, and this government they win the elections, I think [the] situation will be more threat[ening’ and it will be similar [to] what’s happening in Iran now. So this is what we want, yes. this government to go and we have democracy and freedom so this is what we need.
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you, Mr Deng.
Mr Simon Deng: Yes of course I think there is, as I said before, Sudan is [at a cross] road and there is a road of hopes and there is a road of destruction. And probably, this election that we see even that this government will do everything that they can to pressure others to win them on their side because they have everything; they have the means, they have the security. But eventually, the right of the people should not be denied. There is a crime being committed by the Government of Sudan and there is a crime [that] needs to be resolved. And all of us, we the Sudanese, our intention is not to go after everybody to be killed because they kill somebody. We have to learn how to forgive so that we will be at peace because Sudan has been at war even before all of us here were born, and is still at war today. We need peace in that country and, believe it or not, this peace did come to South Africa. I am very optimistic and nervous. Peace will come to Sudan but when?
Chair, Mr Colum Murphy: Thank you.
It remains only for me to thank our guests whose very moving words say more than any of us can.
This is how we learn because these are witnesses who’ve actually lived through these things. Just to conclude let me say that of course genocide, by its nature, is something that is a danger to people in all countries, not just in the Sudan. I’ve been through four wars and 11 or 12 conflicts, and to my mind the roots are always the same: fear and ignorance. And they go hand in hand. There’s a saying in one of the countries where I served: if you point a finger at others accusing them you have three fingers pointing back at yourself. We can only work on ourselves and on our own societies. And when we are so sure of ourselves that we can say yes in court I can swear as a witness that this word says chair, bear in mind that another person can look at it from this angle and say I can swear it’s a blank piece of paper. There can be several truths existing side by side and it’s that kind of tolerance that of course Sudan and many other places need. Let us all please thank our guests for their time, thank you.