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Focus: 61st UN Commission on Human Rights

In 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights will hold its sixty-first session in Geneva form 14 March to 22 April. Read on NGOs written statements...

SUDAN: Canadian NGOs call on the Prime Minister for more active engagement by Canada   PDF  Print  E-mail 
sudan.gif January 31, 2005. The partial stability in Sudan and the peace agreement between Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement suggest that the immediate and most dangerous phase of the conflict in the country may have passed. The participation of Canada in the peacebuilding process in ways to reduce the potential for conflict and bad governance will be extremely important for sustainable peace. 

Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group
Suite 401, 151 Slater Street, Ottawa, ONtario K1P 5H3

January 31, 2005

Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A2

Re: Canadian Strategy for Sudan

Dear Mr. Martin:

Canada's response to the disaster in South East Asia is appreciated. Now we would like to draw your attention of the need for renewed, focuses attention to developments in Sudan. Participants in the Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group suggest more active engagement by Canada on two fronts:

1. Consolidation of peace in south Sudan

Signing of the peace agreement between the Governement of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberatio Movement is a long-awaited, hopeful developement.  The support Canada gave to IGAD peace process is appreciated.  Implementation of the agreement requires full support by the international community, including Canada.  We are aware that discussions have been held about the ways that Canada would support this agreement, but we have not seen any public announcement of support for the people of south Sudan, including the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, in their struggle to achieve sustainable peace.  It is imperative that Canada expressly and demonstrably support the measures outlined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

We would encourage Canada to show greater leadership in mobilizong international support for an early and significant allocation of resources to provide direct support for the people of south Sudan who face the challenge of rebuilding their communities.  We would like to know what Canada will do to demonstrate its commitment to support peace in Sudan.

2. Security in Darfur

By all reports the situation in Darfur is deteriorating, with only a weak response by members of the United Nations who have made strong statements and commitmements in the past to protect the security and rights of the people caught in this armed conflict.  The signs of deterioration include: increasing violence, insecurity and fighting by all parties to the conflict; continuing flow of arms into the region, as reported by the African Union forces; inability of World Food Program to provide food in all regions because of the insecurity; and decreasing respect for humanitarian aid workers.  Some observers are calling the situation a time bomb that is likely to result in massive stravation and loss of life, unless greater action is taken now.

We appreciate efforts Canada has made to raise the profile of this issue internationally, including the efforts of Ambassador Alan Rock at the UN and speeches by yourself, which refer to crimes against humanity and the genocidal threats of activities in Darfur.  At this time we encourage you and the Governement of Canada to show public leadership in building international support for strong action by the Security Council, including specific measures to ensure respect for the right of access to humanitarian assistance; a stronger mandate and stronger support for the African Union forces in Darfur; effective measures to implement an arms embargo; and increased efforts to engage all parties in serious peace negotiations.

Persistence is needed by Canada and other countries to achieve genuine peace and respect for human rights throughout Sudan. Greater action is needed now to prevent even greater loss of life and destruction.

We would be happy to provide further information, based on reports from our partnerns in south Sudan, Darfur, and other regions, and we would welcome an opportunity to discuss strategies for more concerted action by all parties in support of peace in Sudan.  To arrange for further discussion, please contact Kathy Vandergrift, Convener of the Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group, at 613-569-1113.


Kathy Vandergrift, Convener, Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group, suite 401, 151 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5H3
This letter is endorsed by the following organizations:
Cameo (Land Mine Clearance)
Canadians Against Slavery and Torture in Sudan
Canadian Jewish Congress
Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee, Secretariat
Care Canada
Christian Reformed World Releif Committee
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Freedom Quest International
KAIROS (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatices)
Mennonite Central Committee
Parthnership Africa Canada
Primate's World Relief and Development Fund
United Church of Canada
World Vision Canada

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