CSI Urges President Obama to Revive Anti-Slavery Policy
AWEIL, Sudan and WASHINGTON, April 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Christian Solidarity International (CSI) facilitated the liberation last week of 254 black Southern Sudanese slaves. Most were captured by Arab/Muslim militiamen backed by the Sudanese government during the North-South civil war (1983-2005). Some of the youngest victims were the offspring of female slaves and their masters.
Despite the suspension of the capture of Southern Sudanese slaves as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005), over 35,000 remain in bondage in Northern Sudan, according to James Aguir of the Government of Sudan‘s Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children.
CSI again found a pattern of physical and psychological abuse, including beatings, mutilations – especially female genital mutilation – death threats, forced conversions to Islam, racial and religious insults, and forced labor. Many witnessed the execution of other slaves who failed to obey their masters’ orders.
Some of the victims were interviewed and documented by Michael Gerson(1), columnist for the Washington Post, and Ellen Ratner(2), White House Correspondent for Talk Radio News.
Both the Clinton and the Bush administrations pledged to work for the eradication of slavery in Sudan. In 2000, Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice met with freed slave women and announced the U.S. Government’s commitment to stamp out the “heinous” practice. In 2002, President Bush placed the eradication of slavery as a precondition for lasting peace in Sudan and established the U.S.- led international Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to investigate this “crime against humanity” in Sudan.
The EPG called for: 1) A financially transparent, functional Sudanese national institution for locating, liberating and repatriating slaves; 2) A program of research on all aspects of slavery in Sudan; 3) An institution with international and indigenous components to monitor slavery and its eradication; 4) An international mechanism to follow-up the Eminent Persons’ recommendations.
Writing today to President Barack Obama, Dr. John Eibner, CEO of CSI (USA), observed that these recommendations remain a “dead letter”, despite the call to action in the Presidential Proclamation of January 4, 2010 at the onset of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Eibner concluded by urging the President “to implement the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group and to restore the eradication of slavery as a central component of the United States‘ policy for peace in Sudan.”