Peers Call for Khartoum to be referred to International Criminal Court for Crimes Against Humanity

Two members of the British House of Lords have long stood out as staunch defenders of global human rights and religious freedom. Caroline Cox, Baroness Cox of Queensbury, and David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool, have spoken out for people from Burma to

Caroline, The Baroness Cox, on one of her many trips to Sudan.

North Korea, from Pakistan to Ngorno Karabakh. And both are very well acquainted with Sudan, and loved by Sudan’s marginalized people across the country.

Lord Alton, founder of Jubilee Campaign in Parliament

Responding to the ongoing attack on the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan by the National Islamist Front regime in Khartoum (a.k.a. National Congress Party), they, along with their colleague and fellow human rights advocate, Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury, dismiss  the sort of moral equivalency that always finds it way into statements from the White House and the State Department. In their joint

Lord Avebury

letter to the British Government, they note that “respected partners on the ground. . . have starkly described the situation as ‘ethnic cleansing.'” Lord Alton has posted the entire exchange, including a House of Lords Questions for Written Answer in which he asks if Her Majesty’s Government will ask the United Nations Security Council “to consider extending the  inquiry of the  International Criminal Court into Field Marshall Omar al Bashir and his indictment in respect of crimes against humanity elsewhere  in Sudan to cover current events in Abyei and Southern Kordofan (Nuba Mountains).”

FOR URGENT CONSIDERATION

The Rt. Hon. William Hague
Minister of State
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Cc The Lord
Howell of Guildford, Henry Bellingham MP, Douglas Alexander MP, Andrew Mitchell
MP, The Baroness Verma,  The Baroness Kinnock.

June 10th
2011

We are writing to you to ask for your urgent response to the
rapidly deteriorating situation in Southern Kordofan and Abyie. Latest reports
from respected partners on the ground – NGOs, including many well-recognised
charities – have starkly described the situation as ‘ethnic
cleansing’.

Yesterday, we met a senior official from the interim
Government of Southern Sudan who estimates the number of recently displaced
people as between 200,000 and a quarter of a million. With the oncoming rainy
season, this is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making, reminiscent of
Darfur.

The aerial bombardment of civilians is a crime against
humanity; the ethnic cleansing could soon become genocide. We would urge you to
take immediately the following steps:

(i) To raise the issue at the UN
Security Council;

(ii) To call for the ICC to extend its enquiries and
remit from Darfur to include these regions of Abyie and Southern
Kordofan;

(iii) To establish whether UNMIS is merely acting as a passive
observer as the horrors unfold; and, if so, to call for an extension of its
remit to fulfil the requirement of a ‘duty to protect’;

(iv) With Andrew Mitchell to respond urgently to the severe and escalating humanitarian crisis in both Abyie and Southern Kordofan;

(v) As I write this letter, we are receiving reports of aerial bombardment of Unity State in Southern Sudan; if
this is happening, to consider the implications of this extension of hostilities and its implications for the destabilisation of Southern Sudan with the forthcoming declaration of Independence on July 9th; and to offer the interim Government of Southern Sudan all appropriate support to maintain its preparations for Independence.

Baroness Cox of Queensbury, Lord Alton
of Liverpool and Lord
Avebury.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

House
of Lords Questions for Written Answer :  Abyei and Southern
Kordofan

Tabled June 9th            ;

Lord Alton of
Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of events in
Abyei and Southern Kordofan they will ask the United Nations Security Council to
consider extending the  inquiry of the  International Criminal Court into Field
Marshall Omar al Bashir and his indictment in respect of crimes against humanity
elsewhere  in Sudan to cover current events in Abyei and Southern Kordofan
_____________________________________________

House of Lords
Questions for Written Answer :  Abyei and Southern Kordofan

Tabled on 8
June and due for answer by 22 June.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her
Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of who has been responsible
for the fighting in Kadugli, the Sudanese capital of Southern Kordofan; of the
number of people who have been displaced; of the role of the United Nations
mission; and of the humanitarian and security implications.   HL9782

Lord
Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether recent events in
Abyei and South Kordofan will affect the United Kingdom’s intention to grant
official recognition to the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July.
HL9783

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what
action they are taking to persuade the government of Sudan to seek a negotiated
future for the 75,000 Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldiers in Joint
Integrated Units in South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of Sudan.
HL9784

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether
the displacement of the Ngok Dinka people from Abyei, Sudan, and the attempt to
prevent supplies from reaching them by closing the border, constitutes a policy
of ethnic cleansing; and whether they will provide extra assistance so that the
Dinka Ngok people can survive in areas of Northern Warrap, and are not forced to
move further South away from Abyei.   HL9785

Lord Alton of Liverpool to
ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the number of people
displaced from Abyei, Sudan.   HL9786

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her
Majesty’s Government what is the impact on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of
recent events in Abyei and South Kordofan, Sudan.   HL9787

Lord
Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have
made of reports on June 10th 2011 that between 30,000 and 40,000 people have
fled fighting in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan, and of reports, also on June 10th,
of  aerial bombardment of Parieng County of South Sudan’s Unity
State.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government why
UNMIS forces  in Southern Kordofan have played no active part in preventing the
displacement of 200,000 people; to set out the terms of the UNMIS mandate; and
to state whether HMG believes that a passive by-standing role accords with the
UN doctrine of a “duty to protect.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her
Majesty’s Government to set out what events have to occur in a territory before
they call for an investigation into crime against humanity  and before they
designate such acts as aggression as ethnic cleansing; and whether current
events in Southern Kordofan and Abyei meet these criteria.

Let’s hope, for the sake of the Nuba people, that the British government answers the call of these great humanitarian Peers.

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