Search

 

Cablegate: Northern Sudan - Usaid-Funded National Ngo Cpa Advocates

VZCZCXRO1947
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2005/01 3481140
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141140Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9570
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002005

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND BPITTMAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN SUDAN - USAID-FUNDED NATIONAL NGO CPA ADVOCATES
HARRASSED

KHARTOUM 00002005 001.2 OF 002


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The recall of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
officials from the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the
political crisis that followed has derailed implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and CPA-related activities
throughout Sudan. Since mid-October, harassment of USAID-funded
national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in northern Sudan
that are engaged in disseminating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) has significantly increased. The NGOs have been harassed
through various means, including detainment and interrogation on the
premises of the Sudanese government's National Security offices,
closure and obstruction of CPA-related activities, and intense
monitoring of NGOs doing CPA-related activities. While motivation
for the heightened scrutiny of CPA-related activities is uncertain,
it is likely linked to political crisis that began with the SPLM
recall. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
KHARTOUM CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS STAFF DETAINED AND INTERROGATED
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) has
given the Khartoum Center for Human Rights and Environmental
Development (KCHRED) five grants since 2005. The most recent was a
grant to hold a seminar for civil society activists on transparency
in budgeting that occurred in March 2007. In January 2007, USAID
funded a theatrical piece on human rights and the CPA, as well as
funded the production of a comic book for children on human rights.
In November 2006, USAID funded CPA awareness training for university
students in the fine arts, who then displayed their messages in
public parks. In December 2005, USAID funded KCHRED to conduct a
ratification campaign for the UN Convention Against Torture.

3. (SBU) On December 10, USAID staff met with Mashair Abdullah Omer
and Amir Mohamed Suleiman, KCHRED's financial officer and
chairperson. The staff recounted that on November 21 Omer and
Suleiman were called into National Security offices and held during
the day and asked to return to the office at a later date. On
November 28, Omer was called in again by National Security and was
placed in an extremely cold room for a full day and was not allowed
to use the restroom. She was then interrogated about funding
sources, specifically USAID funding. They spoke to her harshly and
told her they could make her spend the night in these conditions.
The National Security officials told her they knew where she lived
and could reach her at any moment. They were also interested in
Faisal Al-Bagir's activities, a prominent journalist in Sudan with
whom KCHRED collaborated on several activities.

4. (SBU) KCHRED collaborated with Faisal Al-Bagir on the recent
Article 19 media report on Sudan entitled "Media in Sudan at a
Crossroads," which was released in November 2007. Faisal Al-Bagir
is a stalwart journalist in the human rights community in Khartoum.
On November 5 and 6, Al-Bagir was also detained and questioned along
with other journalists Lemia el Jaili Abu Bakr and Sabah Mohamed
Adam, who is also a USAID grantee.

5. (SBU) KCHRED has gone publiQwith details of this harassment and
requested USG assistance in engaging the Sudanese government to stop
this kind of activity. The two staff members told USAID that KCHRED
is relatively sophisticated and does not feel threatened as an
institution. However, KCHRED noted that it knew of similar
instances of National Security harassment of smaller NGOs who had
not come forward and felt that the smaller NGOs could be much more
threatened and at risk.

6. (SBU) KCHRED members said they believe civil society activism in
northern Sudan, specifically in Khartoum, had significantly
increased after the signing of the CPA. The staff members perceive
this type of harassment as the Sudanese government's attempt to
separate civil society from USAID and other donors. This type of
interrogation makes NGOs afraid to accept donor funding for fear of
further harassment.

------------------------------------------
OTHER CPA ACTIVITIES STOPPED OR OBSTRUCTED
------------------------------------------

KHARTOUM 00002005 002.2 OF 002

7. (SBU) Since late October, at least eight other CPA-related
activities have been stopped or obstructed in Kassala State, Port
Sudan in Red Sea State, Khartoum, Haj Yousif internally displaced
person (IDP) camp outside of Khartoum, Al Fateh settlement northwest
of Omdurman, and Wadi Halfa near the Sudan-Egypt border. In some
cases, authorities have stopped the activities directly and in other
cases the grantees stop the activities out of fear after visits from
National Security. USAID/OTI grantees report that National Security
has accused them of conducting political work that is
anti-government. In one case, when a new civic education center was
started with USAID funding National Security moved into the building
next door and monitored activities at the center. As a result of
the scrutiny, the national NGO ceased its activities for nearly a
two-month period and has not yet resumed activities.

8. (SBU) USAID's CPA-related activities frequently experience
obstruction from national and local authorities. However, the
harassment has dramatically increased in the last 1.5 months. While
this spike in harassment is likely linked to the SPLM recall of
officials from the GNU, the harassment of USAID's partners involved
in CPA-related activities is not a new phenomenon. With the census
and elections nearing, USAID and its implementing partners must
prepare for further scrutiny from government authorities.

9. (SBU) USAID/Sudan is working with the Embassy to determine
appropriate follow-up to KCHRED's request for USG assistance in
preventing future harassment.

10. (SBU) Comment: The SPLM-NCP cabinet crisis has weakened or
frozen many CPA-related activities throughout the country.
Political activity of any sort in the NCP "heartland" of northern
Sudan is a highly sensitive issue in the best of times for a ruling
party that sees the marginalization and poverty of that area as
potential fertile soil for its opponents (especially its
partner/rival in government, the SPLM) and for the United States.
It is important for us to "push the envelope" as much as possible in
this part of Sudan for the sake of CPA implementation and Sudan's
transformation into a fully democratic state. End Comment.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>