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Advocates, Celebrities Call On Obama To Block Sudanese President’s Visit

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Advocates, Celebrities Call On Obama To Block Sudanese President’s Visit

Post by Mazy on Fri 20 Sep 2013, 14:05

Advocates, Celebrities Call On Obama To Block Sudanese President’s Visit

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Don Cheadle (L) and George Clooney

A coalition of international lawyers, advocates, and celebrities — including luminaries and anti-genocide campaigners George Clooney and Don Cheadle — have teamed up to send a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to take action ahead of the possible visit from an indicted war criminal.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in 2009 on charges of war crimes — including genocide — against the civilian population in Darfur, issuing a warrant calling on governments to arrest him and send him The Hague for trial. Since then, however, Bashir has faced only modest travel restrictions, having been forced to avoid several international conferences on the grounds that the host countries were obliged to arrest him under the ICC’s Rome Statute, even as atrocities continue to be carried out in the Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions of his country.

Now Bashir is preparing to travel to the United States next week for the United Nations General Assembly’s fall session, having submit a request for a visa to enter the country. The prospect of a man wanted for genocide freely entering the country was too much for activists to tolerate, leading to them sign onto a letterthat was delivered to President Obama on Thursday morning.

“Our immigration laws prohibit admitting perpetrators of genocide and extrajudicial killings into our country and it is unprecedented for someone wanted by the International Criminal Court for the crime of genocide to travel to the United States,” the letter reads. “While we recognize that the U.S. government is obliged to facilitate President Bashir’s visit under the UN Headquarters Agreement, we urge you to do everything in your power to prevent the trip.”

The Obama administration has yet to take action on the visa request, but doesn’tseem at all pleased with the prospect of allowing Bashir into the country. “Such a trip would be deplorable, cynical and hugely inappropriate,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, who previously was a campaigner against the very war crimes Bashir has been indicted for committing. The ICC itself meanwhile has called for the U.S. to arrest Bashir should he actually land on American soil.

One potential action the letter suggests Obama take is announcing that the Department of Justice will explore a criminal case under the Genocide Accountability Act of 2007, which allows for anyone present within the U.S. to be prosecuted for genocide. “By publicly raising the threat of such a prosecution and the specter that President Bashir’s privileges and immunities may not extend to genocidal acts, your administration would make an important statement about the U.S. government’s commitment to atrocity prevention and accountability,” the letter continues.

“If Bashir ends up coming to the U.S. despite the administration’s best efforts to convince him otherwise, all legal channels should be explored for prosecuting him under existing authority,” said John Prendergrast, co-founder of The Enough Project, in a statement. “His visit also highlights the deadly conflicts continuing to rage in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile regions of Sudan. President Obama should lead efforts at the UN General Assembly meetings to construct a credible and comprehensive peace process”

Other potential options involve invoking the “security reservation” built into theUN Headquarters Agreement to justify denying Bashir a visa. Such a move isn’t unprecedented, as when the U.S. denied PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat permission to enter the country to attend the annual meeting in 1988. In this instance, the advocates argue, the Obama administration could justify such a denial throughPresidential Study Directive-10, which labeled the prevention of mass atrocities is a core national security interest.

“As Americans concerned by the ongoing atrocities in Sudan, we support your administration’s thoughtful response to this unique diplomatic challenge,” the letter concludes. “Along with the Sudanese diaspora, celebrity activists, human rights organizations, and student groups, we will be amplifying these efforts through our own public activism. The U.S. government’s continued attention to this issue will be instrumental in finding a holistic solution to the challenges facing the Sudanese people.”

Both Clooney and Cheadle have a history in the genocide-prevention community. Clooney is one of the co-founders of the Satellite Sentinel Project, a group dedicated to using commercially-own satellites to map possible war crimes. And Cheadle, after starring in Hotel Rwanda about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, co-founded the group Not on Our Watch. “Each time that President Bashir is allowed to travel freely, and without the threat of arrest, is another blow to accountability and justice for his victims,” Cheadle wrote in a separate statement. “The legal issues involved in Bashir’s travel to the UN are complicated, but we hope that the U.S. and other countries do everything in their power to prevent this trip.”

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Re: Advocates, Celebrities Call On Obama To Block Sudanese President’s Visit

Post by silly girl on Fri 20 Sep 2013, 14:42

I saw this yesterday but figured you would post it Mazy....so thanks. I am not sure it will do any good....too many other things going on in the world that the Sudan is now pushed into the background.

silly girl
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Re: Advocates, Celebrities Call On Obama To Block Sudanese President’s Visit

Post by Mazy on Fri 20 Sep 2013, 16:25

Sudan in my opinion is not pushed into background, we might not always be in the right place to get the information. If you are right and it is I don't see it because  of my many newsletters and twitter. That being the case we have to shout louder so Darfur doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

Him wanting to come to US is magnanimous and citizens are being very verbal about it.

Please SG if you see something that I haven't posting and seems it should have please let me know. I am having a big problem with my blood pressue that affects my eyes. had to go to ER other day for them to bring it down. new meds will regulate soon. Not complaining no right with what other go through.

I'm going to add a note that I wrote on ThinkProgress.

I'm fervently praying that what happens next will not only honor those that have been brutalized, raped and savagely slain because of the evil Omar al Bashir, but finally will be the beginning of the end for him.

As a knee-jerk reaction I would love to see some gun happy sicky end his miserable existence. However that would only move me one step away from who I am and a step closer to becoming like him. Bashir is not worth a piece of my soul. Besides it would make his punishment way too easy for him. EASY he does not deserve,

Please, Please everyone that knocks the efforts of Pres. Obama and the entire activists around the GLOBE instead; join the fight. It is not whether Syrians die if we help Darfur or visa, versa. Also this is not just the fight of global leaders it is the fight of all of us.


Talk about Genocide to everyone you can; yes even politicians. We have the means to talk to people world-wide. Use your social media groups, twitter, Facebook and any others you might have and in person. Start a church group “Genocide Watch.” Let’s face it we all have a responsibility in this. I am a Christian so that is how I speak however this is not a religious fight it is a humanitarian fight.

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