Printer-friendly copy Email this topic to a friend
Lobby Okay Activist Archives topic #12145

Subject: "What Slaves?!?" This topic is locked.
Previous topic | Next topic
Charter member
1734 posts
Mon Jul-23-01 03:20 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
"What Slaves?!?"



The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council
Date of Publication: May 2001

We address this open letter to Anti-Slavery International given its
well-deserved reputation as one of the world's premier human rights
organisations, and its particular concern about slavery and slavery-like
practices. We call upon Anti-Slavery International to once again
publicly speak out with regard to the claims of government-sponsored
slavery and "slave redemption" in Sudan being made by groups such as
Christian Solidarity International.

A civil war has been fought in Sudan between the Sudanese government and
the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) since 1983. As Anti-Slavery
International will be only too aware, while there have been legitimate
concerns about inter-tribal raiding and abduction in the course of this
conflict, several organisations and anti-Sudanese activists have claimed
there is a flourishing "slave trade" in Sudan in which the Sudanese
government and its northern forces raid southern villages and "enslave"
Dinka tribesmen, women and children. These claims have been made by
groups such as the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI).
CSI further claim that in the course of visits to parts of southern
Sudan it has engaged in "slave redemptions" whereby southern Sudanese
tribesmen, women and children are supposedly "bought back" from northern
Sudanese tribesmen said to have abducted them. Christian Solidarity
International and other groups claim to have "bought" back or "redeemed"
thousands of slaves, often several hundred at a time, from Arab traders.
(1) These groups have also been active in taking outsiders in with them
on pre-arranged trips. Westerners, often with no experience whatsoever
of Africa, then come back believing what they have been told they saw.
Having taken these claims at face value, several of these "political
pilgrims" have taken somewhat opportunistic positions with regard to
"slavery" in Sudan.

This has degenerated into little more than a propagandistic circus.
African-American activists such as Rev Al Sharpton and pop star Michael
Jackson have now also been caught up in this circus. (2) Even 'The New
York Post' has described Al Sharpton as "a crass opportunist". (3) We
now also have further crass opportunism in the form of anti-Sudanese
activists deliberately getting themselves arrested in front of the
Sudanese embassy in Washington. Former District of Columbia
Congressional delegate Walter E. Fauntroy, radio talk show host Joe
Madison and the Hudson Institute's Michael Horowitz all chained
themselves to the fence in front of the Sudanese embassy in protest at
"slavery" in Sudan. When they appeared in court their lawyers were
Johnnie Cochran, of O.J. Simpson fame and former Monica Lewinsky scandal
independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. (4) All these people claim to be
responding in large part to allegations about "slavery" and "slave
redemption" made by groups such as Christian Solidarity International.

It is also clear that there is concern amongst better-informed sources
much closer to the issue about this American campaign. 'Africanews', a
Nairobi-based newsletter closely identified with the Roman Catholic
Church in Kenya and in southern Sudan, has observed that:

"Analysts, mainstream Church officials, and aid workers are worried that
the stance taken by the Christian Right might jeopardize relief
operations and precipitate a humanitarian crisis in Sudan...Since last
year, interest in Sudan by Americans has mushroomed largely due to
campaigns led by missionary groups and U.S. based African-American
churches, resulting in an unusual alliance of right-wing politicians
identified with the Republican Party and members of the Democratic
Congressional Black Caucus...Observers also note that some leaders -
particularly Rev. Al Sharpton - could be using the Sudanese conflict to
build political careers back home." (5)

Anti-Slavery International has itself spoken out in the past challenging
many of the claims made by Christian Solidarity International. The
official 1997 Anti-Slavery International report on allegations of
Sudanese slavery commented on claims of government involvement in
slavery: "he charge that government troops engage in raids for the
purpose of seizing slaves is not backed by the evidence. (6)

Anti-Slavery International's comments were supported by the then co-
director of African Rights, the human rights expert, and Sudan
specialist, Alex de Waal:

"(O)vereager or misinformed human rights advocates in Europe and the US
have played upon lazy assumptions to raise public outrage. Christian
Solidarity International, for instance, claims that "Government troops
and Government-backed Arab militias regularly raid black African
communities for slaves and other forms of booty". The organization
repeatedly uses the term "slave raids", implying that taking captives is
the aim of government policy. This despite the fact that there is no
evidence for centrally-organized, government-directed slave raiding or
slave trade." (7)

Anti-Slavery International has also articulated deeper concerns about
the sort of claims made by Christian Solidarity International. In a
submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva
you publicly stated:

"There is a danger that wrangling over slavery can distract us from
abuses which are actually part of government policy - which we do not
believe slavery to be. Unless accurately reported, the issue can become
a tool for indiscriminate and wholly undeserved prejudice against Arabs
and Muslims. are worried that some media reports of "slave
markets", stocked by Arab slave traders - which consider distort
reality - fuel such prejudice." (8)

Anti-Slavery International has also questioned other claims made by
Christian Solidarity International, particularly its claims that tens of
thousands of people have been "enslaved" in Sudan. In your 1999
submission to the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, for
example, your organisation stated that

"A representative of Christian Solidarity International spoke at the
beginning of this year of "tens of thousands" of people in slavery in
Sudan, and of "concentration camps" for slaves. At Anti-Slavery
International, we know of no evidence to justify an assertion that
20,000 people or more are currently held as captives and slaves in these
areas of Sudan."

Christian Solidarity International's Claims Challenged by Other
Independent Sources

As Anti-Slavery International will know, there have since been further
detailed criticisms of the claims made by Christian Solidarity
International. One credible source is the report by the Canadian
government's special envoy to Sudan, John Harker, into human rights
abuses in Sudan. The Harker report, 'Human Security in Sudan: The Report
of a Canadian Assessment Mission', was commissioned by the Canadian
government and published in February 2000. One of the two missions with
which John Harker was tasked was to: "independently investigate human
rights violations, specifically in reference to allegations of slavery
and slavery-like practices in Sudan. (9) While Harker was critical of
many human rights abuses in Sudan, he clearly questioned the credibility
of claims of large-scale "slave redemption" made by Christian Solidarity

"eports, especially from CSI, about very large numbers were
questioned, and frankly not accepted. Mention was also made to us of
evidence that the SPLA were involved in 'recycling' abductees...Serious
anti-abduction activists...cannot relate the claimed redemptions to what
they know of the reality. For example we were told that it would be hard
not to notice how passive these 'slave' children are when they are
liberated or to realize how implausible it is to gather together so many
people from so many locations so quickly - and there were always just
the right number to match redemption funds available!"

The Harker Report also detailed how fraudulent "slave redemptions" were
being used to raise money for the SPLA, money which he stated is used to
purchase arms and ammunition:

"Several informants reported various scenarios involving staged
redemptions. In some cases, SPLM officials are allegedly involved in
arranging these exchanges, dressing up as Arab slave traders, with
profits being used to support the SPLM/A, buy weapons and
ammunition...We did speak with an eyewitness who can confirm observing a
staged redemption and this testimony conformed with other reports we had
from a variety of credible sources. The 'redeeming group' knew they were
buying back children who had not been abducted or enslaved. The exchange
was conducted in the presence of armed SPLA guards. The 'Arab' middle
man/trader delivering the children for 'redemption' was recognized as a
member of the local community even though he was dressed up in
traditional Arab costume for the event." (10)

Christian Solidarity International's claims of mass "slavery" in the
Nuba mountains have also been firmly questioned by human rights experts.
Alex de Waal, for example, states that CSI has "also alleged that there
is mass enslavement in the Nuba mountains, which is contested by Nuba
human rights activists". De Waal states that "African Rights' monitors
in the Nuba Mountains have come across two incidents of possible - but
unconfirmed - enslavement in two and a half years". (11)

The Reuters news agency has also reported deliberate misrepresentations
with regard to "slave redemptions": "Local aid workers...say that they
have seen children who they have known for months passed off as
slaves...And Reuters interviewed one boy in Yargot who told a completely
implausible story of life in the north, a story which he changed in
every respect when translators were swapped." (12)

In May 1999, the 'Christian Science Monitor' also clearly stated:

"There are increasingly numerous reports that significant numbers of
those 'redeemed' were never slaves in the first place. Rather, they were
simply elements of the local populations, often children, available to
be herded together when cash-bearing redeemers appeared." (13)

It is clear that several independent sources have questioned
fundamentally the claims made by Christian Solidarity International. The
Canadian government's special envoy has dismissed CSI's claims of "slave
redemption" as unbelievable. Anti-Slavery International has itself
questioned several of CSI's claims. It is now clear that many "slave
redemptions" are staged. Independent sources have stated that while some
of those outside groups involved in these "redemptions" may have been
innocently misled, other outside groups may be purposefully using "slave
redemptions" in order to raise money for the SPLA.

As Anti-Slavery International will know, these "slave redemptions" fuel
the Sudanese conflict in at least two ways. They echo inaccurate and
stereotyped propaganda images of Sudan and the Sudanese conflict which
serve only to misinform the international community, which in turn can
distort positions taken by countries such as the United States. And, if
what credible outside commentators have said is true, the money raised
through fraudulent "slave redemptions" is actually used to procure
weapons for the SPLA which are then used to prolong the war.

Anti-Slavery International has previously articulated concerns that
claims made by Christian Solidarity International "distort reality" and
that fuel "indiscriminate and wholly undeserved prejudice against Arabs
and Muslims". It is clear that Christian Solidarity International
continues to make these claims, that they have gained even more
prominence within the United States and that such claims are fuelling an
ill-informed anti-Sudanese frenzy in that country. Anti-Slavery
International must have the courage to once again urge the international
community to exercise the utmost caution in assessing claims made by
groups such as Christian Solidarity International.


1 See, for example, 'Five Thousand Sudanese Slaves "Freed"', News
Article by BBC World Africa Online on 22 December 1999 at 18:24 GMT and
'Swiss NGO Buys Freedom for 4,000 Sudanese Slaves', News Article by
Agence France Presse on 1 February 2000.
2 See, for example, 'Jackson to Tackle Child Slavery', News
Article by BBC News Online on 20 April 2001, at 10:57 GMT.
3 'Rev. Al Has No Bravery on Slavery', 'The New York Times', 24
April 2001.
4 'Sudan Protest Makes Odd Bedfellows', 'The Washington Post', 30
April 2001.
5 'Christian Right Might Inflame War, Observers Fear', Africanews,
Issue 62, May 2001. It should be noted that Africanews describes itself
as "the initiative of a group of lay Christians...AFRICANEWS editorial
staff wants to prove that the media can be used to promote peace and
solidarity. In particular, AFRICANEWS expresses its preferential option
for the poor. All news and their analysis will be given from the
perspective of the African grassroot people, their struggle for freedom,
dignity and justice." 'AFRICANEWS: News and Views From Africa' at
6 Peter Verney, 'Slavery in Sudan', Sudan Update and Anti-Slavery
International, London, May 1997.
7 Alex de Waal, 'Sudan: Social Engineering, Slavery and War',
'Covert Action Quarterly', Spring 1997.
8 The reference number of this submission to the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights is TS/S/4/97, and is available to view on the
Anti-Slavery International web-site at
9 John Harker, 'Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian
Assessment Mission', Prepared for the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ottawa, January 2000, p. 1.
10 Ibid., pp.39-40.
11 Alex de Waal, 'Exploiting Slavery: Human Rights and Political
Agendas in Sudan', 'New Left Review', (London), Number 227, 1998, p.145.
12 'Aid group tries to break Sudan slavery chain', News Article by
Reuters on July 11, 1999 at 23:40:58.
13 "Slave 'Redemption' won't save Sudan", 'Christian Science
Monitor', 26 May 1999.

end quote.

The Glorious Qur'an - Surah 6, Al-An'am:

75. So also did We show Abraham the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might (with understanding) have certitude.
76. When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: "This is my Lord." But when it set, He said: "I love not those that set."
77. When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord." But when the moon set, He said: "unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray."
78. When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all)." But when the sun set, he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah.
79. "For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah."

the biography of Prophet Muhammad (saws):

subhaanakallahumma (Glory be to you, Oh Allah), wabihamdika (and I praise You). ashhadu anla ilaha illa anta (I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except You). astaghfiruka (I seek Your forgiveness), wa attuubu ilaika (and I turn to You in Repentance).


Printer-friendly copy

What Slaves?!? [View all] , abduhu, Mon Jul-23-01 03:20 AM
Subject Author Message Date ID
u.s. interference in Sudan conflict.
Jul 23rd 2001
Jul 23rd 2001
      continued again......................
Jul 23rd 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 23rd 2001
Hey that's the first
Jul 23rd 2001
you're an arrogant mf'er.
Jul 23rd 2001
Jul 23rd 2001
           RE: Salamu
Jul 23rd 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 23rd 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 23rd 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 23rd 2001
      RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 23rd 2001
Jul 25th 2001
      i think he meant n/m
Jul 25th 2001
What does slavery mean?
Jul 25th 2001
Jul 24th 2001
not Genocide, just war
Jul 25th 2001
      RE: not Genocide, just war
Jul 25th 2001
      RE: not Genocide, just war
Jul 26th 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 25th 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 25th 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 25th 2001
killing off the original nubians
Jul 25th 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 25th 2001
thanks for the balance.
Jul 25th 2001
RE: What Slaves?!?
Jul 25th 2001
oops...what I meant to say is that this is complete garbage
Jul 25th 2001
torch in the darkness
Jul 25th 2001
IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM !!!.............................
Jul 26th 2001
Jul 26th 2001

Lobby Okay Activist Archives topic #12145 Previous topic | Next topic
Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.25
Copyright ©