Rights groups ask Justice Dept to urgently aid Sudanese harmed by BNP Paribas’ illegal support of the Government of SudanRights groups ask Justice Dept to urgently aid Sudanese harmed by BNP Paribas’ illegal support of the Government of Sudan – Press Release

Act for Sudan issued this press release on support for the Sudan Community Compensation proposal. PDF of press release here.

RIGHTS GROUPS ASK JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO URGENTLY AID SUDANESE HARMED BY BNP PARIBAS’ ILLEGAL SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN
110 signatories support proposal to Justice Department for Sudan Community Compensation

WASHINGTON, DC – October 1, 2015 – Today, amidst news of huge shortfalls in funding for critical humanitarian needs—such as food, water, and acute healthcare for millions of Sudanese refugees and internally displaced people—Sudanese diaspora leaders, human rights organizations, genocide scholars, and Sudan advocates from 33 states and 10 countries are asking the U. S. Justice Department to use part of the billions of dollars it has available from the recent BNP Paribas settlement for sanctions violations to help Sudanese who are increasingly in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

On May 1, 2015, BNP Paribas S.A. (BNPP), was sentenced to pay $8.9 billion for violations of U.S. sanctions, mostly with regard to Sudan. The Justice Department announced it was “exploring ways to use these forfeited funds to compensate individuals harmed by the sanctioned regimes of Sudan, Cuba, and Iran.” Of the $8.9 billion penalty, the Justice Department stated that $3.8 was available for potential compensation to people who were harmed by BNPP’s sanctions violations.

The signatories are supporting the Sudan Community Compensation proposal that was presented to the Justice Department on September 2, 2015, and posted online at SudanCommunityCompensation.org. Mohamed Suleiman, President of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, states, “If the Justice Department establishes a Sudan Community Compensation Program it will set an important, if not historic, precedent that surely will save lives.”

Eric Reeves, a noted Sudan researcher and one of the authors of the proposal, states, “Because the humanitarian needs for Sudanese refugees and IDPs are so enormous and urgent, it is essential that the Department of Justice move as expeditiously as possible to initiate the Sudan Community Compensation Program; this will begin the flow of funds to existing aid agencies capable of helping with the most critical emergency aid requirements.”

Supporters hope that this demonstration of broad-based support for the proposal will prompt the Justice Department to move more quickly. The BNPP settlement was announced on June 30, 2014. Sentencing of BNPP was announced on May 1, 2015. So far, no funds have been provided to any Sudanese who were harmed by BNPP’s illegal support of Khartoum. The Justice Department has not indicated how long it expects to take to make a decision about how the available compensation funds may be used and what process it will follow before any funds are disbursed. Knowledgeable observers have warned that the Justice Department process may take years.

Reeves warns, “Failure to at least partially address the emergency requirements would allow more of the people from victimized communities to die or suffer gratuitously, which would be an unconscionable and perverse injustice, given that the Justice Department’s goal is to provide compensation for victims.”

In a similar effort during the Congressional recess, on September 1, 2015, nine Members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch asking that BNPP settlement funds be used to supplement humanitarian assistance for Sudanese refugees and IDPs.

Other Sudanese supporters of the proposal are clear about its importance. (Additional statements are available at SudanCommunityCompensation.org.)

Abdelrahman Gasim, External Relations Secretary for the Darfur Bar Association, states: “The victims of this Government of Sudan have suffered for the last 26 years, the lifetime of a generation. I myself had to flee from Sudan to live in exile, penniless and with no support. This proposal could mean life to many hopeless Sudanese, unable to flee to safety and opportunity.”

Omer Abdelsawi, Board member of the Blue Nile Association For Peace and Development states: “Even those who made it to the refugees camps are still waiting in vain for humanitarian support like basic child vaccination, medicine, food and clean drinking water. That is why we have to push hard to allow BNP Paribas settlement funds go towards helping these desperate people.”

Mohamed Haroun Ebead, President of the Darfur People’s Association of New York, states: “As members of the largest Darfuri community organization in the United States of America that is comprised of relatives of the victims of genocide crimes in Darfur, we wholeheartedly concur with the proposal that calls for the distribution of the BNP Paribas settlement funds to be on community-basis.”

Komi Alaiaiser, President of the Nuba Mountains International Association USA, states: “We request U. S. authorities to release the BNPP funds with the main objective of helping the refugees and internally displaced people and to alleviate some of their suffering.”

The Sudan Community Compensation proposal focuses on the Sudan component of the BNPP settlement funds and documents the harm to Sudanese communities caused by BNPP’s billions of dollars of illegal financial transactions, illegal letters of credit, and custodianship for foreign currency assets on behalf of the Government of Sudan, from 2002 to 2008, enabling that government’s military purchases and wars against its own people. This timeframe includes the start of the Darfur genocide in 2003, which continues to this day. BNPP’s illegal financial support of Khartoum not only harmed communities in Darfur, but also in other regions of Sudan including Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, eastern Sudan, Nubia in the north, and also in present-day South Sudan, which until its independence in 2011 was part of Sudan.

The proposal asks that a substantial part of the available BNPP settlement funds be placed in trust for the Sudanese communities who were harmed as a result of BNPP’s illegal behavior.  These funds would address the most critical emergency humanitarian aid shortfalls and offer resources for future reconstruction and redevelopment projects for the affected Sudanese communities.

Sudanese communities are suffering multiple severe humanitarian crises, particularly with regard to lack of food, lack of drinking water, adequate sanitation, and even rudimentary healthcare. For example, according to UN OCHA there is a huge funding shortfall for the identified humanitarian assistance programs for displaced people in Sudan: only 39% of the $1.04 billion requested has been received. However, the shortfall is actually much higher because the OCHA work plans do not include assistance for people in areas such as South Kordofan and Blue Nile states that are inaccessible because the Government of Sudan blocks access.
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Act for Sudan is an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Act for Sudan is dedicated to advocacy that is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by Sudanese people who urgently seek protection, justice, and peace. For more information please visit www.actforsudan.org.

FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES

Act for Sudan, Martina Knee, Co-Founder, San Francisco, CA, USA

Ahmed H. Adam, Visiting Fellow, Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

African Freedom Coalition, Al Sutton M.D., President, New York, NY, USA

African Refugees and Victims Relief Fund, Ted Dagne, Director, Washington, DC, USA

African Soul, American Heart, Debra Dawson, President, Fargo, ND, USA

Kalthoum Fadlalla Mohamed Ali, Human Rights Activist, South Khartoum, Sudan

Alliance for a Just Society, William Daley, Legislative Director, Seattle, WA, USA

American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, Richard Parkins, Executive Director, Alexandria, VA, USA

American Friends Service Committee Wage Peace, Stephen McNeil, Director, San Francisco, CA, USA

Amnesty 133, Refugee Action Team, Dr. Eric Aronson, Somerville, MA, USA

Arab Coalition for Sudan, Wadah Tabir, General Coordinator, Cairo, Egypt

Armenian Assembly of America, Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director, Washington, DC, USA

Armenian National Committee of America, Aram Hamparian, Executive Director, Washington, DC, USA

Arry Organization for Human Rights, Osman Naway, General Director, Kansas City, MO, USA

Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development, Ibrahim T. Ahmed, Herndon, VA, USA

Blue Nile Association For Peace and Development, Abdalla Babikir, Washington, DC, USA

Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan, Laura Limuli, Coordinator, Brooklyn, NY, USA

CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Eva Kor, Founding Director, Terre Haute, IN, USA

Carl Wilkens Fellowship, Kiel Majewski, Advisory Board Member, Redondo Beach, CA, USA

Dr. Tom Catena, Medical Director, Mother of Mercy Hospital, Nuba Mountains, Sudan

Christian Solidarity International-USA, The Rev. Heidi McGinness, Director of Outreach, Denver, CO, USA

Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan, Kwaje Lasu, Moderator, Greensboro, NC, USA

Collectif Urgence Darfour, Dr. Jacky Mamou, Chairman, Paris, France

Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, Roz Duman, Founder and Director, Denver, CO, USA

Congolese Genocide Awareness, Anthony Kasongo, Executive Director, Everett, MA, USA

The Baroness Caroline Cox, Chief Executive, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, and Member, House of Lords, Parliament of the United Kingdom, London, UK

Darfur Action Group of South Carolina, Richard Sribnick, MD, Chairman, Columbia, SC, USA

Darfur and Beyond, Cory Williams, Co-Founder, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Darfur Bar Association, Abdelrahman Gasim, External Relations Secretary, Sudan

Darfur Community Organization, Bakheit A. Shata, Founder and Executive Director, Omaha, NE, USA

Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA, Abdelgabar Adam, President and Founder, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Darfur Interfaith Network, Martha Boshnick, Co-Chair, Washington, DC, USA

Darfur People’s Association of New York, Mohamed Haroun Ebead, President, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, Abdelbagi Jibril, Vice-President, Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Sudan, Love Marin, Gerri Miller, Coordinator, Tiburon, California USA

Mohammed Eisa, Researcher, RFK Human Rights Laureate 2007, Cambridge, MA, USA

Aicha Elbasri, former Spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur

Genocide No More–Save Darfur, Marv Steinberg, Coordinator, Redding, CA, USA

Genocide Watch, Greg Stanton, President, Research Professor, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Arlington, VA, USA‎

Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, Melanie Nelkin, Chair, Atlanta, GA, USA

Vivienne Glance, writer/performer and member of WINGS Organisation for Cross-cultural Development, Honorary Research Fellow at University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Global Financial Integrity, Heather A. Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs, Washington, DC, USA

Government Accountability Project, Louis Clark, President, Washington, DC, USA

John Hagan, John D. MacArthur Professor, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), Abdalmageed S. Haroun, President, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Human Rights Organization – Sudan (HRO-S), Ayman Adel Amin, Stockholm, Sweden

Humanity Is Us, Kimberly Hollingsworth, Founder and President, New York, NY, USA

Sharon Hutchinson, Member of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, South Sudan (2002 – 2003), Madison, WI, USA

Institute on Religion and Democracy, Mark Tooley, President, Washington, DC, USA

International Justice Project, Monica Feltz, Esq., LL.M., Executive Director, Newark, NJ, USA

Investors Against Genocide, Eric Cohen, Chairperson, Boston, MA, USA

Iowa Center for Genocide Prevention, Kristen Anderson, Founder, Des Moines, IA, USA

Mohammadain Ishag, Radio Journalist and Human Rights Activist, Cardiff, UK

Afeif Ismail, Poet, Playwright and Human Rights Activist, 2008 Australian National Playwrights’ Conference (ANPC) Bursary award winner, Perth, Australia

Jewish World Watch, William Bernstein, Executive Director, Encino, CA, USA

Jews Against Genocide, Eileen Weiss, Co-Founder, New York, NY, USA

Joining Our Voices, Slater Armstrong, Founder/Director, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Mukesh Kapila (CBE), Former Head of the UN in Sudan, Geneva, Switzerland

Kurdistan Without Genocide, Ali Mahmud, Director, Erbil, Iraq

Kush Inc., Daniel Deng, Director, Washington, DC, USA

Long Island Darfur Action Group, Nancy Walsh, Coordinator,  Farmingdale, NY, USA

The MagkaSama Project, Max Dana, Founder, Paris, France

Massachusetts Coalition for Darfur, William Rosenfeld, Director, Boston, MA, USA

Dr. Rafael Medoff, Director, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Washington, DC, USA

My Sister’s Keeper, Sarah Cleto Rial, Program Director, Boston, MA, USA

Never Again Coalition, Lauren Fortgang, Co-Chair, Portland, OR, USA

New York Coalition for Sudan, Sharon Silber, Co-Director, New York, NY, USA

New York Darfur Vigil Group, Helga Moor, Coordinator, New York, NY, USA

Northwest Bronx For Change, Gene Binder, Steering Committee, Bronx, NY, USA

Nuba Christian Family Mission, James Spencer Flournoy, Director, Denver, CO, USA

Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group USA, Gogadi Amoga, Chair, Batavia, OH, USA

Nuba Mountains International Association USA, Komi Alaiaiser, President, Lorton, VA, USA

Nuba Mountains Peace Coalition, Robert Cooper, Dallas, TX, USA

Nubia Project, Nuraddin Abdulmannan, President, Washington, DC, USA

OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology, Gladys Tiffany, Director, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Operation Broken Silence, Mark C. Hackett, Executive Director, Memphis, TN, USA

Our Humanity in the Balance, Terry Nickelson, Executive Director, Brevard, NC, USA

People4Sudan, Valerie Delacretaz, Coordinator, Geneva, Switzerland

Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, David Rosenberg, Coordinator, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Eric Reeves, Sudan Researcher, Author of Compromising with Evil: An Archival History of Greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012 (eBook, 2012), Northampton, MA, USA

Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Faith J. H. McDonnell, Director, Washington, DC, USA

Ahmed A. Saeed, PhD., Humanitarian Aid Worker, Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile States, Sudan

Hawa Abdalla Salih, Human Rights and Women’s Rights Activist, Recipient, 2012 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, Philadelphia, PA, USA

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, Mohamed Suleiman, President, San Francisco, CA, USA

Prof. Robert Skloot (emeritus), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

South Sudanese Civil Society in the State of Nebraska, Dhalbeng D. Malual, Chair, Media Coordinator Committee, NE, USA

STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, MacKenzie J. Hamilton, Executive Manager, Francesca Freeman, Student Director, Washington, DC, USA

Stop Genocide Now, Katie-Jay Scott, Director and Founder, Redondo Beach, CA, USA

Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, Dr. Eleanor Wright, Moderator, Birmingham, AL, USA

Sudan Center For Transitional Justice and Peace Studies, Elsadig Yousif, Paris, France

Sudan Rowan, Inc., Ngor Kur Mayol, President and Co-founder, Atlanta, GA, USA

Sudanese American Democratic Alliance, SADA, Abdelsalam Hamid, Saint Paul, MN, USA

SUDO (UK), Sudan Social Development Organization, London, UK

Rebecca Tinsley, Author of When the Stars Fall to Earth, A Novel of Africa (LandMarc Press, 2011), and Founder, Waging Peace, London, UK

Dr. Samuel Totten, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas, Author of Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains Sudan (Transaction Publishers, 2015), and co-editor of Conflict in the Nuba Mountains: From Genocide by Attrition to the Contemporary Crisis (Routledge, 2015), Fayetteville, AR, USA

Transparency International-USA, Claudia Dumas, President and CEO, Washington, DC, USA

Trinity South Sudan Ministry, Bill Andress, Lexington, SC, USA

Unite for Darfur Organization, Bahar Arabie, CEO, Gaithersburg, MD, USA

United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA), Henry Lejukole, Chairman, Des Moines, IA,USA

United to End Genocide, Hon. Thomas H. Andrews, President and CEO, Washington, DC, USA

Until We Return Vocal Group, Nazik Osman, Singer and Human Rights Activist, Perth, Australia

Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI, Sandra Hammel, Director, Portsmouth, RI, USA

Voices for Sudan, Jimmy Mulla, President and Co-Founder, Washington, DC, USA

Waging Peace, Olivia Warham MBE, Director, London, UK

John H. Weiss, Founder, Caceres-Neuffer Genocide Action Group, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D., Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church and Executive Director of My Sister’s Keeper, Boston, MA, USA

Women Who Grow, Diar Rehabilitation Development Association, Karak Mayik Denyok, Founder and President, Denver, CO, USA

World Peace and Reconciliation, Adeeb Yousif, President, Arlington, VA, USA

World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law, Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., Executive Director, St. Paul, MN, USA

Dr. Abdin Zeinelabdin, Human Rights Activist and Former Secretary General of the University of Khartoum Staff Association, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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