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.
Abdelrahman Gasim, External Relations Secretary, Darfur Bar Association, Sudan
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. We further agree with the suggestion that the bulk of these funds to be held till the peace situation would be conducive for rebuilding Darfur and other marginalized war zones. Such conditions would only be possible after the current regime in Khartoum is gone.
Mohamed Haroun Ebead, President, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Since the start of the second genocidal war campaign in 2011, the people of Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains have been on the move, desperate for food, medicine and a safe place to hide from the aerial bombs. 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.
Omer Abdelsawi, Board Member, Blue Nile Association For Peace and Development, Mulberry, FL, USA
Since May 9, 2008, the government of Sudan and its militias launched massive operations killing thousands in Darfur including civilians in my village near El-Genena in West Darfur. The government of Sudan used western banks, including BNPP, to buy weapons and military equipment from China and Russia. Not only was my village destroyed, but I myself was arrested and tortured badly by the National Intelligence and Security Services from 2009 to 2010 in the Federal detention center in Khartoum, Sudan. As a torture victim of the government of Sudan which was aided by BNPP, I strongly support the proposal that the BNPP settlement money be used as partial compensation to help the people of Darfur.
Abdalmageed S. Haroun, President, Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), Brooklyn, NY, USA
The fact that one of the world’s largest banking groups (BNPP) was punished for its financial support for Sudan’s genocidal regime, thereby enabling its genocidal campaigns in Darfur and other parts of Sudan, constitutes a bold symbolic gesture and precedent in the history of response to genocide and mass atrocities. I believe that the Sudan Community Compensation Program is the most constructive, effective and transparent proposal to ensure the deliverance of this money to the real victims and according to their own priorities and needs.
Ahmed H. Adam, Visiting Fellow, Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
I believe that the Sudan Community Compensation proposal entails the best way to distribute the BNP Paribas settlement funds to help the real Sudanese victims harmed by BNPP’s illegal support of the Government of Sudan. The original plan of DoJ to distribute these funds through individual applications would not cover those who suffered the most and are still suffering from the actions of the brutal regime in Khartoum, simply because the majority of the victims are beyond the reach of DoJ. These victims reside within the control zones of Khartoum, in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile, i.e. the war zones of Sudan. In fact, the Government of Sudan, which is in the midst of financial crisis, would love to see any dollars come to individual victims in Sudan so that it could somehow confiscate those dollars from its victims.
Mohamed Suleiman, President, San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, San Francisco, CA, USA
I am a genocide survivor. I support the proposal because the Sudan regime was able to carry out the atrocities at a time it was under international and US sanctions, because of the support it got from organizations such as BNPP, and because of these atrocities, the Darfur communities lost almost every thing they owned, including land, villages, property, and above all, their unique way of life and sense of Darfuri community. I strongly support this proposal that a sizable portion of the BNPP fine be set a side to compensate Darfuri communities for their suffering.
Bahar Arabie, CEO, Unite for Darfur Organization, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
With all the evidence available now, there is no dispute that BNPP provided substantial financial support for the Government of Sudan’s war against its people. As a matter of fact, all financial institutions that dealt with the Government of Sudan, since the June 1989 military coup of the National Islamic Front Party, have in some degree financed the Government of Sudan’s war against its people. And, with the exception of the ruling class, all Sudanese people have become victims of the Government of Sudan since that date. But because the humanitarian needs for Sudanese refugees and IDPs are so enormous and urgent, it is important that the Department of Justice move as expeditiously as possible to initiate the Sudan Community Compensation Program so that funds can begin to flow to existing aid agencies capable of helping with the most critical emergency aid requirements.
Abdelsalam Hamid, Sudanese American Democratic Alliance, SADA, Saint Paul, MN, USA
I support the proposal because it alleviates to some extent the sufferings of the victims and their relatives and it would be better to direct much of the help to the organizations working for Sudanese women who suffered discrimination, flogged publicly for not adhering to the so called Islamic dress code, raped in Tabit and elsewhere, and the street vendors and orphanages and forcibly displaced and relocated communities in oil filed areas which are now polluted by Chinese and other oil companies and people affected by hazardous chemical materials in the White Nile and Lake Nubia etc.
Nuraddin Abdulmannan, President, Nubia Project, Washington, DC, USA
Since the start of the war in June 2011 in the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan, the Islamic extremist regime in Sudan have continued the destruction of that region. The main objective is to drive out the population or decimate it so as to create an Arabic Islamic state. The civilian population have suffered greatly from the continued aerial and ground bombardment. A large number of people live in refugee camps in South Sudan. Most remain in the region living in mountain caves and under trees scratching a living out of the earth. We in the Nuba Mountains International Association (USA), kindly request US 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. We also hope that peace will prevail so these funds can help them rebuild their lives.
Komi Alaiaiser, President, Nuba Mountains International Association USA, Lorton, VA, USA
With this compensation, victims will be able to not only restore what they lost, bust also to begin rebuilding their lives. About 70 percent of the Darfur population are either Internally Displaced Persons or refugees and are completely dependent on foreign aid. The compensation will help address basic immediate needs and reduce the deprivation that communities are subjected to, which often causes conflict. It is clear that the Government of Sudan is using foreign money and military equipment to fuel conflicts and is killing more of its citizens through its support of the Janjaweed militia, now operating in the region as the Rapid Support Forces. Operating with impunity, the genocidal regime is committing the same kinds of crimes in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Darfurian and other Sudanese victims are demanding justice; this compensation is one of the tools to achieve this and lasting peace.
Adeeb Yousif, President, World Peace and Reconciliation, Arlington, VA, USA