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 Whistleblowers Need Protection



Hon David Kilgour
Parliament Hill Rally of Friends of Sudan
7 Jan. 2011

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 provided for a referendum on South Sudan’s future. All who have followed Sudan’s post-independence history, with so much loss of innocent lives and suffering, must hope that the vote beginning in two days will go peacefully.

President al-Bashir is for once to be complimented for promising in Juba this week that he will respect the referendum regardless of the result and help build a “brotherly” nation if southerners vote for independence. All friends of Sudan can only hope that he will carry through with this unexpected commitment. It is, however, deeply troubling that the violence in Darfur has worsened in the run-up to the voting in the south.

The major hazards of the vote were set out by one of the New York Times most discerning writers, Nick Kristof, on Sept. 29, 2010. Let me refer only to some of his points in which he outlines a disastrous possibility(the full text is accessible at in the Sudan section):

    “… The referendum is held… The South (later) declares that 91 percent of voters have chosen secession. The North denounces the vote, saying it was … invalid because the turnout fell below the 60 percent threshold required.

    “Tribal militias from the North (later) sweep through South Sudan villages, killing and raping inhabitants and driving them south. Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, dispatches armed forces to seize oil wells in the South…,

    “With hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the attacks, South Sudan collapses into chaos. ‘How can those people think that they can run a country?’ asks Mr. Bashir. He calls for ‘peaceful negotiation with our brothers to resolve these problems and restore unity.’ Warfare ripples through the Nuba Mountains and then Darfur as well…”

Kristof: “I fear we’re on a track toward Sudan being the world’s bloodiest war in 2011. The Obama administration is, belatedly, now heavily engaged in Sudan. …The carrots being offered to Khartoum by Mr. Obama are juicy and smart… But there’s a fatal flaw: I see no evidence of serious sticks. Put yourself in President Bashir’s shoes. It may still be in his interest to plan a genocidal strategy in the coming months if that will enable him to keep the oil. Even privately, we haven’t laid out strong enough disincentives.

    “…An excellent new book from Yale University Press, Sudan, reports that the C.I.A. officers (earlier) explained that America would use bombers or cruise missiles to destroy the oil refinery at Port Sudan, the port itself and the pipeline carrying oil to the port. Sudan decided to cooperate.

    “Likewise, a former special envoy for Sudan, Ambassador Richard Williamson, suggested… a series of other tough sticks to gain leverage. The Obama administration still hasn’t picked them up. Why shouldn’t we privately make it clear to Mr. Bashir that if he initiates genocide, his oil pipeline will be destroyed and he will not be exporting any oil? Yes, that would be a dangerous and uncertain game. But the present strategy appears to be failing, and the result may be yet another preventable genocide that we did not prevent.”

Eric Reeves

Another American, Prof. Eric Reeves of Smith College, who appears to have devoted virtually every waking hour to Sudan for several years, including writing a book about Darfur, wrote on Dec 21st a piece fearing the worst from which I’ll attempt to provide only the essence:

    “… To be sure, dishonesty. and equivocation have a long history in Western diplomatic engagement with Khartoum’s National Congress Party (NCP) (the re-named National Islamic Front)…the refusal to speak the truth has become habitual and may yet lead to disaster.

    “…President al-Bashir’s recent approving remarks about the flogging of a young woman in Khartoum (captured in a now notorious You Tube video) are entirely revealing. Moreover, this approval has as context al-Bashir’s extraordinary revelation of intolerance and discrimination, long in evidence but rarely so publicly expressed:

    ‘If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity,’ [al-Bashir] told supporters at a rally in the eastern city of Gedaref. ‘Sharia (Islamic law) and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.’ (Reuters December 19, 2010)

    “… al-Bashir is striking a preemptive blow … A brutal new tyranny is in the making, and yet the international community has remained silent---or speaks in worried tones about a failed state in South Sudan. The reality is that there is much more to fear from a collapse in the North than the South…

    “Here perhaps the advocacy community should recall the words of Romeo Dallaire, UN force commander in Rwanda during the genocide, published several years ago, but precisely relevant in the present moment: ‘If there is any useful lesson that can be drawn from the events of April 1994, it is surely one about just how personal genocide is: for those who are killed, of course, but also for those who kill, and for those, however far away, who just do nothing. Our governments are no better than we are. The United Nations is no better than its governments.” (International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2005)’”

Friends of Sudan Canada

On September, 19 2010, an open letter to all our Members of Parliament drafted by the Friends of Sudan (Canada) said in part:

    “… we recommend that the Prime Minister urge in the strongest possible terms that internally displaced (IDPs) Southern Sudanese living in the north be repatriated with the assistance of the UNHCR and other agencies, and that the Sudan Referendum Commission recognize the voting rights of the Sudanese refugee Diaspora dual citizenships living in Canada and the U.S. by opening Outside Country Vote Centres (OCVCs) in major cities.

    “There is much more to be done to ensure the continuance of peace in Sudan, but given the urgency of the referenda situation we believe that common action by MPs would be an excellent first step. Therefore, there is urgency for special envoy to represent Canada’s interest in Sudan in referenda. We look forward to hearing your voice in the House on this subject.”


With the south Sudanese highly likely to vote for independence, Canada and other nations should be positioning themselves for a major crisis now. Canadian taxpayers have sent about $800-million to Sudan since 2006 alone. The presence of our embassy staff, a $7-million contribution to a U N fund to support referendum activities and $2-million for Jimmy Carter’s election-monitoring centre seem terribly insufficient for the upcoming weeks.

Since 2005, Canada has also deployed more than 400 soldiers and civilian peacekeepers to disarm rebel forces, train local police and help implement the C.P.A. It will unfortunately be necessary for friendly governments, including Canada’s, to maintain a strong peacekeeper presence should conflict arise over oil in the South.

Thank you.

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