In a joint statement with the Association for World Education, Representative David G Littman spoke at the UN Commission on Human Rights on 15 April 2005. He gave the results of a survey of 51 female slaves over the age of 11. 37% had been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM); 71% raped; 51% forcibly converted to Islam from Christianity or a tribal faith; 98% subjected to racial insults; 100% physically abused; 100% forced to work without pay. He demanded to know why UNICEF preferred to suspend CEAWAC’s slave retrieval operation contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the slaves and their families, and why UNICEF still does not call a slave a slave when describing these victims of a “crime against humanity.”
ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION
Case Postale 205 – 1196 Gland – Switzerland
STATEMENT: Representative David G. LITTMAN. Friday (am) 15 April 2005
UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS. 61ST Session (14 March – 22 April 2005)
Report of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (item 16)
[The words in brackets were not pronounced in the 4 minutes time allowed for 3 NGOs]
1. Sub-Commission 2004/22: Systematic rape, sexual slavery and Slavery-like practices
2. Sub-Commission 2004/114: Human rights and non-State actors
Thank you, Sir. This is a joint statement of the Association for World Education, with the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and the Association of World Citizens.
Sub-Commission Resolution 2004/22: Systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices recognizes, under its article 4, “that sexual violence and sexual slavery committed in the context of either an internal or an international armed conflict may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.” And also that the perpetrators of such crimes should be held responsible.
The Sub-Commission also decided under 2004/114 that experts: Gaspar Biro and AntoanellaIulia Motoc should prepare “a working paper on human rights and non-State actors, in order to approach in a systematic way the question of accountability under international human rights law.” We are awaiting their crucial report eagerly, as well as the updated report by the High Commissioner on systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices.
[In a joint statement on 30 March, under item 10, we quoted extensively from the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (25 January 2005), with the conclusion: “International offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious than genocide.”]
Sir, on this very matter of sexual slavery and “non-State actors,” we wish to inform the High Commissioner, the Commission and all representatives present with facts from a vivid and reliable CSI [Christian Solidarity International] press release, dated today, 15 April. It relates to 336 Black Sudanese slaves who were liberated between 23 March and 14 April – yesterday!
[This was through the mediation of the Arab-Dinka Peace Committees at Warawar and Manger Ater, Southern Sudan. The freed slaves were registered at three checkpoints (Bac & Rumrol, Aweil East County, and Mayen Adhal, Aweil North County) before proceeding to their homes and families. Registration was undertaken jointly by local representatives of CSI, the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Church of Christ, the Government of Sudan’s Committee for the Eradication of Women and Children (CEAWC) and the SPLM’s Sudan Relief of Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC)].
Preliminary analysis of interviews with 51 of the female slaves over the age of 11 have indicated the following pattern of abuse: 37% subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM); 71% raped; 51% forcibly converted to Islam from Christianity or a tribal faith; 98% subjected to racial insults; 100% physically abused; 100% forced to work without pay.
[CSI’s press release states that at a US government funded Arab-Dinka peace conference held at Nyamlell, Southern Sudan on 7-9 April, Arab cattle camp leaders pledged to free their remaining Dinka slaves. It pointed out that President Bush had identified the eradication of slavery as a paramount goal of the Sudan peace initiative he launched in Sept. 2001. Conservative estimates place the number of Black Sudanese slaves in the tens of thousands.]
In early February – as pointed out in our joint statement last Friday, under item 3 [on Sudan] – the Sudanese government suspended the repatriation of freed slaves to Southern Sudan in response to criticism from UNICEF. Southern Sudanese community leaders have called for its immediate resumption. The head of UNICEF will be giving a press conference here on Monday morning [18 April]. We hope that Carol Bellamy will be asked why UNICEF preferred to suspend CEAWAC’s slave retrieval operation [“Returning Sudan’s stolen children,” by Jonah Fisher, BBC, 24 March 2005] contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the slaves and their families, and why UNICEF still does not call a slave a slave when describing these victims of a “crime against humanity.”
Sir, we shall conclude in regard to slavery and terrorism – we strongly encourage the Special Rapporteur Ms. Kaliopi Koufa to persevere in he work – those odious crimes against humanity, by quoting Sir Karl Popper, best known for his philosophy of critical rationalism and his emphasis on the way in which we learn through the making and correcting of mistakes:
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with themÃ¯Â¿Â½ We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
For the last 20 years, the slave trade has been revived in the Sudan via non-State actors, linked to an intolerant Government and this Commission prefers votes “unlimited tolerance.”
If no decisive resolution is passed on Sudan as last year, whilst clutches of “automatic” resolutions are adopted, we fear that this Commission will not have correcting its mistakes, and we anticipate growing an universal disapproval.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman