March 5, 2009
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM DECRIES EVICTION OF AID AGENCIES IN DARFUR AND SOUTHERN SUDAN
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sudan’s response to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) issuance of an arrest warrant for its President Bashir poses a grave new risk to the civilian population. Following the announcement of the arrest warrant, the Sudanese government expelled several humanitarian aid agencies from Sudan, jeopardizing the lives of millions.
“Civilians affected by the conflict in Darfur and in other parts of Sudan rely on the critical outside assistance provided by humanitarian organizations,” said John Heffernan, Director of the Museum’s Genocide Prevention Initiative. “Retaliation against humanitarian groups for the ICC arrest warrant only hurts Sudanese civilians who desperately depend on this aid.”
On March 4, 2009, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC announced its historic decision to issue an arrest warrant charging Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir with five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes for masterminding the conflict in Darfur. The charges against Mr. Bashir include murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, rape, intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population, and pillaging. This decision marks the first time the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for a sitting head of state.
The Museum has been actively monitoring and raising awareness about Sudan since 2000 and in 2004 issued a “Genocide Emergency” for the western region of Darfur. Since then it has been working to educate policy makers and the American public about the urgent need to take action to end the genocide there.
In April 2007, the Museum partnered with Google Earth in an unprecedented online mapping initiative aimed at furthering awareness and action in the Darfur. Crisis in Darfur and World is Witness enable more than 400 million Google Earth mapping service users worldwide to visualize and better understand the genocide in Darfur.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires leaders and citizens to confront hatred, promote human dignity, and prevent genocide. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and its far reaching educational activities and global outreach are made possible by donors nationwide. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.