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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/sudan/slavery/slavery-in-sudan

Source: Baltimore Sun, June 18, 1996 (Editorial, 10A)

Slavery in Sudan; Proof for Farrakhan: World action needed to end
trade in human beings.

"WHERE IS THE PROOF?" asked Minister Louis Farrakhan of the
Nation of Islam in response to accusations that he had cozied up to
a government that tolerated the enslavement of black people. "If
slavery exists, why don't you go as a member of the press, and you
look inside Sudan, and if you find it, then you come back and tell
the American people what you found?"

The proof was evident to two Baltimore Sun reporters who took
up Mr. Farrakhan's challenge, trekked into southern Sudan and
purchased the freedom of two Dinka boys. Their story is compelling
testimony to the abominable fate of thousands in that part of the

But will it shame the Sudanese government -- or Mr. Farrakhan
and other supporters -- away from the policies and attitudes under
which this scourge flourishes? Not unless the outrage stirs other
governments into action.

Reports of slavery in Sudan are not new. One example: In 1993,
the International Labor Organization surveyed forced labor and
slavery-like practices around the world and noted that the practice
of traditional slavery was growing in Sudan. The ILO said it had
received the first detailed reports on the revival of Sudanese
slavery in 1988, complete with allegations that the government had
provided arms to unofficial militia groups so that they could raid
Dinka villages and remove support for the rebels.

That report went largely unheeded, as did numerous reports
from human rights groups, like the one that guided reporters
Gilbert Lewthwaite and Gregory Kane, whose three-part series ends
today in The Sun.

What can be done to end the bondage of human beings and the
harm done to their families? A number of things would help:

An arms embargo against Sudan and a boycott of its exports.

The creation of a full-time U.N. monitoring team on slavery,
accompanied by human rights education and other efforts to promote
the principles and values of civil society.

International pressure on the Sudanese government and on rebel
factions to permit access to relief operations.

Freezing Sudanese requests for loans and disbursements from
international financial institutions while these practices continue.

No one of these actions will bring freedom to those in bondage
in Sudan, especially with Farrakhan fantasies bolstering Muslim
slave-masters exploiting the Christian/animist peoples in southern
Sudan. But without such actions, and in the absence of world
outrage over slavery, this horrible practice will continue.

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