Voices for Sudan Applauds U.S. Special Envoy on Policy Speech 


Washington, District of Columbia – Voices for Sudan Inc. welcomes the speech of US Special Envoy for Sudan/South Sudan: Donald Booth, who spoke at the Atlantic Council this past Thursday, October 9th to offer future insight and reflect upon his past year of service in regards to U.S. policy on Sudan and South Sudan.

Booth’s speech entitled U.S. Policy on Sudan and South Sudan: The Way Forward, highlights the problems, devised steps, and processes necessary to address these problems in both Sudan and South Sudan. The speech also places the issues in a holistic context, offering insight in regards to the role of the United States, as well as the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan.

Voices for Sudan especially commends Booth for stressing the important issue of interconnectivity between Sudan and South Sudan. Since it’s inception Voices for Sudan has long argued for a holistic approach to peace in the region. In accordance to Booth’s speech VFS president Jimmy Mulla states:

Voices for Sudan advocates for a comprehensive approach to issues in all of Sudan (Sudan and South Sudan).” 

The leading theme in Booth’s speech was inclusivity- both in South Sudan where authoritarian tendencies and a concentration on the interests of elites led the new nation to conflict and eventual civil war, as well as in Sudan, where the concentration of power and resources fell to a select group, and neglected the needs of those who’s identity did not match. In both circumstances Booth argues the need for inclusivity, which is necessary to avoid future fragmentation and conflict. Booth also declares the necessity of a national dialogue in both countries that address these issues and outline steps for resolution.

In Sudan Booth highlighted the problems with regional and compartmentalized approaches to peacemaking. Booth states:

These conflicts- in Darfur, in the Two Areas, like those previously in the East and in the South, each have unique manifestations, but they are all symptoms of a common national ill. For too long, the focus on conflict resolution efforts in the peripheries- and the supporting of international architecture- was focused regionally.

Booth concludes his speech explaining that while the relationship between Khartoum and the United States has been strained, the United States’ objectives and and interest in Sudan, South Sudan, and every country for that matter is in fostering a normal bilateral relationship in which we can work together on common interests. The U.S. interest and commitment is thus a peaceful and prosperous Sudan with whom the U.S. can trade, partner, and contribute to. As Booth goes on the explain, this also means a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan- who’s stability and well being form an inter-connected relationship with Sudan.

Voices for Sudan applauds Booth for his speech and the issues he raises. It is up the parties involved to take charge and act responsibly in accordance with his suggestions. Only then, if leaders and citizens can agree to make use of the support being offered, can a transition to peace be attained.

Copyright © 2014 Voices for Sudan, All rights reserved.
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Does Quarantine of Health Workers Returning From West Africa Violate Human Rights?

By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

 WASHINGTON, D.C., United States of America – Medical workers returning from treating patients in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are being quarantined by several U.S. states even if they show no sign of Ebola symptoms. The U.S. army has implemented a similar policy, isolating nearly a dozen soldiers at part of a U.S. base in Vicenza, Italy.

Nurse Kaci Hickox returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa and was immediately quarantined in the state of New Jersey (Photo Courtesy of Reuters).

The federal government has said that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will release guidelines for executing protocols for healthcare workers returning to the U.S. from treating patients in West Africa. However, state officials, whom are unfamiliar with such a health threat, have called federal restrictions placed on people traveling from parts of West Africa insufficient, and have thus resorted to imposing tougher measures like automatic quarantines on medical workers.

New York, Illinois, Florida, and New Jersey instituted mandatory quarantines for anyone exposed to people infected with Ebola. U.N. Secretary-General, Bank Ki-moon, has publicly criticized the quarantines, saying through his spokesman that they create difficulties for medical workers risking their lives, and these workers “should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science.”

Those who have been subjected to the mandatory quarantine procedure have called the constitutionality of the state implemented quarantines to attention. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has defended his state’s policy of automatic quarantine. However, nurse, Kaci Hickox, who was placed into quarantine on Friday claimed that she felt that her “basic human rights are being violated,” by being kept in isolation at University Hospital in Newark, despite not showing any symptoms of the Ebola virus. She is the first person quarantined under the New Jersey policy.

The lawyer for the nurse said that he is planned to file a federal suit if his client was not released. Hickox stated that she was being held in a tent structure, “with a port-a-potty like structure and no shower and no connection to the outside world….” She has also claimed that she had not been allowed to see her lawyer or anyone else.

The New Jersey Governor has since stated that he will allow Hickox to finish the 21-day quarantine at home. He rationalized this statement by stating, “she hadn’t had any symptoms for 24 hours and she tested negative for Ebola so there’s no reason to keep her.”


For more information, please see the following:

ABC NEWS – Nurse in Ebola Quarantine to Sue For Freedom; Feds Push Back on State Rules – 26 Oct 2014.

CNN – Nurse Describes Ebola Quarantine Ordeal: ‘ I Was In Shock. Now I’m Angry’ – 27 Oct. 2014

REUTERS – U.S. CDC Says Returning Ebola Medical Workers Should Not Be Quarantined – 27 Oct. 2014.

USA TODAY – Nurse Quarantines in N.J. To Be Released – 27 Oct. 2014.


Iranian Women Executed for Murder of her Alleged Rapist

By Max Bartels 

Impunity Watch Reporter, The Middle East 


Tehran, Iran 

A 26-year-old woman, Reyhaneh Jabbari, was hanged on Saturday after she was sentenced to death for murder. The execution has human rights groups questioning the validity of the trial because the woman claimed self-defense and the man she killed was her alleged rapist. The woman was originally sentenced to death after her trial in 2009, where it was decided that she killed a man who was a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The U.N released a statement saying that the man hired Jabbari when she was 19 as an interior designer, to work on his office, and that Jabbari stabbed him after she was sexually assaulted.

IW #22 Iranian Woman Killing
Jabbari arguing her case in Iranian Court (Photo Curtesy of The Independent)

Since her original conviction and sentence in 2009, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict, even in the face of considerable international pressure from the U.S. and Europe. The pressure did succeed in getting Jabbari a 10- day stay of execution in late September, and many were hopeful that some other punishment would be handed down during that time. Under the Iranian Islamic Penal Code, the courts of Iran follow “an eye for an eye” concept, when a murder is committed, the defendant, if found guilty must face the same fate. Also under the Iranian Islamic Penal code there is a provision for the family of the victim to show mercy to the defendant, if the family so wishes the death sentence can be lessened. Many were hoping that the family of the victim would exercise this right on Jabbari, due to the public outcry in support of her case. A Justice Minister of the Supreme Court even stated in early October that he predicted that the case would come to a “good ending”. However, the family stayed silent and the execution process resumed after the 10- day stay.

The Tehran state prosecutors office issued a statement attempting to curtail sympathy for Jabbari, and lay out the facts of the case as they saw them. According to them Jabbari had repeatedly admitted to premeditated murder and had invented the rape charge in an attempt to divert the case from its course. The office laid out further evidence that Jabbari had texted a friend her intention to kill and had bought the knife used in the murder just a few days prior to the crime.

The execution has sparked renewed criticism of Iran and the new President, Rouhani, who was touted for his positions on bringing Iran out of isolation. The U.N. has documented the number of executions in the country at 531 this year, this is a marked increased from previous years and puts Iran at second in the world for recorded use of capital punishment, behind China. Secular voters in Iran are upset that domestic reform has taken a back seat to foreign policy under Rouhani. Others believe that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the judiciary, both still filled with hardline Islamists are increasing the rate of execution to make Rouhani look bad.

For more information, please see:

CNN — Iran Postponed Execution of Woman Who Killed her Alleged Rapist — 2 October, 2014

MSNBC — Iranian Woman Hanged for Killing her Alleged Would-Be Rapist — October 27 2014 

The Independent — Reyhaneh Jabbari  in Iran for Murder of Her Attempted Rapist — October 25, 2014

Reuters — Iran Hangs Woman Convicted of Killing Alleged Rapist — October 25, 2014

Riot Precedes Soccer Match in Lille, France

By Kyle Herda

Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

PARIS, France – An incident outside of a bar in Lille, France this week turned ugly fairly quickly and resulted in riot police firing tear gas into the crowd. The dispute between police and fans of Lille and Everton, in anticipation of a Europa league match resulted in at least two fans being hospitalized.

French riot police run through the streets amid the riot in Lille. (Photo courtesy of Fox)

While the cause of the altercations is still unclear, reports seem to suggest that a misunderstanding is to blame. Claims are that an officer in plain clothing was attempting to arrest an Everton supporter for “misbehaving” at a bar in Lille. Other Everton fans inside the bar did not realize it was an officer and mistook the arrest to be a Lille fan harassing the Everton fan. The Everton fans confronted the officer, things quickly escalated, and soon riot police showed up, aggressively pushed the crowd that gathered, used tear gas bombs, pepper spray, and shot rubber bullets.

There are also reports that a crowd of “hooligans” provoked Everton fans, and that this was the cause of the riot. These claims further that the Lille fans were to blame, and that riot police who responded attacked the Everton fans who were injured and in need of help. One witness claims to have seen riot police “spray one Everton fan for no reason.” Another witness claims “[t]he hooligans picked up chairs we had stacked up outside and attacked them, while others used them to smash windows and try to get inside.’

The Everton club released a statement that they will be working “closely with the French and Merseyside police … to better understand the two isolated but serious incidents that occurred in Lille”. While events died down relatively quickly, everybody was urged to avoid the square where the riots occurred due to the lingering gas used by the riot police

For more information, please see:

Daily Mail – Everton to work with French police after trouble in square and ‘unprovoked’ attacks on fans before Europa League tie at Lille – 24 October 2014

Fox – Police use tear gas against Everton fans ahead of match in Lille – 23 October 2014

Sky Sports – Europa League: Trouble flares in Lille ahead of Everton’s Group H game – 23 October 2014

SB Nation – Scary scene in Lille as police clash with Everton fans – 23 October 2014


Cold Lake Mosque Targeted by Vandalism

By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

OTTAWA, Canada – A mosque in northeastern Alberta was recently vandalized on Thursday when a brick was thrown though its windows and a message which read “go home” was spray painted in red on the exterior of the building. The community of Cold Lake responded by rallying both non-Muslim and Muslim neighbors to aid in the clean up of the damage.

(above) The Cold Lake Mosque is shown with hateful messages left by an unknown vandal. (below) The Mosque is shown after citizens came together to help repair the damage. (Photo Courtesy of The Edmonton Sun).

A group of citizens, including business leaders and other influential members of the community patched up the broken windows with temporary cardboard signs that read, “love your neighbor,” and “you are home.” The community showed members of the mosque support on Friday assuring them they’re welcome in the community. Members of the mosque also gathered and placed posters, flowers, and gifts from various community members and displayed them by the windows that were smashed.

A member of the mosque’s board, Mahmoud El-Kadri, originally discovered the vandalism at about 6 a.m. on Friday when he arrived at the mosque for Morning Prayer. He responded to the vandalism by stating, “the writing hurts. This is my home, this is our home. This is the only home we have. Cold Lake is our home. Canada is our home.”

The vandalism occurred just a week after six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets took off from 4 Wing Cold Lake, the country’s busiest fighter aircraft base. The jets were targeting Iraq, as part of an air combat mission, dubbed Operation IMPACT. This is part of coalition air strikes, which are targeting the Muslim extremist group, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as ISIS. The missions goal is to degrade ISIL’s ability to carry out any military operations against the citizens of the Republic of Iraq.

The vandalism also comes just days after radicalized Muslim men killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa on Wednesday and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec just days earlier.


For more information, please see the following:

CBC NEWS –Town rallies around vandalized Cold Lake Mosque – 24 Oct. 2014.

THE EDMONTON SUN – Cold Lake Mosque Vandalized With Words ‘ Go Home’-24 Oct. 2014.

HUFFINGTON POST –Cold Lake Mosque Vandalized with Words ‘Go Home’ – 24 Oct. 2014.

THE TORONTO STAR – Mosque Vandalized in Cold Lake, Alberta – 24 Oct. 2014.