Urgent Action in Relation to the Chemical Attacks in Darfur: Open Letters to U.S. Government Officials and UN Personnel

October 14, 2016

To: President Barack Obama;

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon;

Prince Zeid, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity to the UN Secretary General, respectively.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR); U.S. Senator McGovern (D-MA); and, U.S. House of Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY)

From: Scholars of Genocide Studies from Across the Globe, Human Rights Activists, Anti-genocide Activists, and People of the Cloth

Re., Actions That Must Be Taken Immediately in Regard to the Chemical Attacks on Darfur

Continue reading “Urgent Action in Relation to the Chemical Attacks in Darfur: Open Letters to U.S. Government Officials and UN Personnel”

Gender-Based Violence Against Men and Boys During Mass Atrocity: An Interview with Prof. Gabrielle Ferrales

In March, Gender & Society published an article titled, Gender-Based Violence Against Men and Boys in Darfur: The Gender-Genocide Nexus. The paper, co-authored by Dr. Gabrielle Ferrales (Sociology, UMN), Dr. Hollie Nyseth-Brehm (Ohio State) and Suzy McElrath (Ph.D. Candidate, UMN), analyses gender-based violence against men and boys during mass atrocity. Demonstrating new theoretical connections between gender, violence, and hegemonic masculinity, this work significantly advances our understanding of how genocidal violence is gendered, but also more broadly how gender inequalities can be reproduced and maintained in diverse settings and social structures.

Continue reading “Gender-Based Violence Against Men and Boys During Mass Atrocity: An Interview with Prof. Gabrielle Ferrales”

Student Spotlight: J. Siguru Wahutu

img_9446J. Siguru Wahutu was born and raised in Kenya and moved to Minneapolis to pursue his undergraduate education. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Sociology and Global Studies and a minor in Cultural Studies. He stayed in Minnesota to obtain his PhD in Sociology with a thematic focus on genocide, media and collective memory and a regional focus on Africa. Wahutu is broadly interested in how news organizations and journalists in Africa produce knowledge about genocide and mass atrocity in neighboring African countries. He was the 2013-2014 and the 2015 Badzin Fellow in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He also writes for the CHGS blog on current events in Africa.

Wahutu’s current research focuses on how Africa’s media represented the violence in Darfur between 2003 and 2008 and compares this to how media from the global north portrayed events in Darfur during the same period. This research project aims to examine the process through which African news organizations frame atrocities and actors in atrocities for their national audiences. While much has been written about how the global north represents the global south during instances of mass violence, little is known about how Africa represents Africa. This is the gap in scholarship that Wahutu’s work fills. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Wahutu will be editing his dissertation and submitting research papers to academic journals.

Is Genocide Still a Scary Label?

This month’s contribution is by Fata Acquoi, who recently graduated with a double major in Sociology and Political Science at the UMN. She intends on pursuing a graduate degree in Human Rights. Her contribution is a snippet of a class assignment that focused on the role of the international community in dealing with alleged perpetrators of genocide and mass atrocity.

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Ugandan President Museveni (right) greets Omar al-Bashir at the former’s inauguration in Kampala. Photo by PPU, courtesy the Daily Monitor

The conflict in Darfur has widely been recognized as the first “genocide” of the twenty-first century. Though this recognition is well-known, the 2008 joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur failed to stop the genocide, and more specifically the ethnic-cleansing program enacted by the current regime in Darfur. This included rape and torture of women and children. According to the Sudan Democracy First Group, a coalition of civil society organizations, there are about two million Internally Displaced Persons in Darfur, of which over 200,000 were displaced in 2015 alone. This suffering is widely felt throughout Darfur, and has not diminished, though it seems that concern for these people by the international community certainly has diminished.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued warrants for Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the head of the Sudanese regime for more than twenty-five years. These warrants are for crimes against humanity and multiple counts of genocide. Though nations have been notified about the warrants for al-Bashir’s arrest, it is unlikely that we will see his prosecution. Continue reading “Is Genocide Still a Scary Label?”

Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur

Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur

By Joachim Salvesberg

3462cad3-349b-4b8b-aa65-829a42f667d8 How do interventions by the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court influence representations of mass violence? What images arise instead from the humanitarianism and diplomacy fields? How are these competing perspectives communicated to the public via mass media? Zooming in on the case of Darfur, Joachim J. Savelsberg analyzes more than three thousand news reports and opinion pieces and interviews leading newspaper correspondents, NGO experts, and foreign ministry officials from eight countries to show the dramatic differences in the framing of mass violence around the world and across social fields.

The book is hot off the presses and is also available in its entirety online.

Professor Joachim Savelsberg is a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, and affiliate faculty to the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

What have you done for Darfur lately?

Talking to a journalist in Nairobi this weekend, he mentioned something that I thought was as unnerving as it was interesting. The journalist lamented at the fact that it seemed the world had gotten so tired of Darfur that the news of soldiers raping at least 221 women and girls in the village of Tabit last October hardly caused a ripple. The first allegations of the 36-hour rape ordeal came in November when Radio Dabanga (The Hague) initially reported on the crimes. In December, the ICC prosecutor decided to shelve the war crimes probe after almost five years of stagnation by the world court, stating she needed more support to address Sudan’s lack of cooperation, and that the rape of the 200 women and girls in the village “should shock [the] council into action.” Sudanese security forces killed approximately 200 protesters in 2014 and the Sudanese state has been so confident that nothing would happen to it, it created a new force, the Rapid Support Forces, which was accused of having burned 3,000 villages in 2014.

We have come a long way from events that sought to raise awareness such as ‘Rock for Darfur’ (which according to Voice of America had 22 concert in 2006 alone), a long way from buying, and proudly donning, t-shirts 6086ed3a-bbed-40b0-b5c3-bc404feae1dbwith ‘Save Darfur’ emblazoned on them. Syria, Iraq, Liberia, South Sudan, and Central Africa Republic have overtaken Darfur in the attention sweepstakes in the news. In previous posts I have talked about Compassion Fatigue and the four horsemen of the apocalypse whenever atrocities were covered in the media. However, when is it ok to say enough is enough? When do we, as global citizens, stop shaking our heads and going “tsk tsk, it is so sad what is happening in that country”?  These are questions I have asked myself over the past few years. As a graduate student, I have often wondered if my keeping an eye on Darfur is influenced by the fact that my research is in the region. Would it matter as much if my research was on, say, farming practices in Africa?  I would like to think it would, if for no reason other than the fact that my country (Kenya) shares a border with South Sudan. I would like to think that whenever I opened the local daily at a coffee shop, or on my way to work in the morning, I would read the news about Darfur and seek out like-minded individuals to try and help in some way, shape or form. What form of help this would be I’m not sure as of yet. So to the question, what have I done for Darfur lately? My honest answer is not as much as I would have liked to do. As Darfur has morphed into a conflict occurring in the shadows (a dreadful prospect) my sense of hopelessness has also increased. What will your answer be?

Wahutu Siguru is the 2013 Badzin Fellow in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and PhD candidate in the Sociology department at the University of Minnesota. Siguru’s research interests are in the Sociology of Media, Genocide, Mass Violence and Atrocities (specifically on issues of representation of conflicts in Africa such as Darfur and Rwanda), Collective Memory, and perhaps somewhat tangentially Democracy and Development in Africa.