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John Eibner testifies before Congress

For over two decades we have been working to end slavery in Sudan by raising funds for slave liberation program of Christian Solidarity International (CSI-USA).
On June 16, CSI-USA's CEO John Eibner testified before a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights urging the lawmakers to take action to eradicate slavery in Sudan.
Since 1990s CSI-USA has freed more than 100,000 slaves, but according to the sources cited by Eibner more that 35,000 remain enslaved to this day.
"The aggressive Islamist power in Khartoum...bears primary responsibility for the revival of slavery in Sudan and its use as an instrument of collective punishment in its declared jihad against non-submissive Black African communities in Southern Sudan and other marginalized areas," said Eibner.
Eibner, who concluded that a long-lasting peace in Sudan and the stability of the newly emerging nation of Southern Sudan are unlikely as long as the practice of slavery continues, pleaded the US Government to take steps to stop it including the establishment of:
1. A financially transparent and functional Sudanese national institution for locating, liberating and repatriating slaves
2. A program of research on all aspects of Sudanese slavery
3. An institution, with international and indigenous components, to monitor slavery and its eradication.
To read CSI-USA press release "CSI Urges Lawmakers To Take Action on Ending Slavery in Sudan" click here.
For the full text of John Eibner's testimony click here

June 24, 2011

For over two decades we have been working to end slavery in Sudan by raising funds for slave liberation program of Christian Solidarity International (CSI-USA). On June 16, CSI-USA's CEO John Eibner testified before a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights urging the lawmakers to take action to eradicate slavery in Sudan.

Since 1990s CSI-USA has freed more than 100,000 slaves, but according to the sources cited by Eibner more that 35,000 remain enslaved to this day. 

"The aggressive Islamist power in Khartoum...bears primary responsibility for the revival of slavery in Sudan and its use as an instrument of collective punishment in its declared jihad against non-submissive Black African communities in Southern Sudan and other marginalized areas," said Eibner.

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Interview with the AASG's Simon Deng

"Sudan's Extermination of Christians"

By Heather Robinson

This article was first published by the Center for Security Policy

August 27, 2009

As a child, American human rights activist Simon Deng survived brutal enslavement by Islamists and witnessed their destruction of his village in Sudan. Today, at 50, Deng is an American citizen and one of the leading advocates for the rights of his people, the Christians of South Sudan. In 2006 he organized a walk from the United Nations to the Capitol in Washington D.C. to protest the massacre of Darfuri Muslims by the government of Sudan, the same government that he says has brutalized Sudan's Christians, killing over three and a half million since 1955 through slaughter and starvation.

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Emancipated Nation

By Francis Bok
Most people can think of a day that changed their lives. I can think of two. The first happened twenty four years ago, when at the age of seven I became a slave; the other is coming up in less than a month. It is a day when my people will be free.
On May 15 of 1986, when I was seven years old, my mother sent me to a marketplace in the town of Nyamlell, South Sudan to sell peanuts and eggs. The market was filled with people, sounds, and smells, with half naked children running, smiling, pushing each other. I was happy; I wanted to make my mother proud by selling as many eggs as possible. Suddenly, something happened. We looked up to see cloud of smoke rising from the direction of Gourion, my village. I heard gun shots and stomping of horses’ feet coming fast from the distance. Everybody around me began running in all directions. A wall of dust preceding their arrival, an Arab militia stormed the market.
What followed was a scene of panic, terror and confusion. The Arabs, some on horses, some on feet, were mercilessly killing all the men, shooting some and decapitating others with a single swipe of their swords.  Children around me were screaming and crying in horror; the market place was filling with the bodies of the dead. I tried to run but one of the Arabs grabbed me and loaded me into a basket on his donkey. I was soon joined by other kids. A little girl, who looked no older than twelve, was executed by a point blank shot to her head in front of my eyes. Her crime? She could not stop crying. After the loading was over we began riding into darkness.
That was the beginning of my journey into slavery where for the next ten years I was forced to serve a family of a wealthy Arab Muslim living in North Sudan. Giemma Abdullah, his wife and his children made my life hell during these ten years. They not only made me perform hard labor and sleep with animals, but they also tried to destroy my identity as a Dinka, my tribe.  I was given an Arab name and under the threat of death was forbidden to speak the Dinka language. I was forced to perform Islamic prayers and was constantly taunted as “abeed,” Arabic for “black slave.” After two unsuccessful attempts, I managed to escape and made my way to America. A year later, I joined the modern-day abolitionist movement.
On the day I escaped I did not become a free man. Images of other children still serving masters chained me to my captive nation. My life here has been better than anything a Dinka boy could dream of. Working with the American Anti-Slavery Group, I have travelled across the country and spoken to thousands. I meet and surround myself with people who passionately feel for the suffering of modern day slaves and want to help. I have had the privilege of meeting the American President George W. Bush and the Secretary of the State Madeline Albright. At the same time I always knew that as long as my people are not free, I would remain unfree- I am bound to the people of South Sudan – a nation where chattel slavery has been a perpetual reality from the antiquity to the present day; a nation that will, weeks from now, break the chains and pass to freedom.
Despite an official abolition of slavery in Sudan by the British in 1899, the practice persisted. Fueled by the Northern radical Islamist government’s calls for jihad (holy war) against Christian and animist “infidels,” slave raids intensified during Sudan’s Second Civil War (1983-2005). Over two million South Sudanese, including my father, my mother, my two sisters and many other relatives, were murdered in that war, and four million more became refugees. Slavery, a crime against humanity under international law, was also committed against non-Arab civilians in Nuba Mountains and most recently in the Western region of Darfur.
South Sudanese civil authorities estimate that up to 200,000 of blacks, mostly women and children, were enslaved during Khartoum’s jihad. As a result of an incredible work done by the human rights organization Christian Solidarity International (CSI) many were freed, but an estimated 35,000 still remain in captivity. The horrific suffering endured by the slaves and meticulously documented by the CSI is no less than shocking. Fourteen year-old Ker Aleu Deng, liberated by the CSI this last September, was hung upside down from a tree by his master who then rubbed chili peppers into his eyes leaving Ker blinded. Majok Majok Dhal, 15, was stabbed in a leg for refusing to work when he had fever. Abuk Ngor Anyuon, liberated in December, was forcibly converted to Islam and circumcised. Her master sold off two of her sons and cut off her finger for disobedience. CSI reported that the “overwhelming majority of slaves had been subjected to physical and psychological abuse, including rape, death threats, female genital mutilation, forced labor, beatings, and forced conversion to Islam.”
On January 9 of 2011, I will be thirty four years old and my life will change forever. On that historic day I will no longer belong to a captive nation, because for the first time ever my people will be given a choice – by vote — to secede from the North or to remain a part of the unified Sudan. The referendum was mandated under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), brokered by the United States in 2005, that stopped the genocide. America, we will be forever in your debt. There is no doubt in my mind that on that day we will choose freedom over slavery; our own culture over Arabization; our own religions over Islamization; equality over racism and supremacism. On that historic day the people of South Sudan will vote for a new independent African nation based on principles of democracy, freedom and equality for all!
Several challenges remain: the Northern government is working hard to sabotage the vote and provoke another war; the South faces a “humanitarian catastrophe” as it prepares to absorb masses of refugees from the North; the borders have not been demarcated and there is no agreement on oil sharing. In other words, it is not entirely clear what the immediate future holds for my people. What is clear, however, is that we will never go back to bondage, oppression and domination and that because of our tremendous sacrifices – and American help — a new nation will be born – a nation of free men.

January 9, 2011

This article was first published in Big Peace

By Francis Bok

Most people can think of a day that changed their lives. I can think of two. The first happened twenty four years ago, when at the age of seven I became a slave; the other is coming up in less than a month. It is a day when my people will be free.

On May 15 of 1986, when I was seven years old, my mother sent me to a marketplace in the town of Nyamlell, South Sudan to sell peanuts and eggs. The market was filled with people, sounds, and smells, with half naked children running, smiling, pushing each other. I was happy; I wanted to make my mother proud by selling as many eggs as possible. Suddenly, something happened. We looked up to see cloud of smoke rising from the direction of Gourion, my village. I heard gun shots and stomping of horses’ feet coming fast from the distance. Everybody around me began running in all directions. A wall of dust preceding their arrival, an Arab militia stormed the market.

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Will Freedom Come for Sudan's Slaves?

Will Freedom Come for Sudan's Slaves?
As the South votes to become independent, tens of thousands remain enslaved.
January 14, 2011
By JOHN EIBNER
AND CHARLES JACOBS
Juba, Sudan
On Jan. 9, the people of South Sudan began their week-long referendum to decide whether to separate from the Arab-Muslim North and form an independent country. But Achol Yum Deng didn't vote. Though she has more reasons to seek separation from the North than most of her countrymen, she couldn't register: Since 1998, Achol was a slave serving her master in the North and was only liberated just before the voting began.
The war booty of a man named Adhaly Osman, Achol was threatened with death, gang-raped, genitally mutilated, forced to convert to Islam, renamed "Mariam," and racially and religiously insulted. She lost the sight in one eye when her master thrashed her face with a camel whip for failing to perform Islamic rituals correctly. This mother of four saw two of her children beaten to death for minor misdemeanors. She also lost the use of one arm when her master took a machete to it in response to her failure to grind grain properly.
Achol is one of 397 slaves whose liberation was facilitated and documented by Christian Solidarity International and the American Anti-Slavery Group in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal as voting commenced.
The British suppressed black slavery in Sudan in the first half of the 20th century. But the practice was rekindled in the 1980s as part of the surge in Islamism in the region. In 1983, when Khartoum's radical leaders declared strict enforcement of Shariah law throughout the country, the Christian and tribalist South resisted. Shariah-sanctioned slave raids were used as a weapon to break Southern resistance.
Armed by the government in Khartoum, Arab militias would storm African villages, shoot the men, and capture the women and children. The captives were beaten and raped immediately. Some who resisted had their throats slit.
Taken North—roped by their hands into lines or carried individually on horseback—they were distributed to masters. Boys were used as goat and cow herders, little girls as domestics. As they grew, they became concubines and sex slaves. Slaves slept with the animals and were given rotten scraps from the masters' table. Boys were killed for losing a goat.
There is a racist aspect to this slavery. Blacks were cursed as Äbd (black slave) and kuffar (infidel). Many were forcibly converted to Islam. The North-South war, lasting 23 years, was ultimately declared a "jihad" by Sudan's Islamist President Omar al-Bashir.
The U.S.-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 ended the slave raids and confirmed the South's right to self-determination. But it failed to create a mechanism for the return of slaves. Over 35,000 people, according to representatives of the Committee to Eradicate the Abduction of Women and Children, remain in bondage today.
Cases like Achol's have been known to the elites in the international community from the early days of Khartoum's war against the South. But the U.N. and Western governments have been slow to tackle this internationally recognized crime against humanity. It was not until 1999, 16 years into the war, that Unicef, the world's largest child welfare organization, finally acknowledged the reality of slavery in Sudan.
But threats made by the government of Sudan against U.N. operations forced Unicef to backtrack. Meanwhile, in 1999, the Arab League declared that slavery was nonexistent in Sudan and that to say otherwise was an insult to Arabs and Muslims. For fear of offending Islam, many Western NGOs have turned a blind eye.
It was the issue of slavery that sparked American interest in Sudan in our time. Reports in the mid-'90s about black slaves shocked ordinary Americans and generated an unlikely coalition that included Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and Pat Robertson, then Sen. Sam Brownback (R., Kan.), Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, and the late Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.
As the reality of Sudan's partition sinks in, there are now tens of thousands of free South Sudanese returning home from the North. They come in the hope of living freely—and also fearing the angry reaction of Northern Arabs to the South's decision to separate.
But those who remain enslaved in the North are effectively disenfranchised from participation in the birth of what is likely to be Africa's newest nation-state. People of goodwill should demand that all of the remaining slaves be set free.
Mr. Eibner is the CEO of Christian Solidarity International-USA. Mr. Jacobs is president of the American Anti-Slavery Group.

This article was first published in The Wall Street Journal

January 14, 2011

As the South votes to become independent, tens of thousands remain enslaved.

By John Eibner and Charles Jacobs

On Jan. 9, the people of South Sudan began their week-long referendum to decide whether to separate from the Arab-Muslim North and form an independent country. But Achol Yum Deng didn't vote. Though she has more reasons to seek separation from the North than most of her countrymen, she couldn't register: Since 1998, Achol was a slave serving her master in the North and was only liberated just before the voting began.

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Barefoot walk through Congress

Simon Deng has completed his barefoot walk through Congress. Simon visited the offices of all 535 members of Congress asking them to support the people of South Sudan as they prepare to vote in the referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011.

November 26, 2010

Simon Deng completed his barefoot walk through Congress. Simon visited the offices of all 535 members of Congress asking them to support the people of South Sudan as they prepare to vote in the referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011.

We thank the Institute on Religion & Democracy and Save Darfur Coalition for joining Simon on his walk.

A special appreciation goes to Faith McDonnell of IRD for her extraordinary help with this initiative.

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