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From worker-brc-announce@lists.tao.ca Wed Nov 22 13:42:32 2000
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 04:52:16 -0500
From: Tim McGivern <tim@irc-online.org>
Reply-To: dconnell@aol.com
Subject: [BRC-ANN] Quote of the Day: Dan Connell
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Quote of the Day: Dan Connell

By Dan Connell, from Sudan: Recasting U.S. Policy, Foreign Policy In Focus, November 2000

Meanwhile, the strongest lobbies impacting Sudan policy inside the U.S. have been private aid agencies and anti-slavery groups operating in famine and war-affected areas of the south. Sadly, the advocacy that results from their limited focus—particularly on the issue of slavery—often exacerbates the crisis.

Slavery was formally abolished in Sudan in 1924, but remnants persisted, as Arab tribes in central Sudan raided cattle-herding southern communities for booty and captives. This practice was revived in the 1980s, when then-Prime Minister al-Mahdi armed militias in a bid to undercut the rising revolt in the south. Slavery gained momentum under the NIF regime, which invested heavily in the expansion of these militias, whose raiding parties seized civilian men, women, and children and kept them in servitude.

Rather than ameliorating slavery, the advent of highly publicized slave redemption schemes by evangelical Christian organizations—led by the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International—has actually heightened ethnic and religious tensions and made slavery more profitable for the captors. For this reason, UN organizations, aid agencies, and many human rights groups criticize these buybacks as doing more harm than good. They argue that only disarming the militias and negotiating durable peace agreements among the conflicting communities can solve this problem.