Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sudan: What arrest of George Clooney means for Omar al-Bashir

Hollywood superstar and activist, George Clooney, was arrested in front of the Embassy of Sudan in Washington D.C. on 16 March 2012 The arrest was not connected to possession of drugs or firearms - two common reasons why many Hollywood stars get arrested. George Clooney and other activists, including his father - Nick Clooney - were arrested protesting against human rights violations in Sudan, committed by the government of president Omar al- Bashir, a fugitive of the ICC. He is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, western Sudan.

Before the arrest, George Clooney said:
"The second thing we are here to ask is a very simple thing. It's for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them." 
 The government of Omar al-Bashir is reportedly using food as a weapon of war against civilians by stopping groups such as the UN Refugee Agency, World Food Program and the Red Cross from delivering food and medicine to people in the Nuba mountains - the border region between Sudan and South Sudan. [Source].

Government actions against civilians in Sudan include, indiscriminate bombing, destruction of livelihood and blockade of humanitarian aid. Amnesty International, a number of U.S Congressmen and other human rights organisations participated in the protest that resulted in the arrest of George Clooney. [Source].

The high profile arrest is bad news for Omar al-Bashir because, thanks to George Clooney, many more people are aware of the atrocities the Sudanese government has committed and continues to commit against a civilian population - including women and children dodging bombs in the Nuba mountains. These violations are reportedly as a result of desperate attempts to quell an armed rebellion in the region.

If the adage that "the enemy of my friend is my enemy" is true, then Omar al-Bashir has just got himself some more "enemies". This is the case because Clooney has a lot of friends (fans) around the world - many of whom will now take action with Amnesty International to help bring al-Bashir and other ICC fugitives to justice.

International law fugitives like Omar al-Bashir and Joseph Kony endanger the lives of civilians wherever they walk free.

*Photo: GPS.

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