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Sudanese President expected at the Vatican

Pope Benedict must not give the Sudanese genocide regime moral support!

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, 10. September 2007

The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) has registered with horror the fact that Pope Benedict is going to receive the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir on Thursday. "If the Catholic Church is serious about its concern for human rights and justice there should be no room at the Vatican for a ruler by force like Bashir", said the GfbV on Monday. The dictator should not be given any moral support for he has made himself guilty of the most serious crimes against humanity: he is guilty of the genocide against several million people in South Sudan, in the Nuba mountains and in Darfur.

There will be in the opinion of the GfbV no positive impulses for the peace process in Sudan and for the dialogue between Muslims and Christians as a result of the meeting with the Pope. For Bashir has even issued "fatwas" against Muslim critics in the Nuba mountains who criticise his regime. He misuses religion to secure his own position of power. Bashir is not concerned with peace, but with the international acceptance of his regime of terror, under which Christians and Muslims suffer equally. No Sudanese head of state has arrested an tortured more bishops, priests and faithful than Bashir, said the GfbV Arfica correspondent, Ulrich Delius. He also stirs up feeling in the government-controlled media against Christian aid organisations, charging them with organising missions, sedition and espionage.

"A reception at the Vatican will certainly not only be felt by the survivors of the genocide as contempt for the Christian and Muslim victims of genocide", said Delius. This is also a disappointing signal for the countless Catholic Christians who are working throughout the world for justice and an end of impunity. Bashir is thwarting all attempts to bring to justice at the International Court of Justice those responsible for the genocide in Darfur. The GfbV called Bashir's latest decision "outright impudence". This was to nominate the Sudanese Minister Ahmed Haroun chairperson of a committee to investigate the violations of human rights in Darfur. Haroun is wanted by the International Court of Justice for his part in the crimes in Darfur.

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