Human Rights Action
United States
The Baltimore Sun
In Whose Interest?
Defending the Sudan Government


Pragmatists and Hardliners
Khartoum Investigates
Shifting the blame

'The government has been unable with its limited wealth and law enforcement resources to eliminate all instances of rural abductions and ransoms stemming from tribal conflicts. Human rights in war zones and areas outside government control are not fully respected...' - Mahdi lbrahim Mohamed, Sudan's Ambassador to the United States, August 1996 Top


There are differing views within the government as to how to respond to the claims regarding slavery. A few individual members of the regime, notably from the minorities affected by slaving, have discreetly attempted to assist in the retrieval of captives and the elimination of the practice; pragmatists in the Ministry of External Relations realise, at the very least, that slavery is bad for Sudan's already tarnished international image. Members of the National Assembly's committee for human rights, including Angelo Beda, Fathi Khalil and an army officer, visited Southern Darfur in February 1996 to investigate reports of slavery. Top

Local authorities in ad-Da'ein in Southern Darfur are understood to have ordered the release of dozens of Dinka children who had been brought to the town and outlying villages by the men who had captured them from around Aweil, in Bahr al-Ghazal region, in early 1996. The move is attributed to "international pressure". Top

The official government line combines denial of the existence of slavery with emollient offers to investigate the matter with the help of [selected] international organisations. Some members of the regime are particularly robust in rejecting the allegations outright, while the more subtle political operators aim to inject the right note of concern.

Southern opponents, among others, say that key government officials are too closely linked to the paramilitary forces to be willing to seek the active elimination of slavery.Top