Hundreds of Sudanese personalities, political and civic actors sign a petition condemning the Heiban Massacre
The Massacre of the Children of Heiban: Make it the Last Crime of the Sudanese Government’s Aerial Bombardments
13 May 2016
We the undersigned – individuals, public figures, civil and political organizations – are horrified by the sight of the torn bodies of the children of Heiban Locality in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains. These children were killed on 1st May 2016 by an aerial bombardment conducted by the Government of Sudan.
Photos have been widely disseminated of the 6 massacred children (including three children from one family). They are: (Kuku Dawli – 4 years , Yousif Yakgoub – 4 years, Jehan Abdelrahman Ibrahim – 5 years, Hafiz Mahmoud – 10 years, Ibrahim Abdelrahman Ibrahim – 10 years, Nidal Abdelrahman Ibrahim – 12 years).
These images will continue to blight our consciousness for years to come and shame humanity as long as the Sudanese Government persists in directing its aggressive, indiscriminate aerial weapons – including barrel and cluster bombs – at innocent civilians; children, women and the elderly.
We the undersigned, therefore urge that the killing of Heiban’s children be recognized for what it is; a serious crime in our Sudanese history, one that illustrates the horror and racism of the wars carried out by Government forces and its militias against Sudanese citizens. The Heiban killing indisputably constitutes a perpetuation of the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing that Darfur has been enduring for 13 years, and that Blue Nile, South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains have been living through for 5 years. This without any genuine will by the Government to attain a just peace and national reconciliation, end immunity for the perpetrators of these crimes, and provide accountability and justice for the survivors.
Our urgent appeal in this letter, triggered by the sight of these children, is that we start to connect nationally in a concerted effort about this and the other killings. It is particularly important amidst a media blackout and a systematic, enforced distancing and silencing of Sudanese public opinion by the Government. This has resulted in public opinion being more aligned with war victims in Palestine, Iraq and Syria than with the children in Heiban and other war zones in Sudan.
Previous expressions of condemnation have been ineffective in stopping these persistent, serious crimes by the Sudanese Government, such as: the massacre of Beja youths in Port Sudan in January 2005; the killing of citizens resisting the establishment of the Kajbar Dams in June 2007; the murder of protestors during the September 2013 uprising; and the rape of Tabet women in Darfur in October 2014. We cannot just add the Heiban killing to the dark record of other major crimes committed by the forces and militias of the Government, instead we must work continuously to bring about justice and accountability.
Finally, we the undersigned call for the reawakening of the Sudanese national consciousness and for individuals and organisations to take campaign actions in response to this crime. We call upon the regional and international actors, including the African Union and United Nations, to exert pressure on the Sudanese Government to end this violence and make Heiban the last aerial bombardment against civilians. This should pave the way for an end to the ongoing wars in Sudan and bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the country.