[Stop-traffic] News/Sudan: Bashir denies existence of slavery in Sudan

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Sudan: Bashir denies existence of slavery in Sudan
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 10:12:09 EDT


                   Bashir denies existence of slavery in Sudan

RTw 10-11-00 1:32 PM

Reuters Ltd.

     KHARTOUM, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
denied the existence of any form of slavery in Sudan, the privately-owned
al-Rai al-Aam newspaper said on Wednesday.
      "President Omar Bashir reaffirmed the commitment of Sudan to laws and
rules respecting human rights and he denied the existence of any form of
slavery in the land," it said.
      The newspaper quoted Bashir as saying this to a visiting U.S.
delegation headed by Martin Luther King Junior, the son of the late black
U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
      Bashir said those who are accusing Sudan of slavery want to distort
the country's image in the eyes of international public opinion.
      "The United States would continue its direct contacts and dialogue
with Sudan to remove misunderstanding and to take part in bringing peace,"
it quoted King as saying.
      Sudan has been waging a 17-year-old civil war that human rights groups
charge involves indiscriminate bombing, starvation, slavery and forced
conversions against the country's predominantly black African southerners,
who are largely Christian or followers of African religions.
      On Tuesday, the United States blocked the election of Sudan to the
prestigious U.N. Security Council, citing Khartoum's alleged involvement in
terrorism and poor human rights record.
      Sudan was the candidate of the African group for an African seat next
year on the council, the U.N.'s top decision-making body responsible for
international peace and security.
      Human rights groups have consistently accused Bashir's Islamist
government of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, especially the
re-emergence of cases of slavery.
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