Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bold response for Darfur

In the 20th century, the world was shocked by the genocidal murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis. Never again, was the cry that followed.

Bur decades later, rape, forced displacement, and mass murder were again used as tactics in the ethnic cleansing that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia and in the genocide of Tutsis by Hutus in Rwanda.

The atrocities continue. We are barely into the 21st century and about to enter a new year with a man-made disaster in Darfur, Sudan.

A conflict in Darfur has left more than 200,000 people dead in a span of three years. The Arab-centric, Muslim Sudanese government and an associated militia have targeted black African civilians and specific ethnic groups from which longstanding rebel movements draw their support.

The Sudanese government has resisted a U.N. push for 20,000 peacekeepers and instead, is warming up to a U.N.-backed African Union. In the latter case, the U.N. would only be allowed to supply technical support to an ill-equipped African Union that has, so far, failed to stop the killings in Darfur. Read more >>>

AU: Sudan bombs the people of Darfur

Sudan has bombed Darfur rebel areas, a day after African Union officials visited the insurgents and secured their commitment to a ceasefire, an AU statement said on Sunday.

Luke Aprezi commands a 7,000-strong African Union force in Darfur which, hampered by lack of equipment and funds, has struggled to stem the violence in remote west Sudan. The fighting has driven 2.5 million people from their homes and killed an estimated 200,000.

"For the first time I visited them (rebels) in the field in Um Rai (North Darfur) ... and I was able to get a ceasefire commitment from them," Aprezi told Reuters. The meeting was held two days ago and he notified the government of it, he said.

"Unfortunately (Sudan's army) went and bombed the area and it looks like I led them to the area to get bombed," he said. Read more >>>

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't forget Darfur

By: Paul Klaus

It is Christmas time. How lucky we are to be in the United States. There are still needy here and we have drives for food, money and clothing going on now.

But there is still much evil and ignorance in the world. The greatest example is not Iraq; it is Darfur.

Darfur is an area of Sudan where ethnic and religious "cleansing" has been going on for more than three years. It is genocide.

In 2003, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir moved to crush any opposition by unleashing vicious armed militias to slaughter entire villages of its own citizens in the Darfur region. The U.N., NATO and the U.S. have tried to appeal and intervene without invading. (Of course, they have no oil, so the motivation is not there.)

So far more than 400,000 innocent men, women and children have been killed and 2.5 million (about the total population of the metro St Louis area) have been driven from their homes. Read more >>>

Violence, Death Stalk Women in Darfur

By Cole Mallard

In Darfur, violence and death continue to be the norm. And that was the reason for a recent demonstration at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, one of more than 40 events held around the world to observe what was called “A Global Day of Action for Darfur.” The protest was designed to “raise the alarm” about genocide. Read more >>>

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sudan says no to peacekeeping force in Darfur

Sudan has rejected a plea by departing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a hybrid U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Annan, in a final appearance before the Security Council, urged envoys to keep pressure on Khartoum to accept a blue-helmeted peacekeeping mission.

Sudanese U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Wednesday poured cold water on Secretary General Annan's hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough in his last days in office.

Earlier, Mr. Annan briefed the council on a letter he received from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accepting a three-phase approach for ending the violence in Darfur. The secretary-general said he was encouraged that the three-phase plan would end with deployment of a hybrid U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

The Security Council has authorized a 22,000-strong blue-helmeted force to replace a badly understaffed 7,000 troops in the A.U. mission.

But Ambassador Abdalhaleem said flatly Sudan would not accept U.N. peacekeepers.

He said 'There is no blue helmet peacekeepers in Darfur. There is support, logistical support staff by the United Nations, wearing their own helmets. But they are not going to engage in peacekeeping activities.' Read more >>>

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Darfur: Violence displaces more civilians in Darfur


A village destroyed by militias during a past raid

Thousands of people have gone into hiding in hills near the North Darfur village of Abu Sakin after Arab militias continued their destructive rampage across parts of the western Sudanese region, aid workers said.

A United Nations assessment mission on Saturday found the village of Abu Sakin completely deserted and looted. More than 50 houses had been burnt to the ground to discourage the villagers from returning there. Read more >>>

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Darfur: The hidden holocaust continues


Ben Macintyre in Khartoum

Atrocities in Darfur have forced more than two million people from their homes, but the Red Cross maintains that the hidden holocaust can be halted with foreign aid and the determination of refugees

Deep in the arid deserts of Darfur, the hidden holocaust continues. This man-made humanitarian disaster is largely invisible because the Sudanese Government has banned journalists from the region; it is, as yet, unstoppable, because Khartoum has refused to allow in UN peacekeepers; its scale is virtually incalculable, with estimates of the dead ranging from 200,000 to double that number, and more than two million forced from their homes.
But the horror of Darfur is not untreatable. Read more >>>

U.S. must take role in salvaging Darfur

Despite the news last week that the African Union will remain in Darfur, the world holds its breath as the Sudanese government escalates its military offensive there.

Hope for Darfur rests on the implementation of the United Nations resolution authorizing a U.N. peacekeeping force with a mandate to protect civilians. Yet the Sudanese government continues to veto the international responsibility to protect, denying consent for the deployment of peacekeepers.

The linchpin to break the deadlock on Darfur continues to be the United States, which has special leverage with all stakeholders.

While President Bush has been on record in support of a U.N. intervention, the United States has failed to do the required diplomatic heavy lifting. Rhetoric won't change the reality >>> Read more >>>

Monday, December 25, 2006

'Hotel Rwanda' star shines light on Darfur

BY TINA DAUNT

The call came shortly after Don Cheadle caught the attention of the world with his Oscar-nominated performance in the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who serves on the House's Africa subcommittee, saw the movie about the Rwandan genocide and wanted to tell the actor that something similar was happening in the Darfur region of Sudan.

''He said that he believed the film had similar echoes and resonance to what was happening in Darfur,'' recalled Cheadle, in a recent interview at the United Nations, where he and fellow actor George Clooney were lobbying on behalf of the war-torn region of Africa. Read more >>>

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Darfur Humanitarian Operations Now in "Meltdown" Phase

By: Eric Reeves

Relief work in Eastern Chad is also experiencing what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres calls a “meltdown”; the international response continues to be a dilatory and disingenuous charade with Khartoum’s génocidaires about a “peacekeeping” force

The security crisis confronting humanitarian operations in Darfur and eastern Chad has deepened dangerously in the past several weeks. A new level of violence and brazen attacks on aid workers has produced large-scale evacuations of many hundreds of personnel, both Sudanese and expatriate. Complete lawlessness is rampant. Perhaps only half of Darfur has any humanitarian access, and much of this is highly compromised by the difficulty of overland transport.

Virtually the same conditions of extreme insecurity prevail in eastern Chad, where some 500,000 conflict-affected persons also face a severe attenuation of humanitarian access. A conflict-affected population of some 4.5 million human beings in the greater humanitarian theater has now been reduced to watching helplessly as aid operations---even the most critical---are suspended or halted altogether. A series of extended confidential conversations with senior officials, representing a range of humanitarian organizations on the ground in Darfur, makes clear that despite the courage and commitment that presently sustain relief efforts, the possibility of wholesale evacuations is perilously close.

If humanitarian organizations do withdraw entirely, or are continually more restricted in their movements, there will be no witnesses to the next act of genocidal destruction: the assault upon or bulldozing of Darfur’s camps for the displaced. Read more >>>

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Darfur refugees beg U.N. to protect them

Cross-border raids have killed hundreds of people who have fled into Chad

GOZ AMER, Chad - Thousands of people who fled to Chad from Sudan’s Darfur region pleaded with the U.N.’s top refugee official on Friday to either move them or protect them against cross-border raids which have killed hundreds.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres visited the Goz Amer refugee camp near Koukou Angarana, close to the border with Darfur, where Arab raiders attacked two villages last weekend, killing Sudanese refugees and Chadian civilians.

“When we see these villages, burned last week with 40 people killed and now 90,000 Chadians displaced, one can understand the huge security problem,” Guterres said, referring to the total number of people uprooted over the past year. Read more >>>

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Darfur genocide to spread

By: MIKE BLANCHFIELD

The genocide in Darfur is "just waiting to explode" across its international border with neighbouring Chad, so the world should do more to at least contain the crisis, says Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire.

The retired general and head of an all-party committee of MPs and senators on genocide prevention also urged the Harper government to take an active international role in pressuring Sudan to accept a UN-sanctioned protection force, and called on the government to contribute hundreds of millions more dollars in aid. Read more >>>

Speak out on Darfur

Should the U.S. come to the rescue in this genocide?

Trying to find out how many people have been killed in Darfur during the last three and one-half years is as frustrating as trying to figure out why the rest of the world does almost nothing while the genocide continues.
Some sources say as many as 450,000 have been slaughtered and 2.5 million have been made homeless.

Unlike an earlier civil war in the Sudan, which pitted Muslims against Christians and Animists, this war is between Muslim Arabs and Muslim Africans. Marauding bands of Janjaweed militias, supplied by the Sudanese government, level Darfur villages, killing, raping and pillaging villagers without mercy. Read more >>>

Do something about Darfur

By ANDREW LONDRE

In just three years, 400,000 are dead and upwards of 2 million innocent Sudanese have been forced from their homes. More than 3.5 million men, woman and children, wholly rely on international aid to survive.

Peace-agreements ignored, displacement, starvation, rape, and slaughter … genocide.

And what do we do? We say, “Oh that’s so awful.” and continue eating our supper believing our denial of the problem will make it go away.

“Out of sight, Out of mind. Read more >>>

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Darfur: Families continue to experience violence in Darfur

Hopes that the signing of a Darfur peace agreement in May 2006 would help settle one of the world's worst humanitarian crises have been dashed. Instead, the situation in Darfur has deteriorated steadily.

Since July 2004, CWS has supported the work of the Action by Churches Together (ACT)-Caritas coalition, a joint ecumenical operation that combines the efforts of more than 60 organizations in responding to needs in Darfur.

Successful CWS-supported efforts in the last three years include: construction or rehabilitation of 22 clinics and two rural hospitals (all providing mother and child health care), 240 wells, and 34 schools; delivery of non-food packages to over 65,000 households; supplementary feeding for children and pregnant or lactating mothers; and psychosocial and counseling programs.

In 2007, CWS will be helping ACT to assist displaced families in a number of ways, including constructing 82 new water points and rehabilitating and maintaining others; constructing 1,150 latrines and rehabilitating 2,025 others; and mobilizing communities to manage their own environment and sanitation. Read more >>>

Darfur: Genocide without borders

As anarchy spreads, rampaging militias bring death and carnage to refugees in neighbouring Chad. An exclusive dispatch by Peter Boehm

The village is still smouldering. A girl combs through the remains of a burnt-down hut with her bare hands, trying to salvage knife blades and rakes that were not consumed by the fire. Two women, with tears in their eyes, have broken down in front of a pile of ash, wailing violently.

A band of youths is patrolling the ruins near Koukou-Angarana, bows and arrows slung over their shoulders, boomerangs and knives at the ready. But their decision to form a self-defence group has come too late. The Arab horsemen who swept through the village on their bloody rampage have long since vanished.

It is a tragically familiar scene in Darfur, the province of western Sudan where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least two million brutally forced from their homes - a genocide unleashed and sustained by the Islamist government in Khartoum - but this man-made inferno now sweeping across the plains is taking place across the Sudanese border in Chad. The pattern is identical to events in Darfur, where the well-armed Arab raiders allied to the Sudanese government set villages ablaze, rape the women, and leave a trail of dead black Africans in their wake. Just as in Darfur, the Sudanese government is being accused of being behind the violence in Chad, an accusation which is rejected by Khartoum. Read more >>>

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

“The Genocide Olympics”

By: Eric Reeves
Holding China accountable for complicity in Darfur's ongoing genocidal destruction

The Washington Post asks on its editorial page of December 14, 2006 whether the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing will be remembered as the “Genocide Olympics.” Given China’s unstinting diplomatic support for Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime, during the entire course of the Darfur genocide (as well as during genocidal destruction in the oil regions of southern Sudan), this seems a perfectly reasonable question.

China abstained in the vote on UN Security Council Resolution 1706 (authorizing a robust UN peace support operation to Darfur), thus weakening significantly the international consensus essential on this key occasion. China has all along publicly insisted that any deployment of forces to halt genocide in Darfur must have the permission of Khartoum’s génocidaires. China has also signaled that it won’t support any subsequent UN Security Council Resolution with Chapter VII (enforcement) authority. China continues to profit as a primary weapons supplier to the Khartoum regime, knowing full well how weapons of Chinese manufacture will be used and distributed in Darfur. Read more >>>

Activist calls on Americans to stop slaughter in Darfur

By MICHELLE L. QUINN

Matthew Emry has been in a lot of war-torn countries, but none have been quite as brutal as Darfur, Sudan.

It's hotter than anyone can imagine and the tension is so palpable as to defy description. And it's the only place he's ever worked where people hurt other people with wanton abandon.

None of those conditions are an excuse to ignore the Darfur genocide any longer, Emry told a group of 180 at Purdue University Calumet Monday night. The campus hosted Emry, senior program officer for the American Jewish World Service, and Scott LeFevre, a country representative with Catholic Relief Services, as part of a program it held with The Jewish Federation, Calumet College and The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary. Read more >>>

Darfur: Severe insecurity threatens humanitarian access in Darfur

Despite weeks of intense diplomatic wrangling over Darfur, the likelihood of an urgently needed political resolution to the crisis continues to seem remote.

Recent developments are unlikely to reassure the four million people affected by the conflict in Sudan's war-torn region that an end to their suffering is in sight. Violence is escalating in Darfur with all parties persistently violating Darfur Peace Agreement or N'djamena ceasefire provisions. The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Darfur has prohibited aid agencies from reaching hundreds of thousands of those worst affected, hampering the distribution of food and the provision of other basic services. Read more >>>

Monday, December 18, 2006

ICC prepared for Darfur prosecutions

By Caroline Tosh for IWPR

Prosecutor says he could bring charges of persecution, torture, murder and rape.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) says he has evidence to prove crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed in Darfur.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council on 14 December that his office was nearing the end of its investigation in the war-torn region and has found “sufficient evidence to identify those who bear the greatest responsibility for some of the worst crimes in Darfur.”

“The evidence [gathered] provides reasonable grounds to believe that individuals identified have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the crimes of persecution, torture, murder and rape,” said Moreno-Ocampo.

The chief prosecutor also said that Sudanese judicial proceedings - including signs that Khartoum had arrested 14 war crimes suspects – “did not render the case inadmissible” before the ICC. Read more >>>

Darfur: New violence threatens world's largest aid response

Nearly half a million people have less access to humanitarian assistance as a result of increasing military activity, banditry and direct violence against aid workers in early December. The insecurity led to 250 humanitarian staff - from key locations across Darfur serving some 480,000 people - being temporarily evacuated. Aid workers are facing unprecedented difficulties at a time when humanitarian needs are rising fast, said a group of leading international aid agencies working in the conflict-stricken region.

The agencies - Concern Worldwide, Goal, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam International and World Vision - demanded: All parties must urgently agree - and maintain - a ceasefire with immediate effect. They must ensure that aid workers are able to reach people in need.

"If the deterioration is allowed to continue, the impact on civilians could be devastating. With new displacements and attacks, the presence of aid agencies is more important than ever. Yet every day brings one huge blow after another to aid efforts," said Paul Smith-Lomas, Regional Director for Oxfam. Read more >>>

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Darfur: Women facing mental-health problems

NAIROBI
(IRIN) - A significant number of displaced women in South Darfur, western Sudan, suffer from depression and experience suicidal thoughts because of largely unaddressed mental-health problems, according to a study by the International Medical Corps (IMC).

Solomon Kebede, IMC country director in Darfur, told IRIN on Friday the study was conducted in the field two years ago, but the situation had since deteriorated further. "We are looking for funds to update [the study] because the situation is now worse than it was at that time," he added. Read more >>>

Horrific trip into Chad's massacre

By RICH SCHAPIRO

Since 2003, more than 200,000 people have been killed and another 2 million forced from their homes in Darfur, an area in western Sudan that is over two-thirds the size of Texas. With the backing of the Sudanese government, Arab militias known as the Janjaweed have subjected black Africans to a systematic campaign of rape, murder and displacement. Daily News reporter Rich Schapiro and photographer Robert Sabo went to Darfur and neighboring Chad to get a firsthand look at the escalating disaster.

GOZ BEIDA, Chad - Before we saw them, we had been driving for three long hours along a narrow path past rocks and thorn trees.

And then, there they were: plumes of smoke billowing high in the air from a village only 2 miles away.

We knew it was the work of the Janjaweed, the Arab militiamen who travel atop horses and camels. They are known in this rapidly unraveling region in central Africa as "devils on horseback." Read more >>>

Saturday, December 16, 2006

AU blames Khartoum for worsening Darfur situation

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union (AU) on Saturday said the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region was worsening due to the return of re-armed Janjaweed militia and Khartoum's resolve to use military force.

Sudan faces possible sanctions by the United States and its allies if it does not allow international peacekeepers in to support AU forces in Darfur where nearly four years of fighting have killed more than 200,000 people.

"The security situation in Darfur is fast deteriorating mainly because of the re-emergence of Janjaweed militias," said an AU communique issued at the end of a meeting on Darfur.

"(They) seem to have been supplied and rearmed and have been carrying out nefarious activities with impunity in parts of Darfur, particularly in areas controlled by the government of Sudan." Read more >>>

Aid workers quit Darfur violence


Sharply deteriorating security in the Darfur region of Sudan has led to the withdrawal of 250 relief workers.
Aid workers face "unprecedented difficulties" because of military activity and direct violence against them, a statement by six agencies says.

They said the withdrawal of staff affects the provision of aid to nearly 500,000 displaced people in Darfur. Read more >>>

Aid workers pull out of Darfur

London -
Aid agencies have pulled more than 250 workers out of Sudan's war-torn Darfur region due to security fears, threatening humanitarian supplies to 500 000 people, the groups have warned.

They said Oxfam International, Norwegian Refugee Council, Goal and other agencies had "temporarily evacuated" the workers a result of increasing military activity, banditry and direct violence against aid workers.

According to the group that also included Concern Worldwide, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and World Vision: "Aid workers are facing unprecedented difficulties at a time when humanitarian needs are rising fast."

It called on the Sudanese government and rebel groups to urgently agree on a cease-fire with immediate effect.

'Every day brings one huge blow'

Paul Smith-Lomas, regional director for Oxfam, which distributed the statement, said: "If the deterioration is allowed to continue, the impact on civilians could be devastating.

"With new displacements and attacks, the presence of aid agencies is more important than ever. Yet every day brings one huge blow after another to aid efforts." Read more >>>

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Darfur: Civilian Destruction Accelerates, International Failure Keeps Pace

By: Eric Reeves

The US attempts to bluff Khartoum’s génocidaires with “Plan B”; Kofi Annan seeks to burnish his legacy after complicity in another genocide; the European Union and Canada offer nothing but more bluster; the Arab League continues its mendacious ways; the African Union is a shambles

Full-scale humanitarian collapse in Darfur looms ever closer, even as the violence that will occasion this collapse relentlessly increases. Hundreds of humanitarian workers have been evacuated in recent weeks from North Darfur and eastern Chad. In turn, violence will continue to accelerate as long as the Khartoum regime succeeds in preserving the demoralized and ineffectual African Union force in Darfur as the only source of security for more than 4 million civilians, as well as the vast humanitarian operations upon which they now increasingly depend. Read more >>>

U.S. special envoy heads to Brussels to talk Darfur

The U.S. special envoy to Sudan was en route to Brussels to discuss the crisis in Darfur with top European Union and NATO officials, the State Department said on Thursday.

Andrew Natsios, who was in Sudan this week, earlier canceled a trip to Chad amid fighting between the government and rebel groups. He had hoped to go to camps housing Darfur refugees there.

He had been expected to go to London after Chad but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Natsios would now go to Brussels to see European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

NATO plays a logistical role in Darfur, supporting African Union troops there.
Asked whether Natsios would ask NATO to enforce a no-fly zone in Darfur, McCormack said: "Not that I am aware of."

Britain's Tony Blair has said his country would support a no-fly zone in Darfur as part of a sanctions package against Sudan if it continues to resist allowing an international force into Darfur.

The United States is also considering a range of options, including a no-fly zone, if Sudan does not agree to a force by January 1.

In Brussels, an EU official said the discussion on Darfur would partly depend on the stance taken by EU countries at a summit on Thursday and Friday where Darfur is being discussed.

Sudan has so far refused to allow an international force to go to Darfur to end three years of fighting there that has killed more than 200,000 people. Read more >>>

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Weapons of Mass Displacement in Sudan

By Charlotte Brudenell, ACT-Caritas

Otash camp, South Darfur, Sudan -- The heart sinks as the brain tries to make sense of the scene presented by the eyes. This is a strange field--bamboo canes and sticks covered with an amalgamation of pieces of plastic sheeting, matting, sacks, and cloth. These semi-circular and square mounds, just big enough for a few people to shelter inside, are refuge for thousands of people.

Over the past two months, more than 10,000 people have arrived in Otash camp, fleeing attacks on their homes in the Tulus and Buram localities in Sudans South Darfur province.
"At 6 oclock on the morning of the 30th of August, 100 uniformed, armed men, riding camels and horses and some driving cars with big guns in the back, attacked our village," says Sherif*, recounting a sequence of events that is all too familiar in the Darfur conflict.
"The attackers stole all the assets in our houses, he continues. And if they found any man, they would shoot him directly," adds his cousin, Adam*. Read more >>>

Food, Basic Aid Not Reaching Darfur

Alfred de Montesquiou

Food and other basic relief is not reaching thousands in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, despite what the United Nations calls the world's biggest humanitarian effort.
Food and other basic relief is not reaching thousands in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, despite what the United Nations calls the world's biggest humanitarian effort.

Over a dozen aid workers have also been slain in recent months, and spiraling violence has forced many to pull out. Seventy-four World Food Program vehicles have been attacked and one driver has been killed since a peace treaty was signed in May between Khartoum and one of several rebel factions in Darfur. Other rebels rejected the deal.
Violence has been increasing and last month, in the worst looting yet, Arab tribal fighters known as janjaweed ripped apart a WFP warehouse and took 800 tons of food in the rebel stronghold of Bir Maza as government forces assaulted the town. Read more >>>

Vatican official: World has not been effective in helping Darfur

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- The international community has failed to act effectively in putting an end to the tragic conflict and "horrific violation of human rights" taking place in the Darfur region of western Sudan, a Vatican official said.

The "killing of children, sexual abuse and rape of girls and women, forced uprooting of (the) population, burning of villages, attacks on internally-displaced-people camps, targeting of unarmed civilians" are all part of the human and environmental disaster continuing to unfold in the region, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi. Read more >>>

Darfur catastrophe unfolds daily

By John Boileau

Thousands die as the world dithers and the Sudanese government obstructs
A human catastrophe of epic proportions is unfolding in the countries bordering the Horn of Africa. At its centre is the semi-arid western Sudanese province of Darfur - a region roughly the size and shape of Manitoba.

The United Nations describes Darfur as "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."

The deaths happening daily in that impoverished part of the world exceed the bloodshed in Afghanistan, the Balkans or Iraq, and might even match the horrific Rwandan genocide. Read more >>>

Blair moots Darfur no-fly zone

LONDON - Britain would agree to a no-fly zone over Sudan's Darfur region as part of a U.N. sanctioned "Plan B" to halt violence and a humanitarian crisis in the African state, Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Blair's spokesman quoted comments made by him during a visit to Washington last week, in which the prime minister said the option of a no-fly zone to help the people of Darfur should be considered as part of possible sanctions against the Sudanese government if it did not agree to a U.N. peace plan.

"If, in the next weeks and next couple of months or so the Sudanese government are not prepared to agree to the U.N. plan, then we've got to move to sanctions and we've got to move to tougher action," Blair said, according to the transcript.

"I think we should certainly consider the option of a no-fly zone to help people in Darfur, because it's a very, very serious situation and it's now spilling into other countries next door." Read more >>>

Darfur Demands Sanctions, Not Words

(Brussels) European Union leaders should support tough new action against top Sudanese leaders for their failure to end abuses in Darfur, the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch said today in advance of the EU summit on 14-15 December. "Millions of civilians are paying the price for nearly four years of unkept promises and empty commitments," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "With Khartoum having long learned that the global response is all bark and no bite, the situation is again predictably deteriorating ? and spreading across neighboring borders."

"Bashir has just been laughing at the 'do this or else' resolutions passed by the UN Security Council so far," said Gareth Evans, president of the International Crisis Group. "It's time for the screws to be tightened on Khartoum, to change his cost-benefit calculations." Read more >>>

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Red Cross Leaves Darfur Region after Attack

By Noel King
Khartoum
In another blow to emergency aid operations in Sudan's embattled Darfur region, the International Committee of the Red Cross says it has been forced to evacuate staff from the town of Kutum in northern Darfur due to insecurity. Noel King reports for VOA from Khartoum.

The ICRC says it has withdrawn staff from the volatile town of Kutum in northern Darfur, following a bold early Friday attack by unknown gunmen on the staff residence. Read more >>>

Arab Raiders Gone Wild

Having run out of things to steal in Darfur, the pro-government Arab tribesmen are increasingly raiding across the border into Chad and the Central African Republic. Inside Darfur, the Arab marauders have become increasingly bold and ruthless.

UN aid officials, and the relief goods they control, are increasingly subject to attack, and theft. The UN, the rest of Africa and the West, continue to talk of military intervention, but they are stopped by the Arab world, which considers the pro-Arab Sudan government innocent of any crimes, and merely trying to defend itself from foreign intervention. Read more >>>

AU Peacekeepers kill 3 refugees in Darfur

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU Associated Press Writer

KHARTOUM, Sudan — African Union peacekeepers killed three Darfur refugees during a demonstration, the first civilian deaths at the hands of the force and a sign of further deterioration in the conflict, a U.N. official said Monday.

The refugees were protesting Sunday at the peacekeepers' base in El Geneina, a town near Sudan's border with Chad. The demonstrators were relatives of 30 civilians who were executed by pro-government janjaweed fighters Saturday and they were protesting against what they say is the peacekeepers' failure to protect them.

A U.N. official said the peacekeepers opened fire on the protesters when they threatened the base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Read more >>>

Friday, December 08, 2006

Globe for Darfur Day, Dec 10th, 2006.

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

What: Demonstration
Where: at Grote kerk, the city of Dordrecht
When: 15:00 to 15:55 CET
Organizer: Darfur Call

Further information:
www.darfurcall.org , e-mail: contact@darfurcall.org
Tell: Ahmed +31 642330058 / Abdelhadi +31 640805797

About: Darfur Call will hold a demonstration on Sunday Dec 10th, 2006.
The Demonstration will assemble at Grore kerk in Dordrecht to denounce the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in Darfur and to show solidarity with the women and girls of Darfur. This demonstration is a part of global call on December 10th, Human Rights Day. For more information go to: www.globefordarfur.org

In the meantime, the participants of Sudan Freedom Walk, which starts on Dec 8th from Brussels on their way to The Hague, will join Day for Darfur on the same day.

Similarly, Amnesty International, stichting Vluchteling, Pax Christi & Darfur Call will send an open letter to embassies of The republic of China, Russian Federation and the Sudan. Broad media coverage will be placed on NRC news paper in relation to Globe for Darfur Day, aiming at the pending EU summit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kenyans Protest Rape, Sexual Violence in Darfur

Nairobi,

Hundreds of Kenyans marched in the streets of Nairobi, calling for the end of rapes and other abuses being committed against girls and women in Darfur. The march is one of several events planned worldwide through Sunday to call for an end to violence in the war-torn region of western Sudan. Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.

Kenyan women, and a small number of men and Sudanese women donned red T-shirts with the inscription “Stop Rape in Darfur.” They also carried banners denouncing rape in the volatile region, calling it a war crime.

The program manager of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Therese Niyondiko, explains to VOA the purpose of the march, which ended at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We are asking the African governments or international community, especially Kenya, to do whatever under their power to influence the government of Sudan to protect civilians in Darfur, and especially Darfurian women who are suffering from sexual violence and rape,” she said.

Groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have extensively documented the problem of rape allegedly perpetrated mostly by Sudanese security forces and a militia called janjaweed, which is said to be supported by the Sudanese government.

The groups note with alarm that rapes and other sexual violence committed against tens of thousands of Darfurian women since the conflict flared up in 2003 is part of a plan of ethnic cleansing of the region by the government.

In one camp near the South Darfur town of Nyala, the International Rescue Committee recorded more than 200 sexual assaults among residents during five weeks in July and August of this year.

Doctors Without Borders estimates 82 percent of rapes occur when women and girls leave their camps to search for firewood. Read more >>>

UN evacuates staff from North Darfur


Elsa McLaren and agencies

The United Nations has airlifted its non-essential staff out of El Fasher in north Darfur as tensions between militias and rebel fighters worsen.

The UN said that it was prepared to make further evacuations if the risk of fighting between Janjawid militias and rebel fighters grew. It follows a warning from the African Union that rebel groups could attack the capital city within 24 hours.

"The rationale behind the decision is the heightened security concerns we have as a result of the increased presence of the Janjawid in the town of El Fasher and other armed groups in the area," Radhia Achouri, UN spokeswoman in Sudan, told Reuters. Read more >>>

Pro-government militia kill students in North Darfur capital as U.N. evacuates personnel

KHARTOUM, Sudan: Pro-government janjaweed militiamen killed three students in one of Darfur's main towns, where the situation was highly volatile Wednesday, as rebels massed outide the town shaken by protests and riots, a U.N. official in Darfur said.

A coalition of Darfur rebels warned Tuesday it could attack El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur province, to protect the population from the janjaweed militia that looted the town's main market a day earlier. A U.N. official said the rebels were gathered about 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside El Fasher.

"That they take the town is highly unlikely, but we're preparing for the possibility of a quick raid," said the official on the telephone. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Read more >>>

Religious leaders urge weekend of prayer for Darfur

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Religious leaders in the Save Darfur Coalition urged prayer the weekend of Dec. 9-10 to call attention to the ongoing atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

"Nobody knows the exact number" of those killed in the conflict, said David Rubenstein, executive director of the coalition, although he estimated 400,000 have died in the violence.

"There are people dying every day, and at risk of death every day," Rubenstein said during a Dec. 5 conference call with reporters. "They are being burned from their homes and villages."

"Mostly, what they need is security," said Rubenstein, adding that "3.5 million people in toto have been affected by this conflict, and the systems of survival have shut down."

In a related matter, 78 religious organizations, including five Catholic groups, signed a full-page ad in the Dec. 5 issue of USA Today issuing a "call to your conscience" on Darfur. Catholic signers were the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Pax Christi USA and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.

"Untold thousands" have been "raped, tortured and terrorized," said the ad, which asked readers to "dedicate a sermon, observe a moment of silence or say a prayer. ... Together, we can make a difference." Read more >>>

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

By: Eric Reeves
Humanitarian Assistance in Darfur and Eastern Chad is Rapidly Collapsing
Khartoum, having secured the security status quo in “negotiations” with the UN and African Union, has returned to its genocidal onslaught

vacuations of humanitarian personnel have in recent days accelerated dramatically in both North Darfur and eastern Chad. Today over 100 international aid workers, primarily non-essential staff, were evacuated from el-Fasher, capital of North Darfur. This comes in the wake of armed incursions into the town by Khartoum-supported Janjaweed militia forces, which have for three days engaged in looting and assaults on the town’s markets and civilians. According to first-hand reports from the ground, as many as 1,000 Janjaweed remain in el-Fasher at this hour.

Heavy gunfire was reported this evening (local time) from the ground in el-Fasher. The rebel forces of the National Redemption Front (NRF), including the SLA/Group 19, are concentrated some 25 kilometers outside el-Fasher, poised to attack if Khartoum does not halt the murderous Janjaweed rampage. The unconstrained predations by the Janjaweed have brought even the forces of SLA/Minni Minawi to the brink of withdrawing from the Darfur Peace Agreement and re-joining the rebel groups that did not sign the agreement. Read more >>>

Crisis in Darfur has parallels with Rwanda, president says

LONDON: The African Union's inability to deal with the crisis in Darfur echoes the West's earlier failure to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, the small country's president said Thursday during a visit to Britain.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said he could not understand why the humanitarian disaster in the war-torn region was continuing, even though the United Nations, the African Union and Sudan itself had agreed it was serious.

"There has been a lot of dilly-dallying, a lot of sashaying, a lot of debate, similar to what happened in Rwanda," he said. "Why the Sudan, the AU and the U.N. have not decided how the intervention should be carried out raises more questions than I can answer." Read more >>>

Janjawid Attacks Biggest City in Darfur

The Janjawid armed group has attacked Al-Fashir, capital of Darfur in western Sudan, killing many civilians, the president’s chief assistant, Mani Arko Manawi, told the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Manawi, who is also leader of the former rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement, said this attack was "strange, as it occurred with the full knowledge of the security authorities and the African Union [peace keeping forces] in the city." Read more >>>

Thursday, November 30, 2006

December 10th - Human Rights Day: Protect the women of Darfur

On December 10 – Human Rights Day – people around the world will be join together to denounce the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in Darfur and to show solidarity with the women and girls of Darfur.
Events for December 10th are being planned by groups all over the world. Get in touch with us to add your event.
Please do Sound the Alarm on Darfur by adding your name to the petition , and feel free to upload a picture of yourself with a blue beret.
Find an event near you! Go to www.globefordarfur.org

Darfur tragedy

As a Native American living in the United States, I find the ongoing slaughter, rape and murder of innocent citizens in the Darfur region of Africa astonishing as well as unacceptable.

The American response to this tragedy has been slow and underwhelming. Looking back upon the history of our country, I recall a time when the world looked to the United States in times of disaster and tragedy and we responded swiftly and effectively. Read more >>>

Making a Difference: Justice in Darfur

A forum by people from Sudan and Boston who are working for peace development and freedom will be held Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3:30 p.m. at the Second Congregational Church, 485 Washington St.

"Making a Difference: Justice in Darfur" will include panelists Karen Hirschfeld, Sudan Coordinator for Physicians for Human Rights who will start the program off with an overview of the history of the region and bring us up to date on the situation there. Joining her on the panel will be Omer Ismail, a refugee from Darfur, Panther Alier, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," and Sifa Nsengimana, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Read more >>>

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New violence displaces more families and hampers relief efforts in Chad


© UNICEF video
By Jane O’Brien
NEW YORK
Escalating unrest in Chad is hampering efforts to help a quarter of a million Sudanese refugees and Chadian nationals displaced by the fighting across the region. Ethnic feuds, attacks by the Janjaweed militia and rebel activity are all contributing to worsening security in a country already suffering the fallout from the conflict in neighbouring Darfur.

An estimated 15,000 people in Chad have been forced .. Read more >>>

Waiting to stop genocide in Darfur

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

(Why is the international community - including the United Nations, European Union and the United States - waiting to stop the slaughter in Darfur? With the death toll up to 400,000, action to end this genocide is overdue. Tough sanctions should be imposed on Sudanese leaders responsible for the atrocities. The government's offshore businesses and oil industry should be targeted, too. Make the cost of mass murder outweigh the gain.

Diplomacy and patience have led to worsening violence. Short of military intervention, international pressure is the best way to compel Sudan to accept the U.N. peacekeeping force needed to protect Darfurians and curtail the spread of the conflict to other African nations. Read more >>>

Atrocities daily in Darfur -UN rights chief

By Robert Evans

GENEVA, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Atrocities are occurring daily in Sudan's Darfur region and rape and pillage directed against civilians are at "a horrific level," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Wednesday.

She told the world body's Human Rights Council that the Sudanese government and militias linked to and supported by it were "responsible for the most serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law" in Darfur. Read more >>>

Darfur: reasons for fear and hopeWhy the interest?

By ANNE APPLEBAUM
Special to The Washington Post

There was a photograph: a weeping Sudanese woman, standing before a freshly dug grave. There were statistics: 400,000 people dead, 2.5 million driven from their homes, "untold thousands" raped. There was an appeal: "Innocent civilians are being slaughtered in Darfur. You can end it," and a Web address, www.dayfordarfur.org.

"How will history judge us?" Read more >>>

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Genocide in Darfur

Darfur, a section on the western side of Sudan, is also known as a place of mass killings and rape. Genocide is happening in Darfur as you read this, but while you read this, there is something else that isn't happening.

Sufficient help and support isn't being sent to Darfur, and I feel it is overdue. Over 400,000 men, women and even children have been killed in Darfur, and it's rapidly increasing.

The U.N. won't seem to do anything about it; they feel that if we just leave it alone, it will blow over in time. Actions need to be taken to help these people. They have been forced from their homes, and now face starvation, violence and even rape. Read more >>>

More than 55,000 older people living in Darfur camps are the 'invisible vulnerable', says a new report by HelpAge International

New research by HelpAge International shows that thousands of internally displaced older people live in relief camps in Darfur without recognition or support of their needs. They face isolation and limited access to food, healthcare, and income-generating activities.

The research shows that an estimated 55,000 older people, the 'invisible vulnerable', are sidelined by most programmes and invisible to the majority of humanitarian organisations. Read more >>>

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Darfur: 'Genocide general' welcomed into UK

By: BRIAN BRADY

A SENIOR member of the Sudanese government accused of supporting ethnic cleansing in Darfur has been allowed into Britain for medical treatment twice in the last six months, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

While Tony Blair and fellow international leaders have condemned the Khartoum government for complicity in looming genocide in Darfur, its intelligence chief General Salah Abdallah has been granted two visas to enter the UK for "urgent" treatment at an exclusive private hospital in London.

Between 1990 and 1996 Abdallah, also known as Al Ghosh, was Osama Bin Laden's main escort when he lived in Sudan. Read more >>>

Darfur mass murderer: Salah Gosh

By Nigel Nelson

TONY Blair has sparked fury by TWICE allowing a suspected mass murderer into Britain.
The PM approved two entry visas in the past nine months for the hated head of Sudan's secret police.

Salah Abdallah - dubbed General Genocide - is believed to have orchestrated the massacre of 300,000 people in the Darfur region and made another two million homeless.
He allegedly led the feared janjaweed militias and may be put on a UN war crimes "wanted" list.

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "He is the intelligence chief of a uniquely evil regime. In my view he should not have been here - but now we need to know why he was."
Salah came here in March and August to see doctors and reveal information on Al-Qaida. Read more >>>

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How will history judge us?

By ANNE APPLEBAUM

There was a photograph: a weeping Sudanese woman, standing before a freshly dug grave. There were statistics: 400,000 people dead, 2.5 million driven from their homes, "untold thousands" raped. There was an appeal: "Innocent civilians are being slaughtered in Darfur. You can end it," and a Web address, www.dayfordarfur.org.

But what really made me look twice was the slogan across the top: "When all the bodies have been buried in Darfur, how will history judge us? Read more >>>

Darfur war breeds ’dirty babies’

By Ishbel Matheson

The sickly, three-month-old child, named Hawa, is the result of terrible atrocity.

When Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, came to Fatma’s home in January, they threatened to kill her father.

Fatma intervened but the gunmen turned on her.
"They said to me: ’You are a prostitute’," she says.
"They pinned me down, one on my hands and one on my legs. The others took turns."

Fatma was held for four hours and raped repeatedly.
They left her alive, but injured so badly, that she could not walk.

When her family eventually found her, they had to carry her home.

Marked for life Two months later, Fatma realised that she was pregnant. She is just 15 years old.

"At first my father wanted to throw me out. But others pleaded with him."

Her family moved to a refugee camp in the town of Kass, along with other survivors from her village.
But in this traditional society, Fatma and her baby are marked for life. The young mum tells how neighbours whisper about her.

"They say I’m a bad girl - that I had this Janjaweed baby. They say that I should be sent away," she says.

As she speaks, baby Hawa frets and cries. She is malnourished and light as a feather.
Her mother presses her to her breast, but she has no milk.
We ask an older woman who is present, to try to help us soothe the baby.
She refuses, cursing the child as if she were a bad omen.

"She is calling the baby ’a dirty girl’," says Unicef’s Eman el-Tigani.
"Fatma has no future here. Islam does not allow for a baby to be killed. Otherwise this baby would be dead."

Rape ’commonplace’

Fatma and her baby are victims of a brutal scorched-earth campaign in this remote region in western Sudan. Read more >>>

Sudanese Military Accused Of "indiscriminate" Attack On Civilians

The Sudanese army launched an attack on civilians in western Darfur earlier this month, killing 11 people and burning homes and crops, according to the results of an investigation by UN human rights observers published Friday.

The raid on Sirba on November 11 was carried out by hundreds of government soldiers acting together with Janjaweed (nomadic Arab) militia, according to eye witnesses. Read more >>>

Genocide in Darfur must be stopped

By MARILYN TOTH

As many readers are aware, for the past three years the government of Sudan has waged war on the local tribes of Darfur, killing more than 300,000, raping thousands and making 2 million of its people refugees, simply because of the color of their skin.
Looking back on the 1930s, one can see that measures to stop Hitler's genocide against Europe's Jews were often impeded because people simply could not grasp that mass murder was really going on. Such, however, is not the case with Darfur, with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush both declaring it genocide.

While there has also been a heartening, almost unprecedented citizen outcry in response to the genocide in Darfur, it is important that we move beyond words to immediate action. Read more >>>

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sudan's Darfur 'close to abyss'


Sudan's Darfur 'close to abyss'

The conflict has killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people
UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland has accused Sudan of fuelling the worsening conflict in the Darfur region.
He said the number of people in "desperate need" of aid in Darfur had risen to 4 million, compared to 1 million two years ago.

Mr Egeland said Sudan's government was obstructing international aid efforts and "arming to the teeth" Arab militias accused of attacks on Darfur villagers.

Only a "change in will" in Sudan and abroad could improve matters, he said. Read more >>>

International court prosecutor close to launching Darfur prosecutions

THE HAGUE, Netherlands:
The International Criminal Court is close to launching prosecutions against suspects believed responsible for atrocities including murder, rape and torture in Darfur, the court's chief prosecutor announced Thursday.

"Based on a careful and thorough source evaluation of all the evidence collected, we were able to identify the gravest incidents and some of those who could be considered to be the most criminally responsible," prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told a meeting of states that have ratified the Hague-based court.

Moreno-Ocampo did not name any suspects being targeted by prosecutors or identify atrocities they are alleged to have taken part in.

But he said investigators have proof of crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape, torture, deliberate attacks on civilians, persecution and forcible expulsions. Read more >>>

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mia Farrow assails 'genocidal violence'

By: GEORGE GEDDA

WASHINGTON - Actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow called Wednesday for peacekeepers to be sent immediately to halt "genocidal violence" that she said was spreading from Sudan's Darfur province into neighboring eastern Chad.

"We're seeing atrocities of an indescribable kind," said Farrow, just back from a visit to Chad after an earlier trip to Darfur.

In a telephone interview from her home in Connecticut, Farrow said 60 villages were burned to the ground, forcing thousands to flee. She said she found some people "clustered under trees, dazed and terrified." Read more >>>

Blair warns Sudan of 'tougher measures'

British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned on Wednesday that Sudan will face "tougher measures" if it fails to act on an agreement calling for a United Nations-African peacekeeping force for war-torn Darfur.

"The only solution is to make sure that the agreement ... is implemented," Blair told the House of Commons during his weekly question-and-answer session.

"If the government [of Sudan] does not seize this opportunity then we will have to look at tougher measures," Blair said. Read more >>>

Monday, November 20, 2006

Darfur: Fleeing civilians short of blankets and food

KHARTOUM, 20 November (IRIN) -

Several thousand civilians who have fled armed militia attacks in Birmaza, North Darfur State, and sought shelter in nearby hills, have no blankets or food, and only limited access to water after bombings last week targeted water points, the United Nations said.

The attacks, allegedly carried out by Janjawid militias and Sudanese armed forces on 15 and 16 November, have been described by the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) as "a flagrant violation of the security provisions" of the Darfur peace agreement. The attackers stole livestock and destroyed houses, prompted 3,000 civilians to flee.

The UN, in an update on the situation issued on Sunday, said another 5,000 civilians had fled attacks on 17 and 18 November in Jebel Mara area of West Darfur to shelter in mountains and internally displaced people (IDP) camps. Read more >>>

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Darfur children dragged from mothers and shot

By: Katharine Houreld, Tine, Darfur

WHEN the fighters came, the mothers of Jebel Maun could not protect their children. Screaming toddlers were ripped from their grasp and shot; older children who tried to save their brothers and sisters were hunted down.
“Four children escaped in a group and ran under a tree for protection. An attacker came and shot at them, killing one of the children,” said a witness in an account to United Nations staff.


Another group, aged five, seven and nine, tried to run away. The five-year-old fell down and was shot dead. Another boy stopped and told the attacker: “You killed this child. Please let me go.” It was no use. He too was killed, one of more than 20 children who died that day. Read more >>>



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Heavy toll reported as Sudan army bombards Darfur

Addis Ababa,
The African Union on Saturday reported a "heavy" civilian toll after Sudanese forces and allied militia this week conducted raids in the war-ravaged western region of Darfur.

The AU Mission in Sudan (Amis) reported a "heavy toll on the civilian population" after the army, backed by Janjaweed militia, carried out aerial bombardments in Birmaza in northern Darfur on Wednesday and Thursday.

"These attacks are a flagrant violation of the security provisions of the DPA [Darfur Peace Agreement]," said a statement from the AU, whose mission is to monitor Darfur's often-violated peace deal. Read more >>>

UN humanitarian chief says Sudan's government is terrorizing civilians

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, Associated Press Writer

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- The Sudanese army and government-backed militias are committing acts of "inexplicable terror" against civilians, including children, in Darfur, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official said Saturday.

Spiraling violence in the conflict-wracked region of western Sudan is reaching its worst level since fighting erupted more than three years ago, Jan Egeland, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs said.

"The government and its militias are conducting inexplicable terror against civilians," he said in an Associated Press interview just after returning from his final trip to the area before his term as U.N. humanitarian chief ends in December. Read more >>>

Sudanese army launches major offensive in Darfur

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Sudan's government has launched a major offensive in North Darfur despite an agreement to restart a peace process, Darfur rebels said on Sunday.

A rebel commander said clashes continued on Saturday and Sunday, following joint attacks by government and militia forces on rebel bases in the Bir Mazza area on Nov. 15-16.

The African Union (AU) monitoring mission, which had condemned last week's attacks, confirmed that fighting was continuing in the area. But the Sudanese army denied it was conducting an offensive.

"We have split into two or three groups and all have fighting," said Jar el-Neby, a rebel commander from the National Redemption Front (NRF), which rejects a May peace accord signed by only one of many rebel factions.

"The government did not use planes yesterday but today the Antonovs are circling," he told Reuters from Darfur. Read more >>>

Friday, November 17, 2006

Darfur kids 'targets of attacks'

El-Geneina - A three-year-old Darfuri girl has been shot twice in the neck, one of the victims of armed militia who were targeting women and children in Sudan. Sobbing, Khadija Abakr cradles her daughter Aasha close to her breast.

Abakr recounted how a man she describes as an "Arab" pointed a rifle at her child and screamed "I'm going to shoot her, I'm going to shoot her".

She said: "I begged him not to do it. He was demanding money." He then shot Aasha twice. Read more >>>

Darfur survivors tell of Janjaweed slaughter

By Stephanie Hancock

SENEIT, Chad-Sudan border, Nov 17 (Reuters) - "They attacked without warning at dawn," Ismail Abdallah Cherif said in a matter-of-fact way.

"There were many of them. They came on horses and camels. Without asking any questions they just opened fire. Some people were in their beds, others were making tea. The Janjaweed made no distinction. Children, women, grandmothers -- everyone was targeted. Only those who hid were saved," he said.

Like many hundreds of others, Cherif has fled over the border to Chad since the attack by the Janjaweed militia on his village of Khabesh in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur.

A United Nations human rights report says 22 people were killed in Khabesh, one of many villages attacked simultaneously on Oct. 29 by the Janjaweed, a largely Arab militia allied to Sudan's government troops in Darfur's war.

The government says the Janjaweed are bandits and denies any links to them.

"They raped our daughters and stole our cattle. I lost ... my brother, two children and a nephew and niece," said Alima, 30, who did not wish her family name to be published. Read more >>>

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Misery of Darfur's displaced


By Haru Mutasa

Khatir and Hawa Hassam fled their village in Darfur four months ago, but while they have escaped the fighting near their home they and their family now face a new set of challenges.

The Hassams are among the 20,000 displaced people who have arrived at the el-Salam refugee camp in North Darfur since July.

The camp on the outskirts of el-Fasher, the nearest large Darfuri city to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, is almost full and already there are insufficient resources to look after so many people.

It is one of many such facilities that are unable to cope with the flood of refugees from a conflict that has so far left an estimated 200,000 people dead from fighting, disease and malnutrition in the Western region of Sudan. Read more >>>

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Darfur violence kills 30

Khartoum - At least 30 civilians have been killed and 40 injured after an attack by unknown armed militias on Sirba village in Sudan's embattled Darfur region, says an African Union official.

The attack on Saturday was the latest in a recent series of widely condemned raids by armed militias who were believed to be members of Darfur's notorious government-backed janjaweed.

The AU official said: "The assailants were said to be on camels and horses, and the village was razed." The AU said it was conducting an investigation into the attack.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that the UN would propose a "hybrid" peacekeeping force for Darfur to Sudanese officials at talks on the conflict to be held in Ethiopia later this week. Read more >>>

Ethnic cleansing spreads to eastern Chad

By Ann Curry

Janjaweed torching villages, killing ethnic Africans along border with Darfur

The fires of ethnic cleansing in Darfur are now raging in eastern Chad. More than 20 villages have been systematically set on fire here in the last 10 days. Monday, Chad's president declared a state of emergency. And now some are asking whether this area has become a second Darfur.

On the morning of Nov. 8, the farming village of Tamajour became the latest target.

When we found it two days later, Tamajour, home to 600 black Africans, was still smoldering. Scattered in the remains — charred corn, schoolbooks and a Koran. A thatched roof came down on some of the people who didn't leave. Read more >>>

Monday, November 13, 2006

Civilian and Humanitarian Security in Darfur: Final Concessions to Khartoum

Various international actors signal that the fate of civilians and humanitarian operations in Darfur and eastern Chad will ultimately be left in the hands of the National Islamic Front génocidaires

By: Eric Reeves

The signals have been everywhere in evidence these past ten days: there is simply no stomach within the international community to provide military resources for meaningful protection of the nearly 4.5 million conflict-affected persons that UN agencies now estimate are at risk in Darfur and eastern Chad (figures from the latest UN “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” [No. 25] and reports from UN organizations working in eastern Chad). The humanitarian operations upon which this almost incomprehensibly large population now depends are also at yet greater risk, with ever more urgent distress calls coming from organizations and individuals on the ground in Darfur. More and more of these aid organizations are approaching the breaking point, with contingency plans in place for rapid withdrawal.

One of the most important humanitarian organizations working in Darfur, Norwegian Refugee Council, was this past week forced by Khartoum’s relentless obstruction and harassment to withdraw, leaving some 300,000 civilians without the critical humanitarian assistance provided by this distinguished and venerable organization (it was founded in 1946 to assist refugees following World War II):

“[Norwegian Refugee Council] said it was pulling out 12 international staff and 170 local staff running one camp for 128,000 people in southern Darfur camp and another for 100,000 people. ‘We coordinated all aid, the fair distribution of food, medical care. Now there are 300,000 people on their own. That’s what concerns us most,’ said group spokeswoman Astrid Sehl by telephone. She said they also had to shut down an educational program from about 19,000 children, and stop distributing food to about 52,000 people outside the camps.” Read more >>>

Darfur militias in deadly attacks


More than two million people have been displaced during the conflict
About 30 people have been killed in Sudan's Darfur region, when pro-government militias raided a village, peacekeepers say.
Armed men on horses and camels rode into the village of Sirba, near the Chad border, killing those they found, say UN and African Union officials.

Meanwhile, the UN has offered at least $77m to help AU peacekeepers in Darfur.

Sudan has resisted plans for the UN to take over peacekeeping and this appears to be part of a compromise deal. Read more >>>

Genocide in Darfur

By Ziad Haider

Over 200,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced. Women are raped, cotton is stuffed in their mouth, and then they are set on fire. Rape and murder occurs in broad daylight in Darfur. And all this has been going on not for days, weeks, or months but years. Read more >>>

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nuer Community calls for military support to Darfur’s NRF

Union of Nuer Community in North America (UNCONA)
Press Release

Following three days deliberation, the Supreme Council of Nuer community in North America has unanimously decided to give military assistance to Darfur’s National Redemption Front. The ongoing genocide in Darfur perpetrated by National Congress Party’s jihadists can only be stopped militarily.

It has to be recalled that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was stopped by the Tutsi freedom fighters after the failure of international community. Since the Bush’s administration has failed to use American military might to stop genocide in Darfur, the Supreme Council of Nuer community has come to conclusion that only the unity of the marginalized Africans in Sudan will stop ethnic cleansing in Darfur. The National Redemption Front, the military front of Darfur factions that didn’t sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, should be militarily supported to stop the genocide.
Read full press release >>>

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Genocide in Darfur demands quick action

Betty Paules

Last year our church started a program called Saturday Night at the Movies. We chose movies that would inspire us to look at the world and its problems with new ideas and new visions.One of the movies we watched was "Darfur -- A 21st Century Genocide." Do Americans have any idea that the United Nations has declared this genocide to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today? 400,000 men, women, and children have been killed in Darfur. Millions of people have been forced from their homes and face starvation, rape and the constant threat of violence. Read more >>>

Friday, November 10, 2006

U.N. human rights chief warns of more Darfur attacks

GENEVA:
Militia movements in Darfur raise the specter that more atrocities against civilians, similar to an attack last month that killed 50 people, could be committed, the United Nations' top human rights official said Friday.

Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urged Sudan's government to control militia in western Darfur that the global body has blamed for the Oct. 29 attacks which killed mostly young boys and elderly men and caused thousands to flee their homes.

"If the government of Sudan does not take control of the militias, disarm them and put an end to the proliferation of arms, the militias will continue to launch attacks on civilians," Arbour said in a statement. Read more >>>

Norwegian Refugee Council exits Darfur

OSLO, Norway --
A Norwegian refugee group said Friday it is closing down its humanitarian operations for nearly 300,000 people in Darfur because it is impossible to work in the troubled Sudanese region.

The Norwegian Refugee Council cited "frequent disruption" of its work, saying it had been suspended five times for a total of 210 days since it started operations in mid-2004.

"We cannot work when the authorities suspend us continuously and do not respond to our repeated requests for dialogue aimed at addressing and resolving underlying reasons for this action," said NRC Secretary-General Tomas C. Archer. Read more >>>

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nigeria's Soyinka urges world to shun Sudan

Nigerian Nobel Literature laureate Wole Soyinka has called on the world to shut its doors on the government of Sudan for "genocide" in Darfur.

"Two million people are squatting in their own country, facing genocide by their own government," he said during a visit to Nairobi, referring to the conflict in western Sudan which has killed an estimated 200 000 people and displaced 2,5-million.

While Washington and some rights groups have called the Darfur crisis "genocide", African leaders and intellectuals have generally held back from using such a charged term.

"I look down on all those who have not removed the Sudanese consulate from their country and who have not removed their consulates from Sudan," Soyinka, Read more >>>

Fight genocide: Take part in Darfur week

By Liz Leiwant

Since 2003, the Sudanese government and its militia, the janjaweed, have murdered 100,000 to 400,000 people from the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masaalit ethnic groups and displaced an additional two million. Darfur may seem like another in a long list of human rights violations and armed conflicts currently occurring in the world. Why care about Darfur above other issues? Because after the Holocaust, the world promised that never again would it allow genocide to occur, and that is exactly what is happening in Darfur. Read more >>>

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Darfur: "There is a crisis of human suffering"


Dr. Rowan Gillies, International Council President of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), recently returned from a visit to Khartoum and Sudan's Darfur region. In the past year, MSF has experienced more than 40 violent security incidents, forcing the organization to close or reduce the staff of the majority of its assistance programs in the Jebel Marra region.

In western Darfur, MSF can no longer refer surgical patients and has had to postpone relief efforts for some 160,000 people living with little access to assistance or medical care in the town of Seleia. While in southern Darfur, MSF teams have had to evacuate the towns of Muhajariya and Shariya on numerous occasions. Dr. Gillies met with Sudanese government officials to express MSF's concerns over the worsening security situation in Darfur as well as to assess the humanitarian needs in the region. Here he discusses the current situation. Read more >>>

Militia attack civilians, aid workers everyday in strife-torn Darfur, warns UN

Militia are continuing to attack civilians, burn houses and destroy crops every day in Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region, while targeting non-governmental workers trying to assist an estimated 2 million people displaced by the violence, a UN spokesman warned today.

“The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continue to receive daily reports of militia attacks on civilians, as well as attacks against humanitarian vehicles on key roads and even inside camps housing displaced persons,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. Read more >>>

Monday, November 06, 2006

Darfur villagers mourn children killed by militia

By Opheera McDoom

GHEBESH, Sudan, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Arab militia on horses and camels wearing pristine uniforms and carrying brand new guns rode into Mariam Abakr Yehya's Darfur village early in the morning of Oct. 29, witnesses said.

Her three-year-old son Adam was torn from her embrace and shot dead by the intruders, who killed more than 50 people and looted all they could find in the village.

Overcome with grief as she recalled the incident, Mariam threw herself on the sandy soil, sobbing and beating the ground, her red and yellow robe covered in dust.

She cuddled her tiny baby as a surviving son hid in the gloom of their straw hut.

"Why? why? My heart is broken," she cried as her family tried to calm her down. "Next time they said they would kill this one," she said, referring to her baby boy. Read more >>>

Help end horrific tragedy in Darfur

Darfur needs our help!

Over 400,000 men, women and children are dead or dying due to a horrible civil war going on in Darfur in Africa. It is one of the worst disasters in history.

We stopped the Holocaust and we need to stop this horrible genocide. Now, it may only be a child, but the children are our future. If this country had oil, we would protect it; so, why do we ignore this terrible event? Read more >>>

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sudan failed to disarm Arab militas -- U.N. report

By Opheera McDoom

KULBUS, Sudan, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Sudan has failed to disarm proxy militias in Darfur as promised under a May peace deal, and government forces did not act to protect civilians in an attack last week that killed at least 50, a new U.N. report says.

The attack occurred on Oct. 29 near Jabel Moun, in an area where both rebel and government forces are present.

The report, seen by Reuters on Sunday, said 26 children were among 50 people killed in militia attacks on at least four villages. It said most of the 7,000 civilians living in the srea had fled their homes.

"At the very least, the attacks demonstrated the government of Sudan's continued failure to disarm militia in Darfur and, at worst, its use of militia forces that target civilians," it said.

The report was prepared by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on the basis of witness accounts, and is due to be released shortly.

Arab militias, known locally as Janjaweed, are blamed for a widespread campaign of rape, murder and pillage in Darfur that Washington calls genocide.

Khartoum denies genocide and any link to the Janjaweed, but it does admit having armed some militias during the 3-1/2-year conflict to fight the mostly non-Arab rebels. It denies giving any current support to militias. Read more >>>

Darfur refugees flee to find stability in an unstable world

By Jeffrey Gettleman

NYALA, Sudan — There is a camp called Otash that grows bigger every day, even as some displaced people elsewhere in Darfur get to go home because their villages are now calm. Here, people fleeing the war arrive by the truckload, 200 per truck, standing up to maximize space, packed in like corn.

They come from all parts of Darfur, for word is out that there is food and water and safety here. One of the first camps, it now has about 60,000 people.

A drive through the camp, which is on the outskirts of the city of Nyala, is like a journey through the entire Darfur tragedy, in which we see the stages of the conflict laid out spatially, one after another. Read more >>>

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Children's drawings from Darfur show suffering

By Myron Kukla

HOLLAND -- The images are distinct and lasting in Evelyn Sallah's mind.

"The drawings tell a story of death and destruction in the villages and refugee camps in the Darfur region of the Sudan, where a war of genocide has been going on against the people there for three years," said Sallah, a program associate for public education with Africa Action Organization, a Washington, D.C.-based humanitarian group.

The organization is dedicated to mobilizing international assistance for peace and economic development in Africa.

"Picturing Genocide" features a handful of crayon pictures drawn by children. In another time, another place, the drawings would be of a family, pets and daily life.

But these images are from the war-ravaged region of Darfur in Sudan, where more than 400,000 people have died over the past three years. Read more >>>

Friday, November 03, 2006

Darfur - Dangling And Dying

Alexactus T. Kaure


THE African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Sudan will end less than two months from now. This will leave an already dark and dangerous security hole in the region.

So, while you are preparing to celebrate the festive season in a few weeks with your family; others will be on the run and starving because the Sudanese government is probably preparing for a final solution to the Darfur conflict.

Of course not many people will mourn the departure of the AU force because it has been ineffective and ineffectual right from the word go. Read more >>>

Darfur militias 'kill children'

The Janjaweed are accused of ethnic cleansing

Militias backing Sudan's government have killed at least 63 people in attacks in Darfur in the past week, African peacekeepers say.
At least 27 of the victims are thought to be children under the age of 12.

The attacks were carried on camps for the displaced in the rebel stronghold of Jebel Moon, in West Darfur.

The government says it is disarming the Janjaweed militia but a BBC correspondent in Sudan says all the evidence points to the exact opposite. Read more >>>

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Press politicians on crisis in Darfur

By Brianna Smith

Some 400,000 men, women, and children have been killed in Darfur. Millions of people have been forced from their homes and face starvation, rape, and the constant threat of violence. It is a serious situation that needs attention from serious people.

Right now, candidates for public office are traveling the campaign trail describing their visions for the future. As Election Day approaches, stopping the genocide in Darfur must be on the agenda. Read more >>>

Sudanese army introduces Chemical weapons to Darfur

The National Redemption Front (NRF) confirms that GoS has airlifted new weapons into Darfur. The airlift that took place a week ago during the festival of the holy month of Ramadan included banned chemical weapons and lethal bombs, described as entirely new to Darfur battlefields. Read more >>>

It would be outrageous for the U.N. not to intervene in Darfur

Editorial:
The government of Sudan is widely believed to be behind the genocide in the country's Darfur region that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and driven millions from their homes. Yet even with a new surge in violence, the United Nations is still waiting for permission from that same government to deploy a peacekeeping force to stop the killing. No wonder some critics of the United Nations consider it worthless.

It's way past time for the U.N. Security Council to dispatch the peacekeepers, whether or not Sudan's leaders agree.

U.N. intervention in a country against its wishes should be reserved for exceptional cases. But genocide more than meets that standard. Read more >>>

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Inaction Breeds Death in Darfur


Prepared by: Michael Moran

When Kurds took de facto control of northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, among the discoveries made were the taped remarks of Ali Hassan al-Majid, aka “Chemical Ali,” just before he ordered the gassing of rebellious locals. “I will kill them all with chemical weapons!” al-Majid railed. “Who is going to say anything? The international community? F*** them.” As columnist Nick Cohen notes in The Observer, recent events in Sudan suggest such disdain for international law may be as valid as ever.

In spite of UN Security Council decisions to deploy peacekeepers to Sudan’s Darfur region, in spite of a U.S. government finding that “genocide” is taking place there, and President Bush’s call at the UN General Assembly in September for immediate action, not much has changed. As CFR’s chief Africa expert Princeton Lyman notes: “We always thought that if something was finally designated as genocide it would trigger the Genocide Convention and the international community would have to act,” he told CFR.org’s Bernard Gwertzman. “What we’re finding is that in itself doesn’t define what has to be done or what can be done.”Read more >>>

Darfur deserves election attention

Wanton acts of rape are capable of terrorizing a community. Now imagine that the rapists patrolling your neighborhood are actually part of the government.

No, you aren't watching the opening to V for Vendetta. You are witnessing the Darfur genocide, where more than 400,000 people have been murdered in the past three years.

The United Nations refuses to call it genocide, preferring the language of a "Darfur conflict." And all countries have conflicts, so why should we care about this one, especially in a part of the world so alien and remote to the average American? Read more >>>

Darfur deserves world's utmost attention — now

By Nicholas D. Kristof

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of Darfur isn't that gunmen on the Sudanese payroll heave babies into bonfires as they shout epithets against blacks. It's that the rest of us are responding only with averted eyes and polite tut-tutting.
This past week alone, Sudan expelled the U.N. envoy for Sudan and sent a proxy army to invade eastern Chad. Those moves underscored both the audacity of Sudan's leaders and the fecklessness of the rest of the world's.
In fact, there's plenty we can do:
● Kofi Annan should appoint a new U.N. envoy of utmost prominence. Possibilities include Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Richard Holbrooke and Bernard Kouchner (a founder of Doctors Without Borders).
The focus has been on getting U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur, and they are needed, but in the long run only a peace accord can calm Darfur. Read more >>>

Darfur deserves world's utmost attention — now

By Nicholas D. Kristof

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of Darfur isn't that gunmen on the Sudanese payroll heave babies into bonfires as they shout epithets against blacks. It's that the rest of us are responding only with averted eyes and polite tut-tutting.
This past week alone, Sudan expelled the U.N. envoy for Sudan and sent a proxy army to invade eastern Chad. Those moves underscored both the audacity of Sudan's leaders and the fecklessness of the rest of the world's.
In fact, there's plenty we can do:
● Kofi Annan should appoint a new U.N. envoy of utmost prominence. Possibilities include Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Richard Holbrooke and Bernard Kouchner (a founder of Doctors Without Borders).
The focus has been on getting U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur, and they are needed, but in the long run only a peace accord can calm Darfur. Read more >>>

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Crisis: Return to Darfur

With the UN held at bay, the conflict in western Sudan just gets bloodier. Does the world have another Rwanda on its hands? Steve Bloomfield reports.

This is what the world looks like when all hope is gone. For over two million citizens of Darfur holed up in displacement camps across this barren desert land in western Sudan, no knight in shining armour is about to ride over the horizon. These are the lucky ones: those who survived the Sudanese government's scorched earth policy that saw their homes burnt to a crisp. And now, the lucky ones live in constant fear that each night will be their last.

The crisis in Darfur, a region the size of France, is deepening by the day. While Sudan's autocratic ruler, Omar al-Bashir, plays a game of political brinkmanship with the United Nations and, in particular, the US and the UK, millions of black Africans lie alone and exposed. There's been a build-up of Sudanese troops in the region over the past two months and attacks by the feared horsebacked militia, known as the Janjaweed, are on the increase. Read more >>>

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Raise your voice on Darfur genocide

BY PRI MITRA

It was revealed in 1945 that 6 million lives had been brutally taken by Nazi Germany in what came to be known as the Holocaust. The world was aghast, and vowed never to allow another crime this heinous, this horrific to happen ever again.

Fifty years later, and it's happening again. The word genocide literally means "to kill a race," and that is precisely what is going on in Darfur, Sudan: Sudanese Africans are being "ethnically cleansed" on the basis that they are not Arabs.

This action is being supported by Sudan's ruler, Omer Al Bashir, who actively arms the Janjaweed, a group of militants who ruthlessly murder the ethnic Africans. The Janjaweed arbitrarily raid villages, burning houses and ruining the food/water supply. Also, there are stories too gruesome to imagine of 15 men raping one woman, of men being cut into tiny pieces, of babies being shot out of their fleeing parents' arms.


Approximately 400,000 people have perished in this conflict and about 2 million have been displaced from their homes. Read more >>>

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pronk's expulsion no surprise - aid workers

Sudan's decision to kick out top United Nations envoy Jan Pronk came as no big surprise to many aid workers in Darfur who complain of regular harassment from the government.

They say Sudan's intimidation tactics towards Pronk echo some of the problems non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have faced.

Aid workers I've spoken to say persistent harassment has been hampering aid efforts throughout the region, compounding the suffering of millions of displaced Darfuris.

Pronk was forced to leave after Sudan accused him of trying to "wage psychological war against the armed forces" through remarks in his personal blog.

"Jan Pronk has always been a thorn in the Sudanese government's side because he tells people in the international community what is really going on in Darfur," the operations director of a major aid agency told me. Read more >>>

Pronk's expulsion no surprise - aid workers

Sudan's decision to kick out top United Nations envoy Jan Pronk came as no big surprise to many aid workers in Darfur who complain of regular harassment from the government.

They say Sudan's intimidation tactics towards Pronk echo some of the problems non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have faced.

Aid workers I've spoken to say persistent harassment has been hampering aid efforts throughout the region, compounding the suffering of millions of displaced Darfuris.

Pronk was forced to leave after Sudan accused him of trying to "wage psychological war against the armed forces" through remarks in his personal blog.

"Jan Pronk has always been a thorn in the Sudanese government's side because he tells people in the international community what is really going on in Darfur," the operations director of a major aid agency told me. Read more >>>

No Justice for Darfur Rape Victims

Womens’ activists call on ICC to bring alleged rapists in Darfur to trial, as reports speak of a massive upsurge in rape cases.

By Stephanie Nieuwoudt in Nairobi

Whenever I have taken a camera into one of the many camps for refugees in Darfur, the children have immediately arranged themselves into a group. They want to be in the picture. And they insist on seeing the digital image. They smile and laugh while they point themselves out.

At first glance, the burgeoning camps always seem happy places because of the uninhibited excitement of the children - that is if you ignore the tattered clothes and the reports from aid agencies, which paint a bleak picture. For the truth is that the settlements - known in international bureaucratic jargon as camps for Internally Displaced Persons - are places, once you move beyond the children's cheery welcomes, where human suffering can be smelled, seen and touched. And women and girls seem to bear the brunt of the suffering. Read more >>>

A new tack on Darfur

By MORTON ABRAMOWITZ

Instead of saving Darfur's people, their advocates may be prolonging their agony. They need to consider whether a different message is required to get urgent action from the Bush administration on ending the violence. Specifically: Is it not time to go beyond urging greater pressure on Sudan and using force in the region to seek a negotiated peace settlement between Sudan's leader and the rebel groups in Darfur? That is necesssary in any event.

For three years, nongovernmental organizations and the media have pursued a relentless campaign to persuade Western governments to stop the killing in Darfur, protect and feed its people and get millions of refugees out of camps and back home. The recent renewed military carnage in Darfur has prompted continuing ads in major newspapers and on television imploring President Bush to get a United Nations force into Darfur to "stop the genocide."

This advocacy has rested on two assumptions: first, that only outside pressure will persuade Sudan's government to reverse course -- the country's leader, Omar al-Bashir, will do nothing without a gun to his head; second, if his government resists, Western governments can ultimately be persuaded to do the right thing: to take aggressive measures to force Khartoum to capitulate. Read more >>>