Saturday, September 30, 2006

U.N. experts recommend Sudan sanctions

NICK WADHAMS

UNITED NATIONS - A panel of experts has recommended that the Security Council impose sanctions on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other top government officials, Qatar's U.N. ambassador said Friday.

The experts sent the list to the Security Council with an Aug. 31 report that found all sides in the Darfur conflict continue to commit "blatant violations" of a council arms embargo.

The names on the list have not been made public. But the Qatari Ambassador Nassir Al-Nassir said "top people in the government" were on it and charged that the experts were trying to spoil the peace process. Asked to elaborate, he made clear that al-Bashir was on the list. Read more >>>

EU's Barroso heads to Sudan to press U.N. mission

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a top EU aid official will go to Sudan this weekend to try to convince Khartoum to allow U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur.

Fighting between militias, government forces and rebel groups in Darfur has killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others since early 2003. A 7,000-strong African Union force has been unable to stop the violence.

The Sudanese government has repeatedly rebuffed a United Nations offer to send 22,000 U.N. peacekeepers to replace the AU force, whose mission has been extended until Dec. 31, 2006. Read more >>>

Friday, September 29, 2006

Actor Clooney, father see firsthand refugees in haunting Darfur region


By Nick Clooney

CINCINNATI, Ohio (St. Anthony Messenger) – "IT’S RACISM and I can prove it.” The man’s face was dark, seamed and weathered; his desert clothing snowy white, his eyes steady.

We were sitting inside a half-tent in a refugee camp called Oure’ Cassoni, in the northeast corner of Chad. It is home to 29,000 people driven from their villages.

Chad borders Africa’s largest country, Sudan. Just a few miles from the camp is a region of Sudan bearing a name that is haunting the world’s conscience: Darfur.

The man to whom I spoke is one of two million Darfuris who have been driven from their villages, their homes burned, tens of thousands of them butchered, raped, tortured, beaten, their cattle killed or stolen, their wells poisoned – sometimes with the bodies of those who have been killed. Read more >>>

GELDOF: 'WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT DARFUR'

SIR BOB GELDOF

SIR BOB GELDOF is desperately urging the world's superpowers to put their weight behind the crisis in Darfur in a bid to halt the violence. The rocker-turned-activist slammed China for continuing to provide arms to Sudan's "thuggish" Khartoum government, which is, in turn, refusing to allow United Nations peacekeepers to enter the troubled country.
He says, "(The world is) slow stepping into watching two million people die in front of us on the six o'clock news every night. "The reality is that in another age perhaps America and Britain could have intervened but they can't now, possibly because of the Middle East.
"The Arab League are absolutely pathetic and supine. They seem to think it's within their remit to allow two million of their fellow co-religionists to die in a massacre. "The Khartoum government are thugs and tyrants. They are supported by the Chinese who take six per cent of their oil out of Sudan, which is 60 per cent of Sudanese oil production - and therefore will not allow (measures to get through) the Security Council. "I think we really have a right to insist upon an intervention through the United Nations". Read more >>>

Combat force with deadly power is needed in Darfur

By AUSTIN BAY
The demonstrators had extraordinary moral credibility.

Last week in Kigali, Rwanda, survivors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide called on the United Nations and world leaders to act to end the continuing genocide in Sudan's western Darfur region.

"We survivors stand with the victims in Darfur," Rwandan Freddy Umutanguha told The Irish Independent. "We know what it is like to lose our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters." Read more >>>

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Words inadequate to stop killing in Darfur

By TRUDY RUBIN

As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the opening of the 61st General Assembly, the shadow of Darfur hangs over them all.
Last week, from the U.N. podium, President Bush again labeled the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Darfur a genocide. Yet the killing, conducted by Sudanese government forces and militias, is intensifying.

Sudan is blocking a proposed U.N. peacekeeping force of 20,000, which would have strengthened an unarmed observer force from the African Union. Read more >>>

UN scrambles for troops for future Darfur force

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations got its first pledges of troops for a proposed peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region at a meeting on Monday of 49 potential contributing nations.

Participants at the closed-door session said Norway had offered 250 logistics experts and together with Sweden, a battalion of engineers. Tanzania, Nigeria and Bangladesh pledged infantry soldiers.

But the force, approved by the U.N. Security Council, is still on paper only, with its goal of 22,500 soldiers and police. There is also no sign that Sudan's government will allow the United Nations to take over the African Union operation in Darfur. Read more >>>

Monday, September 25, 2006

UN Rights Monitors Accuse Sudan of Bombing Darfur Villages

VOA

United Nations monitors say the Sudanese military is indiscriminately bombing villages in the north Darfur region, killing and injuring scores of civilians.

A spokesman, Jose Diaz, for the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights says Friday government bombing raids have forced hundreds of civilians in north Darfur to flee their homes. He says a new report shows the government is waging a campaign against rebel groups who have not signed a peace agreement. Read more >>>

How to Save Darfur

By PETER BEINART

Genocide comes at inconvenient times. In 1994, the Clinton Administration was reeling from Somalia--a country it had fled after the deaths of 18 U.S. troops. So America watched as Rwanda's genocidaires murdered nearly 1 million people in 100 days. And then everyone began feeling bad. Bill Clinton flew to Rwanda to apologize. After reading an article about the genocide, George W. Bush reportedly scribbled, "Not on my watch!"

In hindsight, stopping genocide is easy. But in Darfur, where it is happening now, stopping genocide is brutally hard. A contingent of 7,000 African Union peacekeepers currently patrol the Texas-size chunk of western Sudan where government-backed militias are busy exterminating the non-Arab population. The African soldiers are decent and brave, but they are engaged in a sham. The militias menace villagers in front of the peacekeepers' eyes; Sudan's government steals the fuel they need to fly their planes. In the words of U.N. envoy Jan Pronk, "The people on the ground are just laughing."

In spite of a Security Council resolution approving a larger, tougher U.N. peacekeeping force, the government of Sudan refuses to allow Blue Helmets on its soil. Read more >>>

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Despite pressure, Sudan resists UN force

United Nations -
Sudan faces escalating world pressure in coming weeks to reverse its dogged opposition to the dispatch of a large United Nations force in war-torn Darfur where UN officials are warning of a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Spearheading the pressure is Washington, with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warning on Friday that "time is running out" to prevent an all-out Sudanese government onslaught against die-hard Darfur rebels.

"The violence in Darfur must end, and it must end now," she told a special ministerial meeting of two dozen nations plus the European Union and the United Nations in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Read more >>>

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Darfur, the world is all talk

By TRUDY RUBIN
Philadelphia Inquirer

As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the opening of the 61st General Assembly, the shadow of Darfur hangs over them all.

Tuesday, from the U.N. podium, President Bush again labeled the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Darfur a genocide. Yet the killing, conducted by Sudanese government forces and militias, is intensifying.

Sudan is blocking a proposed U.N. peacekeeping force of 20,000, which would have strengthened an unarmed observer force from the African Union. The 7,000 Africans are now set to leave by year’s end, depriving 2 million Darfurian refugees of their last shred of protection.

Presidents and premiers can drone on about the world’s responsibility to stop such atrocities, but the Sudanese government is making them look like fools. Read more >>>

U.S. calls emergency session as Darfur killing goes on

NEW YORK (AP) -
Violence is getting worse in Darfur despite international peace efforts, and Sudan's central government can no longer resist the world's will to send in peace forces, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

"Time is running out," the top U.S. diplomat told participants in an emergency international meeting on the three-year-old conflict in the African nation.

Rice called the meeting of about two dozen nations and international organizations on the sidelines of the United Nations opening session to push for a stronger international peace force despite objections from Sudan's government.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last month that would expand the mission from 7,000 to more than 20,000 troops and give it new authority to protect civilians. Read more >>>

US Rice Says UN 'Must Take Action' To Save Lives In Darfur

NEW YORK (AP)--
Violence is getting worse in Darfur despite international peace efforts, and Sudan's central government can no longer resist the world's will to send in peace forces, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.
"Time is running out," the top U.S. diplomat told participants in an emergency international meeting on the three-year-old conflict in the African nation.
Rice called the meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. opening session to push for a stronger international peace force despite objections from Sudan's government.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last month that would expand the mission from 7,000 to more than 20,000 troops and give it new authority to protect civilians. Read more >>>

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sudan: Government Aircraft Indiscriminately Bomb Darfur Villages

UN Monitors Report

The Sudanese Government's military campaign against rebels in the north Darfur region is causing hardship to civilians due mainly to indiscriminate aerial bombardments on villages, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today, citing UN rights volunteers and monitors in Sudan.

For example, an estimated 400 new internally displaced persons had arrived in the Rwanda camp in North Darfur, fleeing attacks which took place on 9 and 10 September around Tabarat, OHCHR spokesman José Luis Díaz told a news briefing in Geneva, noting that the Government was targeting rebels who did not join a peace agreement earlier this year. Read more >>>

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The 'responsibility to protect' Darfuris

By Lee Feinstein International Herald Tribune

Kofi Annan reminded world leaders on Tuesday of the pledge they made last year to "protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity." The question now is whether this pledge was humanitarian hypocrisy, or did they have something serious in mind?
For most of its history, the UN General Assembly has been the place where states are represented as formal equals, and where criticism of a government's human-rights practices could be deflected with a wink and a reference to the Charter's Article 2, which bars interference "in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." Read more >>>

Genocide on Bush's watch

Editorial:

Shortly after he assumed the presidency, George W. Bush reviewed a report on the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s. In the margin, he wrote, "Not on my watch."

Now, all indications are that a genocide of dramatically greater proportions could play out in the Sudan's Darfur region. As many as 3.5 million innocent civilians, the vast majority of them refugees, face extermination by forces aligned with the Sudanese government. The crime of the people of Darfur is their ethnicity, which is not that of the ruling elites in the Sudan.

Bush has taken some appropriate steps. Addressing the United Nations this week, he challenged world leaders to act quickly to get a functional peacekeeping force into the region. A weak force, dispatched by African governments, got some relief Wednesday in a deal that will give it some U.N. support if it stays on through the year. Bush is right that a stronger force eventually must be sent to the region.Read more >>>

Will they be rescued?


From The Economist print edition

Outsiders say that something must be done. Sudan says that it mustn't.


ON THE eve of the 61st United Nations General Assembly, 32 countries held events aimed at persuading their governments to recognise a responsibility to protect the civilians of Darfur, a threatened region in western Sudan. A rally in New York City's Central Park attracted upwards of 30,000 people who called for the speedy deployment of UN peacekeepers. The same day in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, a much smaller group of demonstrators, organised by the government, took the opposite tack. They marched to the UN's local headquarters to give warning that Security Council Resolution 1706, which had ordered 20,000-plus peacekeepers to Darfur, threatened the stability of their country.

At the UN itself, on September 19th, Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, agreed that the 7,000-strong contingent of African Union (AU) peacekeepers could stay, but insisted that he would not accept a UN force designed to place “Sudan under mandate, a sort of trusteeship”. The mandate of the AU force has been extended until the end of the year and the Security Council is now trying to find ways to make it less feeble. Read more >>>

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Darfur: Where is the will?

Elvir Camdzic, John Weiss

The history of the world's response to the genocide in Darfur has been a sad tale of calculated naivete, self-deception, pious platitudes, constructive engagement with genocidaires, conscious adoption of ineffective policies and diversionary strategies such as "awareness-raising," divestment and fundraising for humanitarian aid.

The would-be rescuers of Darfur -- politicians, diplomats and activists alike -- kept espousing the rhetoric of ultimate causes while practicing the art of minimum risk. They all deplored genocide, but refused to take the risks necessary to stop it. None of them cared enough to put their nonviolent purity or their clean-solution sainthood on the line. Read more >>>

Darfur can't wait

Last week, actor George Clooney described a recent trip to the crisis-torn region of Darfur in Sudan. A little girl pulled his finger, he said, and asked when he would be back. When he replied "soon," she giggled and told him: "That's what you always say."
Out of the mouth of babes, the saying goes, often comes the truth.

On Tuesday, speaking to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Bush announced he was appointing a high-level envoy, Andrew Natsios, to lead a new push to end more than three years of slaughter and mass displacements in Darfur. The little girl set the only meaningful test: Will it be yet another hollow gesture? Read more >>>

'West ignoring Darfur conflict'

Johannesburg - African security experts blasted the West on Wednesday for ignoring conflicts on the continent, especially the dragging crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, to focus on the war on terror.

"Darfur has been on the table for a long time now and at least 200 000 people have been displaced," said Festus Aboagye, who heads the peace missions programme at the Pretoria-based institute for security studies.

"Do you need a million people to die before the international community moves in?" said Aboagye.

"Genocide should not be used as the justification for intervention". Read more >>>

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two Weeks After UN Security Council "Acts" on Darfur: Diplomatic Paralysis

Khartoum’s military offensive accelerates, humanitarian operations are in “freefall,” civilians continue to die in ever-greater numbers

Eric Reeves
September 14, 2006

The cataclysm of human suffering and destruction in Darfur continues to grow, with no end or even mitigation in prospect. The Khartoum regime is currently accelerating its vast military offensives in North Darfur and eastern Jebel Marra, with large-scale civilian casualties and displacement. Evidence of deliberate, ethnically-targeted human destruction---particularly among the Fur communities---is reported almost daily. At the same time, Khartoum continues to defy the international community, adamantly refuses to accept the peacekeeping force specified in UN Security Council Resolution 1706 (August 31, 2006), and insists that a crumbling and demoralized African Union observer mission may accept neither a UN mandate nor UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations funding.
For its part, China has made emphatically clear, as has the Arab League, that no UN force can deploy without Khartoum’s consent, ensuring that the accommodating language of Resolution 1706 (guaranteeing that Khartoum’s claims of national sovereignty will not be “affected” by the resolution) paralyzes any further UN action. And indeed, since passage of the US-British-sponsored resolution two weeks ago, there has been nothing but exhortation.

This paralysis continues even as humanitarian assistance is, according to Jan Egeland, in “freefall”:

“‘In many ways we are in a freefall in Darfur at the moment,’ UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland [said]. Read more >>>

World marches to save Darfur

With demonstrations in 40 countries yesterday, pressure is mounting on Sudan to allow in peacekeepers and end a conflict in which 300,000 people have died
By Steve Bloomfield

Survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide marched through the streets of Kigali yesterday, calling for the world to take action to end the slaughter in Darfur. They were joined by hundreds of thousands of protesters in more than 40 countries around the world - many of whom wore blue hats to symbolise support for a United Nations peacekeeping force to enter the troubled Sudanese region. Read more >>>

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hague: Global Day for Darfur Rally 17/09/06

The Hague, The Netherlands
What: demonstration
When: September 17th, 2006

Time: 13:00 to 17:00
Where: From The Hague Central Station to The Parliament building. Moving to EU headquarters and the foreign ministry are among the options.

Organizers: Darfur Call and other activists and humanitarian organizations.
Contact details:

- Abdelhadi +31 640805797
- Iklas +31 626502035
- Ahmed +31 642330058

Further info: www.darfurcall.org
contact@darfurcall.org
darfurcall@gmail.com

About: A rally will start at The Hague Central Station and move to the parliament. It may potentially continue to the EU head quarters in The Netherlands and the foreign ministry.

Rice presses Sudan to accept U.N.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday she pressed Sudan's government to accept a U.N. force in the war-torn region of Darfur, warning improved U.S. relations depended on it.

Rice met Monday with Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol before leaving for a two-day trip to Canada.

Speaking to reporters aboard her plane, Rice suggested Khartoum remained opposed to such a force.

"I won't say that we made progress but I will say that I delivered the strongest possible message in the strongest possible terms to the Sudanese government that any hope for bettering relations between the United States and the Sudan rests on Sudan's cooperation," she said.

Rice said that Akol, in their meeting, "brought hopes for better relations between the United States and Sudan, and I told him in no uncertain terms that that wasn't on the agenda unless the Sudan acted responsibly." Read more >>>

Annan Again Seeks Darfur Intervention

By NICK WADHAMS

UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the U.N. Security Council took turns Monday demanding swift intervention to ease the mounting humanitarian crisis in Darfur, but the Sudanese government again resisted a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The morning-long council meeting was intended to renew pressure on Sudan to allow the U.N. to take over an African Union peacekeeping force that has been unable to stop the violence in the western Darfur region. But Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir says the switch would violate the country's sovereignty and has warned that his army would fight any U.N. forces sent to Darfur. Read more >>>

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Khartoum's Ultimatum to the African Union: "Leave or Stay on Our Terms"

The National Islamic Front regime has engineered the military conditions ensuring a security collapse in Darfur
By: Eric Reeves

The ongoing collapse of almost all civilian and humanitarian security in Darfur is the context in which we must understand the significance of Khartoum’s unrelenting opposition to a large and robustly mandated UN peace support operation for the region. It is also the context in which we must understand Khartoum’s very recent and quite explicit ultimatum to a crumbling African Union force, which presently stands as the only international security presence in Darfur:

“If you wish to stay in Darfur beyond September 30, 2006, then you must agree to do so without being converted to or incorporated into a UN peace support operation. If you do not agree to these terms, then you must leave. Moreover, if you decide to stay, then you must agree that future financing will come from our coffers here in Khartoum and those of the Arab League.” Read more >>>

CRISIS IN SUDAN

A focus on Darfur:

WHERE: Darfur is a region in western Sudan, one of Africa’s largest countries.

THE CRISIS: Government-supported Arabic militiamen are terrorizing ethnic Africans who are trying to assert their independence.

THE TOLL: About 200,000 people are believed to have died since 2003.

REFUGEES: Several million people have been displaced, many fleeing to refugee camps in the neighboring country of Chad.

ACCUSATIONS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING

After years of civil war, the most recent crisis began about 3½ years ago when ethnic African rebel groups began seeking more autonomy in the Darfur region.

In retaliation, the coalition Sudanese government has been accused of unleashing Arab militiamen known as janjaweed. The janjaweed covet ethnic Africans’ land and herds and have been blamed for widespread atrocities against the ethnic Africans, including rapes and killings.

Despite a May peace deal signed by the government and one of the three ethnic African rebel groups, the violence seems to be increasing, observers say. And refugee camps are swelling with people afraid to return home. Read more >>>

History repeats itself as West turns blind eye to plight of Darfur

A former UN peacekeeper speaks out as Khartoum-backed rape and murder stir up memories of unchecked ethnic cleansing in Rwanda

FIVE years ago, in a visionary cascade of words designed to rally hearts and minds for a better world, Tony Blair declared: “If Rwanda happened again, we would have a moral duty to act.”
Two years later, Rwanda did “happen again”, this time in the huge Darfur region of western Sudan. The country’s Arab government and its Nazi-style brownshirt militia, the so-called Janjaweed (“armed men on horseback”), began slaying and raping black African Sudanese citizens. It didn’t matter that they shared the Muslim faith of the country’s leadership – they did not share the ethnicity.

The US administration and human rights organisations classified the slaughter as genocide, and nigh on everyone agreed that something must be done. It wasn’t until May this year, when a peace agreement of extreme fragility was signed by the Sudanese government and one of Darfur’s three rebel groups, that the world’s great nations, including Tony Blair’s Britain, could finally relax and hope they had been relieved of their “moral duty to act”. Read more >>>

Saturday, September 09, 2006

In Darfur, Terror From the Air


Sudan Intensifies Use of Helicopter Gunships and Bombs, Driving More Villagers From Their Homes

By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service

EL FASHER, Sudan, Sept. 8 -- Yagoub Mustafa, 45, could not easily mimic the "whoop whoop whoop, boom! boom! boom!" of two helicopter gunships that fired rockets into the huts in his Darfur village. He tried to make the noises, but they were not loud enough, or terrifying enough.

But the horror he experienced that July afternoon, while he crouched low under a tree with his sobbing sons, daughters and nephews pressed against him, was more easily expressed: Mustafa thought they all were going to die, he said. And as he offered soothing words to the children, he begged for rescue in a silent prayer.

Please God help us. We need your mercy. Read more >>>

Sudanese Leaders May Be Held Responsible For Darfur Tragedy

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned Sudan’s leaders they could be held responsible for the suffering and death in Darfur if they refuse to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the region.

With the Security Council set to hold a debate on Darfur Monday, Secretary-General Annan expressed frustration that his attempts to persuade Sudanese leaders to accept U.N. troops in Darfur have failed. “I have been working with quite a few governments to try to get the government of Sudan to show flexibility, but we have so far not been successful. The message I have tried to get to the Sudanese government is that the international community is not coming in as an invading force, but basically to help them protect the people. If the Government had been able to do it itself, I don’t think we would be having this debate,” he said. Read more >>>

Friday, September 08, 2006

World must not fail Darfur a fourth time

By Julie Flint

In May this year, the US deputy secretary of state, Robert Zoellick, told rebel leaders attending the Darfur peace talks, in much these words: "Sign or be damned." The United States had determined that peace could be forced, that a lasting agreement could be ordered like a plate of fries, and had set a deadline that was going to be observed come hell or high water. Only one rebel leader signed. The remainder, representing a majority of Darfurians, requested modifications to the peace agreement, but were told: "Time's up. Take it or leave it."

They left it.

Four months later, the result of this high-handed impatience is, predictably, hell. With little more than three weeks remaining before the expiry of the mandate of the African Union's 7,000-man monitoring force in Darfur, there is no agreement on the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force to replace it. Instead, the Sudanese government has announced a plan to deploy 26,500 of its own troops in Darfur by the end of the year and has embarked upon a new military offensive to reconquer rebel-controlled areas. Violence, rape and displacement have all increased dramatically and the UN's most senior humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, has warned that "hundreds of thousands" of Darfurians could die if the insecurity that has claimed the lives of 12 aid workers since May makes relief operations unsustainable. Read more >>>

Thursday, September 07, 2006

French FM: 'real question' whether to deploy U.N. force to Darfur despite Sudan opposition

PARIS France's foreign minister said Thursday it's a "real question" whether the United Nations should send a force into Darfur — even in the face of resistance by Sudan's government.

Philippe Douste-Blazy said he planned to visit the troubled region and meet with Sudanese officials soon, in hopes of finding a diplomatic solution to end years of deadly violence in Darfur.

He urged Sudanese authorities to accept a U.N. force for Darfur, which was called for in a Security Council resolution passed last week. It was quickly rejected by Khartoum.

"Do we go there, in spite of them?" Douste-Blazy told a news conference. "That's not on the table, nobody has asked the question like that. But it's a real question." Read more >>>

Darfur: Indiscriminate Bombing Warrants U.N. Sanctions

Khartoum Drops Bombs in Ongoing Offensive, Stymies Peacekeeping Efforts
By: Human Rights Watch

Sources on the ground indicate that the government of Sudan is indiscriminately bombing civilian-occupied villages in rebel-held North Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today. The bombing campaign comes as Khartoum is threatening to eject African Union peacekeepers and stymieing efforts to deploy a U.N. force to the region, and should trigger sanctions against senior Sudanese government officials.

"Government forces are bombing villages with blatant disregard for civilian lives," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "A penalty for indiscriminate bombing in Darfur is U.N. Security Council sanctions, which should be imposed now." Read more >>>

Sudan: Stop bombing North Darfur villages - former rebels

EL FASHER, 7 September (IRIN) - Former rebels who signed a peace agreement with the government in May have denounced the new Sudanese military offensive to flush out rebel groups in North Darfur State.

"The government's own security plan for the north is motivated by hidden agendas," Col. Ali Muktar, representative of Minni Minnawi's faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) on the African Union (AU) ceasefire commission, told IRIN on Thursday. "We do not support this plan and we do not participate in this plan.

"We urge the AU and the United Nations to urge the government to stop these military operations," he added. Read more >>>

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Annan warns Sudan on Darfur aid

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned Sudan that it will bear responsibility for any worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Mr Annan said Khartoum's resistance to a UN peacekeeping effort was putting at risk assistance for around 3m people.

Should aid agencies leave Darfur for lack of security, Mr Annan said, the Sudanese government would have to answer to the rest of the world.

A BBC correspondent says Mr Annan's language was unusually blunt. Read more >>>

Heightened tension and frustration in Darfur

TAWILLA, 5 Sept 2005 (IRIN) - Where once the bunkers and razor wire of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping base dominated the plain in front of Tawilla town, now only a small water tower reveals the whereabouts of their camp, swallowed up in a sea of makeshift shelters.

The AU has been widely criticised for its limited capacity to protect millions of Darfurians caught in the crossfire of the three year-old conflict, yet few places better illustrate the crucial role its forces play in providing at least a sense of security. Read more >>>

Monday, September 04, 2006

Taking Genocide Personally

By Intrepid Liberal Journal

The Sudanese government acknowledges mobilizing militias after rebel attacks but denies any relationship with the Janjaweed, accused of "cleansing" black Africans covering large tracts of territory.

Darfur refugees claim the Janjaweed attack villages on horses and camels, exterminating men, raping women and stealing anything they can. Many women report being abducted by the Janjaweed and held as sex slaves. Another vile atrocity are
babies conceived from rape. Rape victims are typically told by perpetrators they want to make a "lighter baby." Read more >>>

Darfur: Renewed fighting in different areas

Based on current estimates, the conflict that broke out in Darfur in 2003 has resulted in tens of thousands of victims and over two-million displaced and refugees
Since August 28 fighting has resumed in different locations of North Darfur, including Kukul and Gabr al-Kafud, according to a spokesman of the African Union (AU), specifying that verifications are still underway by the AU mission in the territory.
Meanwhile, Khartoum’s cabinet has decided to ask the AU to leave the western Darfur region by September 30, when its mandate expires, underlining that the mission has repeatedly claimed its incapacity to carry out its duty. Read more >>>

UN Peacekeeping Resolution Greeted by Khartoum's New Darfur Offensive

By Eric Reeves
Civilians and humanitarian operations will not be protected except by National Islamic Front genocidaires

On Thursday, August 31, 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1706, “inviting” the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum to allow a large and robust UN to enter Darfur with the primary goal of protecting acutely vulnerable civilians and humanitarians. This force (between 23,000 and 24,000 troops, police, and Formed Police Units) could at the very least begin to halt the accelerating slide toward cataclysmic human destruction, destruction that UN aid chief Jan Egeland warned the Security Council on August 28, 2006 could reach to hundreds of thousands of human deaths. Read more >>>

UN Peacekeeping Resolution Greeted by Khartoum's New Darfur Offensive

By Eric Reeves
Civilians and humanitarian operations will not be protected except by National Islamic Front genocidaires

On Thursday, August 31, 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1706, “inviting” the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum to allow a large and robust UN to enter Darfur with the primary goal of protecting acutely vulnerable civilians and humanitarians. This force (between 23,000 and 24,000 troops, police, and Formed Police Units) could at the very least begin to halt the accelerating slide toward cataclysmic human destruction, destruction that UN aid chief Jan Egeland warned the Security Council on August 28, 2006 could reach to hundreds of thousands of human deaths. Read more >>>

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Darfur villages burn as army tramples on UN peace plan

By Katharine Houreld

HELICOPTER gunships thudded over the dusty streets of El Fasher in North Darfur this weekend as the Sudanese government stepped up its latest offensive in defiance of a United Nations resolution.
John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organisation that reports on conflicts, described seeing burnt-out villages and speaking to refugees who had been attacked by roving bands of heavily armed men in pick-up trucks.
“Humanitarian access has shrunk dramatically in the last two months, violence has increased and on top of that already gloomy picture we have a fresh offensive,” he said. Read more >>>

Countdown to Sudan carnage

AT AN airstrip in the heart of Darfur, Ilyushin cargo planes fly in day after day, their holds packed with the stuff of war: troops, trucks, bombs and guns.

So far, negotiations over a proposed United Nations force to shore up the shaky peace in Darfur have limped along with no sign of compromise, and last week they appeared to stall completely.

The opposing sides in the conflict now seem headed towards a large-scale military confrontation, bringing Darfur to the edge of a new abyss.

"Unfortunately, things seem to be headed in that direction," said General Collins Ihekire, commander of the beleaguered 7,000-member African Union force that is enforcing a fragile peace agreement between the government and a single rebel group. Read more >>>

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Darfur refugees tell UN senator Obama: Darfur needs UN for

MILE REFUGEE CAMP, Chad Thousands of refugees, forced out of their homes in Sudan by violence, crowded U.S. Senator Barack Obama Saturday when he visited their camp in eastern Chad to deliver a single message: Bring in the United Nations.

An international peacekeeping force is the only hope they have of returning to their normal lives in Sudan's western region of Darfur, the refugees told Obama. Some carried banners held up on sticks demanding U.N. action.

"We want the U.N. force," said a man who only identified himself as Musadigo. "We won't be able to go home without the U.N." Read more >>>

Darfur refugees tell UN senator Obama: Darfur needs UN for

MILE REFUGEE CAMP, Chad Thousands of refugees, forced out of their homes in Sudan by violence, crowded U.S. Senator Barack Obama Saturday when he visited their camp in eastern Chad to deliver a single message: Bring in the United Nations.

An international peacekeeping force is the only hope they have of returning to their normal lives in Sudan's western region of Darfur, the refugees told Obama. Some carried banners held up on sticks demanding U.N. action.

"We want the U.N. force," said a man who only identified himself as Musadigo. "We won't be able to go home without the U.N." Read more >>>

Sudan to expel AU force from Darfur

(KHARTOUM)
— Sudan has decided to expel African Union force from the troubled Darfur region. The decision is taken by Khartoum twenty-four hours after the adoption of a UN resolution on Darfur peacekeeping mission.

According London based Asharq Al-Awsat, the Sudanese government has decided this measure after the Approval for UN takeover of the AU in Darfur.

Sudanese president had warned the AU against any support to the UN takeover.

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution Thursday to send a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan’s Darfur region to help improve the humanitarian condition there.Read more >>>

Sudan's government launches new offensive against rebels in Darfur

By Henry Meyer
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAIRO, Egypt – The Sudanese government has launched a major offensive against rebels in war-torn Darfur, human rights activists and African Union officials said Friday.
The fighting, which Human Rights Watch said has involved government aircraft bombing villages, began as a senior U.S. envoy was in Khartoum to press the government to accept the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in the western region.

Sudan on Thursday rejected as “illegal” a U.N. Security Council resolution paving the way for the replacement of 7,000 ill-equipped African Union peacekeepers in Darfur with more than 20,000 U.N. troops and police. Read more >>>

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jendayi Frazer: On-the-Record Briefing on Sudan


by SOPnewswire

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. What I would like to do today is start the briefing off with two guest briefers, Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer, our Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. She can talk to you a little bit about her recent trip to Sudan. She just returned yesterday to the United States. And then also Assistant Secretary Kristen Silverberg, our Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, and she can talk to you a little bit about and answer your questions concerning the resolution that was just passed up in New York regarding Sudan.

So without further ado I'll turn it over to them, and then afterwards we can return to any other questions you might have regarding other topics. So I'll turn it over to our two guest briefers.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRAZER: Thank you, Sean. And thank you all for being here. I'm going to brief a little on my trip to Sudan, from which I returned last night. I went to Khartoum to consult with the leadership of Sudan's Government of National Unity on shared goals of ending the Darfur crisis. My specific mission was to consult the Government of National Unity on the UN Security Council resolution and as a result of that consultation we were able to make some small changes in the draft to help address some of the concerns they raised.

I also passed President Bush's message to President Bashir...Read more >>>

Jendayi Frazer: On-the-Record Briefing on Sudan


by SOPnewswire

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. What I would like to do today is start the briefing off with two guest briefers, Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer, our Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. She can talk to you a little bit about her recent trip to Sudan. She just returned yesterday to the United States. And then also Assistant Secretary Kristen Silverberg, our Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, and she can talk to you a little bit about and answer your questions concerning the resolution that was just passed up in New York regarding Sudan.

So without further ado I'll turn it over to them, and then afterwards we can return to any other questions you might have regarding other topics. So I'll turn it over to our two guest briefers.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRAZER: Thank you, Sean. And thank you all for being here. I'm going to brief a little on my trip to Sudan, from which I returned last night. I went to Khartoum to consult with the leadership of Sudan's Government of National Unity on shared goals of ending the Darfur crisis. My specific mission was to consult the Government of National Unity on the UN Security Council resolution and as a result of that consultation we were able to make some small changes in the draft to help address some of the concerns they raised.

I also passed President Bush's message to President Bashir...Read more >>>

Darfur conflict could spread in days -E.U. envoy

By Sami Torma

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Conflict in Sudan's Darfur region could escalate into widespread fighting within days or weeks, the European Union's special envoy said on Friday.

Another 100,000 or 200,000 people could be forced to flee their homes in the northern part of the remote province, envoy Pekka Haavisto said.

"It could be a matter of days or weeks for the conflict to escalate into a widespread military operation," Haavisto told journalists on his return from a visit to Darfur.

He said EU officials working in the area had told him the situation was getting worse. Read more >>>

Sudan: Army unleashes military offensive in Darfur

EL FASHER, 1 September (IRIN) - Sudanese government forces have recaptured the rebel-held town of Um Sidir near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur State, raising fears that a major new offensive has started in the region, observers said on Friday.

The rebels, who have held the town for some months, have vowed to try to take back the town, an important stronghold, which the government forces overran on Thursday afternoon.

"Six days ago, a bombing campaign started in the area north of El Fasher that lasted a couple of days," a rebel source in Darfur said. "It seems to have been an attempt to soften up resistance in the area and to allow government troops to move in." Read more >>>