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 >>>

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Offensives in Darfur and Chad Threaten Civilians

UN Security Council Must React Strongly to Expulsion of UN Envoy

infoZine - Rising violence in eastern Chad and Darfur highlights the immediate need for the United Nations Security Council to strengthen civilian protection by the UN mission in Sudan following Khartoum's expulsion of the UN secretary-general's special representative in Sudan, Jan Pronk, Human Rights Watch said today.

"The Security Council should not accept Khartoum's endless intransigence over any UN effort to protect Sudanese civilians," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Violence in Darfur and eastern Chad is escalating, and the strong UN force that the Security Council mandated back in August is urgently needed to protect civilians on both sides of the border." Read more >>>

UN envoy says has no regrets over Sudan comments

By Alexandra Hudson

AMSTERDAM, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Top U.N. envoy Jan Pronk said on Tuesday he had no regrets about comments he made about the situation in Darfur which led to his expulsion by the Sudanese government, and said he hoped he could return to the country.

Pronk left Sudan on Monday after he published comments on his Web site saying the Sudanese army lost two major battles to rebels in North Darfur and morale was low, infuriating Sudan's powerful armed forces who called Pronk a threat to security.

In his first interview since leaving Sudan, Pronk told Dutch radio station BNR Nieuwsradio the information was widely available and it was not the Weblog itself that lay behind his expulsion.

"Over there it is not about where you say something, but what you say," he said.

"The main thing is that a peace accord was signed in Darfur but the military are trampling all over it and are still trying to gain a military victory. I have been trying constantly over the last months to expose this and this doesn't suit them." Read more >>>

Monday, October 23, 2006

Deadly Government Bombing In Darfur

21 October 2006
Press Release: United Nations

UN Receives Reports Of Deadly Government Bombing In Darfur, Arrest Of Aid Workers
New York, Oct 19 2006 6:00PM

Amid increasing insecurity in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, the United Nations mission in the country has received reports that a Government aircraft bombed an area in North Darfur, killing an eight-year-old boy, and that two aid workers were arrested in the south of the region.

The reports to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said the aircraft “dropped an unconfirmed number of bombs” near Birmaza yesterday, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. Read more >>>

Darfur rebels say militias attack villages

By Opheera McDoom

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Armed militia have looted and attacked civilians and raped two girls in villages in the Nena area of North Darfur, rebels said on Sunday.

Despite a May peace deal violence has escalated in Sudan's remote west where experts say 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes.

"The Janjaweed attacked villages in Nena yesterday and raped two girls ... aged 16 and 18," said Jar el-Naby, a rebel commander in North Darfur.

"Government troops are also mobilising in this area, and we are prepared for an attack," Naby said. Read more >>>

Stop the killing of innocents in Darfur

Auschwitz, Rwanda, Bosnia, now Darfur.

Darfur is facing genocide. Already, 400,000 people have been killed, and more than 2 million are in refugee camps. Torture, rape and murder of civilians are occurring because of civil war. The United Nations must send peacekeeping troops, and the Sudanese government is sending mixed messages as to whether it will accept such troops. The peacekeeping force already in Darfur is in urgent need of funds. Our efforts thus far are not enough to prevent the murder of countless innocents.

I urge readers to do their own research and contact their congressmen. We cannot allow people in a faraway country to die en masse again.
Maura Loew
Source

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Senator Obama calls for more U.S. action on Darfur

WASHINGTON A Democratic senator said Sunday that the United States should do more to help stem violence in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan.

Sen. Barack Obama, who is considering a run for president in 2008, called for "more leadership than we have taken in forming an international protective force in Darfur," where violence has risen dramatically in recent weeks. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in three years of fighting.

"When you have situations involving genocide, it is important for us as a world community — and the United States is the world's sole super power — for us to take that seriously, and to make commitments of resources to deal with it," Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press." Read more >>>

EU official says UN presence in Darfur is vital to civilians there

BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Union on Sunday criticized Sudan's decision to order the chief U.N. envoy out of the country, arguing the role of the United Nations is key to resolving the crisis in Darfur.

"The presence of the United Nations is vital to hundreds of thousands of citizens of the Darfur region," said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for the EU Commission.

The order for U.N. envoy Jan Pronk to leave within three days will likely further complicate efforts to end the crisis in the strife-torn region of western Sudan, he said.

"The situation is deteriorating rapidly," said Altafaj Tardio. "The U.N. has a key role to play which goes well beyond security and the current discussions on the U.N. deployment." Read more >>>

Sudan masses its troops for a decisive strike on Darfur

By Gethin Chamberlain in El Fasher, North Darfur

The soldier pushed at the bomb with his foot, rolling it through the dust towards the white Russian-built Antonov aircraft standing on the runway of El Fasher airport.

The plane was being loaded for another bombing run, as Sudanese government forces gear up for a military onslaught when Ramadan ends today or tomorrow.
Crude but effective, the Antonovs are back in the air over the villages of Darfur, just as they were during the initial pogroms that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more than two million. When they reach their targets, the soldiers lower the ramps and kick out the bombs – which look like munitions used in the Second World War – to explode on those below.

New arrivals at the El Salaam camp outside Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, describe how the Antonovs and helicopter gunships attacked their villages, forcing them to flee.

"I saw about 10 bombs falling," said Adam Ishag, who fled his village of Hila Babkeir after it came under attack. "They exploded beside the houses and two were destroyed. We took the children and we ran away."

The troubled western region of Sudan is entering a new and dangerous period. The Darfur Peace Agreement, signed in the Nigerian capital Abuja in May, largely at the urging of the international community, is widely perceived to have failed. Fighting has escalated and the rebel groups, which splintered acrimoniously after the signing, are once again looking to present a united front. Read more >>>

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Doing business with Africa's Hitler

Public pension funds shouldn't support genocide

In the Sudan's government ceaseless genocide in Darfur - while the world watches in horror but does not act - 80 children under age 5 die each day, estimates the United Nations Children's Fund (Sudan Tribune Web site, Oct. 7). As more relief agencies pull out because of the growing violence, more children older than age 5 will die. Yet, just before leaving for midterm elections, the Senate stripped out a vital part of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. Read more >>>

Sudan: UN Receives Reports of Deadly Government Bombing in Darfur, Arrest of Aid Workers

Amid increasing insecurity in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region, the United Nations mission in the country has received reports that a Government aircraft bombed an area in North Darfur, killing an eight-year-old boy, and that two aid workers were arrested in the south of the region.

The reports to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said the aircraft "dropped an unconfirmed number of bombs" near Birmaza yesterday, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. Read more >>>

Friday, October 20, 2006

Genocide survivors urges EU sanctions over Darfur

Survivors of genocide, from the Nazi Holocaust to Rwanda, called on Friday for European Union sanctions to stop the Darfur conflict, saying so far the EU has done almost nothing to stop mass killing in western Sudan.

"I didn't survive a Nazi concentration camp to sit back while genocide is repeated," said Holocaust survivor Martin Stern, one of 120 people to sign an open letter to EU states.

"Europe can play a leading role in stopping this slaughter but it has to act now," he added.

Sudan is resisting international pressure to allow 20,000 U.N. troops to replace African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, where 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in a three-year-old conflict. Read more >>>

SUDAN AIR FORCE IS SAID TO HAVE BOMBED DARFUR TOWN

By (AND) - www.andnetwork.com

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says it has received reports that a government aircraft dropped an unconfirmed number of bombs near Birmaza in North Darfur yesterday, leading to the death of an eight-year-old boy.

UNMIS has also received reports that two staff members from an international NGO were arrested in South Darfur two days ago for taking photographs without the required permit; and in West Darfur, armed bandits tried to break into an NGO compound in Nertiti. And while on the topic of Darfur, a new UN assessment has found that despite the deteriorating security situation, overall malnutrition levels have mostly stabilized this year and food insecurity has improved slightly thanks to a stronger international response to the suffering there.

Former deputy of U.N. speaks out on the situation in Darfur

By Jeff Merski

A former member of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spoke to members of the university community on Oct. 16 about his experiences in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Donald Price, a former deputy head of the United Nations operations in the region, spoke in Annenberg Forum about the destruction in the region, in which an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people have lost their lives, with it continuing daily.

“People will have been kidnapped, raped and killed while I give this presentation,” he said.

Price described the actions of the Arab government destroying homes, poising wells and degrazing agricultural land in an effort to persecute the black population. “It’s the systematic destruction of civilian villages,” he said.

“A helicopter wipes out a village in an hour. It’s an attack helicopter that has rockets and machine guns,” he said. Villages range in size from a maximum of 7,000 occupants to a minimum of 200, with sizes depending on the amount of land available for grazing. Read more >>>

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The EU must act now on Darfur as new violence cuts off thousands of civilians

The European Union must immediately increase pressure on all sides to fully adhere to a ceasefire in response to the escalating crisis in Darfur, said a coalition of aid agencies today.

As EU heads of state meet in Finland today the six agencies – CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee and Tearfund –warned that suffering will continue to increase unless international bodies such as the EU take on a greater leadership role.

The agencies warn that renewed violence in North Darfur has driven thousands of civilians deep into the mountains where they are cut off from aid. September has seen major new outbreaks of violence in North Darfur and the central Jebel Marra region, and a new rise in militia attacks destroying dozens of villages in South Darfur. Read more >>>

Darfur: A second wave of genocide has begun

By Eric Reeves

The story of a former Janjaweed fighter who fled to the UK shows beyond doubt that a second wave of genocide has begun.

Although there are perverse pockets of skepticism about whether atrocities in Darfur amount to genocide, the evidence provided by human rights organisations and UN assessments over the past three and a half years incinerates all but the most obdurate or politically motivated doubt. The narrative of ethnically-targeted human destruction has become numbingly, terrifyingly familiar. Read more >>>

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Death in Darfur

Eric Reeves

The story of a former Janjaweed fighter who fled to the UK shows beyond doubt that a second wave of genocide has begun.

Although there are perverse pockets of skepticism about whether atrocities in Darfur amount to genocide, the evidence provided by human rights organisations and UN assessments over the past three and a half years incinerates all but the most obdurate or politically motivated doubt. The narrative of ethnically-targeted human destruction has become numbingly, terrifyingly familiar. Read more >>>

Excerpts: Ex-Janjaweed fighter story

Watch the video on the top right corner after clicking this link

A former member of Sudan's pro-government Arab militias, the Janjaweed, has told the BBC's Newsnight programme that ministers in Khartoum gave orders for the activities of his unit in the Darfur region, which included killings and rape.
Following are excerpts of the interview with ex-fighter "Ali", who is now living in London. Read more >>>

EU: Darfur Escalation Demands

Brussels, October 19, 2006) ?
European governments must apply targeted sanctions on President Omar El Bashir and other top Sudanese officials responsible for the ongoing military offensive and associated abuses against civilians in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today. A summit of EU heads of state is scheduled for October 20, 2006 in Finland. In October, the UN Panel of Experts reported to the UN sanctions committee that almost all the warring parties in Darfur were blatantly violating the arms embargo and recommended that individual sanctions be applied to a confidential list of individuals.

"The UN Panel of Experts has recommended sanctions on those who continue to abuse civilians and violate the arms embargo. Clearly Khartoum policymakers should be top of this list," said Peter Takirambudde, director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division. "The European Union says it supports sanctions. If this is more than rhetoric then now is the time to apply them at the European level." Read more >>>

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

U.S. Must Crank Up the Heat on Khartoum

John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen

There is plenty of blame to go around in the continuing crisis in Darfur. But the stalemate over the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping operation to the ravaged region in Sudan can be traced directly to the international community's failure to apply strong diplomatic and economic pressure on senior officials of the ruling National Congress Party to end the killing, negotiate amendments to the flawed Darfur Peace Agreement and accept U.N. troops.

Until and unless the international community takes collective, punitive action against the NCP, it is foolish to believe that Khartoum will stop its increasingly clamorous public posturing and its escalating war strategy, or do any more than pay continued lip-service to its numerous unfulfilled promises, most notably the disarmament of its allied Janjaweed militias. Read more >>>

Monday, October 16, 2006

Genocide and global indifference

By George J. Bryjak

Since February of 2003, approximately 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur, a near Texas-size desert region in western Sudan. The Sudanese armed forces and a government-backed militia known as the “Janjaweed” have been fighting two rebel factions in Darfur. These groups oppose the political and economic exploitation of their homeland. Government forces and the Janjaweed are primarily Arab nomads, while the inhabitants of Darfur are black Africans. Read more >>>

Food shortages major challenge of 21st century

By Anthony Fletcher

16/10/2006 - The FAO has marked today's World Food Day with a warning that 40 countries currently face acute food shortages.

The crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan is still the most pressing humanitarian problem, and the FAO is concerned that "the already precarious food supply situation may worsen if deteriorating security disrupts the main harvest due to start in the coming few weeks". Read more >>>

UN 'failed to act on Darfur'

London - The catastrophe in Sudan's Darfur region could have been averted if the United Nations, world media and human rights groups had picked up and acted on warning signals, said a human rights group on Monday.

Minority Rights Group (MRG) accused the international community of failing to learn from the genocide in Rwanda 10 years earlier and to set up a system to predict and thwart escalating ethnic violence.

Mark Lattimer of the MRG said: "Darfur would just not be in this situation had the UN systems got its act together after Rwanda: their action was too little too late.

"This level of crisis, the killings, rape and displacement could have been foreseen and avoided. Read more >>>

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Darfur refugees plea for more protection from the international community


KASSAB, Sudan Refugees in the camps scattered across Darfur live in fear, saying the African Union peacekeeping mission does little to protect them even as rising violence is driving away crucial humanitarian aid.

"You have been here for three years now, and what have you done for us?" a tribal leader bitterly asked a delegation of AU soldiers and police that came to the Kassab refugee camp last week.

As they often have to do, the peacekeepers patiently explained to camp delegates that they'd come to Darfur only to monitor the violence and have no mandate to fight it.

"You are witnessing what happens, but you aren't helping," retorted Attaieb Adem, a leader of the 25,000 refugees in Kassab. Read more >>>

How Long Must the People of Darfur Wait for Meaningful Security?

By: Eric Reeves

Current timelines for deployment of an appropriate international military force to protect civilians and humanitarians imply an unconscionable gamble with hundreds of thousands of Darfuri lives

It is more than six weeks since UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland warned the Security Council that, “[the humanitarian gains of the past two years in Darfur] can all be lost within weeks---not months. I cannot give a starker warning than to say that we are at a point where even hope may escape us and the lives of hundreds of thousands could be needlessly lost.” It is more than six weeks since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1706, authorizing “rapid” deployment of 22,500 military and security personnel to Darfur to protect civilians and humanitarian operations, as well as to secure the border between Darfur and Chad, where violence continues to escalate dangerously. Read more >>>

Saving Darfur


ROCKPORT:
Amnesty International and the Fur Cultural Revival will present Saving Darfur on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., at Camden Hills Regional High School. The Fur Cultural Revival is a Portland-based organization of refugees from the Darfur region of western Sudan. Saving Darfur will include drumming, a short talk, and a 20 – minute documentary, as well as recommended actions the public can take in concert with Amnesty International's campaign to get U.N. peacekeepers on the ground in Darfur.

Darfur is the location of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have lost their lives since the Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003. Systematic human rights abuses have occurred, including killing, torture, rape, looting, and the destruction of property by all parties involved. Read more >>>

Friday, October 13, 2006

Darfur Crisis


Now is the time for our President, our country, and the international community to match strong words with decisive action.

Now is the time for the President to work with Russia, China, and members of the Arab League to compel Sudan to accept a UN peacekeeping force.

Now is the time to impose a NATO-led no-fly zone over the Darfur region, expand sanctions on Sudanese government officials, freeze Sudan's assets abroad, and block its oil exports.

If these measures do not make it possible to quickly deploy a UN force and halt the genocide, a NATO-led intervention must be seriously considered.

Now is the time for leadership and bold action. Read more >>>

The Age of Impunity

Sudan’s leaders sent out a letter last week warning governments against volunteering their troops for a United Nations peacekeeping force for Darfur. Khartoum was obviously feeling cocky. But why shouldn’t it? The Security Council — or more to the point, the big powers that run the Security Council — made clear that it won’t send in troops to stop the genocide unless Sudan first agrees.

Then there’s Iran, which is still defiantly enriching uranium. And the North Koreans, who blew off the rest of the world when they blew off what they said was a nuclear weapon this week.

Welcome to the new age of impunity. Read more >>>

Insecurity Still Plagues Darfur

By Semantics King,Jr

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region enjoyed greater access to aid workers during September but the number of attacks and security incidents there also jumped in the same month, according to the latest snapshot by the United Nations’ humanitarian arm.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region enjoyed greater access to aid workers during September but the number of attacks and security incidents there also jumped in the same month, according to the latest snapshot by the United Nations’ humanitarian arm.

According to an overview of Sudan's Humanitarian crisis released here today by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN (OCHA), there is an increase in attacks on aid workers’ vehicles, from hijackings and ambushes to acts of looting. Read more >>>

80 Children Die Per Day in Darfur

MELLIT, Sudan - Myriam Ibrahim does not like to talk about her daughter Fawzia.

The smallest of triplet girls born in May, the infant died last month in Darfur. Now, the 28-year-old mother has just a week of powdered milk for her two remaining babies - and no idea how she will feed them afterward.

"Fawzia started having fever, then diarrhea, and then she died. It was a month ago," Ms. Ibrahim said with the soft, sad smile so common to Darfurian women as they recount their survival.

Each day in Darfur, 80 children younger than 5 die because of malnutrition, disease and generally poor living conditions created by violence in this barren region of western Sudan, the U.N. Children's Fund estimates. Read more >>>

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Getting the UN into Darfur

Nairobi/Brussels, 12 October 2006: With Khartoum continuing to reject the expanded UN mission in Darfur, the international community must take strong economic and legal, and some new military measures to change the regime’s calculation of the costs of non-cooperation.

Getting the UN into Darfur,* the latest policy briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines ways out of the impasse over deploying a major UN peacekeeping force. Pressure on the ruling National Congress Party should include targeted sanctions on key regime figures, an investigation into the offshore accounts of its businesses, encouraging divestment campaigns, some measures against the petroleum sector, maintaining the threat of International Criminal Court prosecutions for atrocity crimes, and moving to enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur.

“There is a third way between the current approach of gentle persuasion and a full-scale, non-consensual military intervention”, says John Prendergast, Crisis Group Senior Adviser. “We need a series of economic, legal and more limited military measures that impose a cost on regime officials responsible for continuing the destruction and blocking the UN force”. Read more >>>

Darfur refugees live in fear of militias

ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU
Associated Press

FATA BORNO, Sudan - The small patrol of African Union peacekeepers were struggling with two stranded cars near this Darfur refugee camp when the Arab militiamen sped by in trucks, shouting and brandishing weapons. They were the Janjaweed, the fierce militiamen accused of raping and murdering African villagers and turning western Sudan's Darfur region into one of the world's gravest humanitarian crises.

The incident - witnessed Wednesday by a reporter for The Associated Press - shows how little the Janjaweed fear the understaffed and underfunded African Union peacekeeping force, which is supposed to monitor a cease-fire and protect civilians here.

Sudan has refused to allow the United Nations to send in peacekeepers to replace the AU force and protect civilians.

In the Wednesday incident, a half-dozen pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns rumbled past the small African Union peacekeeping patrol as it struggled to pull the stranded cars from a sandy riverbed.

Inside the trucks, about 50 young Arab militiamen brandished weapons such as rocket-propelled grenade launchers and automatic rifles. As they rode past, the fighters - most of them appearing to be excitable teens with scarves masking their faces - shouted and shook their fists at the stranded peacekeepers.

Janjaweed militiamen are streaming into this northern part of Darfur to support Sudanese government troops battling rebels in a new and intense outbreak of fighting. Read more >>>

SA urges Sudan to accept UN force in Darfur

The Sudanese government must be convinced to accept the deployment of a United Nations force in its war-torn western region of Darfur, South Africa said on Thursday.

"All efforts must continue to be made to try to convince the government of Sudan that it is in the interests of everybody that we blue-hat the African Union forces," Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad told reporters in Cape Town.

"A major contingent can be Africa, but without it becoming a UN force we believe that the necessary support and even the technological assistance will not be forthcoming."

Pahad said few countries would be willing to commit troops to a UN force that did not have the Sudanese government's consent, "because that would mean, as some groups had warned, that they will then declare war against the UN forces that are there". Read more >>>

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rebels, Sudan forces clash in Darfur

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU Associated Press Writer

KUTUM, Sudan — Intense fighting has erupted in the northern part of Darfur with hundreds of rebels and Sudanese government troops wounded or captured in clashes this week near the border with Chad, international observers said Tuesday.

The Sudanese air force is bombing villages in rebel-controlled areas north of the regional capital of El Fasher, the international groups said. The number of civilian casualties in these bombings is not known, the United Nations mission in Sudan said. The Sudanese military on Tuesday denied the bombings were continuing. Read more >>>

UN Condemns Massive Upsurge in Rape in Darfur

New York

Violence against women and children by warring groups in Darfur is reaching alarming levels. Extreme violence has been a feature of the civil conflict since it erupted in 2003. However, in the past months, attacks on women and girls, both within and outside camps for the displaced, have soared. Read more >>>

Nigeria's Obasanjo warns of Darfur genocide

By Tsegaye Tadesse

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo warned of a possible genocide in the Darfur region on Tuesday, as cash-strapped African peacekeepers struggle to stem the violence in Sudan's remote west.

Nigeria is the largest troop contributing nation to the African Union (AU) force in Darfur, which is caught in an international diplomatic tug-of-war over a U.N. takeover of the peacekeeping mission.

"It is not in the interest of Sudan nor in the interest of Africa nor indeed in the interest of the world for us all to stand by and see genocide being developed in Darfur," Obasanjo said in a speech at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The AU has been a diplomatic ally to Sudan, at odds with the United Nations over the past two years because of the rape, murder and pillage in its remote Darfur region which has forced 2.5 million people from their homes into wretched camps. Read more >>>

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rwanda, UN discuss bolstering AU forces in Darfur

(KIGALI) —
The Rwandan president discussed with a UN envoy ways to boost African Union peacekeeping forces in Sudan war-torn Darfur region. The envoy said he still optimist that Sudan would accept UN takeover.

Paul Kagame and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special advisor on genocide prevention, Juan Mendez, Wednesday discussed how to bolster the African Union (AU) forces in Darfur, reported the Rwandan newspaper the New Times. Read more >>>

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Background on the Genocide in Darfur, Sudan

History of the conflict with recent updates and developments


The conflict in the Darfur Region of Sudan began in February of 2003. At least 400,000 people have been killed; more than 2.5 million civilians are displaced. They now live in displaced-persons camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad; and more than 3.5 million men, women, and children are completely reliant on international aid for survival, some of which isn’t able to reach areas in Darfur. Women are raped and tortured and innocent civillians lack the most basic protection.

The Sudanese armed forces and Sudanese government-backed militia known as “Janjaweed” have been fighting two rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The stated political aim of the rebels has been to compel the government of Sudan to address underdevelopment and the political marginalization of the region. In response, the Sudanese government’s regular armed forces and the Janjaweed – largely composed of fighters of Arab nomadic background – have targeted civilian populations and ethnic group from which the rebels primarily draw their support – the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa. Read more >>>

Jailed for 34 days, Tribune reporter writes: What I saw in Darfur

By Paul Salopek

Jailed for 34 days, Tribune reporter writes: What I saw in Darfur
Humanitarian catastrophe poised to grow worse in weeks ahead
One cloudless Sunday morning in early August, while traveling on a desert road in the remote Darfur region of western Sudan, a teenager sporting dreadlocks and an AK-47 rifle stopped my vehicle. My translator, Suleiman Abakar Moussa, stepped out and offered the youth a cigarette--standard etiquette in African war zones. But Moussa immediately returned to the car, frowning.

In this incidental way, I learned that we had just lost our freedom.

The young gunman belonged to a pro-government militia. And his patrol, after beating us and stealing our car and equipment, handed us over to Sudanese military intelligence. Moussa, my driver, Idriss Abdulrahman Anu, and I spent the next 34 days behind bars in Darfur, ending up hostage to a regime accused of mass murder. The government in Khartoum charged us with espionage, spreading "false news" and entering Africa's latest killing field without a visa.

It was hard not to feel, however, that our real crime was unspoken: reporting on a humanitarian catastrophe that is largely invisible to the outside world, and that is poised to grow worse in the weeks ahead. Read more >>>

More than 80 infants die each day in Darfur: UN

ASSOCIATED PRESS


MELLIT, Sudan — Myriam Ibrahim does not like to talk about her daughter Fawzia.

The smallest of triplet girls born in May, the infant died last month in Darfur. Now, the 29-year-old mother has just a week of powdered milk for her two remaining babies — and no idea how she will feed them afterward.

"Fawzia started having fever, then diarrhea, and then she died. It was a month ago," Ibrahim said with the soft, sad smile so common to Darfurian women as they recount their survival.

Each day in Darfur, 80 children under age five die because of malnutrition, disease and generally poor living conditions created by violence in this barren region of western Sudan, the UN Children's Fund estimates.

When Ibrahim gave birth to her triplets in May, stress and lack of food left her with no milk of her own for her daughters. Read more >>>

UNHCR Deeply Concerned About Plight of IDP's in Darfur

Geneva --
There are about 24 million internally displaced people around the world. More than two million are in Sudan's conflict-ridden province of Darfur.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, says the people of Darfur have no protection under international law, because they are not refugees who have crossed international borders. He says, as internally displaced, they are under the authority of the State, and this limits what international aid agencies can do.

"How terrible it is for us, humanitarian workers, not to be able to deliver effective protection to internally displaced people in Darfur because of the prevailing security circumstances and the massive violations of human rights," he said. Read more >>>

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sudan tries to intimidate UN troop contributors

(UNITED NATIONS) — The United States demanded on Thursday that the U.N. Security Council respond to Sudan’s warning that any nation pledging U.N. troops for Darfur was committing a "hostile act" and a "prelude to an invasion."

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, who called for a special closed-door council session, said he expected the 15-member body to react later in the day to what he called Khartoum’s attempt to intimidate potential troop contributors.

Sudan’s U.N. mission sent an unsigned letter to dozens of states, many of whom attended a meeting on Sept. 25 on troop and police contributions to a future U.N. force in Darfur. Sudan has rejected such a force. Read more >>>

Darfur's Aid Operations in Jeopardy, Warns Annan

Sudan's war-torn region of Darfur has reached a critical stage, with humanitarian groups at risk of withdrawing or drastically reducing their operations unless security conditions improve rapidly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan warns in his latest report to the Security Council.

Reviewing events during August, Mr. Annan says the months since the striking of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in May have been disastrous, with signatories and non-signatories breaching their obligations under that and other accords. Read more >>>

Annan Sounds Alarm Over Crisis in Darfur

By NICK WADHAMS

Darfur is creeping ever closer to catastrophe, with rape and violence on the rise, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report Thursday, as the country warned that any nation offering troops for a future peacekeeping force would be committing a "hostile act."

In the report to the Security Council, Annan said a May peace deal was not being followed, and that humanitarian access is at its lowest level since 2004. Sudan's armed forces, as well as rebel factions and the militias, continue to violate international human rights law and humanitarian law with impunity, he said.

"It has now been three months since the Darfur peace agreement was signed," Annan wrote. "However, instead of reconciliation and building of trust, we are witnessing intensified violence and deeper polarization. The region is again on the brink of a catastrophic situation." Read more >>>

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Crying out for safety

1. Introduction

The people of Darfur are crying out for security. Thousands of civilians have been killed, tortured and raped, and hundreds of thousands have been forcibly displaced since 2003. Even as the government of Sudan resists the deployment of international peacekeepers in Darfur, it has launched a new military offensive in the region. Civilians are being killed in aerial bombardments and ground attacks by government forces and Janjawid militia.

The government of Sudan has recently launched a major military offensive, the scale of which Darfur has not witnessed for over a year. The Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006 was supposed to herald a new era of peace. Instead it has opened up a new conflict, pitting the government and its allies against the non-signatories. Signed by only the government of Sudan, one faction of the opposition Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) led by Minni Minawi, and a few individual commanders from other factions, it was not signed by key opposition groups and factions. Read more >>>

Aid workers in Darfur persevere against violence and suspicion

EL SALLAM CAMP, Sudan Tribal leaders gathered in tense silence in a straw hut at Darfur's El Sallam camp, facing international aid workers who'd come to broker an agreement between the refugees and a Sudanese aid group that residents wanted to bar from the camp.

Clad in flowing white cotton robes and turbans, the tribal leaders gave a long list of reasons to prevent aid workers from Siha, a Sudanese non-governmental organization, from coming anywhere near the camp.

"How can we trust that they aren't spies for the government," said one representative of the refugees Wednesday, recalling that the Sudanese army had chased his people from their villages more than two years ago.

Some 80,000 refugees survive in El Sallam and the nearby camp of Abu Shouk, a cluster of huts, mud brick houses and tents that sprawls on the outskirts of the capital of North Darfur state, El Fasher. They are among 2.5 million people made homeless by three years of fighting between Khartoum and rebel groups in the vast, arid Darfur region of western Sudan. Read more >>>

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Darfur: if not now, when?

By NORMAN L. EPSTEIN

The world is teetering shamefully toward a diminished humanity unless we stop the senseless slaughter in Sudan. For more than three years in Darfur, the government of Sudan and its proxy militias have attacked African villages with impunity, causing the death of some 400,000 people and leaving almost three million languishing in internally displaced persons camps.

Despite the government’s adamant denial, there is a credible paper trail indicting many in the upper echelons of the Khartoum regime for orchestrating this genocide. In fact, last year, a UN fact-finding mission found many of these influential government members should be tried for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Perversely, we continue to negotiate with the Sudanese government for an international force to intervene, as though they are part of the solution, when in fact, they are the source of the problem. Read more >>>

Rape risk spirals for Darfur women

By Karen Allen
BBC News, Kutum

Hawa was raped in broad daylight, the way it often happens here in northern Darfur.

Daily tasks, like collecting firewood, have become dangerous for women

Clutching a baby to her breast, she relived her ordeal from Kassab camp which is sanctuary to more than 20,000 people displaced by Darfur's bloody conflict.

"I left the camp with two other girls, to get grass for the donkeys," she remembers.

"Along the way we met more than four men with guns. One of them grabbed my arms and another one grabbed my legs. They said they would kill me if I didn't co-operate." Read more >>>

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Saving Darfur with force

There's only one language Khartoum understands and that is the credible threat of force, write a trio of U.S. foreign policy experts in a commentary for The Washington Post.
Susan Rice of the Brookings Institution, former U.S. national security adviser Anthony Lake and Democratic representative Donald Payne urge military action against Khartoum if Sudan fails to allow the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers. If Washington doesn't secure U.N. support for this action, it should act alone, just as it did in Kosovo in 1999, they say.

"Will we use force to save Africans in Darfur as we did to save Europeans in Kosovo?" Rice, Lake and Payne ask. Read more >>>

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rescue the life of prominent Darfur peace negotiator


Abulgasem Ahmad Abulgasem, a political opponent of the Sudanese government, prominent figure in Abuja Peace Negotiations and member of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, was arrested by the Saudi Arabian security forces on 26 September at his home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he lived for 28 years.

The reason for his arrest is unclear but is believed to be connected to a speech in which he criticized the Sudanese government at the Sudanese Embassy prior to his arrest.

According to our source, Abulgasim was already deported on Saudi Arabia Airlines flight 453 from Jeddah to Kartoum, at 18:50 local time. His life is at imminent risk of torture and unfair trial if not at great danger of being sentenced to death.

- Name: Abulgasem Ahmed Abulgasem

- Date and place of birth: Kutum, Darfur 1950

- Social status: Married with four children

- Occupation: Engineer

- Place of current residence: Jeddah Saudi Arabia, for 28 Years

- Date and place of arrest: Jeddah, Tuesday September 26, 2006

- Photo: see attachemenet

The people of Darfur are deeply concerned about the life of Abulgasem and are confident that EU, UN, Human Rights Watch and other rights groups will exert maximum effort to help the release of Abulgasem.

Bush Says U.N. Should Not Wait on Darfur

By The Associated Press

MORE FROM SECTION WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Monday the United Nations should send a peacekeeping force to the troubled Darfur region of Sudan as soon as possible without further delay.

"The United Nations can play an important role in helping us achieve our objective, which is to end human suffering and deprivation," Bush said as he dispatched special envoy Andrew Natsios to the region. "In my view, the United Nations should not wait any longer ... ."

The Sudanese government has thus far resisted mounting international pressure to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur. Bush contends the U.N. should deploy such a force anyway.

Natsios said he had been going to Sudan for 17 years and "I know leaders in all regions of the country and I'm going to use those contacts and that history to move this process along." Read more >>>

US military action urged against Sudan

From correspondents in Washington

TWO former senior US officials and a sitting congressman called today for the US to lead military strikes against Sudan if Khartoum persists in its refusal to allow UN peacekeepers into its Darfur region.

"It's time to get tough with Sudan," Anthony Lake, who served as president Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser, former assistant secretary of state for Africa Susan Rice and Democratic representative Donald Payne wrote in an opinion piece in today's Washington Post.

The three said Sudan President Omar al-Beshir's Arab-led government had launched a major new offensive against rebels in Darfur, threatening to unleash a "second wave of genocide" against the region's ethnic African population.

"After three years of fruitless negotiation and feckless rhetoric, it's time to go beyond unenforced UN resolutions to a new kind of resolution: the firm resolve to act," they said. Read more >>>