Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bold response for Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

AU: Sudan bombs the people of Darfur

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't forget Darfur

By: Paul Klaus

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

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

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

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

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

Violence, Death Stalk Women in Darfur

By Cole Mallard

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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sudan says no to peacekeeping force in Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Darfur: Violence displaces more civilians in Darfur

A village destroyed by militias during a past raid

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

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Darfur: The hidden holocaust continues

Ben Macintyre in Khartoum

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

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

U.S. must take role in salvaging Darfur

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 25, 2006

'Hotel Rwanda' star shines light on Darfur


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

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

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

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Darfur Humanitarian Operations Now in "Meltdown" Phase

By: Eric Reeves

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Darfur refugees beg U.N. to protect them

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Darfur genocide to spread


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

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

Speak out on Darfur

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

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

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

Do something about Darfur


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Darfur: Families continue to experience violence in Darfur

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

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

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

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

Darfur: Genocide without borders

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

“The Genocide Olympics”

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

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

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

Activist calls on Americans to stop slaughter in Darfur


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

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

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

Darfur: Severe insecurity threatens humanitarian access in Darfur

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2006

ICC prepared for Darfur prosecutions

By Caroline Tosh for IWPR

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

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

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

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

Darfur: New violence threatens world's largest aid response

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

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

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

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Darfur: Women facing mental-health problems

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

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

Horrific trip into Chad's massacre


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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 16, 2006

AU blames Khartoum for worsening Darfur situation

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

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

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

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

Aid workers quit Darfur violence

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

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

Aid workers pull out of Darfur

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

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

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

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

'Every day brings one huge blow'

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Darfur: Civilian Destruction Accelerates, International Failure Keeps Pace

By: Eric Reeves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Weapons of Mass Displacement in Sudan

By Charlotte Brudenell, ACT-Caritas

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

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

Food, Basic Aid Not Reaching Darfur

Alfred de Montesquiou

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

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

Vatican official: World has not been effective in helping Darfur

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

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

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

Darfur catastrophe unfolds daily

By John Boileau

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

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

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

Blair moots Darfur no-fly zone

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

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

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

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

Darfur Demands Sanctions, Not Words

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Red Cross Leaves Darfur Region after Attack

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

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

Arab Raiders Gone Wild

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

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

AU Peacekeepers kill 3 refugees in Darfur

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU Associated Press Writer

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

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

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

Friday, December 08, 2006

Globe for Darfur Day, Dec 10th, 2006.

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

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

Further information: , e-mail:
Tell: Ahmed +31 642330058 / Abdelhadi +31 640805797

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

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

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

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kenyans Protest Rape, Sexual Violence in Darfur


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UN evacuates staff from North Darfur

Elsa McLaren and agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious leaders urge weekend of prayer for Darfur

By Mark Pattison

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

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

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

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

Crisis in Darfur has parallels with Rwanda, president says

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

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

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

Janjawid Attacks Biggest City in Darfur

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

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