Saturday, December 29, 2007

Statement from SLA/M command of North Darfur

Statement from SLA/M command of North Darfur
Air Siro


We, the leadership of Ain Siro command post, do neither tolerate any forward advance by, nor willing to engage in any talks with, the group that is heading to Ain Seiro under the leadership of Yousif Kurjukola and Tarrada prior to releasing all our political and military personnel who are currently under their custody. Kurjukola and his team put Ali Haroun and his team under custody for almost a week now. Their lives are under imminent threat.

We urge international community to interfere to secure the release of the detainees.


Joint Chiefs of Staffs of North Darfur
Ain Siro
December 28th, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hillary Roberts: Darfur action is possible

By BDN Staff

"We must be a leader and voice of reason and hope in this terrible crisis."

We are lucky to live in our close-knit, "Mainers take care of Mainers" communities. I am reminded of this on a daily basis. Despite occasional unsettling stories of crime and tragedy, positives prevail here. This can make it easy to overlook the world’s ugliness, that side of humanity that I never saw growing up in a small Piscataquis County town of 300 people.

In 2003, the first genocide of the 21st century began in Western Sudan in a place called Darfur. An Arab militia called the Janjaweed, aided by the Sudanese government, began what can only be looked at as a campaign of terror and genocide. The victims of this genocide are mainly non-Arab or African tribal groups, primarily the Fur, Massaleit, and Zaghawa.

The ethnic cleansing by the Janjaweed sounds more like a fictional horror movie than a reality that continues to plague Darfur and other parts of Africa. The militia groups have killed civilians, burned villages, raped women and young girls, abducted children, poisoned water supplies and destroyed food sources. In 2005, an estimated 15,000 people were being killed every month. Since 2003, when the killing began, an estimated 400,000 people have perished. More than one million people have been forced from their villages and homes to refugee camps in other parts of Africa.

The U.S. government officially declared the crisis in Darfur a genocide in July of 2004. Since 2005, both the U.S. House and Senate have had opportunities to support several important pieces of legislation that would help to end the genocide. The first piece that was introduced, a bill called the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act, did not pass. However, that initial bill sent a powerful message that action from every level of government was needed in order to support an end to the tragedies taking place in Africa. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Hillary Roberts: Darfur action is possible

By BDN Staff

"We must be a leader and voice of reason and hope in this terrible crisis."

We are lucky to live in our close-knit, "Mainers take care of Mainers" communities. I am reminded of this on a daily basis. Despite occasional unsettling stories of crime and tragedy, positives prevail here. This can make it easy to overlook the world’s ugliness, that side of humanity that I never saw growing up in a small Piscataquis County town of 300 people.

In 2003, the first genocide of the 21st century began in Western Sudan in a place called Darfur. An Arab militia called the Janjaweed, aided by the Sudanese government, began what can only be looked at as a campaign of terror and genocide. The victims of this genocide are mainly non-Arab or African tribal groups, primarily the Fur, Massaleit, and Zaghawa.

The ethnic cleansing by the Janjaweed sounds more like a fictional horror movie than a reality that continues to plague Darfur and other parts of Africa. The militia groups have killed civilians, burned villages, raped women and young girls, abducted children, poisoned water supplies and destroyed food sources. In 2005, an estimated 15,000 people were being killed every month. Since 2003, when the killing began, an estimated 400,000 people have perished. More than one million people have been forced from their villages and homes to refugee camps in other parts of Africa.

The U.S. government officially declared the crisis in Darfur a genocide in July of 2004. Since 2005, both the U.S. House and Senate have had opportunities to support several important pieces of legislation that would help to end the genocide. The first piece that was introduced, a bill called the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act, did not pass. However, that initial bill sent a powerful message that action from every level of government was needed in order to support an end to the tragedies taking place in Africa. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bakhita’s performative hope

By Rene Q. Bas

Continuing my effort to get you to read Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical Spe Salvi by giving you excerpts from it, here now is his answer to the question “In what does this hope consist, which, as hope, is ‘redemption’ ”?

“3. … The essence of the answer is given in the phrase from the Letter to the Ephesians quoted above: the Ephesians, before their encounter with Christ, were without hope because they were ‘without God in the world.’ To come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope. We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God.

“The example of a saint of our time can to some degree help us understand what it means to have a real encounter with this God for the first time. I am thinking of the African Josephine Bakhita, canonized by Pope John Paul II. She was born around 1869—she herself did not know the precise date—in Darfur in Sudan. At the age of nine, she was kidnapped by slave-traders, beaten till she bled, and sold five times in the slave-markets of Sudan. Eventually she found herself working as a slave for the mother and the wife of a general, and there she was flogged every day till she bled; as a result of this she bore 144 scars throughout her life.

“Finally, in 1882, she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying ‘masters’ who had owned her up to that point. Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of ‘master’—in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name ‘paron’ for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave. Now, however, she heard that there is a ‘paron’ above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her— that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme ‘Paron’ before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her ‘at the Father’s right hand.’ Now she had ‘hope’—no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: ‘I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.’ Through the knowledge of this hope she was ‘redeemed,’ no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world—without hope because without God. Hence, when she was about to be taken back to Sudan, Bakhita refused; she did not wish to be separated again from her ‘Paron.’ Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, December 24, 2007

Failure looms in Darfur

Three years after the United States accused Sudan of committing genocide in Darfur and a full year after the United Nations began pushing to deploy its own peacekeeping force there, the conflict remains one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

There will be only about 6,500 UN peacekeepers in Darfur 10 days from now, when a new joint UN-African Union force (UNAMID) is scheduled to take over in western Sudan.

That's barely a quarter of the promised force of 26,000 peacekeepers who were supposed to replace 7,000 under-equipped, dejected and ineffective African Union troops who have been struggling to stop a conflict that has raged for nearly five years.

Before the UN even sets foot in Darfur, critics are predicting the mission could become the world's biggest peacekeeping failure.

It's too big, too disorganized and has no strategic plan. It lacks critical international support and is being hamstrung by the deliberate obstruction of the Sudanese government.

Last week, a coalition of 35 foreign aid groups working in Darfur issued a report that predicted "the deployment of this force is in danger of failing" and accused the government in Khartoum of "actively undermining the ability of the force to protect civilians."

"Sudan is saying 'yes' and then doing everything in its power to obstruct and undermine the hybrid force," said Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch.

"The Security Council has responded to this defiance with hand-wringing but nothing more."

"If it continues, the UN's hands will be tied as much as the African Union's have been, spelling disaster for the UN and more importantly for the Darfuri people," said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International's Africa director.

The new UN-led force is not expected to reach half-strength until March and UN negotiators are still unable to plan even the most basic elements of the Darfur peacekeeping operation.

General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan's President, has thrown as many roadblocks in the way of a UN deployment as possible. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, December 14, 2007

UN rights council drops Darfur expert group

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday dissolved a group of experts tasked with monitoring abuses in Darfur after demands from African countries to ease the political pressure on Sudan.

The unanimous decision to halt the mission of the seven rights experts comes a week after the group accused Sudan of failing to protect civilians in Darfur from rape, torture and other forms of violence.

The task of overseeing Khartoum's progress in protecting human rights in Darfur will now fall to the UN's special envoy to Sudan, Simar Samar, whose mandate was unanimously extended for a year. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Spielberg urges China again to help end Darfur 'genocide'

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Legendary film director Steven Spielberg has appealed to Chinese President Hu Jintao for a second time to use China's influence over Sudan to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

In a November 15 letter to Hu released Thursday, Spielberg, who is serving as an artistic advisor for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said the situation in Darfur had deteriorated since he last wrote him in April.

"So I write to you now with a renewed sense of urgency in the hope that China will redouble its efforts to pressure Sudan to join in a fair peace agreement and, at last, bring an end to the genocide," he wrote.

Spielberg urged China to contribute much needed helicopters and heavy transport vehicles for the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission and to press Sudan to stop delaying the force's deployment.

"China's economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide you with the influence and the obligation to press for change," he wrote. Read more >>>>>

Thursday, December 13, 2007

SOS DARFOUR

UN Rebukes Sudan Over Human Rights Abuses in Darfur

A group of UN experts has criticized the government of Sudan for failing to implement most of the recommendations made by special investigators to the conflict-racked Darfur region. The group presented its report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva from where Lisa Schlein reports for VOA.

This group was set up to work with the government of Sudan to help it implement the recommendations made by previous investigators to Darfur.

Special representative on the human rights situation in Sudan, Sima Samar, says the government cooperated and worked well with the Group in procedural terms. Read more >>>>>>>>

Darfur, & China's Genocide Olympics

Tim Morgan

I've rarely been a big fan of Hollywood-style, lefty social activism. But two cheers for activist-actress Mia Farrow for taking on the continuing genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

The situation in Darfur could be resolved in a matter of days and weeks if the Bashir regime in Khartoum was willing to abide by its commitments. A nation-state loses its legitimacy when it permits its own citizens to be slaughtered at will with no consequences locally, nationally, or internationally.

Here's a recent comment about Darfur from the highly credible International Crisis Group:

The Darfur conflict has changed radically in the past year and not for the better. While there are many fewer deaths than during the high period of fighting in 2003-2004, it has mutated, the parties have splintered, and the confrontations have multiplied. Violence is again increasing, access for humanitarian agencies is decreasing, international peacekeeping is not yet effective and a political settlement remains far off.

The bottom line is that the innocent still die daily inside Darfur as the interagency wrangling and political realities prevent the peace-keeping forces from moving into position with the necessary resources.

There is a student organization in Canada, Dream for Darfur. It's doing good work in raising funds for advocacy and care. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, December 09, 2007

DArfur: What do you know about Darfur?

“Genocide’s Victory,” The Boston Globe, December 8, 2007 and The International Herald Tribune, December 9, 2007

THE BRUTAL REGIME in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has orchestrated genocidal counter-insurgency war in Darfur for five years, and is now poised for victory in its ghastly assault on the region's African populations.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769, adopted in July, authorized a force of 26,000 troops and civilian police to protect Darfur's civilians and the humanitarian groups serving some 4.2 million desperate people. Without protection, these groups will be forced to withdraw. But Khartoum has obstructed the force authorized by the UN, and final success in these efforts seems within grasp. On Nov. 26, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the UN undersecretary for peacekeeping, raised the prospect that the UN-authorized force for Darfur may have to be aborted because of Khartoum's actions.

Guéhenno asked a question that answered itself: "Do we move ahead with the deployment of a force that will not make a difference, that will not have the capability to defend itself and that carries the risk of humiliation of the Security Council and the United Nations and tragic failure for the people of Darfur?"

The unprecedented UN/African Union "hybrid" mission for Darfur (UNAMID) has been badly hurt by the refusal of militarily capable nations to provide the two dozen helicopters required, at the least, for operations in Darfur. No NATO country has offered even one helicopter - a sign that, despite fulsome rhetoric, these nations' real concern for Darfur is minimal. But it is Khartoum's brazen obduracy that threatens to leave the people of Darfur without protection. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Genocide: Darfur

ICC Prosecutor: “Massive crimes continue to be committed in Darfur today, Sudan is not complying with Security Council resolution 1593 and is not coop

Today in New York, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, told the United Nations Security Council that the Government of The Sudan is not cooperating and asked the Security Council to send today a strong and unanimous message to the Government of the Sudan, requesting compliance with Resolution 1593, requesting the execution of the arrest warrants.

“Sudan has not arrested Harun and Kushayb” the Prosecutor said. In his statement to the Council, the Prosecutor reiterated the fact that the Government of The Sudan, as the territorial state, has a legal duty to arrest and surrender Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb to the ICC.

Massive crimes continue to be committed in Darfur today. All information points not to isolated acts but to a pattern of attacks by Sudanese officials against civilians, in particular the 2.5 million displaced people.

“In Darfur in 2003 - 2004, we witnessed the first phase of the criminal plan coordinated by Ahmad Harun. Millions of people were forced out of their villages and into camps. In the second phase – happening right now in front of our eyes –Ahmad Harun is controlling the victims inside the camps, controlling their access to food, humanitarian aid and security; attacks against the civilians and the displaced in particular take multiple forms; women are raped; emerging local leaders are targeted; the displaced are surrounded by hostile forces; their land and homes are being occupied by new settlers. The rationale is the same as before: target civilians who could be rebel supporters.” Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, December 03, 2007

Stop the Genocide in Darfur

"Darfur’s final chance," from The Guardian on-line, November 30, 2007

by Eric Reeves

On Monday, UN under-secretary for peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno raised the terrifying prospect that the UN-authorised peacekeeping force for Darfur may well have to be aborted because of obstructionism on the part of the Khartoum regime. Guéhenno declared that because of Khartoum's actions we are fast approaching a moment in which members of the UN security council will have to ask a critical question:

"Do we move ahead with the deployment of a force that will not make a difference, that will not have the capability to defend itself and that carries the risk of humiliation of the security council and the United Nations and tragic failure for the people of Darfur? "

The question, of course, answers itself. Privately, Guéhenno and other UN officials suggest an even gloomier picture of a mission that has already largely collapsed and is far behind on deployment benchmarks.

To be sure, the unprecedented UN/African Union "hybrid" mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been badly compromised by the refusal of militarily capable nations of the world to provide the two dozen transport and tactical helicopters required, at a bare minimum, for security and protection operations in Darfur. Not a single Nato country has offered even one helicopter. Sadly, this serves as too accurate a measure of the real concern for Darfur on the part of those whose rhetoric has been most fulsome. But it is brazen obduracy on the part of the Khartoum regime that has created the deepest threat that the people of Darfur will be left entirely without protection, and that humanitarian operations will have to be suspended throughout the region. The UN estimates that 4.2 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Te paard door Darfur met Netwerk

In Netwerk NCRV zijn er unieke beelden van de gevolgen van een slachtpartij van de gevreesde Arabische Janjaweed-milities in Darfur. Franse journalisten slaagden erin om in het geheim opnamen te maken van de verwoesting van twee dorpen door de Janjaweed eerder dit jaar. Te paard en met steun van lokale milities trekt het camerateam Darfur in om vast te leggen hoe de regering van Soedan de opstandige provincie Darfur etnisch zuivert. Less verder >>>>>>>>>>

No Surprise Sudan Wants to Punish British Teacher afetr Darfur


Ever been to Sudan? I have. It's not a friendly place for Westerners, nor is it embracing of other cultures, religions or beliefs. So it should come as no surprise that the fundamentalist goons who run the country and its powerful hard-line clerics believe that punishment is necessary for Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher who allowed her students to vote to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

Sudan is run by radical Islamic fundamentalists. Remember, this is the country that gave shelter to bin Laden after his home country of Saudi Arabia kicked him out. He built training camps just outside the capitol and owned a large, luxurious city house down the street from a radical mosque. According to government reports, bin laden plotted attacks on U.S. interests while in Sudan. (Once pressure mounted on Sudan for harboring bin Laden, they eventually kicked him out, too. That’s when he set up shop in Afghanistan.)

In late 2004, FOX sent me there to report on Darfur (long before this became the hip Hollywood cause). Our crew (including 2 guys — a producer and cameraman) and I also visited some of bin Laden's old stomping grounds, including a training camp and his house. We toured the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum that U.S. missiles hit in retaliation for the attack on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We also visited southern Sudan, a lush and remote area primarily inhabited by black Christians and Animists, people who believe in spirits. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Commander says violence possible if Darfur force delayed

El-FASHER, Sudan (Reuters) - Failure to deploy a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission could push Sudan's Darfur region back into a spiral of violence, the military head of the mission said on Saturday.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno said last week Khartoum had demanded such stringent restrictions on the 26,000-strong force that its deployment was in doubt.

"If people are disappointed this could be expressed in many ways and one of them could be in a violent way and then ... we will go back to square one," force commander Martin Luther Agwai said.

On the possibility the force would not deploy, he said: "As the man on the receiving end I'm disturbed and concerned." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Darfur

Mia Farrow accuses world of closing its eyes to Darfur

Berlin - The world is averting its eyes from the human tragedy in Sudan's Darfur Province, Mia Farrow said during a visit to Berlin Thursday in her role as ambassador for the UN children's organization UNICEF.

'What shocks me most about the situation in Sudan is not the many deaths but that so few people are concerned about them,' said the US actress, who has visited the region seven times.

Farrow called for pressure to be exerted on China as the most important trade partner of the region, saying that while there was widespread condemnation of China, there was no action.

Farrow and publicist Michel Friedman lit a large torch recalling the Olympic flame in front of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, in reference to the 2008 Olympic Games being held in Beijing in the summer. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Olympic sponsors ignore Darfur protest

(Fortune) -- Good citizens speak out when they see injustice. Can good corporate citizens be expected to do the same?

That's the uncomfortable question being raised by a human rights group called Dream for Darfur, which is asking sponsors of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to voice their opposition to China's support for the government of Sudan. The Sudanese government has been accused of waging a genocide against its own citizens in Darfur.

This week Dream for Darfur issued a length report as part of its challenge to 19 Olympic sponsors, including such well-known global brands as Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kodak, Microsoft and Visa, to press China, Sudan's most important global ally, to use its influence to end the Darfur crisis. China buys oil from the Sudanese government, and sells weapons to the Khartoum regime. Since 2003, about 200,000 people have died and an estimated 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes in Darfur.

In a the report, Dream for Darfur asks: "Why are the major corporations sponsoring the Olympics - some of the most recognizable brands in the world - refusing to speak out against the world's most wrenching humanitarian crisis?" "Sponsors are supporting China's efforts to position itself in glowing terms on the world stage," said Jill Savitt, director of Dream for Darfur. "But they are silent about China's role in the Darfur genocide, and in their silence, they are complicit." Read more >>>>>

Rights Group Criticizes China for Failure to Act on Darfur

Human rights advocates say China is not doing enough to address the crisis in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur. One group is calling on corporate sponsors of the 2008 Olympic Games to push China to do more. But as VOA's Alex Villarreal reports from Washington, their responses have also drawn criticism.

U.S.-based advocacy group Dream for Darfur says corporate sponsors of the Olympics in Beijing have failed to do their part to pressure China to ensure peace in Darfur.

The group issued a report card Monday grading the companies' responses to the Darfur crisis after asking them to take a stand. Sixteen out of 19 sponsors failed or got Ds, including Microsoft, Panasonic and Visa. General Electric earned the highest grade, a C-plus.Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sudan: Govt Obstacles Threaten Darfur Peacekeeping Mission, Say UN Officials

The full and rapid deployment of the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is in jeopardy because of a series of objections and obstacles raised by the Sudanese Government and the lack of offers for crucial force units, senior United Nations officials warned the Security Council today.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told an open debate on the war-torn region of western Sudan that with five weeks remaining before UNAMID is due to accept the transfer of authority from the existing AU peace operation, critical gaps in mobility capabilities remain.


The mission is short of one heavy and one medium transport unit, three military utility aviation units and one light helicopter unit, while an earlier pledge for one reconnaissance company has been withdrawn, he said.

"If no appropriate offers for these missing units are identified by early 2008, it may become necessary to revert to the Council to consider options to mitigate the lack of air mobility. This may require an increase in troops. But more troops will not 'replace' military aviation and they would also require more logistic support, more land, more water, and would likely not appear in Darfur until late 2008. Another sub-optimal last-resort measure would be to 'borrow' these capabilities from other missions." Read more >>> >>> >>>

Monday, November 26, 2007

Darfur conflict 'worsens'

Nairobi - The conflict in Darfur has worsened "radically" for the past year, with rebel groups fracturing, new dimensions to the crisis evolving and a fledgling peace deal far from taking shape, an international think-tank has warned.

In a new report entitled Darfur's New Security Reality, the International Crisis Group (ICG) detailed the grim situation in Sudan's embattled western province and the international community's failure to deal with it.

The report said: "Violence is again increasing, access for humanitarian agencies is decreasing, international peacekeeping is not yet effective and a political settlement remains far off."

ICG lambasted newly-restarted peace talks in Libya as being exclusive and not addressing the root causes of the conflict. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur Group Says Olympic Sponsors Must Fight Violence in Sudan

ATR) A report card from the non-profit group Dream for Darfur gives failing grades to sponsors of the Beijing Olympics for not pressuring China and its ally Sudan to end the genocide in Darfur. But sponsors and the IOC say there may be more effective approaches to solving this crisis than the Olympics can offer.

New York-based Dream for Darfur gives the 12 IOC worldwide sponsors, plus seven other high-visibility Beijing sponsors and suppliers, bad marks on pushing Beijing to alleviate suffering in Darfur.

"The multinational companies that underwrite and help stage the Olympic Games have vast resources, and are in a position to speak up about the tarnishing of the Olympics by China’s ongoing support of Khartoum’s genocidal campaign," reads the introduction to And Now…Not a Word from Our Sponsors. Read more >>>>>>

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Darfur rebels tell China peacekeepers to go home

KHARTOUM (AFP) — Darfur rebels on Sunday said freshly deployed Chinese peacekeepers were not welcome and as Khartoum's "allies" in Sudan's war-ravaged western region threatened they were not immune from attack.

China, the biggest buyer of Sudan's oil and which sells the country weapons, has been accused of shielding Khartoum -- blamed for fanning the violence in Darfur -- from international sanctions.

"Our position is clear, the Chinese are not here for peace and they must leave immediately," Justice and Equality Movement commander Abdel Aziz el-Nur Asher told AFP by telephone one day after Chinese engineers arrived in Darfur.

"Otherwise, we will consider the Chinese soldiers as part of the government forces and we will act accordingly," said Asher, who is also a brother of JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim.

The 135 Chinese arrived as part of the vanguard of a joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission set to take over from poorly equipped African troops next year. A total of 315 Chinese engineers are expected in Darfur by next month.

"China is complicit in the genocide being carried out in Darfur and the Chinese are here to protect their oil interests in Kordofan," a region to the east of Darfur where JEM recently carried out an attack on an oil installation. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Murder, arson and rape do not suffice as weapons in Sudan's campaign against the civilians of Darfur.

By Jim Hoagland

UNITED NATIONS ― Murder, arson and rape do not suffice as weapons in Sudan's campaign against the civilians of Darfur. Khartoum also plays the race card to block outsiders from coming to Darfur's rescue.

No, Sudan's rulers have no shame in pursuing what since 2004 the U.S. government has labeled and tolerated as ``genocide." And they now have few obstacles left to crushing resistance in the rebellious western province, where conflict and atrocity have left nearly half a million people dead and displaced 2 million more, according to the United Nations.

Give these all-too-human devils their due: By lying, stalling and relying on a warped sense of racial solidarity both with Arab countries and post-colonial African nations, the Sudanese have kept the initiative and kept the world off balance.

They have stymied the United Nations and the United States and are on the edge of winning in Darfur ― a reality that is rapidly sinking in here and in world capitals.

Washington's response to the spreading collapse of Darfur's last, best hope for significant international help is a long-delayed urgency that risks being too little, too late. President Bush and his senior foreign policy aides are finally doing things they should have done months ago.

U.S. efforts center on the 26,000-member U.N.-authorized peacekeeping force that is supposed to deploy into Darfur starting Jan. 1. It would replace a much smaller African Union contingent that has been unable to protect itself or civilians from government-backed tribal militias or the rebels in a conflict that turns on ethnicity, land resources and politics, with religious aspects thrown in. Read more >>>>>

People must know what's happening in Darfur, Sudan

I am a freshman at Leigh High School in San Jose. I am currently enrolled in World Geography and Cultures. After learning about the unfortunate things that are currently happening in Darfur, Sudan, I felt the need to contact you. The lives of millions hang in the balance. Many people are unaware of the extent of this devastating massacre.

Did you know that there are 2.5 million people in the refugee camps or towns in Darfur, knowing that the Sudanese militia (Janjaweed) will find and kill them? The Janjaweed will torture and kill the men and children. The wives will be left for the militia to rape and then kill them straight after. After all of the people in the camp or town are dead, they will then loot and burn it down to the ground, making sure that nobody can ever go back there. Read more >>>>>>>

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Global indifference to Darfur tragedy comes to fore in 'On Our Watch'

Actress Mia Farrow has embraced her most important role -- Darfur activist -- with fervor.

In calling attention to "the world's most shameful crisis," she has visited the region, written op-ed pieces and given thousands of interviews. "It has eclipsed everything else in my life," she says.

Her story enriches On Our Watch, a compact, straightforward history of atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. The Frontline documentary premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday on WMFE-Channel 24.
On Our Watch is basically the story of United Nations inaction and ineptitude on Darfur. The program charts the world's indifference to a catastrophe that has killed at least 200,000 and displaced 2.5 million in the past four years.

The documentary presents a few victims of the janjaweed, militias of nomadic Arabs. Sudan unleashed these barbaric groups to put down rebels in Darfur and created the 21st century's first genocide. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

US Senator Calls for International Action in Darfur

By Alex Villarreal

U.S. veteran Senator Edward Kennedy is calling on his colleagues in Congress and the international community to do more for Sudan's troubled region of Darfur. He drew attention to the crisis while presenting an award honoring his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, to a prominent doctor and human rights advocate in Darfur. VOA's Alex Villarreal reports from Capitol Hill.

Speaking in Washington Friday, Senator Edward Kennedy said the United States has a moral obligation to address the crisis in Darfur.

His appeal came during a ceremony presenting the 2007 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award to Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah, Medical Treatment Director of the Amel Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in Sudan, a leading Sudanese human rights group.

Kennedy praised Dr. Ahmed for his work and said the world can learn from his example. "Through his own heroic acts of humanity, Dr. Mohammed has singlehandedly created thousands of ripples of hope for the innocent victims of the horrific genocide in Darfur. His work is a call to our own collective conscience to do more to reach an enduring peace for Darfur that is true to the fundamental principles of human rights," the senator said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When will Darfur mediator learn?

by Suliman A Giddo

There are so many lessons that our mediators should have learned by now. After the Abuja Peace Agreement, which restrained peace process, we expected that further consultations and a refinement to the agreement would follow to resolve the conflict in Darfur.

To begin, the environment in which the Abuja negotiations took place was one in which the mediators were peremptory and over-controlled the rebel delegations; this exerted tremendous, and unrealistic, pressure on the movement leaders. If it were otherwise, what did the Chair of the African Union mean by his statement to the Sudanese Government’s delegation that “anything acceptable to the Sudanese parties is acceptable to us.”? (Alex de Waal, 2007, War in Darfur, and the search for peace-, page 278) The Chairman completely ignored the presence of the other negotiating parties; that statement alone was enough to prove to the rebels that their perception of a profound bias on the part of the mediation team was true. Read more >>>>

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dueling Over Darfur: PRENDERGAST vs ALEX DE WAAL

Have advocacy movements like the Save Darfur Coalition helped or hindered the search for a political solution in Sudan's troubled province? Should the killings there really be classified as genocide, or has the meaning of the term been devalued by activists trying to draw public attention to the conflict? After NEWSWEEK raised some of these questions in a report called "Packaging a Tragedy," two leading Darfur experts, Alex de Waal and John Prendergast, discussed these issues in an online forum for NEWSWEEK.

De Waal is program director at the Social Science Research Council, a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University, and a director of Justice Africa. He has written and edited several books on Darfur, including "Famine That Kills: Darfur, Sudan, 1984-1985" and, most recently, " War in Darfur and the Search for Peace . " Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, November 04, 2007

How does one make a dent in Darfur killings?

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are statistical, disastrous and calamitous. The number of endangered lives in Darfur continues to increase.

People are more likely to assist a little girl or boy found in the street in distress than they are to help a distant population that is suffering and being killed as is happening in Darfur.

We need to make a constant effort to pause and truly consider what really lies behind the numbers rather than to rely on intuitive responses. The situation is 6,000 times the severity and magnitude of Virginia Tech. Read more >>>>>>>

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Darfuris tell of troubles in war-torn homeland

Darfuris tell of troubles in war-torn homelandSCOTT FONTAINE; The News Tribune Published: November 3rd, 2007 01:00 AM

Ibrahim Mousa Adam starts his day like most people. He says he wakes up, thinks about what he has planned and mentally schedules his activities.
It’s not that simple for his countrymen.

“If you are in Darfur, you think differently,” he said. “If you are a woman, you think, could I be raped today? Could my sister? Could my 12-year-old daughter?

“If you are a man, you think, could I be killed today? Could my brother? Could my father?”

Adam and Daoud Hari have an unenviable task: The two Darfuris are on a speaking tour, asking anyone who will listen to support their people’s fight against the conflict in the western region of Sudan. The two attracted a crowd of about 250 people at Kilworth Chapel at the University of Puget Sound on Friday. The presentation started with a video about the history of the violence and interviews with those affected.

The conflict in Darfur has claimed up to 450,000 lives and displaced about 2.5 million people since early 2003, according to United Nations estimates. The Sudanese government has armed and trained brutal militias called Janjaweed, who have carried out most of the violence in what the United States calls genocide. Read more >>>>>>>

The international organization Human Rights Watch is calling on the Sudanese government to put an end to forcibly relocating people displaced by conflict in the Western region of Darfur. As Derek Kilner reports from VOA's East Africa Bureau in Nairobi, the United Nations has accused Sudanese police of forcibly moving displaced people from a camp in South Darfur.

According to U.N. officials, Sudanese police on Sunday relocated a number of displaced people from the Otash refugee camp near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. The U.N.'s top humanitarian official, John Holmes, said that the security forces were using sticks and rubber hoses to round up camp residents.

The Don Quixote of Darfur

In the eyes of Luis Moreno Ocampo, the war in Darfur will end thousands of miles from the killing fields, in a narrow, wood-paneled room carved out of an old parking garage in the Hague. It is here that Moreno-Ocampo, the Argentine prosecutor of the five-year-old International Criminal Court (ICC), intends to bring to justice the perpetrators of Sudan's genocide. Moreno-Ocampo and his team of lawyers will occupy one side of the courtroom, presenting their evidence to a three-judge panel that will decide the case. On the other side will sit the defendant, Ahmad Muhammed Harun, Sudan's former Interior Minister, whom Moreno-Ocampo has charged with orchestrating the slaughter in Darfur. "The prosecution of Harun will break the system that is responsible for these crimes. It will force a change in behavior," says Moreno-Ocampo. As he imagines the possibilities, a smile crosses his face. "I would love to be in court with Harun. I have a great case."

But there are a few problems. Nearly six months since Moreno-Ocampo gave the U.N. Security Council a warrant for the arrest of Harun and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the government-backed janjaweed militia, neither man has been delivered to the Hague. Read more >>>>

Doomed to failure

With terrible predictability, peace talks in Sirte, Libya between the Khartoum regime and Darfur's various rebel groups broke off yesterday, having accomplished nothing other than to reveal the poverty of international efforts in halting the ongoing genocide in Sudan's western region. Nor was progress made in fashioning a ceasefire, the essential context for meaningful negotiations. I
nstead, Khartoum - which had announced with much fanfare a unilateral ceasefire when talks opened on October 27 - launched the very next day what may be a final solution to its Darfur problem: the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and journalists in the region are all reporting Khartoum's assaults on camps for displaced persons, including violent relocation of civilians to insecure areas. Read more >>>>>

Monday, October 29, 2007

Darfur refugees 'forcibly moved'

Hundreds of refugees in Darfur are being forcibly evicted from a camp by Sudanese soldiers and police, a UN official has told the BBC.

Men and women were loaded at gunpoint onto trucks at a camp in Nyala, the capital of south Darfur, said the official, who asked not to be named.

The UN tried to intervene in the operation, which it described as illegal, but were prevented.

Sudanese officials said the refugees were being taken to a safer camp.

'Dangerous camp'

The refugees were guarded by troops, police and Sudanese national security personnel, the UN official said.

Armed with machine guns, sticks and rubber hoses, they packed around 50 refugees and their belongings onto each truck, as evening fell. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Banks rapped for Darfur "genocide" investments


Several Swiss banks have been accused by NGOs of helping to finance atrocities in Sudan with oil investments that allegedly grease the government's military machine.
A deal by Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, to underwrite the Shanghai listing of Chinese oil firm PetroChina has come under particular scrutiny. The banks deny their deals help fund the violence.

Some non-governmental organisations believe that the Sudanese government uses up to 70 per cent of its oil revenues to finance continued violence in conflict-ridden Sudan, particularly in the western province of Darfur. They have therefore called on banks to stop investing in companies that do business in this sector.

The Swiss-based Berne Declaration, the Genocide Intervention Network and the Society for Threatened Peoples on Monday named several Swiss banks with alleged combined investments of SFr7 billion ($6 billion) in such firms.

"They are among the biggest shareholders and investors in oil companies that provide revenue for the Sudanese regime," Berne Declaration's Andreas Missbach told swissinfo.

"On environmental issues they realise that they are also responsible for the ecological footprint of their clients. But so far they have not got it in regards to human rights and they are trying to escape the discussion." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ask displaced people in a Darfur camp


Four-and-a-half years of fighting between Sudan's government, pro-government Arab militias and rebel groups in the western Sudanese region of Darfur has driven more than 2m people from their homes.

The BBC's Amber Henshaw is at a camp for displaced people in north Darfur, and will be putting your questions to some of its residents. Their answers will be published on Friday.

Read about the Abu Shouk camp below and send your questions to six people who have first-hand experience of the horrors of this conflict :>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"why the UN staff tries to prevent our unity and appear very keen to bring us divided to the table of talks."

October 22, 2007 (JUBA) — A Darfur rebel faction accused the UN mediation team of refusing to fly them back to their field base in Darfur from Juba in order to force them to go directly to Libya to attend the forthcoming peace talks.

Feb 14, 2007. (UN)A commander from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Unity faction accused the UN mediation team of keeping them in Juba where they were holding consultations sponsored by the government of southern Sudan.

Commander Adam Idriss Khatir, one of the SLM-Unity delegates to the meeting told Sudan Tribune from Juba that Hideo Ikabe, a Japanese national and the UNMIS contact officer with Darfur rebel groups, refused to transport them back to their bases in Darfur and wanted to fly them directly to Libya for Sirte talks.

Idriss said they needed to hold consultations with their leadership before going to Libya. He add that their mission as delegation is limited to participating in the Juba meeting after which they have to report back to their leadership on the outcome of the meeting. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Darfur Adrift: A Skeptical Assessment of Resolution 1769 (Part 2 of 2)

More than 75 days after the culminating UN Security Council resolution to provide security for civilians and humanitarians in Darfur, more reasons than ever to doubt it will succeed

Eric Reeves
October 19, 2007

The recent massacre of civilians in Muhajiriya (South Darfur)---by Khartoum’s regular military forces and its Janjaweed militia allies---represents, in its vicious human destruction, the most conspicuous consequence of ongoing international acquiescence before the genocidal ambitions of the National Islamic Front regime. Muhajiriya also represents the kind of organized, regime-sponsored violence that the UN/African Union (“Hybrid”) Mission deploying to Darfur, per UN Security Council Resolution 1769 (July 31, 2007), must be prepared to confront. While it has become fashionable, indeed de rigueur, in reporting on Darfur to emphasize the complexity of the conflict, the fracturing of the rebel movements, and to make ever more insistent comparisons with violence in Somalia, Muhajiriya serves as a sharp reminder that the current chaos isn’t accidental. It is, as a recent Human Rights Watch report emphasizes, “Chaos by Design” (“Darfur 2007: Chaos by Design,” September 2007 at http://hrw.org/reports/2007/sudan0907/). As it has for many years, stretching back to the second north/south conflict (1983-2005), Khartoum has sown division, engaged in divide-and-rule tactics, and exploited ethnic tensions at every moment of opportunity. The regime’s successes are nothing less than stunning.

To be sure, the tactics in Darfur have been accommodated to the particular nature of the counter-insurgency war currently being fought (see especially Human Rights Watch, “Chaos by Design,” pages 6, 22, 34, 38, 41-43, 45, 51, 53-54). But news reporting on the “complexity” of the Darfur crisis would be much more insightful if given an appropriate context, particularly in attending to the largest conclusion reached by Human Rights Watch:

“The government [of Sudan] continues to stoke the chaos [in Darfur] and, in some areas, exploit intercommunal tensions that escalate into open hostilities, apparently in an effort to ‘divide and rule’ and maintain military and political dominance over the region.” (HRW, page 6)Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

ICC Struggles to Reach Out to Darfuris

An IWPR investigation shows victims of Darfur conflict remain largely ignorant of the court that’s pledged to deliver them justice.

By Katy Glassborow and Lisa Clifford in The Hague and Caroline Tosh and Daniel Barron in London (AR No. 139, 17-Oct-07)

As conflict rages in Darfur, few local people are aware of the work being done by the International Criminal Court, ICC, to prosecute those responsible for atrocities committed there, a wide-ranging investigation by IWPR can reveal.

According to our research, even educated Darfuris know little about the ICC and often misunderstand what it is trying to do. Among those who have heard of its work, many are frustrated by the lack of arrests, the slow pace of investigations and the court’s low profile on the ground - described as “invisible” by one victims’ group.

Other findings of the report – conducted by IWPR to gauge awareness of the court in Darfur, as well as to find out what justice means to those caught up in the devastating conflict – suggest justice is not uppermost in the minds of Darfuris. Most are far more preoccupied with the daily struggle to survive in a harsh environment where food, clean water and security are in short supply.

“Eighty per cent of the people do not know and are not interested in the ICC. They’re interested in survival,” one interviewee told IWPR.

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN DARFUR

Conflict broke out in western Darfur in 2003, when rebels took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting their region, which is the size of France.

Since then, numerous crimes have been committed against innocent civilians. The government in Khartoum is accused of deploying regular troops and paramilitary units drawn from local Arab tribes and known as Janjaweed, not only to fight the insurgent groups but also to terrorise the civilian population and drive them from their villages, thus depriving them of their livelihoods and the rebels of sustenance.

Some 2.5 million have been forced to flee their homes, while more than 200,000 have been killed in a conflict which the United Nations has described as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, and Washington has called genocide.

Civilians have come under attack from government troops, militia and rebel groups, and the conflict has spilled over Sudan's borders into Chad and the Central African Republic.

In May 2007, the ICC - the world’s first permanent war crimes court, based in The Hague - issued arrest warrants for two suspects in relation to Darfur.

Former Sudanese interior minister Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb are wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the region. Read more >>>>>

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Darfur massacre reported

U.N. looks into claim 30 civilians slain by troops, some at prayers

By Jeffrey Gettleman,

Nairobi, Kenya | African Union and U.N. officials are looking into reports of a new massacre in Darfur, in which witnesses described government troops and their allied militias killing more than 30 civilians, slitting the throats of several men praying at a mosque and shooting a 5-year-old boy in the back as he tried to run away.

According to several residents of Muhagiriya, a small town in southern Darfur, two columns of uniformed government troops, along with dozens of militiamen not in uniform, surrounded the town about noon on Oct. 8 and stormed the market.

Muhagiriya was a stronghold of one of Darfur's many rebel factions, but witnesses said there were few rebels there at the time and that government forces turned their guns - and knives - on civilians.

Ayoub Jalal, a mechanic, said his father was praying at a mosque when soldiers burst in. "They dragged my father and the others out of the mosque and slashed their throats," said Jalal, who was interviewed by telephone.

Both the United Nations and the African Union confirmed that dozens of civilians had been killed and that witnesses consistently identified the attackers as government soldiers and allied gunmen. However, neither group said it could independently verify who was responsible. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Email the Olympic Corporate Sponsors

Dear Friend of Darfur:


We are asking for your help to end the suffering in Darfur.

Please take a moment today to click the above link and send a letter to selected companies sponsoring the August 2008 Olympics, hosted by China. (Our email system will let you do this with the touch of a button.) The dozens of Olympic corporate Partners and Sponsors are among the most familiar brands in the world: Coca Cola, Adidas, Johnson & Johnson, and GE, among others.

Why these companies? Let us explain: We are focusing on these companies because they are sponsoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and China has unrivaled influence with the government of Sudan. China has an opportunity to help bring security to civilians in Darfur. We are asking everyone associated with the Olympics to express their wish -- within the Olympic movement and to the Chinese host -- that Beijing help ensure there is security on the ground in Darfur before the Games begin. Read more >>>>>

Sudan and militia forces level Darfour village

CAIRO — Sudan has launched a new offensive in the war-torn Darfour province.
Rebel sources said the Sudanese Army and Air Force have attacked rebel positions in southeastern Darfour over the last week. The sources said at least 105 people were killed in a military strike on Haskanita, a rebel stronghold.

The United Nations, which operates in Darfour, said most of Haskanita's 7,000 residents have fled. UN staffers said the mosque and school were the only buildings left in Haskanita. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

24 killed after Sudan government "bombed" Darfur town

Some 24 people were Tuesday reported to have been killed in a new round of bombing in Sudan's embattled Darfur region, an attack squarely blamed on the government by the head of the African Union (AU) force in the region.

The attack on Muhajirya on Monday was the latest in a spate of violence in the embattled region ahead of peace talks in Libya set for October 27.

"The town was bombed and only the Sudanese government forces have aircraft," General Martin Luther Agwai, head of the 7,000-member AU force in Darfur, said.

The United Nations said the clashes took place between Minni Minnawi's Sudan Liberation Movement - one of the few factions that signed an earlier peace agreement - and a group of tribal militia. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, October 08, 2007

Khartoum accused of widening Darfur offensive

by Mohamed Hasni

KHARTOUM, Oct 8, 2007 (AFP) - Rebels and former rebels in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur accused the Khartoum government on Monday of launching a major offensive against key towns ahead of UN-sponsored peace talks.

A key rebel leader, whose freedom of movement UN chief Ban Ki-moon secured on a visit to the Sudanese capital last month, accused the Sudanese army of razing a Darfur town and killing up to 100 people in retaliation for an attack on African Union troops.

And the sole Darfur rebel movement to have signed a peace agreement with the Khartoum government, accused the military of launching an assault on a nearby town that had been under its control.

The reported upsurge in fighting less than three weeks before new peace talks are due to be held between the government and the rebels drew condemnation from the US embassy although it refrained from specifically blaming the Khartoum government. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Sudan army attacks Darfur partners in peace-rebels

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Sudanese government troops and allied militia on Monday attacked a town belonging to the only Darfur rebel faction to sign a 2006 peace deal, the faction said.

"Government planes have attacked Muhajiriya, which belongs to us, and government forces and Janjaweed militia are fighting our forces," said Khalid Abakar, a senior representative from the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

Abakar is from the SLA faction led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, the only one of three rebel negotiating factions to sign a May 2006 peace deal with Khartoum. The movement then became part of the government and controls Muhajiriya town in South Darfur.

"We consider this a very serious development," the head of Minnawi's office, Mohamed Bashir, told Reuters. Read more >>>>>

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mia Farrow in Darfur documentary

By Lee-Anne Goodman,

TORONTO - When most of the world looked away during the massacre of almost a million people in Rwanda in 1994, the United Nations vowed "never again."

That's why humanitarians, including American actress Mia Farrow, were stunned when, a decade later, the first genocide of the 21st century got underway in Darfur, and again the world - and more significantly, the United Nations - did next to nothing to stop it.

A new documentary by longtime CBC producer Neil Docherty, "Darfur: On Our Watch," is a disturbing look not just at the tragedy of Darfur but the utter failure of the UN, once again, to do anything meaningful to stop genocide. This time it's in an arid region of western Sudan, tense with tribal rivalries.

"The United Nations has been reduced to pandering and begging for the UN peacekeeping force because there is no precedent for the UN to enter a country without the consent of the government," Farrow, a tireless Darfur activist, says during the gripping documentary airing Thursday on CBC-TV. Read more >>>>>>>

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sudan government, militia forces raze Darfur town - rebels

(Reuters) - Sudanese government forces and militia groups razed a town in central Darfur where African Union soldiers were attacked, rebel leaders said on Friday, adding the troops were also threatening to raid a nearby town.

Sudan's army and Darfur rebel movements blame each other for last week's assault on the AU base in Haskanita in which 10 African Union soldiers were killed -- the worst attack on AU troops since they deployed in Sudan.

On Friday rebel leaders said at least 100 people have been killed and thousands displaced in Haskanita since Wednesday by the Sudanese army and pro-government Janjaweed militia forces. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"Darfur's bitter ironies," from The Guardian (on-line)

By Eric Reeves

It is grimly ironic that a group of international eminences---the “Elders,” as they are called---arrived in Khartoum on Sunday, the same day more than 10 African Union peacekeepers were killed during a large-scale rebel attack near the village of Haskanita, in eastern North Darfur. Chaired by South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, the delegation, which also includes former US president Jimmy Carter and Lakhdar Brahimi, a former UN envoy to Iraq, offered earnest, but now familiar platitudes: “We, the Elders, are here because we care deeply for the fate of our planet, and we feel intensely for the suffering of millions of people in Darfur who yearn for nothing more than peace and dignity.” The rebel force---apparently comprising a faction of the Justice and Equality Movement and rogue commanders from the Sudan Liberation Army/Unity faction---took a savagely more expedient view of the situation, seizing a number of vehicles and other military equipment from the AU outpost.

Nothing can justify this barbaric attack against peacekeepers attempting, however feebly, to provide protection in Darfur. But the AU forces have been badly betrayed by their political and military leaders, particularly AU commissioner Alpha Oumar Konaré, who has become abject in his deference to Khartoum, particularly on security issues. The AU leadership has also refused to respond to the legitimate concerns of rebel groups that did not sign last year’s ill-conceived and disastrously consummated Darfur Peace Agreement, including the rebel demand for more public and timely reports about atrocity crimes committed by Khartoum’s forces. This is also the same AU leadership that stubbornly refused to ask earlier for a UN takeover of the Darfur mission, even as its inadequacies were apparent to all, including a number of African leaders. These failings have all contributed to growing distrust, even hatred of the AU by Darfuris. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Italy: Urge Sudan to Arrest War Crime Suspects


(Brussels, September 14, 2007) –
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Pope Benedict XVI should call on the government of Sudan to fulfill its legal duty to arrest International Criminal Court suspects when Sudan’s President Omar El Bashir visits today, Human Rights Watch said today.

During the visit of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Sudan last week, the Sudanese government appointed International Criminal Court (ICC) suspect Ahmed Haroun to chair a committee designated to hear human rights complaints from victims of abuse in war-torn Darfur. Haroun, who is currently the state minister of humanitarian affairs, is wanted by the ICC for 42 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. ICC judges found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Haroun is responsible for persecuting, raping, attacking and killing civilians in four western Darfur villages in 2003 and 2004.

Evidence indicates Haroun recruited, paid and supplied arms to the government-backed “Janjaweed” militias who carried out the attacks. Human Rights Watch named Haroun as one of the government leaders implicated in serious international crimes in Darfur in 2003-2004 in its December 2005 report “Entrenching Impunity”. Read more >>>>>>>>

'Elders' Express Horror At What They See in Darfur

A group of elders including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu has told of the horrifying stories they heard during a visit to Sudan's Darfur region, and they urged the international community to speed up the deployment of a new peacekeeping mission for the region. Nick Wadhams has the story from Nairobi.

The Elders, a group of prominent international figures, told reporters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum that people in Darfur were desperate for protection, despite the Sudanese government's insistence that the situation in the region is getting better.

Some people they visited slipped them notes full of allegations of rape and other abuse by militias aligned with the Sudanese government. The wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, told of her meeting with women in Darfur.

"The first thing they told us they need security," she said. "They need security. They gave us examples of what happened to them, even graphically, to show how women are being raped, are beaten and are brutalized. I think because they thought we may not get a clear translation, they went at length of using gestures to show us how brutal it was, the kind of assault they are subjected to." Read more >>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dwindling resources add to misery in Darfur


By EDMUND SANDERS


The lines for water never stop in the refugee camps in Sudan’s Darfur region. Already ravaged by a violent civil war, Darfur now faces a growing environmental crisis as drought, deforestation and overstressed land have depleted much of the region’s natural resources. ABU SHOUK CAMP, Sudan | Wells at this giant Darfur refugee camp are drying up.

Women wait as long as three days for water, using jerricans to save their places in line. A year ago, residents could fill a 5-gallon plastic can in a few minutes, but lately the flow is so slow, it takes a half-hour.

“The water is running out,” said Mariam Ahmed Mohammed, 35, sweating at the pump with an infant strapped to her back. “As soon as I fill one jerrican, I put another at the back of the line.”

Water isn’t the only endangered resource. Forests were chopped down long ago, and the roots dug up for firewood. Thousands of displaced families live atop prime agricultural land, preventing farmers from growing food. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, October 01, 2007

Darfur Activists Seek Pressure on China

Activists are hoping the worldwide attention on next year's Olympics in China will raise international awareness about the genocide in Darfur.


Nearly a hundred people rallied on Church Street Sunday afternoon. They say China has supported Sudan's oppressive regime by supplying arms and importing their oil. The activists say international pressure on China could help bring genocide to an end.

"The real goal here is to call on China to use their special relationship with Sudan to end the genocide in Sudan. So far we have four million people who live in refugee camps, over 200 thousand people have died and China has a real opportunity to play a critical role in ending the genocide in Darfur," said Ben Prochazka with the Save Darfur Coalition. Read more >>>>>

The Darfur Response

The figures are startling for what has been called “the forgotten war” – Darfur.

The continuing conflict between the government of Sudan and the southern rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army began in 2004 and has, according to United Nations estimates, killed more than 200,000 people, left more than 2.5 million homeless and more than 4 million caught in the crossfire. But with many man-made and natural calamities competing for attention and aid, Sudan has, sadly, slipped from the world’s radar.

However, church groups, among them the Action by Churches Together (ACT) International and Caritas Internationalis, have continued to respond to the humanitarian crisis spawned by the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur provinces. (The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada and a member of ACT International, has since 2004, released $130,021 in support of relief and rehabilitation efforts in Sudan.) Read more >>>>>>>>>

Divestment: Ending the Genocide in Darfur


When confronted by the crime of genocide, human rights activists do not typically dash to state capitols. Since 1787, foreign policy has remained outside states’ bailiwick, with Congress and the President serving as more appropriate venues for foreign policymaking. So when the United States declared the atrocities unfolding in Sudan’s vast Darfur region to constitute genocide in 2004, activists rightly responded by flooding Congressional mailboxes and crowding the Washington Mall, demanding an end to the violence.

However, as subsequent failed cease-fires and watered-down UN resolutions demonstrated, too many vital economic interests were at stake to alter Darfur’s bloody status quo. In an attempt to break the logjam, several student activists across the country began to follow the money, discovering that more than 70% of Sudan’s oil revenues is steered towards the country’s military expenditures, fueling the genocide in Darfur. Additionally, the mostly Asian oil companies operating in the country’s petroleum sector have committed human rights abuses of their own, facilitated arms transfers, and in at least one case, refueled military aircraft. Because Sudan’s foreign debt exceeds its gross domestic product, and the country possesses little capability for indigenous oil production, Khartoum lies acutely vulnerable to economic pressure. Although longstanding US sanctions mean that American companies are rarely involved with Sudan, university endowments and city/state pension funds are investing in the very firms that are underpinning the regime. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Before Rockets training camp, a refugee camp

It all seemed so innocent at first. Last week — just a few weeks before the Rockets training camp begins — we got off a plane in a sleepy town called Goz Beida in the eastern part of Chad, a country in Central Africa that borders the Sudanese region of Darfur. It was during what they call the "rainy season" in that part of the world, so the hills surrounding the town were a deep shade of green.
By: By TRACY MCGRADY and JOHN PRENDERGAST

The first signs that things weren't completely normal in the place we visited were the makeshift huts made out of sticks, mud and plastic sheets that we saw right outside of town — literally thousands of the flimsy structures.

But it wasn't until we started talking to the people living inside those huts that we had — without realizing it — entered the gates of hell on Earth.

Let us introduce you to Isaac, a young man whom we met sitting on a mat in a humble community center in a refugee camp for people escaping the genocide being committed in Darfur. Genocide is defined as the attempt to destroy a group of people on the basis of their race, ethnicity or religion. Isaac happens to be from one of the non-Arab ethnic groups the government of Sudan has targeted for extinction. We listened closely to his story to understand why a government would try to wipe out entire groups of its own people. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The gloom over Darfur

By: Joel Brinkley

As Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, works to convene a Darfur peace conference in Libya next month, the history of the last few years holds such a stench of failure that I fear his effort is doomed before it begins.

In fact, looking at the facts as they stand today, my advice to the secretary-general: Cancel the whole enterprise!

The Darfur conflict began in early 2003, but it was not until two years later that foreign leaders began trying to mediate a settlement. The story of one of these efforts, in November 2005, may well foretell the outcome of next month's event.

Robert Zoellick, who was deputy secretary of state at the time, took on the Darfur portfolio because his boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, simply didn't want it. She preferred to spend her time on higher priority issues, like North Korea and Iran. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Darfur: South Africa supports a killer regime

South Africa and Darfur

The position of the government of South Africa vis-à-vis the situation in Darfur is characterised by indifference to the suffering of the victims of this human tragedy. Although South Africa participated in the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), and has sent some military and police forces to Darfur, the effectiveness of its contribution remains disproportionate to the role of political leadership that it actively pursues in relation to the Dafurian situation.

Out of the total AMIS authorised troops of 6,171 military and 1,560 police personnel, South Africa has contributed some 600 individuals. Recently, we have observed that the government of South Africa increasingly supports the Khartoum government in its handling of Darfur. South Africa continues to use its membership of the AU Peace and Security Council to back the position assumed by Sudan and its north and east African allies within AU institutions. At the international level the country follows a similar policy. On no less than a dozen occasions, South Africa has used its membership of the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council to oppose and water down projects and resolutions which could have helped provide the victims of the armed conflict in Darfur with protection and relief. Below are some examples of South Africa's callous position on Darfur.

On 12 July 2007, three members of the UN Security Council, Britain, France and Ghana, submitted a draft resolution for consideration and action by other members of the council. Because of the gravity of the situation on the ground, the resolution was tabled under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The draft text approved the 'hybrid' African Union-United Nations force. Although the text was reasonably prepared, it ran into strong opposition from some council members, in particular China and South Africa took the lead. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

France urges EU allies to sent troops to Chad, CAR force

BANGUI, September 29 -- French Defence Minister Herve Morin urged his EU counterparts Friday to contribute troops to a new peacekeeping force for Chad and the Central African Republic.

"What we want is a truly European mission," said Morin, whose country is expected to provide 1,000-1,500 troops to the UN-mandated operation expected to deploy up to 4,000 soldiers.

"The Irish said yesterday (Thursday) that they would send 300 men," he said, ahead of two days of informal talks with his EU counterparts in Evora, central Portugal.

Belgium and Poland have pledged more than 100 troops each to the force while other countries like militarily neutral Austria are also considering a role. The mission is aimed at protecting civilians from the effects of the Darfur conflict.

"For the Austrians, as well as the other contributions, the more numerous they are, the bigger they will be, and the better this (force) will be," said Morin. Read more >>>>>>

Letter: Join Darfur Torch Relay

As the world prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympics, an event that stands for peace and brotherhood, the games are being hosted by a country facilitating the suffering and destruction in Darfur.
Through its economic, political, and military support of the government of Sudan, China is the most influential nation allowing the Sudanese government to continue to commit mass atrocities.
For years, China ignored this responsibility altogether. Now, due to pressure by activists’ influence from around the world, it has begun to at last pay some public heed to its role in helping to end the genocide. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

U.N. Must Fight in Darfur

If we learned anything from the Rwandan genocide, it is that when the U.N. peacekeepers hands are tied, people die. The new hybrid of a United Nations/African Union force is due to deploy in Darfur soon. But if they cannot shoot their weapons, they might as well not have them.

The former U.N. Relief coordinator Jan Egeland told Reuters the peacekeepers must be ready to "fight to protect civilians from armed militias" in Darfur. Finally! It's about time someone starts talking some sense here!

"There is no peace to keep and that is why the mandate has to be to build peace locally and robustly defend civilians," Egeland said.

"That means that, when the humanitarians or the refugees themselves say they are threatened, the force has to deploy protectively and defend. And fight, if necessary."

Will that prompt the Janjaweed to become more heavily armed? Egeland doesn't think so. He said he thinks the militia won't put up that much of a fight if seriously challenged. Can a few guys on camels really think he can beat a truck load of peacekeepers who are ready, willing and able to fight him? Read further >>>>>>>>>>>

UN actions to end Darfur 'genocide' too little, too late – Saint Vincent leader

The killings and violence that have engulfed the Sudanese region of Darfur for the past four years constitute genocide, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines told the General Assembly today, calling the planned hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force insufficient and too late.

Ralph Gonsalves told the Assembly's annual high-level debate that the actions of the UN in recent years "have caused the world to wonder about the relative worth of a Sudanese or Rwandan life, versus an Israeli, Chinese, American or European life."

He accused the UN of showing "heartless neglect, in practical terms, of the genocidal campaign being waged in Darfur."

More than 200,000 people have been killed across Darfur, and at least 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes, since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militia in 2003.

Mr. Gonsalves said today that "what is happening in Darfur is genocide – let us call it what it is. The United Nations must remain committed to alleviating the suffering of the men, women and children of Darfur." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Darfur: Refugees left in constant fear as violence infiltrates ‘safe’ camps


The narrow, dusty alleyways and cramped stick-built huts once offered a haven to the people of Darfur as they fled a conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives.

Then the women found themselves prisoners in Abu Shouk aid camp, unable to venture out for firewood or water for fear of being harassed, raped or murdered.

Now not even the camp is safe. Tribes loyal to the Khartoum Government are being supplied with arms and ammunition in a cynical ploy to force out opponents of the regime, according to aid officials familiar with Abu Shouk. Read more >>>>>>>

Darfur: Sudanese government is supplying weaponry to tribes

KHARTOUM, , 26 (UPI) -- Areas that were once considered safe for people in Sudan's troubled Darfur region are becoming increasingly dangerous, a report says.

Aid officials said the Sudanese government is supplying weaponry to tribes loyal to the regime in an attempt to rid the area of tribes that oppose the country's leadership, The Times of London said Wednesday.

Women in aid camps are also being forced to remain out of view for fear of being harassed, raped or murdered while searching for firewood or water.

“We live in fear because there is no security. In the evening – after 8 – no one will be outside their house. It is too dangerous,” said Fatima Adam Yaoub, a mother of ten who resides at the Abu Shouk aid camp.

U.N. security officials have warned aid agencies that Abu Shouk and two other aid camps, Zam Zam and al-Salaam, have become powder kegs of violent activity.

“The government is providing guns to two tribes here and causes many problems,” Yaoub said. “The government says it’s a tribal problem but they are the ones causing it.” Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PM demands action over Darfur

The Prime Minister has called for further action to end one of the "great tragedies of our time" - the genocide in Darfur.

In a wide ranging question and answer session, Mr Brown told Labour's conference that resolutions condemning the situation had been passed by the world's developed nations, but they had not been followed up.

"I don't want to look back a few years from now and say we should have acted, we could have acted but we didn't act."

Mr Brown said the UN resolutions had to be backed up by a force on the ground.

"It's got to be the biggest force that's ever been put into Africa. Then we've got to start the political talks. Then we've got to get a ceasefire on the ground." Read more >>>>>>

Please, demand an end to genocide in Darfur

Cheyenne Owens


Thousands of people have died as a direct result of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The Darfur Genocide has been occurring for four years, and the end doesn't seem to be in sight.

Janjaweed, the government-supported militias in Sudan, have wrought atrocities on the civilians of Darfur. These civilians have been beaten and tortured, often at gunpoint. Large numbers of people have been imprisoned in small spaces and then denied food and restrooms.

Innocent Darfurians have been enslaved and even slain when trying to escape.

The Janjaweed are most notorious for raping women and young children. Often, the Janjaweed will torture innocent Darfurians while naked and use them as sexual slaves. They perform all these ghastly and monstrous activities with the approval of the Sudanese government.

But why have these horrendous atrocities been inflicted upon the innocent civilians of Darfur? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 24, 2007

Verhagen hekelt benoeming Soedanese oorlogsmisdadiger

NEW YORK - Minister Verhagen van Buitenlandse Zaken heeft maandag zijn Soedanese collega aangesproken op de benoeming van Ahmed Haroun in de Soedanese mensenrechtencommissie.

UitlegAhmed Haroun wordt door het Internationaal Strafhof in Den Haag gezocht wegens oorlogsmisdaden in Darfur. Hij is momenteel staatssecretaris voor Humanitaire Zaken en werd onlangs benoemd in de mensenrechtencommissie.

Volgens Verhagen is dat de laatste plaats waar Haroun thuishoort; hij hoort in Den Haag om berecht te worden. Haroun was voorheen bewindsman belast met Darfur. In die regio zijn de afgelopen jaren meer dan 200.000 mensen om het leven gekomen. Meer dan twee miljoen mensen sloegen op de vlucht voor moord en verkrachting.

Verhagen heeft tegen zijn Soedanese collega Lam Akol zijn zorgen uitgesproken en aangedrongen op de uitlevering van Haroun. Het Internationaal Strafhof vaardigde in april arrestatiebevelen uit tegen hem. Lees verder >>>>>>>>

Justice urged as topic for Darfur talks

UNITED NATIONS -- -- The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court challenged world leaders Thursday to not leave criminal justice off the agenda as they convene at the U.N. to discuss Darfur.

Sudan has refused to hand over a government minister and a militia leader accused by the Hague-based world court in May of orchestrating mass killings in Darfur. Months later, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says, he is more frustrated by the refusal of top United Nations officials and others to push for the arrests because they fear it would jeopardize pending peace talks and the deployment of peacekeepers. Read more >>>>

Darfur Remains Adrift: A Skeptical Assessment of Resolution 1769

By: Eric Reeves

The chances for effective deployment of civilian police and well-trained military forces to Darfur continue to be compromised by excessive international accommodation of the National Islamic Front (National Congress Party) regime in Khartoum. A key actor forcing this compromised diplomatic response to massive ongoing atrocity crimes, as well as to the continuing threat of humanitarian collapse, is the African Union---and most particularly African Union Commissioner Alpha Oumar Konaré. If there is to be any chance for expeditious and meaningful deployment of the force specified by UN Security Council Resolution 1769, then there must be very near term and consequential pressure on both Khartoum and Addis Ababa. The latter serves as headquarters for the still-nascent African organization that is fast squandering its meager political and military credibility in Darfur.

Moreover, it remains the case that China has only begun to use its singularly powerful leverage with Khartoum to produce changes in the regime’s military behavior on the ground in Darfur, and to adopt a reasonable negotiating posture. This is so despite glib optimism in some reporting quarters on the “genocide Olympics” campaign, which despite significant successes in compelling China’s attention has yet to exert enough pressure to force the needed changes in diplomatic, political, and economic policies toward Sudan.
Nor can this stubborn fact be changed simply with expedient assertions that somehow Beijing has been especially helpful on Darfur. Here, Ban Ki-moon, head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno, US Special Envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios, British officials, and others are all guilty. They would encourage the international community to believe what is so far conspicuously and mainly an international public relations effort is actually a major Chinese policy change toward Sudan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Curse of the Janjaweed

By: Ann McFerran

A s soon as she saw the two darkly clad men riding towards her on camels, their heads and faces swathed in scarves, Nafisa Mohamed knew what she must do. “I told my son and my daughter to run as fast as they could.” The men were the Janjaweed, nomadic Arab bandits who have been slaughtering Darfuri men and raping women, in a military offensive engineered by the Sudanese government. Jinn is Arabic for demon and jawad means horse. Darfuri people will tell you that the Janjaweed are indeed devils on horseback. Nafisa had been living for a year in Kalma camp, which houses about 120,000 Darfuri people who have had their homes destroyed by the Janjaweed.

On this day she walked several miles away from the camp with two of her children to collect firewood. When the men approached, she feared they would try to kill her 13-year-old son and rape her 11-year-old daughter, but thought that if she surrendered herself and submitted they wouldn’t bother chasing her children. She knew they might kill her. Certainly they’d rape her. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Echoes of genocide in Darfur, eastern Chad

By JOHN PENDERGAST and COLIN THOMAS-JENSEN

Is the genocide in Darfur over? Reports in major news outlets suggest that genocidal attacks by Khartoum-sponsored militia are a thing of the past and that Darfur’s agony today is born of anarchy.

Clearly, the violence in Darfur has escalated — but suggesting that the crisis there is now a free-for-all, with the moral equivalency that phrase implies, ignores the political logic driving a catastrophe that appears, on the surface, to be defined by armed chaos. The reality is far different — and, for the recently-authorised AU-UN peacekeeping force and upcoming peace negotiations to be successful, that reality must be understood.

Various writers in the Western capitals have missed the broader context of the process that is underway in Darfur. Beginning in mid-2003, Sudan’s government set forth to destroy and displace the civilian support base for Darfur’s rebel groups. The promotion of anarchy and inter-communal (or, popularly, “inter-tribal”) fighting is part and parcel of Khartoum’s genocidal counter-insurgency campaign. The conditions in Darfur and eastern Chad today are not evidence of an end to genocide and the onset of an entirely new and different war — they are the echoes of genocide.

The regime’s behaviour is unswerving. Khartoum employed a similar divide-and-destroy strategy during its war with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) during the 1990s. Having sown the seeds of divisions between various Southern Sudanese ethnic groups, government officials in Khartoum sat back and watched as inter-communal violence tore southern communities to pieces.

Some of the worst violence occurred when Dinka and Nuer commanders in the SPLA fought in Upper Nile, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Only when the SPLA reunified and communities began to work toward reconciliation did a peace deal for Southern Sudan become possible.

Who is primarily responsible? In Darfur, the same government officials lit the match to ignite the genocide and fuel the chaos we are witnessing today. As the government’s divide-and-destroy policy envisioned, there is indeed increased fighting between and among communities, including among Arab groups that had previously worked together to destroy non-Arab villages. Follow the full picture >>>>

More nations need to help ease slaughter in Darfur

The crisis playing out in Darfur is one of the greatest human tragedies of our time. More than 200,000 innocent people have been murdered and nearly 2.5 million have been driven from their villages and separated from their families.

As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I recently traveled to Darfur to assess the extent of the crisis and the role that the United States is playing in alleviating it. I was accompanied on this fact-finding mission by two other members of Congress, Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.).

From the capital city of Khartoum, we traveled aboard a humanitarian flight to Abu Shouk, a refugee camp in northern Darfur. Abu Shouk is one of the largest refugee camps in Sudan, accommodating more than 54,000 displaced persons. There, we heard personal accounts of the brutality and violence suffered by these innocent people.


Most of the refugees were driven from their homes when their villages were attacked by Sudanese planes or helicopters, followed within hours by Arab militias - known as the Janjaweed - who swept into the villages on horses and camels, killing, raping and pillaging. Those fortunate enough to have survived fled to camps such as Abu Shouk, or across the border into the neighboring country of Chad.

The refugees we spoke with described harrowing experiences of escape from the Janjaweed. Yet, even in the refugee camps, women and children do not feel safe. Children are awakened at night by gunfire. Women are particularly vulnerable when they leave the camp to gather firewood for their families. The Janjaweed lurk in the countryside, making abduction and rape a real and constant threat. Read more >>>>>>>>>

'Genocide Olympics'

President Bush's recent decision to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games looks as unwise as his May 2004 appearance on an aircraft carrier to proclaim "mission accomplished" in Iraq. Human rights activists have labeled the games the "Genocide Olympics," highlighting the Chinese government's support for genocide in Darfur, in western Sudan.

Just as Adolf Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics to present Nazi society as a model of orderly virtue, they argue, Beijing will use the Games as an international coming out party, casting itself as an economic power, technological innovator and diplomatic leader of the first rank. An international campaign joined by the US Save Darfur Coalition - comprised of organizations as diverse as B'nai B'rith International, the Arab American Anti-Discrimination League, and the NAACP - aims to reverse this image unless China fundamentally changes policy on Darfur. This "Olympic Dream for Darfur" ( www.dreamfordarfur.org), along with more action by the U.S. government and rising public outcry in Europe and elsewhere, could help end the first genocide of the 21st century. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, September 22, 2007

ICC Prosecutor on Darfur: “Justice must be at the top of our agenda”

(New York) As world leaders prepare to convene at the United Nations, ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is meeting key actors at the UN to discuss why justice must be a priority for Darfur.

“We must break the silence,” he said at a press briefing at the UN. “This week and next, when world leaders are meeting here at the UN, justice in Darfur must be on the agenda, at the top of the agenda. In Darfur today, there can be no political solution, no security solution, and no humanitarian solution as long as the alleged war criminals remain free in the Sudan”

On Friday at the UN, the Second High Level Consultation on Darfur will take place. The meeting involves Ministers from more than 25 countries, as well as high-level officials from the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the League of Arab States. Just three days later, on Tuesday 25 September, the UN General Assembly begins its general debate and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will chair a UN Security Council meeting with Heads of State on peace and security in Africa. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur genocide as seen through one man's eyes


"I thought, 'If I were looking through a scope instead of a camera lens, I could end this right now.' "

There's a point during the shattering documentary "The Devil Came on Horseback" in which the film's subject, a former U.S. Marine captain turned unarmed observer named Brian Steidle, expresses his deep frustration watching the ease with which genocide unfolds daily in Darfur.

A trained warrior with an instinct to protect others, Steidle — who left the military in 2004 to take a six-month stint as a monitor in Sudan for the African Union — encountered many a moment (some caught on film) in which he knew that a gun in his hand could save hundreds from an unspeakable death.

But Steidle could only watch helplessly as notorious Janjaweed militias rode unobstructed in trucks and on horseback into one village after another, bludgeoning children, raping women and burning everyone and everything in sight.

"Devil," directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, is very much a dynamic, shockingly graphic story of the horrors of Darfur, massive crimes that the rest of the world has not been able to stop. The film has the urgency of a house on fire, partially built around Steidle's enormous catalog of photographs (and eyewitness reports ignored by the African Union), leaving no doubt that the slaughter of black Sudanese by the country's Arab-controlled government is systematic evil. Read more >>>>>>