Saturday, March 31, 2007

Talking Darfur to Death

The world has been discussing the genocide in Darfur for more than three years. But some 200,000 deaths later, it has yet to take effective action to force the Sudanese government to stop sponsoring the mass murder, rape, torture and forcible evictions being carried out on its orders in the region.

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council at last expressed its deep concern over human rights violations in Darfur. That modest advance was made possible by the welcome willingness of several African countries to set aside their usual reluctance to talk about their continent’s human rights problems.

But in practical terms, it was only a baby step. Read more >>>

We are The World

Turn the screws on Sudanese leaders

President George W. Bush has been more outspoken than most world leaders in condemning the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. But declarations that aren't backed up by action won't save anybody.

Government backed militias have been rampaging through Darfur since 2003 in a calculated campaign of murder, rape, torture, looting and burning. Some 400,000 people have died, and more than 2.5 million have been driven from their homes.

Sudan's president is now balking at the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force to which he agreed last year. And the government is obstructing humanitarian aid efforts. Yet the United States still hasn't slapped sanctions on Sudan that it had vowed to impose by Jan. 1. And other countries, including in Europe, have been even more reluctant to punish Sudan's leaders. Read more >>>

Friday, March 30, 2007

Enough is enough, says Darfur report

After years of indiscriminate slaughter, mass displacement and apparently intractable diplomatic standoff, it is an intriguing notion that anyone could have found anything approaching an answer to the catastrophic conflict in western Sudan.

The paper's author, Crisis Group Senior Adviser John Prendergast, concedes that no single initiative will resolve the tragedy. But he does assert that the policy choices outlined in the paper could stabilise Darfur "within a year". Read more >>>

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Darfur: Arrested Development -- 30,000 People Displaced in February

GENEVA, Mar. 28 /Standard Newswire/ -- 2007 has seen intensified fighting in Darfur. An additional 30,000 people were displaced in February alone, bringing the total number of people that have fled the ongoing violence since the beginning of the year to 80,000.(1) ACT-Caritas, with the support of PWS&D, continues to provide basic shelter, household items, clean water, latrines, primary health care and education to the displaced.

In January 2007, tired of the harassment, lack of security and poor conditions in general, several families from villages in the area of Abata managed to reach Zalingei camp where ACT-Caritas is working. ACT-Caritas provided blankets, wash basins, plates, soap and cooking sets as part of a coordinated inter-agency effort to assist the new arrivals. Charlotte Brudenell of ACT-Caritas journeyed to Abata to see what they left behind.

A sand track leads north from Zalingei to the village of Abata, but these days few people travel along it. Read more >>>

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Intolerable Darfur

Intolerable Darfur
Western leaders are again saying the slaughter is unacceptable. Will they again do nothing?

EUROPEAN UNION leaders spoke out strongly on Darfur at a summit in Berlin on Sunday. "The situation," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "is intolerable. . . . The actions of the Sudanese government are completely unacceptable." "The suffering is unbearable," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "I want to state frankly that we have to consider stronger sanctions."

It took less than 24 hours for the backing down to start. "You have to make sure that you do not raise expectations that cannot be met," an E.U. spokesman in Brussels told the Associated Press. Officials cited the usual obstacles: the resistance of U.N. Security Council member China to sanctions; the unwillingness of Arab and other Islamic governments to support steps against the regime of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir; the difficulty of military operations in an area the size of France. Read more >>>

Blair threatens force over Darfur

Tony Blair is pushing the United Nations to declare a no-fly zone over Darfur, enforced if necessary by the bombing of Sudanese military airfields used for raids on the province, the Guardian has learned.
The controversial initiative comes as a classified new report by a UN panel of experts alleges Sudan has violated UN resolutions by moving arms into Darfur, conducting overflights and disguising its military planes as UN humanitarian aircraft.

Mr Blair has been pushing for much tougher international action against Sudan since President Omar Hassan al-Bashir reneged earlier this month on last November's agreement to allow UN peacekeepers into Darfur to protect civilians. Read more >>>

Monday, March 26, 2007

Genocide games

In the summer of 2008, the world will turn its gaze to China and the Beijing Olympics. A growing number of activists want to make sure the shadow of Darfur, and China's complicity, are what the world remembers.

By Kevin Cullen

Sitting at the computer in the office of his Northampton home last month, Eric Reeves pushed the "send" button, intending to spread an idea -- a modest, but potentially powerful idea.

Reeves, a professor of literature at Smith College who has become one of the world's foremost experts on the humanitarian disaster in Darfur, has concluded that only China, as Sudan's biggest economic and diplomatic supporter and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, can stop the slaughter that President Bush has called genocide (as many as 400,000 people have been killed in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003, and more than 3 million others may face a similar fate). And China, says Reeves, can only be pressured to act by appealing to its sense of national pride and honor -- forcing Beijing to choose between its lucrative relationship with Khartoum and having its coveted games lumped in the collective consciousness with Nazi Germany's hosting of the Berlin games in 1936. Read more >>>

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Real (Military) Solution To Darfur

(Weekly Standard) This column was written by Daniel Allott.

When will peace come to Darfur? After four years of genocide (the killings started in February 2003), that question has lost all but its rhetorical significance.

A glimmer of hope was provided recently when New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson helped negotiate a 60-day cease-fire with Sudan's murderous president, Omar al-Bashir. Bashir's promise proved empty, however, when, just days after the agreement was signed, government planes initiated a fresh aerial bombing campaign targeting rebel groups and innocent civilians in Northern Darfur.

A Consistent Pattern

A consistent pattern has emerged in the world's negotiations with the Sudanese government over Darfur. The West (i.e., the United Nations, with backing from the United States) pressures Sudan to reign in its genocidal militias and allow peacekeepers to enter Darfur, while threatening economic and military repercussions for noncompliance. Bashir dawdles, fearing prosecution for war crimes by the International Criminal Court and spouting derisory theories about "Jewish conspiracies" and Western plots to re-colonize his oil-rich nation.

Then, with a deadline looming, the Sudanese government relents and promises to behave. Hope is restored. But Khartoum promptly ignores its promises, instead ramping up attacks against rebel groups and innocent civilians. In response, the West feigns outrage, using stark language to describe deteriorating conditions and the heavy price of continued obstinacy. In the end, however, without the will to follow through on its threats, the West gives in, and the cycle begins anew.

The cycle of impunity in Darfur began nearly three years ago, when the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 1556, giving Khartoum 30 days to disarm or face economic and military sanctions. The deadline passed quietly. Read more >>>

Sudan urged to accept Darfur resolution


BERLIN -- The suffering of people in Darfur is "unbearable" and the United Nations should consider stronger sanctions against the Sudanese government for not stopping violence in the region, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

Merkel - whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union - made the comments at a celebration of the EU's 50th birthday in Berlin.

The remarks came a day after Sudanese troops barred the U.N. humanitarian chief from visiting a refugee camp in the Darfur region.

"Even today, our thoughts are with the people in ... Darfur. The suffering there is unbearable," Merkel said. "We call on the Sudanese President (Omar) al-Bashir to finally accept the terms of the U.N. resolution. And I say openly: we must consider stronger sanctions." Read more >>>

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sudanese troops bar U.N. humanitarian chief from visiting Darfur refugee camp

KASSAB, Darfur:
Sudanese troops barred the U.N. humanitarian chief on Saturday from visiting one of Darfur's most violence-plagued refugee camp during his first trip to this war-torn region in Sudan.

The convoy carrying John Holmes was halted at a checkpoint about 1.2 kilometers (0.8 miles) outside the Kassab refugee camp, and he was told he did not have the proper papers to visit the site.

"I'm frustrated, annoyed, but it's not atypical of what happens here," Holmes told journalists traveling with him. He said his trip had obtained all the necessary clearances from Khartoum.

Other U.N. officials working in Darfur said that aid workers and U.N. staff were regularly blocked from doing their work at army checkpoints, and that Sudanese authorities had without motive recently confiscated costly satellite gear from one convoy.

"It's random, but it shows just how arbitrary Khartoum's rule is in Darfur," said one humanitarian worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Read more >>>

Friday, March 23, 2007

SUDAN: Living with the threat of rape in Darfur

(IRIN) - The convoy of African Union trucks was driving up a hillside overlooking a small valley near Otash in South Darfur State, western Sudan, when the two women gathering firewood spotted the vehicles and instinctively took to their heels.

In response, the AU troops and civilian police, including a young Sudanese officer who had accompanied the patrol, ran after the women shouting greetings.

“We were scared,” Khadija Sebit Sulieman said. Still gripping the axe she had been using to cut wood, she added: “This is the place where the Arabs [militias] used to attack us.”

The presence of the young Sudanese officer only added to the confusion. “Some of the ones who attacked wore a uniform just like his,” she said, pointing at him.

The women were just two of the millions of people in Darfur region who have endured harassment from armed militias, especially the Janjawid, ever since the conflict began in western Sudan in 2003. At the time, rebels claimed to be fighting against the marginalisation of the remote region. The Sudanese government responded by arming militias, who are now accused of turning their guns on civilians in the region. Read more >>>

Thursday, March 22, 2007

EU calls for tighter monitoring of Darfur

Laura MacInnis

European Union states called on Wednesday for closer international surveillance of human rights in Darfur after a United Nations-commissioned report largely blamed the Sudanese government for continuing war crimes there.

In a proposal to the UN Human Rights Council, they said a team of experts should be formed to keep pressure on Khartoum to honour past recommendations on respecting the rights of civilians in the vast western region.

Observers estimate 200 000 people have been killed and more than two million driven from their homes since a revolt broke out four years ago. The government responded to the uprising by arming militias, which have been accused of atrocities.

Last week, a team dispatched by the council to investigate allegations of widespread violations, including killings, rapes and arbitrary arrests, accused Khartoum of orchestrating and taking part in such international crimes. Read more >>>

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Global court names first defendants in Darfur crimes

By James Wright

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - A leading activist against the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of the Sudan and an organization committed to its end are hopeful that an international court will try to prosecute two Sudanese men who have played a key role in its facilitation.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, which is located in the Netherlands, wants to try Ahman Muhammad Harun, the Sudanese minister of state for humanitarian affairs and Ali Kushayb, leader of the government-backed Janjaweed militia that is terrorizing Darfurians and committing such crimes as rape, torture and inhumane acts. Read more >>>

UN.: Beef-up Darfur peacekeeping force


UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations will never accept a rejection from Sudan‘s president to a strong peacekeeping operation in Darfur because the conflict is hurting millions of people in the region, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Monday.

Jean-Marie Guehenno briefed the U.N. Security Council U.N. Security Council on President Omar al-Bashir‘s rejection of all but a very limited role for the United Nations in supporting African Union troops in the vast area of western Sudan.

"We‘ll never take any reaction as a rejection," Guehenno said. "We can‘t afford that and the people in Darfur can‘t afford that. ... We are prepared to clarify any detail in what is on offer."

He also has raised objections to the final stage of a U.N. plan that calls for a 22,000-strong joint U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission.

Khartoum is accused of having responded with indiscriminate killings by unleashing the janjaweed militias of Arab nomads blamed for the worst atrocities in Darfur. Read more >>>

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sudanese women to be stoned for adultery

Two Sudanese women have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery after a trial in which they had no lawyer and which used Arabic, not their first language, Amnesty International says.

Sadia Idriss Fadul was sentenced on February 13 and Amouna Abdallah Daldoum on March 6 and their sentences could be carried out at any time, the London-based group said in a statement.

North Sudan implements Islamic sharia law.

"The women had no lawyer during their trial and were not able to defend themselves, as their first languages are those of their ethnic groups," Amnesty said.

Both women are from non-Arab tribes but the proceedings were in Arabic and no interpreter was provided, Amnesty said. Their trial took place in central AlGezira state.

"One of the women, Sadia Idriss Fadul, has one of her children with her in prison," Amnesty said. Read full story >>>

Why less is more in Darfur

According to Slovic, human psychology is such that it may be more useful to show the world a picture of a single Darfuri refugee than dwell on the big numbers.

It's not that we don't care about Darfur's hundreds of thousands of displaced and killed - we're just unable to comprehend the scale of the suffering, he says. Read more >>>

Monday, March 19, 2007

Darfur a thorny issue for state ERS

By Derrick DePledge

Leanne Gillespie usually keeps up with world events, but she admits she was not aware of the atrocities in the Darfur region in the western Sudan until she heard actor George Clooney speak about the conflict before the United Nations Security Council last September.

An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people have died in Darfur, and 2 million people have been displaced in fighting between tribes and government-backed Arab militias. Clooney described it as the first genocide of the 21st century.

"I couldn't believe it had been going on and I didn't know about it," said Gillespie, a state employee who was so moved she founded the Hawai'i Coalition for Darfur. "I was horrified." Read more >>>

A beam of light on Darfur

Future generations will not easily forgive the governments and international bodies that have allowed the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan to continue uninterrupted and unpunished year after year. So a report this week prepared for the United Nations Human Rights Council by a "High-Level Mission on the Situation of Human Rights in Darfur" should be welcome as a beam of bright light pointed into this 21st-century heart of darkness.

Basing its recommendations on the 2005 UN affirmation of a "responsibility to protect" civilians not protected by their own governments, the report tells some hard truths — free of jargon or obfuscation.

It says the human rights situation is deteriorating and aid workers are often targeted by government- backed militias. "Killing of civilians remains widespread, including in large-scale attacks. Rape and sexual violence are widespread and systematic. Torture continues." Read more >>>

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Verbatim '. . . systematic violations . . .'


Sudanese Darfur refugees rest after arriving on the outskirts of the Gaga refugee camp in Chad. At least 230,000 ethnic Africans have fled Darfur to take refuge in camps in neighboring Chad. This is an excerpt from the concluding section of a new report by the United Nations High-Level Mission on Darfur. This report on human rights abuses in that region of Sudan was released Monday.

The High-Level Mission concludes that the situation of human rights in Darfur remains grave, and the corresponding needs profound.

The situation is characterized by gross and systematic violations of human rights and grave breaches of international humanitarian law. War crimes and crimes against humanity continue across the region.

The principal pattern is one of a violent counterinsurgency campaign waged by the Government of the Sudan in concert with Janjaweed /militia, and targeting mostly civilians. Rebel forces are also guilty of serious abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law. Read more >>>

How do you solve a crisis like Darfur?

By Nicholas D. Kristof

FOR anyone who thinks that "genocide" is absolutely the rock-bottom possibility, keep an eye on Darfur.

The area of crisis has already spread from an area the size of France to one the size of Western Europe, encompassing Chad and Central African Republic while threatening to reignite the separate war between north and south Sudan. And aid workers increasingly are finding themselves under attack, so that humanitarian access is now lower than at any time since 2004.

Six weeks ago, I invited readers to send in their own suggestions for what we should do about Darfur, and the result was a deluge of proposals from all over the world. Read more >>>

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Darfur Mission is Credible and Its Report Must Be Respected

Geneva, — UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer delivered the following statement today before the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva:

Mr. President,

The Darfur Mission asks the Council to recognize what every ordinary citizen already knows: that Sudan bears responsibility for large-scale international crimes.

The world now looks to this assembly. The credibility of this Council is at stake.

The arguments of Sudan are like those of the child who murders his parents and then asks for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. Sudan refused the Mission entry to Darfur, connived to have their representative on the team resign, and now invokes these as grounds to disqualify the report. Both arguments are hollow and, as stated by Ghana, contrary to prior precedent.

We are also deeply disappointed by comments made by the Arab League, the OIC, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and many others, challenging the legitimacy of the mission and treating its work as a “non-report.” The country that invoked the Most Compassionate and Merciful showed neither compassion nor mercy for the victims of Darfur. A great power acted not with greatness, but out of Olympic-sized commercial interests.

UN Watch urges these parties to recognize that the Mission and its report are eminently credible, and not to ignore the following basic facts: Read more >>>


Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council this morning discussed the report of its high-level mission on the situation of human rights in Darfur as it started its debate on the follow-up to the decisions and resolutions adopted by the Council.

Jody Williams, Head of the high-level mission, presenting the report, said it described a pattern of counter-insurgency by the Government of Sudan together with Janjaweed/militia. The report also noted that rebel forces were guilty of abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law. Civilians were victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which continued across the region. Killing, rape, torture, arbitrary arrest, repression of political dissent, and abuses of political freedoms occurred with chilling frequency. Ineffective mechanisms of justice, the free flow of weapons, the absence of meaningful disarmament, and a climate of impunity had left the region a stranger to the rule of law. Read more >>>

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Living with the threat of rape in Darfur

Aid workers say rape is widespread in Darfur, especially whenever the women venture out of the camps to find firewood to cook the food given by humanitarian agencies

The convoy of African Union trucks was driving up a hillside overlooking a small valley near Otash in South Darfur State, western Sudan, when the two women gathering firewood spotted the vehicles and instinctively took to their heels.

In response, the AU troops and civilian police, including a young Sudanese officer who had accompanied the patrol, ran after the women shouting greetings.

“We were scared,” Khadija Sebit Sulieman said. Still gripping the axe she had been using to cut wood, she added: “This is the place where the Arabs [militias] used to attack us.” Read more >>>

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Holocaust repeats itself in Darfur genocide


After the atrocities of the Holocaust, the world promised to never again engage in the senseless, mass murder of a people because of ethnicity or beliefs.

On paper, it looks like a glorious promise, but the carrying out of this promise has been anything but flawless. The world has discovered a blind spot in this
promise: Africa.

Genocide is occurring in Darfur, the western region of Sudan, located in North Africa. This is not the first post-Holocaust instance of genocide in Africa; others include the Ugandan genocide in the 1970s and the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Genocide in Darfur has been going on since 2003, largely unnoticed by most of the world. Read more >>>

Why the massacre in Darfur is still happening

By Galen Sanford, Staff Writer

I’m assuming you know about the genocide in Darfur. If you do not, put the paper down and go to The killing continues as you read these words and it is not going to stop. No country with the ability to intervene will and the reasons why are disturbing. In no particular order: Salah Abdallah Gosh, Iraq and oil.

The Sudan has a lot of oil, most of which is not currently being extracted. In 1997 and 2001, Western oil companies left the Sudan because of human rights violations. China, India and Malaysia immediately moved in. China is the major exporter of Sudanese oil, and therefore has the most at stake in Sudan. If the human rights abuses stop, Western sanctions against Khartoum, the capital of the Sudanese regime, may be removed, at which point China would face competition for petroleum.

In an interview with John Prendergast, the senior advisor at the International Crisis Group and a leader of the Save Darfur coalition, he told me China will not intervene in the genocide because they have a “perfect authoritarian partner to clear the oil fields.” Not only does China condone the killing, they are advocating it. China has supplied Khartoum with the money it needs to arm the Janjaweed Militias who are forcing indigents off their own land. China wants the people moved because they want uninhibited access to the oil fields. Distant strangers hold little priority to a petroleum starved country like China. Read more >>>

Monday, March 12, 2007

UN panel calls for action in Darfur

By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS Associated Press Writer

GENEVA — A U.N. human rights team criticized the international community Monday for failing to halt atrocities in Darfur, saying in a sharply worded report that the United Nations must act now to protect civilians from a violence campaign orchestrated by Sudan's government.

The panel, headed by Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, departed from the usual diplomatic niceties of U.N. reports to accuse major nations of letting Sudan obstruct efforts to quell ethnic fighting that has killed 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million in four years.

The report urged quick U.N. Security Council intervention, the imposition of sanctions and criminal prosecutions of those responsible for atrocities and other abuses.

"Killing of civilians remains widespread, including in large-scale attacks. Rape and sexual violence are widespread and systematic. Torture continues," it said, adding that rebel groups were behind some abuses but blaming most crimes on the government and its allies. Read more >>>

Rapists terrorise women of Darfur


The 25-year-old Darfuri woman was raped in front of her two young children, whose screams haunted her during an attack which she is too ashamed to tell her husband about.

Despite a recent lull in fighting, rape continues in Darfur's conflict. The crime is so sensitive, it is seldom reported by victims whofear retribution and social exclusion.

The 25-year-old, who asked not to be named, was raped by a man carrying a gun. She said he was a member of a pro-government militia, mobilised to quell a four-year-old rebellion.

"It was one man with a rifle who threatened us," she said, her gaze lowered to the ground. "He told me your husband has left you and gone to the rebellion, so I will kill you."

"My children were screaming and ran off into the bush. All I could hear was their screaming." The full story >>>

Sudan: genocide in Darfur

By GĂ©rard Prunier

The Darfur conflict, which has already left 400,000 dead, has destabilised Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic. At a summit in Cannes last month, all three countries agreed to respect each other’s territorial integrity, but the diplomatic activity conceals an international political deadlock over potential oil wealth.

Two million people have fled Darfur in northwest Sudan since 2003, 250,000 of them since last August (1), and the resources of neighbouring Chad are suffering from the strain of 250,000 refugees. The conflict has left 400,000 dead in four years. Aid workers from the United Nations and NGOs have had to move camps 31 times to escape attacks, although this did not prevent the arrest of several aid workers on 19 January in Nyala; they were beaten with rifle butts by the Sudanese police. Twelve aid workers were killed during massacres and five others have disappeared. Read more >>>

Darfur’s misery continues

Diplomatic pressure, moral leadership desperately needed to counteract Sudan

SAVE EMAIL PRINT POPULAR It has been nearly five years since the humanitarian crisis in Sudan began, since attempts at diplomacy were made with the Sudanese government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Yet 400,000 people are dead, 2.5 million are displaced and nothing has changed on the ground.

Sadly, gunmen killed two African Union peacekeepers and critically wounded a third the other day, punctuating the violence and instilling concerns that the gunmen belonged to the Sudan Liberation Army — the rebel faction that signed the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006. If so, international efforts at peace have been severely damaged. The incident begs the question as to what significant action world leaders plan.

Diplomacy, by itself, isn’t going to work. If al-Bashir wanted to do the right thing, he would have done so a long time ago. Instead, he is putting off deployment of a U.N. multilateral peacekeeping force with the authority and ability to protect the civilian population, calling it a Western attempt to colonize Africa’s largest country. Read more >>>

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More Darfuris flee, begging for UN troops to help

By Opheera McDoom

ARDAMATA CAMP, Darfur, (Reuters) - Four years after the Darfur conflict erupted, new refugees continue to pour into growing makeshift camps telling of murder, pillage and rape.

In Ardamata in West Darfur, thousands have only torn plastic sheeting propped up by sticks as shelter from dust and searing sun, after militia attacks drove them from their homes.

Tired aid workers battle on in the world's largest humanitarian operation to provide food and healthcare to those who are fleeing attacks on their villages and on the roads.

Those who have suffered for years are also tired of waiting for U.N. forces. An African Union (AU) force mandated to protect civilians, they say, does nothing to help and its troops are usually too scared themselves to leave their camp.

"The only way to solve this problem is for the United Nations to come here to protect us," said Abdallah Hamad, whose village was attacked in December, forcing him to seek a haven in Ardamata, near the state capital el-Geneina.

He said the AU troops were incapable of fighting the militia, known as Janjaweed.

"The African Union are useless. They themselves need U.N. protection," he said. He added that when armed militia entered the camp a few days earlier, the AU troops fled. Read more >>>

Never give up fighting genocide in Darfur

By: Lilit Hovakimyan

My heart is paining for those who had lived their whole lives in peace and who wanted to die in peace, for those who were so young and had so many plans for the future, for those who would have so much to tell and who'd just learned to say "Mother." Is it fair?

No, it is not just. I know what it means. Genocide. Even hearing this word, I tremble. This word fills the heart of a 16-year-old girl with hatred. A question that doesn't leave my mind alone is, "Why? For what?" The answer is simple: "Why not?"

I am talking from a name of a whole nation. From the name of parents who saw their children burning in the fire, from the name of husbands who saw their wives being raped and from the names of children getting killed when they were still under their mothers' hearts.

I am crying while putting down what I feel on this sheet of paper. Yes, I am crying because I knowa 16-year-old girl and her thoughts or feelings cannot stop it. But I know one thing for sure. We cannot change the past, but the future is in our hands. We learn from the past and bring it to the future. If we all fight and never give up, there will come a day of triumph. Read more >>>

Saturday, March 10, 2007

By: Eric Reeves

Civilians and humanitarians remain caught amidst uncontrolled violence, with no prospect of meaningful international protection

Despite desperate pleas from both civilians and aid organizations, in Darfur as well as in eastern Chad, security continues to deteriorate badly in the greater humanitarian theater---threatening lives, livelihoods, and all humanitarian operations. Nor is there any prospect of an adequate or timely international protection response to these deepening, inter-related security crises. Ethnically-targeted violence on both sides of the Chad/Darfur border, growing directly out of the Khartoum regime’s genocidal counterinsurgency war, has created a conflict-affected population of over 4.5 million human beings. Hundreds of thousands of these people will die in the coming months and years. A cataclysm of human destruction has begun that simply cannot be halted, though of course it might still be substantially mitigated. But the approximately 500,000 people who have already died from violence, disease, and malnutrition over the past four years of conflict provide a ghastly metric for future human destruction (see my two-part mortality assessment of April/May 2006 at and

Humanitarian access to these desperate populations is contracting at an alarming rate. Read more >>>

Darfur needs our immediate attention

Written by DO

200,000 people dead since the conflict began in 2003, including those killed by starvation and disease, according to the most conservative estimates.

Two million displaced people are either living in camps or have sought refuge in neighbouring Chad, after fleeing the fighting. This sobering inventory of human waste and misery is taking place in the Sudanese province of Darfur. It is the sort of unfolding tragedy that naturally attracts the attention of humanitarian NGOs, but even there, one humanitarian worker has summarised the situation thus: ‘The greatest immediate threat to the people on the ground is the deteriorating humanitarian space in Darfur.

It is a deterioration made possible by the international community’s lack of political will to end the conflict. So while women were being raped, people tortured and murdered, the international community was busy quibbling over the definition of genocide. Read more >>>

U.N. human rights chief says rape remains widespread in Darfur conflict

By: MIKE CORDER - Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Women in Darfur continue to be subjected to rape by all sides in the brutal conflict in western Sudanese region, the U.N. human rights chief said Thursday -- International Women's Day.

Louise Arbour said she has about 75 human rights officers monitoring abuses in Darfur, and that many women were being attacked as soon they ventured out of refugee camps to carry out essential chores.

"Women are forced to go out of the camp to collect firewood," Arbour said at a meeting in The Hague of female leaders in international law. "They believe, they tell us, that if the men went out they would be killed, and that's why it's the women who expose themselves and they get raped."

She said another problem now arising for rape victims was having to bring up children that are the product of sexual attacks. Read more >>>

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Militia in Darfur surround camp for displaced people, humanitarian work suspended: UN

8 March 2007 – Hundreds of Arab militia in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region recently surrounded a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) after abducting two civilians from inside the camp, forcing the temporary suspension of humanitarian work there, the United Nations mission to the impoverished country said today.

On Wednesday, Arab militiamen swept through Ardamata IDP camp in west Darfur, capturing two civilians in connection with the killing of one of their relatives, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said in a press release, adding the two suspects had then been taken to the Government police station but the militia refused to allow the officers to investigate.

Later, they handed the two suspects over to the Military Intelligence/Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) camp in Ardamata.

“Some 250 militiamen surrounded Ardamata camp on the east and north side demanding a meeting with community leaders. Humanitarian operations in the camp have been temporarily suspended,” UNMIS said. Read more >>>

Darfur: The Making of a Genocide

Darfur: The Making of a Genocide
The conflict in the Darfur region of the Sudan began in 2003, when government-backed militia groups called the Janjaweed stepped up raids and attacks against the region's farming communities.

The Sudanese government allegedly began arming and recruiting the Janjaweed from local Arab tribes when African rebel groups in Darfur, organized in response to a widespread perception of the Sudanese government's neglect of the region, began attacking government forces.

Since the conflict began, Darfur has become one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters. As many as 300,000 people have died and over 1.8 million have been displaced. Read more >>>

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Genocide in Darfur: Will the World Act?

At Washington University last week, a simple and stark message was written in large black letters on white paper plates posted on university bulletin boards on the campus: City of St. Louis Population: 350,000; Number Killed in Darfur: 400,000.

These chilling numbers speak for themselves; to date, more people are reliably believed to have been murdered in the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan, than the total number of people who reside in the City of St. Louis. Last week, Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, an international development and relief organization based in New York City, was in St. Louis to report on the current situation and the urgent need for meaningful international action to stop the wholesale slaughter. Read more >>>

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

EU deeply concerned about situation in Darfur

EU Foreign Ministers Council expressed Monday its "deep concern " about the continuing deterioration of the security situation and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, as a consequence of the increasing violence by all parties to the conflict.

The Council in a statement said it is "particularly alarmed by Sudanese Armed Forces bombing near the Chadian border on 11 February, and militia attacks in North Darfur on 13 February resulting in 20 civilian deaths."
It condemned the continuing attacks on humanitarian aid workers, harassment targeting relief activities and ceasefire violations.

Emphasising the urgent need for an inclusive political agreement to solve the conflict in Darfur, the Council welcomes the recent talks held in Sudan by the AU and UN Special envoys. Read more >>>

We all have a duty to Darfur

Zachary Baum

Nicholas Kristof's speech about the horrors occurring in Darfur addressed a huge problem in the world today. The genocide and gang rapes that occur there are inexcusable and among the most terrible crimes the world has ever seen. He also highlighted the Tufts community's affinity for active citizenship and its familiarity with the Darfur tragedy. It is, however, what he did not address that should be the central concern of our students, and those across the country.

As we pour ourselves into stopping genocide in Darfur, what are we doing to ensure that no future genocides ever start? Read more >>>

The Letter That Keeps Killing Darfur

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, is a master of delay. He's fooled a world (eager to be fooled) into thinking he is about to accept UN peacekeepers to stop the killing in Darfur. Once everyone seems convinced, he reverses himself. Al-Bashir is buying wasted time for a failed military effort to crush Darfur's separatist insurgents in a war that is mowing down civilians by the thousands instead.

The world wants to be fooled because it has no intention of intervening to stop the genocide, so it engages in a macabre dance with al-Bashir.

The latest manifestation of this game is The Letter: the letter that has UN headquarters buzzing. Al-Bashir told Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he would answer in writing a request to deploy several thousand UN troops and later a hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force.

The UN has been told al-Bashir signed the letter and it's on its way. It's been on its way for two weeks.

So I bump into Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, Sudan's ambassador to the UN, in a corridor on the UN press floor. He's holding a piece of paper in his hand.

"Is that the letter?" I ask. Read more >>>

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I-for-CC justice for Darfur

Amy McCarthy

PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 2 next > As many of us are aware, the systematic genocide of more than 200,000 Sudanese by Janjaweed militias has not ended.

What has ceased, however, is the United States' support for those in the Darfur region.

The United States essentially has done as little as would be necessary to appease the United Nations.

Finally, though, the International Criminal Court has stepped up to the plate.

With next to nothing being done by any international organization to bring the perpetrators and facilitators of these atrocities to justice, the court has brought charges against the Sudanese state minister for humanitarian affairs and the Janjaweed commander, Ali Kushayb, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Thank goodness. It is paramount for those complicit in these horrendous crimes to face some kind of accountability. The ICC, however, has its problems. Read more >>>

Friday, March 02, 2007

ICC Prosecutor Files Evidence of Crimes Committed in Darfur with the ICC

Press Stateme
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2007

ICC Prosecutor Files Evidence of Crimes Committed in Darfur with the ICC

Today the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo has submitted evidence, in connection with named individuals, of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The Prosecutor has filed the evidence of crimes committed in Darfur with the ICC judges in The Hague, Netherlands. This is a substantial step in the right direction to ending the suffering of the victims of the destructive armed conflict in Darfur. It comes in fulfilment of the requirements of UN Security Council resolution 1593 (2005) adopted on March 31st, 2005 and which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC because it constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security.
Since February 2003, the people of Darfur have undergone the worst humanitarian crisis in the world with serious implications on peace and security across Sudan’s international borders with Chad and the Central African Republic. A savage scorched-earth campaign of killing, destruction of livelihoods, pillaging, burning of villages and massive forced displacement has been continuing against civilian population in the region with total impunity. At present, Darfur witnesses total collapse of the rule of law and administration of justice with massive and systematic crimes committed against civilians everywhere in the region including the main towns of the region such as Nyala, El Fashir, El Ginena etc. The victims of such crimes have no possibility to access domestic judicial remedy.
The undersigned organizations fully support efforts of the ICC to start probing cases of violations of international criminal law in Darfur. We encourage the ICC Prosecutor to intensify his efforts for the submission of further evidence that leads to an expedited process to hold accountable high-ranking government officials that have sanctioned, organised, financed and supported the commission of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. We strongly call upon all States member of the United Nations and other institutions to fully cooperate with the ICC in its efforts to render justice to the victims of the armed conflict in Darfur.

1. Darfur Call – The Hague, Netherlands
2. Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development – London, UK
3. Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre – Geneva, Switzerland
4. Darfur Peace and Justice – Brussels, Belgium
5. Darfur Peace and Development – USA

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Influx of displaced flood South Darfur

Adam Ibriham Osman was clearly worried.

His dark eyes squinting against the midday sun and a whipping desert wind, the old man told how his village had fled en masse from marauding fighters and how some forty families had found their way to the edge of this fast-growing camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), about 11 miles south of South Darfur's capital, Nyala.

His group of well over a hundred had already waited six days to register at the camp and food was running dangerously short.

"We need help," he said, looking at the dozens of uprooted neighbors and relatives surrounding him. "We all need help."

Osman and those who had traveled with him on an odyssey that began from their home village of Gohz Karbi, about 100 miles south of here, are part of a new influx of IDPs that has swollen the population of Al Salaam by several thousand since the beginning of this year. Earlier this week (Feb. 26th), hundreds of exhausted new arrivals, including Osman and his fellow villagers waited quietly in the shade of near-by trees to be registered by camp authorities—the key first step to getting food. Their presence left little doubt the camp's growth would not likely end soon. Read more >>>