Thursday, May 31, 2007

Four years of conflict in Darfur


FRANCE 24 offers a day of special coverage dedicated to the crisis in Darfur. Follow our correspondents and on-site reports along with our analyses and debates. Watch and follow >>>>>>>>>>

Bush showing leadership on Darfur

By BOGDAN KIPLING

THERE he goes again, jaded politicians may have shrugged on Tuesday after President George W. Bush announced sanctions and directed Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, to seek British support for yet another Security Council resolution against the genocide Sudan is committing in Darfur.

More words, more United Nations diplomacy, more running off in all directions – and more of nothing to show for it, Mr. Bush’s critics at home and abroad may groan.

And more murder, more starvation and more rapes in Darfur, they may pile on for good measure.

That would be one kind of reaction to the early morning presidential statement from the Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House. But that isn’t the echo heard in Washington 24 hours later.

What is heard here is an unusual endorsement from the New York Times and a blatantly partisan "too little, too late" dismissal from Tom Lantos, the otherwise distinguished Democrat from California who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Complicity in Darfur Genocide

By Denis Charleton,

Not until a few years ago the term "Genocide Olympics" was just as foreign as the idea of the Holocaust when the 1936 Olympics kicked off in Berlin.

But thanks to Hollywood actress Mia Farrow and others vocal on the Darfur crisis, the world has learnt of China's complicity in the ongoing genocide.

The Sudanese Arab Islamic dictatorship of Lieutenant General Al Bashir has been responsible for the deaths of as many as 400,000 Africans in the western province of Darfur. Read more >>>>>

3,000 Darfur refugees in CAR after 10-day trek

BANGUI, May 29 (Reuters) - An estimated 3,000 Sudanese refugees driven from their homes by fighting in Darfur trekked for 10 days through the bush to seek shelter in Central African Republic, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.

The refugees told a U.N. team in the northeastern town of Sam-Ouandja, some 80 km (50 miles) from the Sudanese border, that a ground and air attack had forced all 15,000 inhabitants of the southern Darfur town of Dafak to flee their homes.

Most of them headed south within Sudan, but some fled westward into Central African Republic, an arduous journey of more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) following a track accessible only on foot or by horse. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Darfur Crisis: Mediation Failure (2)


The residents of Aamo and its surroundings have coexisted peacefully with the nomad community headed by Hillal senior for generations. Yet, those peace-loving inhabitants of the area were unjustly described by Alex de Waal as being hostile, inhospitable and cruel when he referred to them as “The local villagers, from Tunjur group (a close relation of Fur, the largest ethnic group in the region), had given them [nomads to which Hillal senior belonged] only dry, sandy soil.” This is a clear indicative that Alex de Waal does not hesitate in labeling not only the local farmers of Aamo but the entire farming communities across Darfur as being evil to the nomad of Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Solana says EU open to new sanctions against Sudan

HAMBURG, Germany: The European Union is "open to consider" new sanctions on Sudan, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday after U.S. President George W. Bush called for tougher steps to pressure Sudan's government to halt bloodshed in the Darfur region.

"In principle, we are open to consider that," Solana told The Associated Press at the end of two-day EU-Asia foreign ministers talks here.

He said the issue would be discussed with foreign ministers at a Group of Eight diplomatic meeting outside Berlin on Wednesday.

Solana said the 27-nation bloc was also "open to consider" the creation of a humanitarian corridor from neighboring Chad to Sudan's Darfur region, allowing safe-access to aid workers there to help relieve the suffering of the conflict's victims. The idea is being pushed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. Read more >>>>>

Fact Sheet: Fighting Genocide in Darfur

Today, President Bush announced the expansion and tightening of economic sanctions against the Government of Sudan. The United States is now taking the steps the President outlined last month because the Government of Sudan continues to violate its numerous commitments to stop the violence and suffering in Darfur.

President Bush Announced These Steps Last Month in a Speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The U.S. held off on implementing them because the United Nations believed President Bashir should be given a "last chance" to meet his obligations to stop the killing. It is now clear that he has continued to break his word.

The World Has a Responsibility To Help Put an End to the Genocide in Darfur. The people of Darfur have suffered for too long at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder, and rape of innocent civilians. The Bush administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide.

President Bashir has not fulfilled his obligations to stop the violence in Darfur. Read more >>>>>

Monday, May 28, 2007

The voice of conscience

For decades he was the scourge of successive Nigerian despots. Now aged 72, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka tells Maya Jaggi how 'repetitions of history' - most recently the atrocities in Darfur - continue to haunt his life and work

Tracing the abuses to a vestigial legacy of the Arab slave trade that pre-dated transatlantic slavery, and likening the Darfur cause to anti-apartheid, when "non-Africans felt aggrieved by the assault heaped on humanity", Soyinka says: "This can't go on. Over 2 million refugees, and still raids by Janjaweed, backed by the Sudanese government military, with the war spilling into neighbouring countries." Instead of public indictments and sanctions with teeth, "people make token resolutions. It's yet another failure. I don't understand how this can be happening in the 21st century." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, May 27, 2007

In a Darfur town, women recount numbing tale of their hell of rape and suffering

KALMA, Sudan -- The seven women pooled money to rent a donkey and cart, then ventured out of the refugee camp to gather firewood, hoping to sell it for cash to feed their families. Instead, they say, in a wooded area just a few hours walk away, they were gang-raped, beaten and robbed.

Naked and devastated, they fled back to Kalma.

"All the time it lasted, I kept thinking: They're killing my baby, they're killing my baby," wailed Aisha, who was seven months pregnant at the time.

The women have no doubt who attacked them. They say the men's camels and their uniforms marked them as janjaweed -- the Arab militiamen accused of terrorizing the mostly black African villagers of Sudan's Darfur region. Read the full story >>>>>>>>>>

Emergency Europetition for Darfur

1 MILLION SIGNATURES FOR DARFUR
-----------------------------

EMERGENCY EUROPETITION

to the Heads of government of the European Union and the Institutions of the European Union for immediate dispatch of an international protection force to Darfur.

Initiative coordinated by the Collectif Urgence Darfour/Emergency Darfur Coalition (www.urgencedarfour.com)

To the Heads of Government of the European Union Member States,
To Mr José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,
To Mr Javier Solana, High representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union,

We European citizens, can no longer remain indifferent and passive in the face of the true war against civilians presently taking place in Darfur, in the West of Sudan.

The army of Sudan and the Jinjaweed militias, mainly in the name of their “black African” identity, have committed massacres of entire villages, killing their Masalit, Fur, Zaghawa and other fellow-countrymen who constitute the majority of the six million inhabitants of Darfur.

Many already refer to Darfur as the first genocide of the 21st century.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In the heart of Darfur, mass grave and horrifying memories feed fears of new surge in war

MUKJAR, Sudan: Uncovered by a restless wind, skulls and bones poke above the thin dirt in this corner of Darfur, lying surrounded by half-buried, rotting clothes.

A short, bearded man named Ibrahim, 42, scratches through the sand. He is a quiet and serious, close to tears. There are other, bigger grave sites elsewhere, he says, but the bones he is looking at are those of 25 people who he is sure are his friends and fellow villagers.

Some of them were dragged from the prison where he was held and were axed to death, he says.

Ibrahim is showing the burial ground to an Associated Press reporter and photographer, the first Western journalists to visit this remote town in more than a year. The western Sudan is about to enter a new phase in its four-year-old conflict — one that villagers fear may encourage more killing.

Sudan's government recently agreed to let in 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers, a fraction of the 22,000 mandated by the Security Council last August. The deployment could still take months and villagers here fear the government will want to get rid of all witnesses to atrocities before peacekeepers move in.

"We need them to come as fast as possible, because we're all in danger," said Ibrahim. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ghana: Darfurians Storm Accra Before AU Summit

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
Charles Takyi-Boadu


LONG BEFORE African leaders set foot on Ghanaian soil to attend the much-awaited African Union (AU) summit slated for July this year, some natives and civil society groups in the Darfur Region of Sudan have arrived in Accra to demand an end to ongoing clashes in that Region.

They have called on the various African leaders, especially Ghana's President Kufuor to use his influence and position as Chairman of the African Union to stop the bloodshed.


The Darfurians constitute part of a forum of Non Governmental Organizations and Civil Society groups who are in the country to attend the 41st Ordinary session of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

At a press conference in Accra organized by 'Citizens for New Ghana', a civil society organization that seeks to provide a platform to provoke critical reflection on Ghanaian and African history and experiences to generate alternative policy perspectives, speaker after speaker condemned the atrocities being perpetrated in that country, taking into consideration the innocent civilian lives being consumed by the war.

Considering how things are going, they have expressed fear that the current situation in the Darfur Region could escalate to wreak more havoc on human lives and property and have therefore called for peace to return to the area.

First to speak was Mr. Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director of the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) who gave a vivid account on the background and overview of the situation in the Region which he says calls for the immediate intervention of the United Nations. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

UK charities appeal to save Darfur


An emergency appeal has been launched by UK charities aimed at saving people from butchery in Darfur and nearby regions.

Along the same lines with the appeal on Thursday films starring actress Joanna Lumley and journalist Feargal Keane are being shown on ITV and the BBC. Besides a telephone campaign, manned by volunteers will take pledges.

The money raised by the appeal, which has the backing of BBC newsreader Natasha Kaplinksky, will help provide shelter, clean water, sanitation and emergency food. Read more >>>

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Santa Barbarans Seek Solutions to the Darfur Crisis

At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur since fighting broke out more than four years ago. More than 2 million people have been displaced and are struggling to survive in squalid camps inside Darfur or in neighboring Chad. Yet, while the suffering is stark and demands our attention, the roots of the conflict are many and complex.

The Darfur crisis is most often blamed on hostility between the mostly black “African” and “Arab” populations that inhabit the region, hostility that is stoked by the Khartoum government. But the very distinction between “Arab” and “African” is a contested one. The so-called racial differences, such as physical appearance, are minor, with most distinctions due to lifestyle: The so-called Arabs are largely nomadic shepherds, while the so-called Africans are sedentary farmers. Read more >>>>>

"The People of Darfur Can't Be Forgotten"


The ongoing conflict in Darfur has led to hundreds of thousands of refugees
Matthias Hrubey, a German physician who works with Doctors Without Borders in Darfur, spoke with DW-WORLD.DE about the challenges the NGO is facing in the North African crisis region.

DW-WORLD.DE: The crisis in Darfur is talked about in many political circles. Can you benefit from the discussion?

Matthias Hrubey: The country and the media are talking a lot about the situation in Darfur, but not about the population and how the people here are doing. And they're not doing as well as they should be.

What are the problems you're dealing with at the moment?

In one of our projects there was a major outbreak of meningitis and we had to start a vaccination campaign. The risk of a cholera outbreak is increasing now that the rainy season has begun. The disease could break out in the camps as well as in the countryside. We've joined forces to prepare ourselves. In addition, the people frequently suffer from dysentery due to the poor hygiene and water conditions.

Are you able to get to the people suffering from health problems?

At the moment, it's very different to reach the people. Especially in the rural areas, we have to use helicopters because the streets are simply too unsafe. Read more >>>>>>>>

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sudan: Blogging From the Conflict Zone


By: Ndesanjo Macha,

Increasingly, aid workers, volunteers and even peacekeepers use blogs to share their unique experiences and insights from conflict zones. Take the Darfur conflict in Sudan, for example. Sleepless in Sudan was one of the first blogs to highlight the untold suffering of innocent people in Darfur. Sleepless in Sudan, which was nominated in the 2006 “Bloggies” Weblog Award contest, was maintained by a female aid worker stationed in Darfur. For nine months, Sleepless in Sudan told stories of life in Darfur from the ground. In one post, she gave us insight into the state of the African Union peacekeepers: The full story >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Khartoum 'protecting militias'

London - Amnesty International sharply criticised Sudan for failing to disarm Janjaweed militias and for not probing complaints of atrocities in Darfur, in its 2006 annual report published on Wednesday.

"A government promise to disarm the Janjaweed was broken, as it had been after numerous previous agreements," the London-based human rights group said.

"Rapes of women by Janjaweed militias in Darfur remained systematic ... The perpetrators benefited from almost complete impunity," it added.

"Authorities routinely took no effective action to investigate women's complaints of rape. At worst, raped women were arrested for adultery," it continued. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Back in March 2004, Mukesh Kapila, the top U.N. official in Sudan at the time, grabbed the media limelight for Darfur by appearing on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and describing the conflict as "ethnic cleansing" and "the world's greatest humanitarian crisis". He compared the killing that began in Sudan's western region in early 2003 to Rwanda, and asked why the world wasn't doing more. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur exposes moral bankruptcy

China's repugnant stance and global inaction to blame for failure to stop world's worst humanitarian crisis

It is frustrating enough to watch the charade played by the international community over the suffering in Darfur. However, it is downright disgusting to see China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, trying to protect the Sudanese government in Khartoum, thus undermining the move by the world body to impose sanctions to force an end to the world's worst humanitarian crisis, which has dragged on for more than four years.

China, which imports two-thirds of Sudan's oil output and is a key supplier of arms to this North African country, stands accused of placing its self-interests before global humanitarian concerns. For a country that aspires to superpower status and a place of pride in the international community, China must exert whatever influence it has over Khartoum to quickly resolve the Darfur crisis - not to prolong it.


But the international community must also share the blame for allowing the killing and raping of internally displaced Sudanese refugees, which continues to take place in Sudan's western region of Darfur where at least 200,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in fighting between government-backed militias known as the Janjaweed and rebels since 2003. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sudan: Fresh clashes in Darfur blamed on government

NAIROBI, 22 May 2007 (IRIN)
- A Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction has blamed Sudanese government forces for fresh attacks on its positions in North Darfur, saying aerial bombardment had been employed against its fighters.

Sudanese government forces clashed with rebels over the weekend in the Rockero area of North Darfur state, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported, adding that it was unable to estimate the number of casualties following the violence. Read more >>>>>>

Darfur terror reaches genocide

By:Ashley Ewen and Janae Murphy

Our agricultural-science world history class at Tracy High School is studying genocide and the effects it has on countries, people and the world. We have recently focused our attention on Darfur, Sudan.

In Darfur, there is a major genocide. The government, along with the country’s militia group, the Janjaweed, is wreaking havoc on the innocent civilians who have the same ethnicity as the country’s rebel groups. Our class would like to bring awareness to the issues in this place of terror.

Recent acts of terror, such as murder, starvation, rape, disease, mutilation, burning of homes and villages, and the use of gunships are acts that can easily be compared to the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The fatality rate is reaching 100,000 victims a month. Lives are taken in various ways, including government-deployed gunship units. These units carry 20 rockets, which each contain 500 fléchettes (tiny nails). These rockets are shot at civilians, and each does as much damage as a bullet. There is no high medical attention in the area, so most of the victims are left to suffer an agonizing death. Read more >>>>>>>

Monday, May 21, 2007

Urgent appeal to help families in western Darfur

"These camps were not designed to last this long: they are supposed to be temporary. No one envisioned that 2.5 million people would be living under plastic sheets four years on." —Dominic MacSorley, Director of Operations, Concern Worldwide U.S.

Concern Worldwide is racing against time to get desperately needed supplies to vulnerable families in Western Darfur before the rainy season hits. An estimated 2.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict in Darfur, and the numbers are growing, with new families arriving in the camps every day.

The urgency of delivering plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking pots, and water containers to the camps before the onset of the torrential rains cannot be understated. Providing these items to families at risk will cost $1 million. Concern is appealing to the public for immediate funds to ensure that these essential supplies are delivered in time. Read more >>>>>

Sudanese Police Attack On Aid Workers Tests U.N. Chief's Diplomacy

Sudanese Police Attack On Aid Workers Tests U.N. Chief's Diplomacy
He Calls It 'Unacceptable' in Letter to Bashir

By Colum Lynch

UNITED NATIONS -- On Jan. 19, a group of 20 international aid workers and peacekeepers celebrated their day off with an afternoon of dining, drinking and dancing at the guesthouse of the private relief agency, the American Refugee Committee, in the town of Nyala, Darfur.

The outing ended in the early evening when Sudanese police and security agents broke into the house, videotaped the attendees -- which included five U.N. workers, representatives of six U.S. and British aid agencies, and African Union peacekeepers -- and then beat them with batons and rifle butts and sexually assaulted at least one female U.N. worker. Locals cheered from the street, and some joined in the assault. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Investors have the power to fight Darfur genocide

DIVESTMENT KEY TO PRESSURING SUDAN TO END CONFLICT
By Kathy Kristof

Adam Sterling wants individual investors to know that they are a powerful force - and they can use that power to help stop genocide halfway across the world in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Sterling believes that if American investors pull their money from companies that fund the Sudanese government, that government will be forced to curtail atrocities by its forces and allied militias in their fight against Darfur rebels. In four years of conflict, more than 200,000 villagers in the region have died and more than 2.5 million have fled their homes, the United Nations says.

"Divestment has been the one real action that the government of Sudan has responded to," said Sterling, director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force in Washington. "Genocide is expensive. The Sudanese government relies heavily on foreign investment to fund its military and the janjaweed militias." Read more >>>

Saturday, May 19, 2007

U.N Calls For Independent Inquiry Into Darfur Attacks

Richard Bowden

Geneva, Switzerland (AHN) - A U.N. report released today has called for an independent inquiry into alleged attacks in the crisis area of Darfur between January and March of this year.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said it is concerned that no attempt has been made by the Sudanese government to investigate the killings in which over 100 people were killed near the south Darfur state capital of Nyala.

High Commissioner Louise Arbour said in the report "the ongoing impunity for these crimes is of great concern and is a violation of Sudan's obligations," and "all necessary measures, including through disciplinary and dismissal procedures," should be brought to bear against the Sudanese armed forces and paramilitaries. Read more >>>>>

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ending Darfur's genocide

By Austin Bay
May 18, 2007


Despite four years of international posturing and kvetching, the Sudan national government's genocidal war in Darfur continues.
As bloodbaths go, Khartoum's Darfur script is as common a sub-Saharan African orchestrated crime as it is deadly.
Darfur is a war of displacement. Sudanese Air Force bombers and Khartoum-backed horse- and jeep-mounted militias start the process of displacement by attacking defenseless villages and turning their residents into refugees. Yes, they kill a few people with their bombs and small arms, but the big killers in Darfur are exposure, starvation and disease.
Displace people from their homes, and they die from exposure to the elements. Separate farmers from their farms and food stocks, and they begin to starve. When people starve, they weaken -- and disease strikes more easily. Corpses turn up along the roads and trails. Refugee camps in the region overflow with those fortunate enough to survive the death march. Then the militias and bandits attack and loot the refugee camps.
That's the evil plan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Clooney, Pitt and pals highlight Darfur genocide

Jeff Wilson the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- George Clooney, Brad Pitt and other stars of Ocean's Thirteen have agreed to use their lighthearted caper film to call attention to a more serious cause -- the genocide in the Sudan's Darfur region.

Clooney, Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle along with producer Jerry Weintraub are using events surrounding the movie's premiere next month to promote their Web site, notonourwatchproject.org., which is partnering with the International Rescue Committee to raise funds to aid hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the Darfur conflict. Read more >>>>>>>>

Take action with Darfur

By Times-Herald readers

I have been an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition.
Since 2003, the Sudanese government has been committing genocide against black African tribes in Darfur, the Western region in Sudan. Women are gang-raped, children are thrown under moving trucks and clubbed to death, babies are torn from their mothers' arms and killed in front of their eyes, and men are castrated and have their eyes gouged out.

Hello? Is anyone listening?

PetroChina, China's main oil company, has been buying mast quantities from Sudan, and return funding the genocide. China has voted against United Nations intervention. Where is Sen. Diane Feinstein now on this situation?

There is now an ongoing campaign to speak out against China's involvement in this genocide. Visit www.dreamfordarfur.org. Also, a number set up by the Genocide Intervention Fund - (800)-GENOCIDE - directs you to your local representatives, governor and the White House. Read more >>>>>>>>

Doing something about Darfur

By David Ertischek

West Roxbury - Twelve-year-old Margalit Shapiro-Katz can never be called a stereotypical child. A stereotypical child would not make a 2 1/2-page newsletter about how to stop the Darfur Genocide and hand it out to her teachers and peers at school.
Shapiro-Katz, of Roslindale, was also one of many local residents who attended “A Crisis of Conscience: An HBT Teach-In on Darfur” at Temple Hillel B’nai Torah in West Roxbury this past Sunday morning.

“If this was happening to other people, Americans would feel much different than they do,” said Shapiro-Katz, who doesn’t even recall why she chose to create her newsletter.

“I think [I got involved] because so many people are dying and not a lot of people care. I care about people, and I don’t want anyone to die because they are different,” she said.

On Sunday, Shapiro-Katz listened to Susannah Sirkin, the deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, present a multimedia presentation and share her firsthand observations from her travels to Sudan for 10 days in July of last year. Sirkin went with other health professionals who help Sudanese human rights organizations to provide treatment to those who have been tortured, and specifically sexually assaulted.

The Roslindale resident said, “Darfur is a whole other planet.”

“When you fly over, you see almost how impossible it is to live in this part of the world,” said Sirkin. “Many [places] have been destroyed by genocidal attacks, but you can’t understand how someone can live there anyways. There are no roads. You have to walk for dozens of miles to get to a school or a clinic. There are no trees, no water, just a desert. It’s a very unbelievable barren landscape.”

Sirkin added there are very few roads, terrible sanitation and that there was only one main road in the capital of Darfur.

“You can see how poor the infrastructure is; for decades this past of Sudan has been neglected by the federal government,” said Sirkin.

She also commented on the perception and reality of Darfur.

“The image you have is that it is a massive refugee camp, but professional go to work there. There is a hospital. Human rights activists can function there,” she said.

And what did residents of Darfur want her to know?
“Don’t forget us, basically save us from this terrible onslaught. They want a protection force there so they don’t continue getting killed, attacked and raped. They’re looking at the rest of the world to do that.” The full story >>>>>

Ending Darfur's Genocide

By Austin Bay

Despite four years of international posturing and kvetching, the Sudan national government's genocidal war in Darfur continues.

As bloodbaths go, Khartoum's Darfur script is as common a sub-Saharan African orchestrated crime as it is deadly.

Darfur is a war of displacement. Sudanese Air Force bombers and Khartoum-backed horse- and jeep-mounted militias start the process of displacement by attacking defenseless villages and turning their residents into refugees. Yes, they kill a few people with their bombs and small arms, but the big killers in Darfur are exposure, starvation and disease.

Displace people from their homes, and they die from exposure to the elements. Separate farmers from their farms and food stocks, and they begin to starve. When people starve, they weaken -- and disease strikes more easily. Corpses turn up along the roads and trails. Refugee camps in the region overflow with those fortunate enough to survive the death march. Then the militias and bandits attack and loot the refugee camps.

That's the evil plan. And up to now it's worked, despite the peace agreement of May 2006 that supposedly brought Darfur rebels a means of reaching a political accommodation with Khartoum. Read more >>>>>>

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

China and Russia supply weapons, munitions and other military equipment to Sudan


China and Russia supply weapons, munitions and other military equipment to Sudan

Tearfund appeals for funds as Darfur crisis deepens

Christian relief and development agency, Tearfund, is appealing for emergency funds as the conflict and desperate on going humanitarian crisis worsens in Darfur and Chad. It is estimated that there are currently over two million people displaced across Darfur due to the conflict, higher than the number displaced at the time of the previous 2004 appeal. A further 140,000 people are internally displaced in Chad. Some 240,000 refugees have fled from Darfur into Chad since the crisis began in 2003.

Tearfund relief workers are operating in some of the worst affected areas, alongside partner agencies in both Darfur and neighbouring Chad. As a result of recent factional rebel violence across the border some 25,000 Chadian refugees have entered Darfur. Tearfund is running water and sanitation programmes, fundamental to tackle the spread of disease, with supplementary feeding, nutrition and health education projects in the displacement camps in Darfur, as well as reaching communities across different Sudanese and Chadian ethnic groups. Read more >>>>

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recent attacks in Darfur demonstrate why UN protection force must be deployed

by Diana Duarte

Government of Sudan Bombards North Darfur; Africa Action Urges U.S. Action at the UN Security Council to Deploy UN Peacekeepers

Thursday, May 10, 2007 (Washington, DC) – In the wake of renewed government aerial bombardments in North Darfur, reported yesterday by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Africa Action today stressed that civilians in Darfur remain acutely vulnerable to violent attacks in this ongoing genocide. The organization further emphasized that the U.S. mission at the UN, during its current presidency of the Security Council, must act to ensure the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Darfur to protect non-combatants from such attacks.

Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “The international community, with the U.S. as a key member, keeps saying it will act to end the violence in Darfur. Recent attacks by the Sudanese government clearly illustrate that international action thus far has been insufficient. The U.S. must work now to advance Darfur on the UN Security Council agenda for this month and use this crucial opportunity to make the deployment of peacekeepers a reality.” Read more >>>>>

WMA slammed for not denouncing Darfur genocide

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

The Israel Medical Association, whose chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar is outgoing chairman of the World Medical Association (WMA), on Monday criticized the "umbrella organization" of national medical associations for failing to denounce genocide of 200,000 innocent Africans in Darfur.

It called on the WMA to put the issue on its agenda. It also made a special request to the World Health Assembly meeting this week in Geneva to include it in its agenda, but was refused. Read more >>>>

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Criminal silence on Darfur

By: Rafia Zakaria

The world’s moral anger is aroused by the clear-cut ethical dimensions of the conflict. There is, indeed, little confusion about who the good and the bad guys are

When the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 5, 2005, there were high hopes that it would put an end to the violence in western Sudan. Two years later, the death toll in Darfur has topped over 300,000 people while another 2.5 million have been displaced into neighbouring Chad because of the violence.

The perpetuation of the conflict in Darfur illustrates several realities about the sorry state of trans-national organisations like the United Nations and their ability to provide respite in conflicts where governments turn against their own people.

A recent report issued by Amnesty International exposes some of these manipulations. When the UN Security Council imposed the arms embargo on Darfur in 2004, it applied the embargo only to non-state actors. Despite the fact that there was ample evidence that it was the Sudanese government which was perpetuating these attacks on its people, the passed resolution continued to allow arms to be shipped to the government.

Since the imposition of the arms embargo the Sudanese government has imported US$24 million worth of arms and ammunition and US$57 million worth of aircraft equipment from the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore in 2005, it imported US$27 million worth of aircraft and helicopter equipment from the Russian Federation. Smaller quantities of small arms and other weapons were exported to Sudan from Belarus and Iran.

The Amnesty report further details how these weapons were put to use by the Sudanese government. According to the AI report backed by photographs, military helicopter gunships were used in attacks on civilians in Darfur by the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed militia. In November 2006, military helicopters bombed villagers from the air while Janjaweed attacked from the ground. Since January 2007, Chinese jets owned by the Sudanese government have been seen in areas around Darfur and western Sudan and also been used in attacks on areas purported to belong to the rebel militias. Read further >>>>>>

Experiencing the hell of Darfur

By: Ed Beavan.

“WELCOME to hell.” This was grim greeting which welcomed Brian Steidle (pictured) to Darfur three years ago.

As his helicopter touched down he was told there had just been an attack on innocent civilians by government forces. Little did the former US marine know how accurate a description of Darfur this would prove to be.
During this time the former marine largely enjoyed the experience as he patrolled the vast region learning about the culture and conflict and frequently receiving generous hospitality from the indigenous peoples. But when another aid worker showed him photos of the carnage that was unfolding in Darfur, Steidle’s adventurous spirit saw him put in for a transfer to eastern Sudan, even though the true nature of the situation was still hazy for the international community. “I had no idea what to expect when I accepted the mission to go to Darfur, there had been rumours but nobody really knew what was going on there,” he said. Read more >>>

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Steven Spielberg Releases Text of Letter to Chinese President, Hu Jintao, Condemning Darfur Genocide

LOS ANGELES, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Steven Spielberg has released the text of a private letter he had sent to the President of China, Hu Jintao, condemning the genocide in Darfur and asking the Chinese government to use its influence in the region to bring an end to the suffering there. Additionally, he is asking for a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese President within the next 30 days.

The full text of the original April 2nd letter is as follows:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City
People's Republic of China

Read the entire letter >>>>>>>>>>>

U.N. pressed to speed up Darfur actions

UNITED NATIONS
— Britain, France and the United States are pressing for faster progress to beef up the beleaguered African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur and promote a political settlement of the four-year conflict, Britain's U.N. ambassador said Friday.
Ambassadors from the three countries asked to see Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Friday to discuss Sudan amid concern about progress, Emyr Jones Parry said.
The three countries are concerned that the calendar for action keeps moving forward rather than having key decisions take place now, he said.

Jones Parry said "there are lots of problems" about getting 3,000 U.N. troops, police and civilian personnel along with six attack helicopters and other equipment into Darfur to strengthen the 7,000-strong AU force, "and some of those problems relate to decisions yet to be taken in Sudan." Read more >>>>

Friday, May 11, 2007

UN rights unit calls Darfur bombardments ‘indiscriminate and inappropriate’

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today described as “indiscriminate” a series of deadly aerial bombardments across the North Darfur region of Sudan and said there were many civilian casualties.

OHCHR said it has learned that the attacks – over which United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern on Wednesday – were carried out near El Fasher, North Darfur with helicopter gunships and Antonov aircraft between 19 and 29 April, killing and wounding civilians and destroying property, school buildings and livestock.

“The bombardments appeared to have been indiscriminate and disproportionate, failing to distinguish between military and civilian targets,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson Michele Montas said. “The disproportionate use of force constitutes violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” she added. Read more >>>>>>>

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Government of Sudan continues bombarding North Darfur

Africa Action Urges U.S. Action at the UN Security Council to Deploy UN Peacekeepers

– In the wake of renewed government aerial bombardments in North Darfur, reported yesterday by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Africa Action today stressed that civilians in Darfur remain acutely vulnerable to violent attacks in this ongoing genocide. The organization further emphasized that the U.S. mission at the UN, during its current presidency of the Security Council, must act to ensure the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Darfur to protect non-combatants from such attacks.

Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “The international community, with the U.S. as a key member, keeps saying it will act to end the violence in Darfur. Recent attacks by the Sudanese government clearly illustrate that international action thus far has been insufficient. The U.S. must work now to advance Darfur on the UN Security Council agenda for this month and use this crucial opportunity to make the deployment of peacekeepers a reality.” http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YZHG-733QQT?OpenDocument

A 'Plan B' with teeth for Darfur


By John Prendergast

IF THERE is a Guinness Book of World Records entry for most threats issued with no follow-up, the international response to Darfur is likely setting a new standard. The United States is the only government to call the atrocities in Darfur genocide and is uniquely positioned to lead an effective response. Yet the Bush administration's empty threats over the past three years have emboldened Khartoum to escalate its destruction and obstruction in Darfur.

Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts At the Holocaust Museum in Washington, President Bush recently unveiled "Plan B," the latest US threat but one that contains the seeds of a policy shift away from an incentive-based policy to one based on real pressures and punitive measures. But "Plan B" is not yet strong enough and must be buttressed in specific ways. If it is transformed into a real set of multilateral punitive measures with teeth, the administration has an opportunity to lead in bringing the horrors in Darfur to an end. Read more >>>>>>>

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Weapons of destruction in Darfur


An Mi-24 attack helicopter (reg. n° 928) at Nyala airport in Darfur, March 2007

Arms supplied to Sudan from China and Russia

Arms transfers to Sudan fuel serious human rights violations

An Mi-24 attack helicopter (reg. n° 928) at Nyala airport in Darfur, March 2007
© AI
Arms, ammunition and related equipment are still being transferred to Darfur in the west of Sudan for military operations. Extremely serious violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law are being committed by the Sudanese government, the government-backed Janjawid militias and armed opposition groups in these operations.

In a report published today, Amnesty International (AI) describes the arming process and its effects on the people of Darfur and neighbouring eastern Chad, many of whom have been forcibly displaced. It describes violations of the United Nations arms embargo on Darfur by parties to the conflict that occurred during January to March 2007.

Amongst other things, it shows how the Government of Sudan violates the UN arms embargo and disguises some of its military logistics operations in Darfur. It details what types of arms supplied to Sudan from China and Russia -- two Permanent Members of the Security Council -- have been used by the government of Sudan for violations of the Security Council’s own mandatory arms embargo.

States supplying weapons, munitions and other military equipment to Sudan and to other parties to the conflict know, or at least should know, that these arms are often used to commit serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur and now in eastern Chad. The fact that the UN Security Council has left the UN arms embargo on Darfur somewhat vaguely formulated and especially lacking a strong UN monitoring, verification and public reporting mechanism is allowing some states and persons to violate it with impunity. Read more >>>>

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The European Union Must Act in Darfur

For four years, violence and terror have ruled in Darfur. After many futile efforts, the EU must get tough with the perpetrators.

Darfur is a humanitarian catastrophe: more than 200,000 dead, thousands raped and tortured, and 2.6 million people displaced, owing to the Sudanese government’s war against its own people. Originally an anti-insurgency effort, the campaign quickly mutated into a killing and expulsion operation. Sudan’s government has been recruiting and paying the local “Janjaweed” militiamen, who have attacked hundreds of defenseless villages and towns, often in close co-ordination with the Sudanese air force. Read more >>>

Sunday, May 06, 2007

MY JOURNEY THROUGH DARfUR: A Guided Tour of Hell


By: Bernard-Henri Lévy

My ride is a windowless Toyota pickup without plates. It is nightfall in Bahay, the last town on the Chad border before Darfur. So as not to embarrass the humanitarian workers who are putting me up, the pickup stops 100 yards away, in front of the dusty shack that serves as the police station. The driver, Otman, is very young. Four armed men are sitting in the back, perched on bundles of bread, their long, colorless turbans wrapped around their heads. There is a fifth man, their commander--who speaks a few words of English. In the dark, he abruptly hands me his Thuraya satellite phone. At the other end of the line is Abdul Wahid Al Nour, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), with whom I have been in contact from Paris. His is one of the two rebel armies that rejected the Abuja peace accords in May 2006.

"Sorry for the delay," he says, his voice barely audible over the incessant din of the sandstorm that has been raging since morning. "Our telephones are tapped, so yesterday the corridor we were planning to use for you was cut off by a column of four thousand Janjaweed. We had to find another way, you understand?" Read the full story >>>

Darfur one year after "peace accords": worse than ever

Submitted by Bill Weinberg

Celebrations were held May 5 at the Gereida displaced persons camp in Darfur, to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the "Darfur Peace Agreement" (DPA). Significantly, the camp is controlled by the Minni Menawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the only rebel group to sign the DPA. The faction's leadership had much to celebrate. Menawi was made an adviser to Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and moved into a plush Khartoum residence next door to the British Embassy. At the time of the signing last year, diplomats were also celebrating. The UK's international development secretary Hilary Benn heralded the deal as a "very significant agreement which means that the process of bringing peace to Darfur can now begin." But instead, the security situation across Darfur has worsened and the conflict has broadened.

The initial rebellion by Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit tribes against Khartoum, and the brutal counter-insurgency by government-backed Janjaweed militia have morphed into something far more complicated. Some Janjaweed factions are now also in rebellion against the government and at war with each other, as they fight over land they helped to clear of Fur or Zaghawa. Read more >>>>

Comment: Silence, ignorance allowing Darfur atrocities

Jessica Lam

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."
— President Bush, in his second inaugural address.


Remember Rwanda? One million people dead. How many lives could have been saved if we, the Western world, had not turned our backs on them?

We were criticized for our lack of action, for taking part in these atrocities by not speaking out. Silence is compliance.

That was 1994, but we see history repeating itself today, in Darfur. People say history is a learning tool, but we have obviously not learned much.

We give Africa our crumbs, saying it is the most we can do, and expect everyone to be happy with it. And then, several years later, we lament the loss of lives and vow never to repeat our mistakes. But those are empty promises.

It is estimated that 400,000 people have died since the Darfur conflict started in 2003. As many as 2.5 million people have been displaced and forced to refugee camps that are overcrowded and prone to attack from the Janjaweed, the Arab militia that targets ethnic groups. The Janjaweed is supported by the Sudanese government, and any international intervention is being resisted. Read more >>>

Outcry over ongoing slaughter in Darfur - Brooklynites rally; call for divestment & aid

Whether you call them war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, the killing in Darfur, Sudan has got to stop.

That’s the clear message Brooklyn Parents for Peace and other activists gathered at the Prospect Park Tennis House last weekend sent as part of a nationwide campaign to stop the carnage in Africa called Global Days for Darfur.

In 2003, armed forces of the Sudanese government and the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed attacked Motasim Adam’s village in western Darfur, killing and raping many of its inhabitants.

“They went to the high school campus for girls and raped 213 students,” Adam said. “They burned all the shops, looted the homes, burned the village, destroyed crops and livestock and personal assets of the people.” Read more >>>

Thursday, May 03, 2007

US senators petition Chinese president over Darfur

Nearly the entire US Senate has signed a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao asking him to step up pressure on the government of Sudan to end the bloodshed in Darfur.

In an indication of the widespread concern in Congress over the unending violence in Sudan's troubled west, the letter, signed by 96 of the 100 senators, called on Hu to prod Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to halt military operations throughout Darfur, withdraw troops from the area and follow through on Khartoum's agreement to accept a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping force.

These steps were critical in enforcing a ceasefire, protecting civilians, ensuring access to humanitarian aid and beginning reconstruction and reconciliation in Darfur, the senators said.

"We must now work together as an international community; there is no time left to wait," the senators told Hu.

"We therefore appeal to you today to use your influence in words and in deeds to protect civilians," they said.

The Darfur conflict has caused 200,000 deaths and led to two million people being displaced, according to the United Nations. Read more >>>

Activists for Darfur press companies to leave Sudan

By Louise Watt
LONDON — For groups hoping to stop the violence in Darfur with economic pressure, Rolls-Royce's announcement that it was withdrawing from Sudan was a milestone.
Rolls-Royce PLC was high on a hit list drawn up by activists who believe that foreign money is fueling a crisis that has killed more than 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes. The company, which supplies diesel engines to the oil and gas industry in Sudan, announced last month that it was starting a gradual pullout.
Armed with the kind of tactics that helped end apartheid in South Africa a generation ago, the Sudan-divestment campaigners believe they will succeed where politicians have failed. It is part of a growing movement to bring citizen pressure to bear. More here >>>

Darfur needs our help

KEVIN Rudd, Opposition Leader and, as I hope and believe, our next prime minister, made an important speech in New York recently.
He said: "The situation in Darfur is a humanitarian tragedy. We need action. On the question of Australian contribution to that action, I'd like to look at whatever proposals came forward from the UN and to see whether we've got the capacity to assist in some way or another."
That may sound like a fairly cautious statement and it is, because Rudd won't make promises he can't keep. But he has nevertheless recognised that the situation in Darfur needs action.
An international force must be assembled and put on the ground in western Sudan, between the Sudanese regime and its surrogates on the one hand and the people of Darfur on the other. Read more >>>

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

ICC judges issue arrest warrants for Darfur suspects

AMSTERDAM, May 2 (Reuters) -
Judges at the International Criminal Court have issued arrest warrants for two suspects accused of war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region, the ICC said on Wednesday.

Judges issued warrants for Ahmed Haroun, former state minister of interior during the height of the conflict and militia commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb. Read more >>>

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"We Want 1706!" Displaced Voices in Darfur

"We Want 1706!" Displaced Voices in Darfur
U.S. Holds Presidency of Security Council this Month

lick here to Take Action Now

Forget Not Darfur

On Sunday (the estimated fourth anniversary of the commencement of the Darfur crisis), thousands of people gathered in several capitals around the world to militate against the deepening humanitarian crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. The global day of action against the conflict in Darfur was organized by a coalition of rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to remind people that time is running out to save the people of that troubled land. Demonstrators in London, Berlin, Rome, Brussels and Stockholm appeared with hourglasses filled with fake blood to symbolize the blood flowing in the Darfur.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people (Sudan's government says 9,000) have lost their lives and more than 2.5 million others have been displaced since the conflict began. Sunday's campaign brought out sympathizers from all walks of life. Celebrities like Elton John, Mick Jagger, George Clooney, Bob Geldof and Mia Farrow issued a supportive statement reminding the international community of its responsibilities. "We have come together to say that the time is up. The international community must end its stalling and take decisive action." Read more >>>

Columnist tells grim story of Darfur

By Andrea Damewood
The Register-Guard

The man had been shot in his neck and jaw, left for dead in a pile of bodies that included his parents.

His brother, returning the next day to bury his family, found the man still alive and carried him 49 days on his back to the nearest refuge.

The men's harrowing story was among the that first Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof heard when he arrived to report on the genocide in Darfur, western Sudan.

He recounted those tales and displayed stark images to an overflowing crowd of about 750 at the University of Oregon on Monday night, marking the end of the university's three-day conference, "Witnessing Genocide: Representation and Responsibility." Read more >>>

How to Stop Genocide in Darfur

Press Release: Africa Action

Africa Action Talking Points on How to Stop Genocide in Darfur, Sudan
Last Updated April 2007

Nothing short of an international intervention will stop the genocide in Darfur. Africa Action calls on the U.S. to do everything necessary to secure the deployment of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1706, to stop the genocide and protect civilians and humanitarian efforts in Darfur.

What is Genocide?

The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Article II describes the two elements that constitute the crime of genocide:

(i) The mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such", and

(ii) The physical element, which includes five types of violence described in sections [a] though [e] as follows: [a] Killing members of the group; [b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; [c] Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; [d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [e] Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

What is Happening in Darfur is Genocide. Read more >>>