Saturday, June 30, 2007

Keep attention on crisis in Darfur

Please continue to help the public express concern for the crisis in Darfur. With your publication continuing to bring these issues to light you can help contribute to its end.

Though news reports of Sudan’s latest agreement to allow a United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force into Darfur seem like a positive development, there is considerable reason to be skeptical.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has failed to live up to his past commitments to the international community, including a similar agreement in 2006.

Any regime that would bomb its own villages and kill as many as 400,000 of its own people does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Sudan’s air force continues to bomb villages, and the government-sponsored Janjaweed militia units have not relented in their horrific attacks. Read more >>>>>

Thursday, June 28, 2007

U.N. concerned as violence escalates in Darfur

By Simon Apiku
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Murder, rape and abductions are on the rise in West Darfur state, the United Nations said on Wednesday, noting with concern that increased violence in the lawless Sudanese region had driven more people into camps.

U.N. spokeswoman Radhia Achouri detailed reports of tribal killings, and militia and aerial attacks on villages.

"Of particular concern is the recent upsurge in car-jacking, killings, abductions and rape in the area of Zalingei ( West Darfur State)," she told reporters in Khartoum.

International experts estimate 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven into miserable camps during more than four years of violence in the region bordering Chad. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Diplomat Urged Stronger Action on Darfur

By The Associated Press

As a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Ronald Capps got a close-up view of the destruction taking place in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region and worried that Washington wasn't doing enough to stop what it had itself described as ``genocide.''

A week before several of Darfur's rebel groups and the Sudanese government signed a tenuous peace deal in May 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria, Capps wrote a cable to the State Department urging more forceful U.S. action, including leading an international military force to replace African Union peacekeepers to halt the bloodshed.

Capps would not discuss the April 28, 2006, cable when asked Wednesday, but The Associated Press independently verified the accuracy of excerpts that first appeared on a Web site devoted to the crisis in Darfur.

Excerpts follow:
``Stopping the violence in Darfur will require a military force with first-world leadership, first-world assets, and first-world experience. US and coalition experience in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq is relevant here. Putting together such a coalition and getting it into place to do its work will require that the United States government and our military take a lead role, at least initially. Our NATO and other first-world military partners will not be keen to step forward without our participation, and many of the traditional UN troop contributing countries lack the military capability to successfully complete the mission.'' Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Darfur Genocide Graphically Depicted in Documentary

Darfur Genocide Graphically Depicted in Documentary
Film shows continuing deterioration of security situation

By Lea Terhune

Washington – As world leaders work for a resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, a new film chronicling the depredations of the jingaweit Arab militia gives graphic evidence of atrocities committed there. The Devil Came on Horseback played to a sold-out house at the American Film Institute’s Silverdocs Festival, with most of the audience staying for a panel discussion afterward.

The documentary, by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, focuses on the experiences of retired U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle, who served as an unarmed military observer for the African Union in Darfur. There he monitored a conflict that began in 2003 when rebel groups attacked Sudanese government facilities, claiming neglect and oppression of African ethnic groups.

By the time he arrived in 2004, the conflict had escalated into “a full-scale government-sponsored military operation that, with the support of Arab militias known as the jingaweit was aimed at annihilating the African tribes in the region,” according to Steidle, who narrates the film. Sudan denies supporting the jingaweit.

To date, more than 200,000 people are thought to have died in the Darfur conflict, and 2 million to 3 million have been displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sudan: Peacekeeping for Protection and Peace in Darfur - Requirements for the Success of the UN/AU Hybrid Mission

By:Gayle Smith

Headlines this month are heralding the news that the Sudanese government has agreed –- again -– to the deployment of a U.N./A.U. hybrid peacekeeping mission for Darfur. However, the Khartoum regime's agreement is proving to be riddled with conditions and footnotes, and within days of agreeing to the mission, President Omer al-Bashir has publicly recanted his acceptance before audiences in Khartoum.

Sadly, this is nothing new. The Khartoum regime's record of implementing agreements is poor at best, and the international community has done little to challenge Khartoum's inaction.

This time, Khartoum's wavering agreement can be translated into good news for the people of Darfur -- if and only if the international community moves swiftly to: protect civilians in Darfur and the neighboring countries affected by the crisis; promote a serious peace process; and punish the perpetrators and those that would obstruct civilian protection or the peace. This strategy briefing will focus primarily on immediate protection requirements. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sanctions still on the table over Darfur

PARIS (Jun 26, 2007)

The world must be ready to impose sanctions on Sudan if it reneges on its pledge to let more peacekeeping forces into ravaged Darfur, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.

The Sudanese government has agreed to a larger force aimed at stopping four years of killing. But Rice sounded a note of caution amid bland or optimistic assessments by other countries.

"Sudan has a history of agreeing to things and then trying to condition or change them or to backtrack and say, 'Well no, we didn't really agree to that,"' Rice said at a conference on Darfur organized by the new conservative-led French government. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur tests new French resolve

By Jonah Fisher

After appearing to care little about Darfur for the last four years - five weeks of the Sarkozy presidency have thrust France into the centre of efforts to resolve the conflict.
"Silence kills," Nicholas Sarkozy told a day long conference in Paris. "We want to mobilise the international community to say that's enough."

More than two million people have been displaced from their homes since the conflict began - and it's thought that at least 200,000 people have been killed. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, June 25, 2007

World powers pledge to step up Darfur efforts

France, the United States, China and some 15 other nations agreed on Monday to redouble efforts to end bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region by supporting a new peace force and negotiations on a settlement.

"The international community simply cannot continue to sit by," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the end of the one-day conference in the French capital aimed at shoring up peace moves in Darfur.
"We really must redouble our efforts," she said.
The conference came after Sudan earlier this month bowed to months of pressure and agreed to a new peace force under the United Nations and the African Union.

Rice warned that the major powers would be vigilant to ensure that President Omar el-Beshir makes good on the pledge to allow the deployment of the 20,000-strong hybrid force.

"Those who have been around this crisis for a while are going to work very hard to safeguard against backtracking. We have had circumstances in which we have had agreements before and those agreements have not gone forward," she said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also signalled that the patience of the international community over Darfur was wearing thin.

"The international community has been waiting for too long and the people of Darfur suffering for too long," said the UN chief. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

France hosts meeting to provide Darfur help

France is hosting a meeting of senior officials from more than a dozen countries aimed at providing funds and other support for international efforts to stabilize Sudan's violent Darfur region.

Sudan agreed earlier this month to a combined United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force of more than 20,000 troops and police, but many diplomats doubt it will keep its word.

The aim of the force is to stop the violence in Darfur, where international experts estimate 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been expelled from their homes in more than four years of strife. Sudan says 9000 people have died.

Delegations from the world's top aid donors, members of the Group of Eight industrialized nations and powerful Sudan ally China are due to discuss the situation in the western province before moving on to 'international support for the reconstruction of Darfur', according to the meeting's agenda.

"It is not a peacemaking meeting. It is, on the contrary, a meeting to support the international efforts that have been deployed," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters at a news conference on Sunday. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

World failing Darfur, says Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the world has failed the people of Darfur, ahead of a Paris summit on the troubled Sudanese region.
"I will be very frank. I do not think that the international community has really lived up to its responsibilities here," Ms Rice said.

Some 200,000 people have died and 2.4m fled the violence in Darfur since 2003.

The US, France, China and Egypt will attend the meeting, but not Sudan nor representatives from rebel factions.

Much of the violence has been linked to clashes between government-sponsored Janjaweed militias and Darfur's rebel groups.

'Accept it'

Having described the killing in Darfur as genocide, the Bush administration wants to be seen taking a lead in solving the crisis in Monday's summit, says the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sudan must stop trying to limit Darfur force: Rice

By Arshad Mohammed

PARIS - Sudan must stop trying to "scale back" a hybrid international force for Darfur, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said as she flew to Paris for talks on the humanitarian crisis in the western Sudanese region.

The aim of the force is to stop the violence in Darfur, where international experts estimate 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been expelled from their homes in more than four years of strife. Sudan says 9,000 people have died.

Sudan on June 12 agreed to a combined United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force of more than 20,000 troops and police but many diplomats doubt Khartoum will keep its word. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oil is driving the disaster in Darfur

By W F Deedes

How concerned we were about apartheid in South Africa: how determined to compel its practitioners to change their ways. We eventually defeated them by means of sanctions, which were only partially successful, and disinvestments. Would we have done it if South Africa had owned rich oil resources?

I raise the question because what has been happening in Darfur, and still goes on, is crueller than apartheid. Yet the government of Sudan, which carries heavy responsibility for the ethnic cleansing, for the deaths and displacement of thousands and for unimaginable human misery, can shrug its shoulders at the world's protests over its support for the Janjaweed militia that inflicts much of the bloodshed.

Like civil war in Sudan itself, the persecution in Darfur has become more complex as time goes by; but behind both lies the implacable determination of Khartoum to bring the whole country to its own way of thinking. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Working jointly to save Darfur

By Desmond Tutu and Jody Williams, The Christian Science Monitor

Earlier this month, we participated in a discussion on Darfur in the European Parliament, having been invited to offer suggestions of concrete actions that the European Council and European Union could take to alleviate the misery endured by the people of Darfur.

We very much appreciated the passionate concern expressed in the room and believe that that passion can and must result in stronger action to end the conflict.

We hope the discussion and thoughtful suggestions by many there will influence the EU to take decisive action to protect Darfurians and bring the government in Khartoum back to the negotiating table.

Along with many parliamentarians, we are dismayed that despite much rhetorical concern in many world capitals, little has been done to end the conflict, now in its fifth year.

Hundreds of thousands are dead, hundreds of thousands are in refugee camps in Chad and millions are displaced inside Darfur. Rape, endured by countless thousands of women, continues to be used as a weapon of war. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oxfam pulls out of largest Darfur refugee camp, citing attacks on aid workers

Submitted by Bill Weinberg

International aid agency Oxfam has announced it is pulling out of Gereida, the largest camp in Darfur, where more than 130,000 have sought refuge. The agency cited inaction by local authorities from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which controls the region, in addressing security convers and violence against aid workers. Oxfam urged the international community to do more to pressure all parties to the Darfur conflict to end attacks on civilians and aid workers.

Caroline Nursey, Oxfam's Sudan program manager, said in a statement: "The humanitarian need in Gereida remains enormous, and we have been extremely keen to return. It is with great regret that our security concerns have not been addressed, leaving us with no choice but to relocate our programs elsewhere. Since the attack, we have repeatedly stressed our desire to return to the town. But the local authorities have not lived up to their responsibility to ensure our staff can work safely. Despite our repeated requests, none of the perpetrators have been held to account, none of the assets stolen in the attack have been returned, and we have not received credible assurances that similar attacks would not take place if we did return." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The UN's bloody failure

The failures of the UN secretariat in responding to the Darfur catastrophe are among the many signs that the international body remains incapable of responding to crises that entail confronting sovereign nations engaged in genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

To be sure there was much unctuous talk by the former secretary general, Kofi Annan, about the "responsibility to protect" civilians endangered in precisely the ways that have long been so evident in Darfur and eastern Chad. But in the end, Annan left office with a savage genocide by attrition continuing, with no end in sight, almost four years after large scale conflict began in February 2003.

Humanitarians are still being harassed, impeded and assaulted; the number of conflict-affected civilians has grown to 4.7 million, according to the latest UN figures; and hundreds of thousands have died, with the potential for cataclysmic human destruction looming ever closer. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

UN rights council extends Darfur mission by six months

(AFP) - The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday decided to extend the work of its experts present in the strife-torn Sudanese western region of Darfur for a further six months.

The decision was adopted by consensus and under its terms the experts will submit an update to the council in September, and a final report to the following session.

In a report to the council last week, the seven experts highlighted "the seriousness of ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur as well as the lack of accountability of perpetrators of such crimes."

They urged the council to adopt more than 30 detailed "recommendations" or targets that Sudan should meet -- including clear orders to stop attacks on civilians, disarming militia and full cooperation with the International Criminal Court -- in the short term (three months) and the mid term. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Funding genocide

Divesting in South Africa helped end apartheid. Now it can work on the Sudanese government to end its backing of ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

Could you be indirectly financing ethnic cleansing in Darfur? It's a sobering thought. It's also a distinct possibility.

Many companies are investing on our behalf in Sudan's booming oil sector, which yielded revenues of US$4.5bn for the Sudanese government in 2006, up from a mere US$61m in 1999.

Those revenues have helped Khartoum triple military expenditure and fund proxy Arab militias in Darfur, where, since 2003, 2.5 million Africans have been driven from their homes and up to 400,000 murdered in a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing. Sudan's minister for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Harun, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in recruiting, arming and paying the militias.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently told European leaders - and ......Read more >>>>>

ANALYSIS-Sudan a failed state? Depends where you live

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM, June 19 (Reuters) - With eight-lane highways adorned by huge television screens advertising Sudanese companies, Khartoum does not appear to fit the image of capital of the world's most failed state.

But an index published by U.S.-based Foreign Policy magazine on Monday placed Sudan at the top of just such a list, ahead of even Iraq and Somalia.

Arriving in Khartoum's pristine, refurbished airport terminal, visitors are greeted by a huge glass Toyota showroom with the newest model vehicles.

Testament to Sudan's new oil wealth, pumping more than 500,000 barrels per day, high-speed wireless is available, mobile networks compete for new customers. And cafes serving French pastries have sprung up throughout Khartoum, one of the safest capitals in Africa.

But analysts attribute that to the strength of the security apparatus in Khartoum, the base of the government, and the city's wealth to its concentration of international business.

Outside Khartoum is a different story. There, the Foreign Policy index begins to make more sense. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur's deadly cost

Daniel Flitton

THE conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region is ruinous and bloody. An estimated 200,000 people are dead. Two million more are said to be scattered from their homes. Allegations of "genocide" again haunt the international community. The human urge for the outside world to respond to this crisis is pressing.

But stop for a moment to ask a difficult question: what should the response be?

Send in troops is the apparent answer. Darfur is a violent place. Gun-wielding thugs are robbing food convoys, burning villages, raping women. Surely soldiers are best equipped to deal with fighting, not vulnerable aid workers. Extra troops, working alongside the several thousand African peacekeepers already in place, should help to quell the violence.

This call for military intervention has been taken up by human rights activists and Hollywood celebrities alike. The word "Darfur" may describe a geographic region, but it has also become a rallying cry against general Western indifference to Africa's suffering.

Sending in more troops was exactly the solution worked out last weekend. After

months of hard negotiations — while the torment in Darfur kept on — the Government in Sudan grudgingly accepted a joint United Nations-African Union plan to deploy 23,000 peacekeepers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, June 18, 2007

ICC Suspect Dealing With Darfur Crisis

Humanitarian affairs minister alleged to have supplied and armed tens of thousands of Janjaweed militiamen.

By Katy Glassborow in The Hague (AR No. 117, 15-June-07)

At a United Nations Security Council, UNSC, briefing last week Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, expressed concern that the minister in charge of Darfur’s humanitarian crisis is indicted at the court for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ahmad Harun - who now deals with Darfur's four million civilians reliant on aid, as well as two million forced from their homes into camps - was formerly Sudan's minister of state for the interior.

An ICC arrest warrant was issued against him in April 2007 for allegedly coordinating murders, rapes, torture, forced displacement and unlawful imprisonment of innocent civilians in Darfur.

"Presiding over this dire situation is the same individual sought by the court, now minister of state for humanitarian affairs, Ahmad Harun," Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UNSC on June 7. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Khartoum rejects Paris’ offer on crisis talks

Upon being invited on June 11 by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to a meeting in Paris later this month on the crisis in embattled Darfur, Sudan’s Khartoum was quick to reject the offer, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported. The conference, announced as the French Initiative by French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this month, is scheduled for the end of this month and is expected to include foreign ministers from Egypt, China - currently Sudan's primary ally - and the United States, one of the fiercest critics of Sudan's regime.
The members are set to discuss a political solution to the conflict.
"We were talking about the situation here in Sudan and mainly in Darfur ... and Sarkozy's initiative to organise a meeting on June 25 in Paris to talk about the situation," Kouchner was quoted as telling reporters on June 11 after meeting with Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol. Akol, speaking afterwards, said there are "a number of reasons" that he will not attend the conference, saying the timing was not right. He did not elaborate. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bush: 'Enough is enough' in Darfur

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, June 7: U.S. President George Bush said Thursday that he's frustrated the international community hasn't done more to stop the violence in Darfur.

"Enough is enough in Darfur," Bush said following a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the side of the Group of Eight summit in Germany.

"I'm frustrated, but the international organizations can't move quickly enough. I don't know how long it's going to take for people to hear the call to save lives," Bush said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

U.N. council members to press for Darfur arrests

By Evelyn Leopold

(Reuters) - U.N. Security Council members intend to press Sudan to arrest two suspects accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, Belgium's U.N. ambassador said on Thursday..

The ICC issued arrest warrants in February for Ahmad Harun, a former state minister of interior, and Ali Kushayb, a militia leader, charged with mass executions, rapes and forcible evictions of thousands of people.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who addressed the Security Council, said global pressure was needed to make Khartoum turn over the two men. The Security Council asked the ICC in 2005 to investigate atrocities in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

The crisis in Darfur won't go away, and Eric Reeves can't stay quiet

By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff

NORTHAMPTON -- "Steven Spielberg lives in a different time frame than we do," says Eric Reeves , referring to Reeves's allies in the so-called Genocide Olympics campaign. "We live on Darfur time."

It is a warm spring afternoon in this college town where Reeves lives and teaches -- his Shakespeare course at Smith College ended only a few days before -- and the contrast between setting and subject could not be starker. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

France to host Darfur meeting on June 25

By Crispian Balmer

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany (Reuters) - Foreign ministers from key countries will discuss Sudan's violent Darfur region in France later this month in a fresh initiative to resolve the crisis, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Group of Eight meeting in Germany, Sarkozy said major power leaders wanted to move quickly to end the conflict that has created a humanitarian crisis.

"Everyone agreed that we have to act because it is an absolute scandal," he told reporters. "Everyone agreed on the need for a political solution and to push the Sudanese leaders to accept that." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tell me lies (The EU and Darfur)

Atrocities suffered by the people of Darfur

The Devil Came on Horseback is a documentary, reported by a former U.S. Marine captain, on the atrocities suffered by the people of Darfur, in Sudan.

More >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

U.N. says many Darfur camps full as thousands flee

(Reuters) - Many camps for those who have fled violence in Darfur are full as thousands more civilians are driven from their homes in the western Sudanese region, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

U.N. spokesman George Somerwill also told reporters that 67 vehicles belonging to the world's largest aid operation in Darfur had been hijacked or attacked so far this year and voiced concern at the increasingly violent nature of those attacks.

"Nearly 140,000 people have been identified as newly displaced since the beginning of the year, with at least 10,000 on the move in May," he told a news conference in Khartoum. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Agencies Appeal for Support Amid Child Malnutrition Crisis in Darfur, Chad

LONDON – Some of the United Kingdom’s leading aid agencies have warned of the "alarmingly high" levels of malnutrition in children living in parts of Darfur and Chad, which are plagued by chronic food shortages. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Nobel winners urge EU to impose sanctions on Sudan

- Two Nobel peace prize winners urged the European Union Tuesday to impose sanctions on Sudan for blocking UN moves to send a peacekeeping force to the strife-torn province of Darfur.

"The EU should be very active in trying to isolate Sudan economically, politically," said Jody Williams of the International Campaign To Ban Landmines, which won the prize in 1997.

Speaking to members of the European Parliament, she urged the EU to act without waiting for a decision by the United Nations Security Council on tougher sanctions.

"I don't think the EU should wait for an illusive consensus in the Security Council," she said. "Take your own steps, don't wait for the rest of the world."

China, Sudan's leading oil customer and a top arms supplier, has been accused of failing to use its clout as a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council to force Khartoum to end the bloodletting in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

South Africa's Tutu urges tough action against Khartoum over Darfur

World leaders must follow the United States move to impose fresh sanctions against Sudan for its refusal to allow a major United Nations-led peacekeeping force into war-torn Darfur, South African Nobel laureate and archbishop Desmond Tutu said Tuesday.Adressing leading European lawmakers, Tutu said he endorsed "wholeheartedly the imposition of targeted sanctions on Khartoum. "

The international community must set the Sudanese government a tough deadline to accept UN peacekeepers, disarm militia forces and allow humanitarian aid to Darfur, the former Anglican archbishop and anti-apartheid struggle veteran said.

He also said that China, the biggest buyer of Sudanese oil, must be pressed to raise its voice against the Sudanese government.

Echoing Tutu's views, key members of the European Parliament called for a boycott of the 2008 summer Olympics Games in China if Beijing did not stop economic and political support for Khartoum. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, June 04, 2007

Khartoum deserves no respect

By:Joel Brinkley

As the carnage in the Darfur region of Sudan grinds on for a fifth year, President Bush is imposing new diplomatic penalties on the government in Khartoum on top of similar, ineffective sanctions that have been in place for 10 years. Normally, from this president, diplomatic restraint would be welcome -- but not this time.

Since early 2003, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has played Western leaders for fools. He has worked this into a high art. When, now and then, the international pressure builds to a critical point, Bashir throws out a bone. That's what happened when Ban Ki-Moon, the new U.N. secretary-general, came to Khartoum in April.

Bashir told Ban that he would permit the United Nations to dispatch 3,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops to Darfur -- a fraction of the number the United Nations had demanded. Immediately Ban put out a press release touting his triumph. But then, the next day, a U.N. diplomat leaked a report that said the Sudanese government was continuing to arm the militias in Darfur that are responsible for the slaughter. And so it has gone since the Darfur conflict began. In February 2003, Darfur rebels attacked government facilities, accusing the leaders in Khartoum of ignoring their region. The government struck back with a fury, enlisting local militias to massacre civilians and destroy entire villages. Since then, more than 200,000 people have died, and another 2.5 million have been driven from their homes. Read more >>>>

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Denying Genocide in Darfur -- and Americans Their Coca-Cola

By Dana Milbank

The Iraq war gave us Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister who, while American troops patrolled nearby streets, held a defiant news conference to proclaim that there were no U.S. forces in the city.

Baghdad Bob, whose real name is Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, earned a place among the ranks of colorful propagandists such as Hanoi Hannah and Tokyo Rose. Now, the genocidal Sudanese government has an entry in this category. Let's call him Khartoum Karl.

Karl -- a.k.a. John Ukec Lueth Ukec, the Sudanese ambassador to Washington -- held a news conference at the National Press Club yesterday to respond to President Bush's new sanctions against his regime. In his hour-long presentation, he described a situation in his land that bore no relation to reality.

Genocide in the Darfur region? "The United States is the only country saying that what is happening in Darfur is a genocide," Ukec shouted, gesticulating wildly and perspiring from his bald crown. "I think this is a pretext."

Ah. So what about the more than 400,000 dead? "See how many people are dying in Darfur: None," he said.

And the 2 million displaced? "I am not a statistician." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

US sanctions re Darfur genocide

-PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, as the Americans have done since Colin Powell first did so, has again characterised the situation in Darfur for what it is: genocide. And Mr. Bush is right to step up United States sanctions against Sudan.

Now, it is time for others to stop the dithering and to join Washington in turning the screws on Khartoum. That means, more specifically, the Chinese.

For four years the government of President Omar al-Bashir has sponsored mainly Arab militias in their murderous fight against the mostly black population of Darfur as part of Khartoum's effort to quell what started as a relatively small and ineffective rebellion. In the process, more than 200,000 have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced, forced to flee their homes.

Not only has Sudan shown no commitment to end the genocide, it has also consistently frustrated attempts to deploy a 22,000-member United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force to bolster the handful of AU peacekeepers already in Darfur. This force is necessary to guarantee the safety of the people of Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Darfur Genocide: A Witness Account And How You Can Help

New film 'Devil Came on Horseback' documents atrocities photographer Brian Steidle saw.

For six months, photographer photographer Brian Steidle — a former Marine — bore witness to one of the world's worst tragedies — the ongoing genocide conducted by the Sudanese government against its own people, a slaughter of the young and the old and the innocent, a mass execution of some half-million people in the Darfur region. He watched. He learned. He took pictures.

The subject of a new film on his experience, "The Devil Came on Horseback," Brian returned to the United States with a message of sadness, yes, but also one of hope.

He recently sat down with MTV News to give us a brief history of the conflict, discuss some of the atrocities he witnessed and explain how we can help to make a difference.

On the basics:

"Darfur is a western region within the country of Sudan, Sudan being the largest country in Africa, south of Egypt.

"Right now in Darfur there's an ongoing genocide. Within the country there are 450,000 to 500,000 people who have been killed; 2.5 to 3 million have been displaced from their homes out of a population of around 7 million." Read the full story >>>>>

Dispute on who is boss delays new Darfur force

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 (Reuters) - A dispute over who is to command the proposed 23,000-strong international peacekeeping force for Darfur is holding up any deployment in the violence-torn Sudanese region, U.N. officials said on Friday.

Despite pressure for Sudan to accept the United Nations-African Union "hybrid" operation, a key African Union body, the Peace and Security Committee, has not approved the 40 pages of plans sent to it by the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon played down the differences but some Security Council diplomats and U.N. officials said they were serious but solvable.

"It was unfortunate that the African Union has come back with some changes after the Security Council has adopted and issued a presidential statement," Ban told reporters. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>