Sunday, September 30, 2007

Before Rockets training camp, a refugee camp

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

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

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

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

The gloom over Darfur

By: Joel Brinkley

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Darfur: South Africa supports a killer regime

South Africa and Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter: Join Darfur Torch Relay

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

U.N. Must Fight in Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

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

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

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

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

Darfur: Sudanese government is supplying weaponry to tribes

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM demands action over Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

Please, demand an end to genocide in Darfur

Cheyenne Owens

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Verhagen hekelt benoeming Soedanese oorlogsmisdadiger

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

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

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

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

Justice urged as topic for Darfur talks

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

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

Darfur Remains Adrift: A Skeptical Assessment of Resolution 1769

By: Eric Reeves

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Curse of the Janjaweed

By: Ann McFerran

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

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

Echoes of genocide in Darfur, eastern Chad


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

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

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

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

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

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

More nations need to help ease slaughter in Darfur

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

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

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

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

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

'Genocide Olympics'

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

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

Saturday, September 22, 2007

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

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

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

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

Darfur genocide as seen through one man's eyes

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

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

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

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

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

For Darfur, Accountability Before Peace

Accountability for perpetrators and reparations for victims in Sudan's Darfur region are critical components missing from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's proposed solutions to the crisis ["What I Saw in Darfur; Untangling the Knots of a Complex Crisis," op-ed, Sept. 14].

While atrocities have been committed in the context of scarce resources, including water, these are certainly not the primary cause of the genocidal campaign waged by the Khartoum regime, which Mr. Ban failed to mention. Raed more >>>>>>>

ICC prosecutor urges arrest of Sudan war crimes suspects

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] is pushing world leaders to place the prosecution of war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan on top of the agenda [press release] at a UN meeting on Darfur taking place Friday. In a press briefing before the meeting, Moreno-Ocampo said that peace in Sudan is impossible if alleged war criminals remain free, including Sudanese Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Muhammad Harun [Trial Watch profile], who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Last month, Moreno-Ocampo criticized Sudan [JURIST report] for allowing Harun to remain the humanitarian minister and failing to arrest Harun after international authorities issued an arrest warrant [arrest warrant, PDF] earlier this year. Sudanese Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad has said that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir refuses to surrender any Sudanese citizens for prosecution in foreign courts, claiming that Sudan must prosecute any criminals if necessary. Moreno-Ocampo has previously threatened to report [JURIST report] Sudan's failure to arrest war crimes suspects to the UN Security Council [official website]. Raed more >>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Globe for Darfur IV: Please sign the petition

Please sign in the following link to demand that the government of Sudan and it's jajaweed militias halt attacks against civilians and humanitarian agencies.

Darfur: Civilians Under Attack in Scramble for Darfur

As the United Nations and African Union prepare to deploy the world's largest-ever peacekeeping mission to Darfur, Sudanese government forces, allied "Janjaweed" militia, rebels and former rebels have free rein to attack civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The situation in Darfur has evolved from an armed conflict between rebels and the government into a violent scramble for power and resources involving government forces, Janjaweed militia, rebels and former rebels, and bandits. But these complexities should not deflect attention from Khartoum's responsibility for indiscriminate aerial and ground attacks, complicity in Janjaweed attacks against civilians, failure to hold rights abusers accountable, and its unwillingness to establish a policing force that can protect civilians.

"The new peacekeeping mission in Darfur will need the resources and political support to protect civilians," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Targeted sanctions should be imposed on Sudan if it obstructs peacekeepers and allows attacks on civilians." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

ICC prosecutor presses for arrest of Darfur war crimes suspects

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The International Criminal Court's prosecutor on Thursday urged the world community to back efforts to arrest two Sudanese officials wanted for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo made the remarks on the eve of a high-level meeting here that will bring together key players in a joint UN-African Union drive to end more than four years of bloodshed in Darfur.

"Justice in Darfur must be on the agenda (of that meeting)," he told reporters here. "The international community has to be consistent in its support of the law".

He said Friday's meeting must be an opportunity to remind Sudan's government of "its responsibility to arrest" war crimes suspect Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's secretary of state for humanitarian affairs.

Last May, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Haroun and pro-government Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kosheib, but Sudan has refused to hand them over.

The two officials face a list of 42 and 50 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes respectively.

"I'm concerned that silence by ... the international community on the arrest warrants has been understood in Khartoum as a weakening of international resolve in support of the law," Ocampo said. "There can be no political solution as long as Haroun remains free". Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Globe for Darfur IV: Please sign the petition

Please sign the petition in the following link to demand that Sudanese government and janjaweed militias halt attacks on against civilians and humanitarian agencies:


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

UN: Europe Slow to Contribute to Darfur Peacekeeping Force

The head of U.N. peacekeeping operations says European nations have been slow to offer support for a joint U.N.-African Union police force for Sudan's Darfur region.

In an interview published Wednesday in the French newspaper Le Monde, Jean-Marie Guehenno says the United Nations will have trouble meeting targets for an estimated 6,000-strong police force.

He says the Nordic countries are ready to commit, but he says he still does not have concrete proposals from other nations for high-level engineering units to dig wells or provide transportation systems.

Guehenno says he is most worried that the joint force will not have enough trucks, helicopters and transport equipment to police the region. Read more >>>>>>

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thousands more flee violence in Darfur

Violence in Sudan's remote western region of Darfur has forced nearly a quarter of a million people to flee their homes this year, increasing the pressure on the humanitarian effort, the United Nations said in a report.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also expressed concern over worsening security conditions in Darfur.

"Over 240,000 people have been newly displaced or re-displaced during 2007," according to the report prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in collaboration with partner UN agencies and NGOs. Thousands of people were fleeing their homes each week, the report added.

It came as the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels prepare for peace talks next month aimed at ending more than four years of conflict that has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives and displaced some two million people from their homes. Follow the story >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Recent Surge in Darfur Violence Threatens Peace Talks, Says Sec-General

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern at the recent surge in fighting across the war-torn Darfur region in Sudan, warning that it jeopardizes the chances of success of the peace talks being held next month to try to end the conflict.

"The Secretary-General strongly urges all parties to show restraint and cease all military action in order to create a positive atmosphere for the envisaged political negotiations," his spokesperson said in a statement. Read more >>>>>

Hundreds Join Darfur Protest

By: Justin Cohen,

Hundreds of Jewish community members of all ages joined other demonstrators opposite Downing Street last weekend to call for action to end the four-year long conflict in Darfur.

With more than 200,000 having already died and millions more displaced in the crisis, activists marched from the Sudanese Embassy to Number 10 as part of a Global Day for Darfur which saw events in more than 30 countries. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 17, 2007

Civilians still abused with impunity in Darfur, says UN

Civilians are still murdered and women sexually violated in Darfur, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Monday accusing the Sudanese Government of inaction.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said: "Human rights violations seemed to be continuing of the same nature and practically on the same scale," Louise Arbour.

Darfur was still a matter of "grave preoccupation." After four-and a-half-years of conflict in the west of Sudan, she said there had seemed to have been "very little progress on national efforts on the ground to combat the culture of impunity." Read more >>>>

Be prepared for betrayal, UN Darfur force warned

The former commander of the failed UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda yesterday warned the newly appointed head of a similar force in Darfur that he faced "long odds" against success and predicted he would be betrayed by the very officials and governments meant to be backing the mission.
In an open letter Roméo Dallaire, now a Canadian senator, advised Martin Agwai, the Nigerian general given the task of stopping the bloodshed in Darfur, to demand a clear chain of command, a broad mandate, proper resources and a rapid deployment. He also cautioned him to watch his back. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

U.N. says violence increasing in Darfur camps

By Simon Apiku

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Violence is increasing in camps for displaced people in Darfur, where nearly a quarter million people have been displaced so far this year, a U.N. report said on Monday.

The United Nations said rising violence in the overcrowded camps of the remote region of western Sudan was making it harder to carry out humanitarian aid work to help the thousands of newcomers arriving each week.

"Over 240,000 people have been newly displaced or re-displaced during 2007," the U.N. report said. "In many IDP (internally displaced people) camps, armed elements are present, and violent incidents are increasing."

"During August, humanitarian activities had to be suspended in several camps due to insecurity," the report added.

More than four years of ethnic and political conflict in Darfur has left 200,000 dead and driven another 2.5 million from their homes, international experts say. Khartoum says that is an exaggeration, and puts the death toll at 9,000. Read more >>>>

Desmond Tutu to head peace mission by world leaders to Sudan

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - A council of peacemaking world leaders and Nobel laureates launched by former president Nelson Mandela is taking up Darfur as its first mission, with a trip to Sudan planned later this month, the organization said Monday.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who chairs the group known as The Elders, will lead a delegation that will include former U.S. president Jimmy Carter; Mandela's wife Graca Machel, a long time campaigner for children's rights; and Lakhdar Brahimi, a former United Nations envoy to Iraq. Mandela will not be part of the mission.

"We want the suffering to end - and we hope to contribute to that," Tutu said in a statement.

More than 200,000 people have died in Darfur and 2.5 million have been displaced in four years of fighting between rebel groups and government-backed militias. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

First picture of Darfur war crime suspect wanted by ICC

By Wasil Ali

(KHARTOUM) — The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued “Red Notice” for the arrest of a Sudanese militia leader accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of war crimes.

Ali KushaybThe Interpol issued the notice requesting the arrest Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb on its website yesterday.

The judges of the ICC issued their first arrest warrants for suspects accused of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region in early May.

The warrants were issued for Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia commander Ali Kushayb. Sudan has so far rejected handing over the two suspects. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>


Hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions more have been displaced since the start of the conflict in Darfur in 2003.

A man weeps on returning to find his home in the village of Nami, north Darfur, burned down. Adam Saleh said janjaweed militia rode in and shot dead 10 villagers, forcing the ret to flee.

Campaigners demand action on Darfur

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through London to call for immediate action to end the conflict in Darfur.
The rally was part of a Global Day for Darfur, which saw events taking place in more than 30 countries around the world, as campaigners called for their governments to step up to their responsibilities in the war-torn region.
In London, protesters marched from the Sudanese embassy near St James's Park to Downing Street, waving placards bearing the slogans: "Darfur: Don't Look Away" and "Protest Darfur".
More than two million people have been displaced since Janjaweed militias - allegedly backed by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum - started reprisals against ethnic African rebels in Darfur.
According to the UN, up to 200,000 people have died from starvation, disease and killings since 2003. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Global Day for Darfur IV

Please join milions around the globe to tell the UN General Assembly that it should not look away now and demand for swift deployment of AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping force for civilian protection. Please do not forget to sign in the follwoing link:

The Genocide Games

An international outcry over Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games has grown steadily louder in recent months. How, it is being asked, can the premier event in international sports be hosted by a nation complicit in the most heinous international crimes? The Chinese regime is guilty of perpetrating the ongoing destruction of Tibet, supporting the vicious Myanmar junta, engaging in gross domestic human rights abuses, and, perhaps worst of all, facilitating genocide in Darfur.

Despite the controversy, President Bush announced last week that he will attend the Games. It's an unprecedented move--apparently no American president has ever attended an Olympic Games held abroad--and China's human rights violations make Bush's decision seem all the more unwarranted. But perhaps he'll be able to shield himself from criticism next summer by sharing a view of the Games with Steven Spielberg, who agreed in March to serve as an artistic consultant for the opening and closing ceremonies. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Justice for Darfur

Those of you who know me know I’m much of a believer. I think I’ve even been called a self-hating Jew on this very forum. But I must say that the time between Rosh Hashanah and Kippur serves a purpose of quiet contemplation in my life. It’s a time for me to come to an understanding with my conscience. This does not only mean introspection, but also a deep reassessment of my place in the grand scheme of things in the universe.

This year, again, I find that I live in a world I sometimes don’t like or understand. The mass killing in Darfur is a stain on the conscience of the world, a world that has turned its head for too long.

I write to you today full of rage but also of hope.

This Sunday, as part of the project 24 hours for Darfur, we will be screening video messages across from the UN headquarters in New York. Please check out the video project and sign the petition. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

'Devil' deftly documents Darfur tragedy, ex-soldier's activism

The haunting documentary "The Devil Came on Horseback" tells two intertwined stories - of the ongoing genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and an ex-Marine's progression from observer to activist.
Capt. Brian Steidle had just left the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003 and was looking for a job. On the Internet he found a job posting by the African Union, to monitor the cease-fire in the 20-year civil war in Sudan.
What Steidle saw was a genocide in progress. Villages in Darfur, a province in Sudan's west side, were being systematically looted and burned, and their residents killed or displaced. (The most recent figures show at least 400,000 killed and some 2.5 million displaced.) The culprits were a militia group called the Janjaweed (the name translates to "devil on a horse"), which received weapons and tactical support from the Sudanese government (though the government has always denied this). Read more >>>>>

Hollywood puts spotlight on Darfur in new documentary

TORONTO (AFP) — A major Hollywood studio and top US screen star have unveiled a new documentary addressing the bloody conflict that has raged without resolution for four years in Sudan's Darfur region.

Darfur won a prominent place at this year's Toronto film festival, with the debut of the politically minded documentary produced by studio giant Warner Brothers and featuring actor Don Cheadle.

In "Darfur Now," US director Ted Braun chooses not to focus on the constant violence in western Sudan, but instead on the efforts of six people trying to find an end to the war that the United Nations says has killed 200,000 people and displaced two million.

The goal of the production was not to go to the front line but "to show the hope" embodied by those trying to end the bloodshed, said Braun, who spent four months filming in Sudan.

Along with Cheadle, star of "Hotel Rwanda," Braun's team follows a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an American activist, and a Darfur woman who joined rebel forces after the death of her son. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nicholas Kristof: Don't Blame Darfur on Climate Change

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof spoke about the genocide in Darfur today. Like most people with a pulse and a conscience, I know about what's going on there -- but the stories he told and pictures he showed were soul-wrenching. It's hard to believe that people are capable of such evil -- and in many cases, it appears the actions weren't even prompted by ancient hatreds or racial hostility, but pure sadism and the promise of a paycheck.

Afterwards, I asked Kristof whether there was a role for scientific and technological knowledge in the context of Darfur. Most such thinking, he said, has involved making a connection between global warming and Darfur, which we've covered before on WiSci: one effect of climate change is droughts that triggered conflict between nomadic and settled tribes now competing for the same resources.

What does Kristof think of this? Read more about the subject >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Arabs displaced in Darfur amid fight over land-US

As a result of the ethnic and political conflict, international experts estimate 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have fled their homes in the last 4-1/2 years. Many now live in squalid camps.

Natsios said he had talked to the Sudanese government about the new displacement and said some people claimed the Sudanese government was encouraging the trend.

"There is evidence the Sudanese are doing a population resettlement programme where they are bringing Arabs from Niger and Chad into western Darfur, giving them land and citizenship papers so they can vote in the election," he said.

Natsios also said mortality rates had risen in the last few months in Darfur due to a strong rainy season and floods. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Help Darfur

Elkaar bevechtende gewapende groepen die zich - soms met steun van de autoriteiten - uitleven in wetteloze plunderingen, liquidaties en verkrachtingen.
Honderdduizenden doden. Miljoenen van huis en haard verdreven mannen, vrouwen en kinderen.
Kapotgeschoten en platgebrande dorpen, onveilige vluchtelingenkampen, ziekte-epidemieën. Gebrek aan tenten, eten, drinken en medicijnen. Vermoorde hulpverleners. Dat is het drama van Darfur. Lees meer >>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur: Make Some Noise

'Don't Look Away Now'.

On Sunday September 16th, thousands of activists will come together in cities around the world to send off their country's delegations to the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a united message: 'Don't Look Away Now'.

This will be the 4th 'Day for Darfur' celebrated across the globe, with hundreds of events having taken place in more than 200 cities since the campaign began in September 2006. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Internal forces unable to lead Darfur

By: Mahmood Mamdani

Significant changes are currently taking place on the ground in Darfur. The peacekeeping forces of the African Union (AU) are being replaced by a hybrid AU-UN force under overall UN control. The assumption is that the change will be for the better, but this is questionable.

The balance between the military and political dimensions of peacekeeping is crucial.

Once it had overcome its teething problems – and before it ran into major funding difficulties – the AU got this relationship right: it privileged the politics, where the UN has tended to privilege the military dimension, which is why the UN-controlled hybrid force runs the risk of becoming an occupation force.

What is the solution? I asked General Anyidoho, who has recently been appointed joint deputy special representative for the hybrid force. “Threefold,” he replied, military fashion. “First, a complete ceasefire.”

(This would require a political agreement among all the fighting forces.) ‘“Second, talks involving a cross-section of Darfurians. They must agree. And third, the government has a big role to play.

This is not a failed state; there is a sitting government.’ What about the Janjawiid? ‘They are nomadic forces on horseback; they have always been there. They are spread across Sahelian Africa: Niger, Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic.

The problem is that the AK-47 has replaced the bow and arrow. The Janjawiid should be disarmed before the rebels turn in their arms.” “The camps are becoming militarised. Women go out to collect firewood and they are raped. Rape has become a weapon of war. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Hollywood new documentary puts spotlight on Darfur

DARFUR, Sudan, September 12 -- A major Hollywood studio and top US screen star unveil a new documentary addressing the bloody conflict that has raged without resolution for four years in in Sudan's Darfur region.

Darfur won a prominent place at this year's Toronto film festival, with the debut of the politically-minded documentary produced by studio giant Warner Brothers and featuring actor Don Cheadle.

In "Darfur Now," US director Ted Braun chooses not to focus on the constant violence in western Sudan, but instead on the efforts of six people trying to find an end to the war that the United Nations says has killed 200,000 people and displaced two million.

The goal of the production was not to go to the front line but "to show the hope" embodied by those trying to end the bloodshed, said Braun, who spent four months filming in Sudan.

Along with Cheadle, star of "Hotel Rwanda," Braun's team follows a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an American activist, and a Darfur woman who joined rebel forces after the death of her son. Read more >>>>>>>

Secretary-General alarmed by deadly air, ground attack on South Darfur town

Secretary-General alarmed by deadly air, ground attack on South Darfur town
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern at the Sudanese Government’s “brutal aerial and ground attack” on a South Darfur town that has left at least 25 civilians dead and took place just days after the United Nations chief visited the war-torn region.

Mr. Ban told the Security Council that the attack indicated that “we must all renew our strong appeals to the parties to show restraint in the lead-up to political negotiations in October” that are being held to try to resolve the conflict that has engulfed Darfur since 2003. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Libya: An honest broker in Darfur?

By Anne Bartlett

So the idiocy continues. First the Genocide Olympics, now peace talks hosted by Colonel Gadaafi one of the major architects of strife in the region. For the uninitiated at least, peace negotiations deserve a neutral third party whose interest in the outcome is benevolent. Yet what we have instead is an attempt to put the fox in charge of the chickens. A fox who is neither interested in the welfare of the people of Darfur or Chad, nor interested in taking care of the natural resources of the region – an issue that is apparently now dear to Mr. Ban’s heart.

For the sake of a little clarity here, let’s examine Col. Gadaafi’s qualifications for the role of peacemaker in chief. To do this, why not start with his relations with rebels? Far from trying to reduce conflict between rebel groups, Col. Gadaafi has actually worked hard to create them. Running his own rebel school he has created such luminaries as Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh. Then of course he has hosted the Taureg rebels from Mali, other criminal elements from Niger and elsewhere. Let’s also not forget his support for the Red Army Faction, the IRA, ETA and a variety of other terrorist operations together with his interference in Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. The list goes on.

Then of course, we could look at his “honest broker” role in the Darfur Crisis, which itself has a long history. Starting with his neighbors in Chad and his designs on the Aouzou strip, Gadaafi struck a deal with the then Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi to use Darfur as an arms cache. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 10, 2007

Darfur rebels disappointed by Ban's visit

By Abigail Hauslohner

(Reuters) - Darfur rebel leaders on Friday expressed disappointment with the U.N. Secretary General's visit to Sudan over the last three days and said they had low expectations for peace talks next month.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Sudanese government on Thursday set a date and venue for talks between Khartoum and Darfur rebels to push for peace ahead of the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers in Darfur.

But some rebel leaders said Ban, who visited a Darfur refugee camp during his trip and later met Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, had failed to pressure Sudan to acknowledge key Darfur grievances, which they said would be necessary for the October 27 talks in Libya to succeed.

"(Ban) has not met the expectation of the people of Darfur," a leader of the Sudan Liberation Army, Ahmed Abdel Shafie, told Reuters by telephone from Uganda.

"The U.N. needs to put pressure on Sudan to stop the settlement that is taking place in Darfur. There are new Arab tribes that the government brought from Niger and Chad and the government is settling them in Darfur to change the demography of the region before elections," he said.

"I was shocked the UN did not condemn the government for that behavior ... We expected Ban to take measures to put pressure on Sudan for this issue," he added. Read more >>>>

Stop China from enabling mass murder in Darfur

By: Errol Louis

If everyone reading this column takes one action to end the genocide going on in Darfur, the world will be many steps closer to stopping the slaughter. Right now, there's a window of opportunity in which small acts of protest can have a huge impact.

The window has opened because China - which provides weapons, financing and diplomatic support to the murderous military dictator of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir - is unusually vulnerable to international pressure these days.

China, desperate to improve its image in advance of next year's summer Olympics in Beijing, has been working overtime in recent weeks to shine up its image, which has been hammered by reports of the country's mass export of tainted drugs, poisoned pet food and defective products - including children's toys contaminated with lead paint currently being recalled by American companies like Mattel.

The Communist bosses in Beijing have reacted with a round of deadly scapegoating: In July, the regime announced the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, who once ran the country's food and drug safety agency.

But that hasn't quieted global outrage. Now China has another headache on its hands: Beijing is drawing condemnation all over the world for supporting Sudan, where Bashir's regime has killed an estimated 400,000 Darfuris and chased more than 2 million off their land. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Save us from hell of Darfur, say refugees

Women who have fled the violence of Sudan are facing discrimination in a culture which fails to distinguish between adultery and rape

There are some stories you instantly want to forget, but they are often the ones that remain with you forever. In a hushed and claustrophobically hot room in eastern Chad, sitting on a hard mud floor scattered with rush mats, my own worst nightmares were brought to life by another woman's story.
You will have read about the conflict in Darfur, of the rapes and mutilations, of an estimated 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million forced to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sudanese government forces resumed air strikes in Darfur


KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) - Sudanese government forces resumed air strikes in Darfur on Monday with an attack on a town that killed more than a dozen civilians, African Union peacekeepers and rebels said.

Air raids on Darfur are banned by the United Nations and in breach of several cease-fire agreements. Despite frequent accusations by the international community, Sudan's military regularly denies it conducts air strikes, as was the case Monday.

The attack comes days after U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Sudan and announced new peace talks between the government and rebel groups to end four years of fighting that have killed more than 200,000 people in Darfur.

The raid on the small town of Haskanita in northern Darfur started at about 9 a.m. local time with heavy bombardments by Sudanese army planes and helicopter gunships, said Abdelazziz Ushar, a commander from the Justice and Equality rebel group in the area.

"We just finished the fighting, there are many casualties," Ushar told The Associated Press by satellite phone from Haskanita. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Is the genocide in Darfur over? Is what is happening now in Darfur and eastern Chad a matter of anarchy, chaos, and "inter-tribal" warfare?

Reports in major news outlets suggest that genocidal attacks by Khartoum-sponsored militia are a thing of the past and that Darfur's agony is borne of anarchy. Clearly, the violence in Darfur has escalated—but suggesting that the crisis there is now a free-for-all, with the moral equivalency that phrase implies, ignores the political logic driving a catastrophe that appears, on the surface, to be defined by armed chaos. The reality is far different—and for the recently-authorized AU-UN peacekeeping force and upcoming peace negotiations to be successful, that reality must be understood. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Don't let Darfur genocide continue

Why does the genocide in Darfur continue to escalate? Why are the U.N. peacekeepers not allowed into Darfur where the Sudanese government has displaced millions of refugees seeking shelter in camps? Might China's alliance with Sudan be responsible? Have China's huge financial donations to the Sudanese government, its excessive dependence on Sudan's oil, and its U.N. voting in support of Sudan have anything to do with the inability to bring some sanity to the ravages of Darfur in southern Sudan?

Will the Chinese government mask its alliance with Sudan by hosting the Olympics in 2008? Can we stand by and allow China and Sudan to perpetuate the atrocities in Darfur? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Darfur war crimes suspect leads Sudan rights probe

Darfur war crimes suspect leads Sudan rights probe

KHARTOUM, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Rights activists on Wednesday criticised a move by Sudan's government and its main political partner to authorise a committee headed by a Darfur war crimes suspect to investigate human rights complaints.

The committee was initially set up by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) of former southern rebels to monitor the security situation between the country's north and south. Read more >>>>>>>

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

.N. official: Darfur a 'ticking bomb'

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The United Nations' special envoy to Sudan's embattled Darfur region said in Khartoum that land-grabbing has created a "a ticking bomb."

Envoy Jan Eliasson told Voice of America frustration, tension and anger were mounting in refugee camps. He said tribal clashes are more frequent and deadly than fighting between government-backed militia and separatist rebel groups

"Also due to the fact that many of the villages are being reoccupied by people who do not own that land ... this is like a ticking bomb," Eliasson said. "We need to stop that process and instead move to the political talks, which in turn would mean the beginning of normalization of the situation on the ground." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, September 03, 2007

UN must pressure Sudan on Darfur suspects: ICC prosecutor

THE HAGUE (AFP) — The UN must pressure Sudan to bring to justice two suspects wanted over atrocities committed in Darfur, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor said in an interview with AFP Monday.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo made the comments as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Khartoum ahead of a massive joint UN-African Union peacekeeping operation in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

Moreno-Ocampo met Ban on Wednesday in New York.

"I asked him to bring up the arrest warrants," he said.

Countries that are members of the ICC must also do more on the issue, he said.

"This is the law ... The state parties have to assume their responsibilities," he said. "In four years, the court has become operational, more mature. We want to go farther, we have to get more support. We need consistency." Read more >>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Government of Sudan continues repopulating Darfur with aliens

By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times | September 2, 2007

TULUS, Sudan - Three years after it was burned to the ground, the village of Tulus in Darfur is springing back to life.

Corn and sesame sprout from fertile fields. Children play around newly built huts. Smoke from cooking fires again rises from the land.

Problem is, those rebuilding Tulus are not the original inhabitants, who were chased away by pro-government Sudanese militias in 2004 and are afraid to return. Instead, their place has been taken by Arabs from Chad, who recently crossed the border to flee violence in their own country.

"It's comfortable here," said Sheik Algooni Mohammed Zeean, 42, leader of 150 Chadian Arabs who in March settled on a grassy plain not far from the ruins of the village's abandoned houses and school. Gesturing toward the fields bearing their first harvest in Sudan, he smiled. "I feel like this is my home now."

Over the past six months, nearly 30,000 Chadian Arabs have crossed into Sudan, many of them settling on land owned by Darfur's pastoral tribes that were driven into displacement camps, aid groups say.

This migration has become the latest obstacle to peace in Western Sudan, drawing protests from those displaced from Darfur, who accuse the Sudanese government of orchestrating an "Arabization" scheme by repopulating burned-out villages with foreigners.

"This is a government plot to give our land to Chadian Arabs," said Mohammed Abakar Mohammed Adam, 27, a farmer from the village of Bechabecha, which was abandoned after armed nomadic tribes known as janjaweed, believed to be backed by the government, attacked in 2003. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Could prosecutors use images by Darfur’s children showing civilians under attack as evidence in a future war crimes trial?

By Rebekah Heil in London and Katy Glassborow in The Hague (AR No. 126, 14-Aug-07)

Anna Schmitt was in eastern Chad interviewing Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region when the women at a displacement camp gave her some advice.
“If you want information, you should ask the children.”

So she did just that. During her research for the non-government organisation Waging Peace, Schmitt sat in a classroom with the camp’s children, many of whom had been forced from their homes three or four years ago.

Through interpreters who spoke Arabic and the languages of Darfur, she asked the children about their hopes and dreams. Many answered that they wanted to be doctors or teachers or join the civil service.

One 16-year-old boy said, “I don’t want to become a rebel. I want to be educated and continue school, so I can help my people.”

When he was 14, his father had been killed in front of him in Darfur.

Schmitt asked the children to write down their memories when one of them asked, ‘Would we be allowed to draw instead?’

The children, between the ages of five and 18, drew pictures showing their villages full of tanks and armed men on horseback, houses ablaze and helicopters circling the skies. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Global Darfur campaigners announce September 16 as day to ‘send off’ world leaders to U.N. General Assembly

Darfur activists from around the world have marked September 16 as the day to "send off" their respective world leaders to the U.N. General Assembly with a call to "not look away" from the Darfur atrocities. Advocates in dozens of countries will host local events urging their leaders to help end the ongoing crisis in the western region of Sudan.

September 16th marks the formal opening of the UN General Assembly and the second anniversary of the ‘responsibility to protect agreement,' when governments agreed to act to stop genocide and mass atrocities. Two years following that declaration, campaigners will draw attention to the international community's failure to fulfill their promises in Darfur where over 200,000 have been killed.

The events follow the U.N. Security Council's passing of Resolution 1769, authorizing a hybrid U.N. - AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur and calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Globe for Darfur, an international group of non-governmental organizations organizing this fourth global day of action, is warning that despite the welcome passing of the resolution nothing has changed on the ground and that if governments look away now, thousands of lives will be put at risk. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Malnutrition in Darfur reaching emergency levels

Malnutrition in Darfur reaching emergency levels

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Malnutrition is on the rise in Darfur as a surge in violence prevents aid workers from reaching more people in need, a senior U.N. official said.

Eighteen spot surveys by U.N. agencies and independent humanitarian groups in three Darfur provinces indicated the emergency threshold of 15 per cent of the population suffering from malnutrition had increased to more than 17 percent in some areas, the U.N. deputy emergency relief coordinator, Margareta Wahlstrom, said on Friday. Read more >>>>>>>>>