Thursday, November 29, 2007

Darfur

Mia Farrow accuses world of closing its eyes to Darfur

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

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

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

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

Olympic sponsors ignore Darfur protest

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

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

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

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

Rights Group Criticizes China for Failure to Act on Darfur

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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

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

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


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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Darfur conflict 'worsens'

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

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

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

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

Darfur Group Says Olympic Sponsors Must Fight Violence in Sudan

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Darfur rebels tell China peacekeepers to go home

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

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

By Jim Hoagland

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

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

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

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

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

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

People must know what's happening in Darfur, Sudan

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

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

US Senator Calls for International Action in Darfur

By Alex Villarreal

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When will Darfur mediator learn?

by Suliman A Giddo

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dueling Over Darfur: PRENDERGAST vs ALEX DE WAAL

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

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

How does one make a dent in Darfur killings?

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

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

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

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Darfuris tell of troubles in war-torn homeland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Don Quixote of Darfur

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

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

Doomed to failure

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