Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If no blue helmets in Darfur, then whom would UN rescue?

UNITED NATIONS — In an unusually candid and starkly realistic situation report, the ranking UN humanitarian official painted a pessimistic picture of the current situation in Sudan’s beleaguered Darfur region. “I am saddened and angry that, after five years of suffering, and four years since this Council became actively engaged, we have still not been able to find a lasting solution to the suffering of the millions of men, women, and children,” chided John Holmes, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian affairs in a Security Council briefing.

Addressing the effects of the ongoing ethnic conflict between Sudan’s Islamic Arab regime and Black African nomads in the parched Darfur region, Under-Secretary Holmes warned, “Hostilities between the parties, intra-rebel and tribal clashes and aerial bombardments, and the resurgence of the Janjaweed militias have resulted in death, displacement and widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” He added poignantly, “Darfur today is still characterized by insecurity lawlessness…The effects on civilians are not difficult to imagine…a particularly worrying feature is evidence of high levels of sexual violence and exploitation.”

But where are the UN blue-helmet peacekeepers? Where’s the cavalry riding to the rescue? For the past three years there been anxious expectation that there would be serious military intervention to stop the killing. The African Union sent in an under-strength mission with marginal effect. Last July the UN Security Council finally and unanimously announced that it would dispatch a “hybrid force” into Darfur. The newly-minted UNAMID would be the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operation to date.

While this is already too little, too late, the UN now estimates that the number of Darfur civilians killed in this hideous ethnic cleansing may have reached 300,000 in this inter-Islamic violence! There are more than 2.5 million internally displaced persons and a further 260,000 refugees in neighboring countries according to the UN’s Holmes. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, April 28, 2008

Darfur: The other war we forgot

It seems like only yesterday. But it’s nearly two years ago that I did an impassioned piece on the tragedy of Darfur. Thank God, it managed to make its point. It was widely noticed and talked about. It even brought me European Union’s media prize. I collected my prize in Brussels and promptly consigned the issue to the back of that amazing cold storage called human mind.


Meanwhile, two years on, little has changed in Darfur. It continues to bleed and burn as ever. The world may have moved on. It might have grown weary of reading and hearing about the conflict in a region that is hardly a stranger to strife and war. But Darfur remains stuck in the time warp where it was two years ago. Only more people have died. More innocents have paid with their lives for the goals and objectives of those fighting this terrible war.

I am sure there are some noble objectives driving this war too. Else, why would Sudan look the other way while tens of thousands of innocent people — its own people — are killed, raped and hunted like animals in the full glare of world media?

Two years ago, in 2006, when I wrote that piece on Darfur there were fears that close to 300,000 people might have already perished. Even a conservative survey by the WHO in 2006 estimated that at least 200,000 people had died of fighting and disease and malnutrition caused by it. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Darfur: The other war we forgot

It seems like only yesterday. But it’s nearly two years ago that I did an impassioned piece on the tragedy of Darfur. Thank God, it managed to make its point. It was widely noticed and talked about. It even brought me European Union’s media prize. I collected my prize in Brussels and promptly consigned the issue to the back of that amazing cold storage called human mind.


Meanwhile, two years on, little has changed in Darfur. It continues to bleed and burn as ever. The world may have moved on. It might have grown weary of reading and hearing about the conflict in a region that is hardly a stranger to strife and war. But Darfur remains stuck in the time warp where it was two years ago. Only more people have died. More innocents have paid with their lives for the goals and objectives of those fighting this terrible war.

I am sure there are some noble objectives driving this war too. Else, why would Sudan look the other way while tens of thousands of innocent people — its own people — are killed, raped and hunted like animals in the full glare of world media?

Two years ago, in 2006, when I wrote that piece on Darfur there were fears that close to 300,000 people might have already perished. Even a conservative survey by the WHO in 2006 estimated that at least 200,000 people had died of fighting and disease and malnutrition caused by it. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Crisis Darfur: A Conversation with Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Lévy

Join Guernica this Tuesday, April 29th for "Crisis Darfur: A Conversation with Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Lévy." Ms. Farrow and Mr. Levy will recount their visits to the region and their ongoing efforts to end the genocide. The panel will also consider the role that artists, intellectuals, and witnesses can play in ending the genocide. Dinaw Mengestu will moderate a discussion, following their accounts, on what's needed now to end the atrocities in the region.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 8pm
Florence Gould Hall, The French Institute Alliance Française: 55 East 59th St.
For more details on the event and on purchasing a ticket: >>>>>>

Saturday, April 26, 2008

60,000 Darfur refugees detail horrific memories in petition

More than 60,000 Darfur refugees living camps in Chad shared their heart-wrenching stories in a petition that was delivered Friday to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The petition, sent to Brown's house and office at 10 Downing Street in London, begs Brown and other international leaders to crack down on the violence that has raged in the Darfur region of Sudan since April, 2003. Letters detailing the contents of the petition were sent to other world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and leaders at the United Nations.

The refugees who participated included written stories alongside their signatures that talked about the horror of being raped and the terror of watching militants destroy their homes.

Some of the participants, just children, made crayon drawings of their memories, submitting pictures of soldiers with guns and people covered in blood.

"They have displaced us and killed us and raped us in front of our children and husbands," one woman wrote. "They killed our children and burned our houses." Read more >>>>

Global court could indict more over Sudan's Darfur

By Emma Thomasson

AMSTERDAM, April 26 (Reuters) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned Sudan on Saturday he will move against more officials soon if Khartoum fails to arrest suspects he has sought for a year over crimes in Darfur.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told Reuters in an interview he planned to present evidence against new suspects to ICC judges before the end of the year if Khartoum does not hand over two suspects by the time he reports to the U.N. Security Council on June 5.

Judges at the ICC, set up in 2002 in The Hague as the world's first permanent court to try individuals for war crimes, issued arrest warrants for two Sudanese suspects on April 27 last year, but Khartoum has refused to hand them over.

The wanted men are Ahmed Haroun, former state minister of interior, and militia commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb.

They are suspected of inciting murder, rape, and torture, as well as the forced displacement of villagers in Darfur. Haroun has since been made state minister of humanitarian affairs.

"They have 2.5 million people displaced in camps, full of fear and they put Haroun in charge of them. Imagine that your rapist is your teacher. It is another way to keep them under attack," Moreno-Ocampo said in a telephone interview.

"Each morning I wake up and I think about those people," he said. "The question is who put him (Haroun) there. Whose instructions is he following? The lack of arrest is interesting evidence for us ... Who promised immunity?" Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur Worsening

The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan is worsening and the number of killed and displaced people continues to grow, reflecting an atmosphere of continuing violence, a senior U.S. diplomat says.

"The conflict that has created all of this humanitarian suffering has mutated from the Sudanese government's counterinsurgency campaign against new active rebel groups in Darfur in 2003, which targeted innocent Darfurians with unconscionable savagery, to a situation that is complicated by shifting alliances, growing ambitions, tribal conflicts and regional meddling," says Ambassador Richard Williamson, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan.


"The government of Sudan, the Arab militias, and rebel leaders all have blood on their hands," he said. "Make no mistake: this 'genocide in slow motion' continues, casualties mount, and more must be done to alleviate the terrible humanitarian suffering and bring sustainable stability and peace to this region brutalized and stained with the blood of innocent people. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two killed in Darfur camp after census starts

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Armed raiders shot dead at least two people in a Darfur displacement camp on Wednesday, residents and aid workers said.

Residents at Kalma camp had staged a protest against Sudan's national census on Tuesday, the day counting started, and said they would refuse to take part because they could not trust government organisers.

The attackers tried to force their way into the camp in south Darfur at 4 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) and then fired into the settlement, camp resident representative Abu Sherati told Reuters.

"The bandits are still just outside the camp and we can still hear shooting. Everyone is very scared," he said, speaking from the camp by phone in mid-morning.

One official from an aid group operating in the area, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was still unclear who the attackers were and whether the raid was linked to the census.

"But tension is certainly high at the moment because of the census so any small incidents are likely to escalate," said the official. Aid groups suspended work in Kalma following the violence.

Kalma, a base for more than 90,000 people forced out of their homes by fighting, has been targeted by pro-Khartoum militias in the past.

Sudan's census has been hailed as a vital step towards Sudan's democratic elections in 23 years, due to be held in 2009 under the terms of a north-south peace deal. It will also be used to help in the distribution of power and wealth. Read more >>>>>>

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hundreds rally in Dayton for Darfur

By Kelli Wynn


DAYTON — There are two things that happen to those living in Darfur villages that are attacked by the Sudanese militia known as the Janjaweed, according to Ibrahim Musa Adam.

"If you are a man, they will shoot you. If you are a woman, you will be raped," Adam said as he addressed hundreds who attended a Dayton Rally for Darfur on Saturday, April 19, at the Dayton Convention Center.

Adam, 33, a Darfur native and Rockford, Ill. resident, was one of many speakers who came to Dayton to raise awareness about the ethnic conflict taking place in Darfur, which is in Sudan — the largest country of Africa in area.

Those attending the rally learned that Darfur has 6 million inhabitants who are among the poorest in Africa. They also learned that 4 million people have been affected by the attacks and about 2 million people have been displaced.

When asked why people are getting killed and attacked, Adam said it had to do with the greed of the Arabic Sudan Government whose armed forces support the Janjaweed. The government wants the land where the Darfur people live.

The current crisis began in 2003 after "two rebel groups mounted a challenge to Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, according to Save Darfur Coalition literature that was passed out at the rally. Al-Bashir responded to the rebel movement by increasing arms and support to militias such as the Janjaweed, who began wiping out villages in Darfur.

Villages of up to 20,000 people have been burned down and at least 400,000 people have died, according to Voices from Darfur video that was shown at the rally. The United Nations estimates that violence in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced at least 2 million.

"If our country isn't doing anything to stop (the killings) then we are not yelling loud enough," said Steve Wonderly of Dayton for Darfur before the crowd marched to the Dayton Convention Center from Courthouse Square. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Genocide in Darfur: How we can and are helping

By: Lauren Piro

In February 2003, violence and rebellion erupted in Sudan. Marginalized and neglected people of the non-Arab Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur coalesced as two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. They demanded government action to put an end to their economic depression, as well as to give them a voice in the Arab-run Sudanese government. What they received was a brutal response that became a war and what many today consider to be genocide.

The Arab tribe Janjaweed, Sudanese government-supported militia (although support of their practices is often denied by political leaders in Sudan), went on a brutal spree, targeting civilians of the rebel tribes - pillaging and destroying villages, raping women and murdering countless numbers of people. According to Amnesty International, as well as many other non-profit Darfur-awareness organizations and as found in U.N. data, at least 200,000 people have died due to violence and disease, with another 2.5 million displaced as fleeing refugees, either internally to other parts of Sudan or to another country such as Chad. However, as reported by CNN.com in March, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has stated that the severity of the crisis is merely a "media-fabrication" and that fewer than 10,000 have died and less than 500,000 have been displaced - figures generally unaccepted by non-profit groups rallying against the conflict. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Darfuri diaspora leaders urge Darfur focus at upcoming Security Council special session

WASHINGTON - The Darfuri Leaders Network, a broad-based alliance representing Darfuri diaspora organizations across the U.S., today urged members of the U.N. Security Council to address the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur during an upcoming special session of the council this week.

In a letter to South African U.N. Ambassador and current Security Council President Dumisani S. Kumalo, the DLN encouraged the council to ensure the full and rapid deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force; impose immediate sanctions on the Sudanese government officials accused of crimes against humanity, violation of mandatory U.N. Security Council resolutions, obstruction of UNAMID deployment and non-compliance with decisions of the International Criminal Court; and outline measurable benchmarks to evaluate Sudanese government compliance with relevant U.N. resolutions.

"Our families, friends and people in Darfur narrate to us horrifying accounts of well orchestrated atrocities and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law on a daily basis," the letter said. "We are, therefore, obliged to remind the world of the systemic attacks against civilians."

The DLN also expressed its concern over the invitation of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to address the council at the special session. Bashir has shown contempt for international law and continues to obstruct deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force. Government security forces and allied janjaweed militia have, since the beginning of 2008, killed hundreds and forcibly displaced more than 80,000 Darfuris. Additionally, government forces are responsible for recent assaults against UNAMID peacekeepers.

The full text of the letter appears below:


H. E. Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo

President of the UN Security Council

Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations

333 East 38th Street

New York, N.Y. 10016 April 16, 2008

Dear Ambassador Kumalo,

We write to you as concerned leaders of civil society organizations of the Darfuri Diaspora.

The upcoming special session of the United Nations Security Council which, among other things, is scheduled to address the situation in Darfur represents not only an opportune moment but also a compelling one for us to raise, once again, our grave concern about the perpetually murderous situation in Darfur. Our families, friends and people in Darfur narrate to us horrifying accounts of well orchestrated atrocities and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law on a daily basis. We are, therefore, obliged to remind the world of the systemic attacks against civilians; destruction of habitats and livelihoods; targeting of internally displaced persons (IDPs); removal by force of indigenous people including Fur, Tunjur, Massaleet, Zaggawa and other African sedentary farmers from their respective villages; relocation of IPDs to new areas away from their villages of origin; the repopulation of certain parts of Darfur by alien nomads from across Sudan's international borders; the use of rape of women and girls as a means of warfare as well as the abduction of women and children into forced labor and sexual slavery.

The genocidal conflict in Darfur has now endured for more than five years. As a consequence of the obdurate policy of the government of Marshal Omar Al-Bashir, numerous UN Security Council resolutions have been adopted and supported by the international community but to no avail. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted two individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. These two individuals remain at large. One of them, Mr. Ahmed Harun, was even promoted to higher position in government in total disregard to the ICC and UN Security Council resolution 1593 (2005). The AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is faltering due to obstructionist policies and actions of the government of Marshal Al-Bashir.

Inviting Marshal Omar Al-Bashir to address this special session was utterly disturbing to the Darfur Diaspora community. Marshal Al-Bashir has shown intolerable intransigence and contempt for international law and continues to do so. Since the beginning of 2008, the government security forces and the Janjaweed militia have killed hundreds of people in Darfur and forcibly displaced more than 80,000. Government agents are also responsible for a series of assaults against AU and UNAMID soldiers including the injury of a UNAMID police office near Zamzam IDP camp, North Darfur, on 9th April 2008.

The Security Council could make substantive progress toward lasting peace and security in Darfur. We therefore encourage members of the Council to undertake the following:

* Ensure full and resourceful deployment of UNAMID without further delay. This protection force is largely expected to help end the growing state of impunity and lawlessness in Darfur and thereby create conditions of security allowing civilians safely and voluntarily return to their areas of origin. The deployment of UNAMID would also help put a halt and reverse the occupation of villages by foreign settlers.

* Impose immediate sanctions on the government of Sudan including a strict embargo on export of arms to the country. The sanction regime should also target high-ranking government officials for crimes against humanity, violation of mandatory UN Security Council resolutions, obstruction of UNAMID deployment and non-compliance with decisions of the International Criminal Court.

* Work out verifiable benchmarks to evaluate Sudan's compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1769 (2007), including creating a no fly zone, disarming the Janjaweed and creating conditions conducive to the safe return of IDPs to their villages of origin.

Dear Ambassador Kumalo,

While we appreciate the spirit of openness with which you cherish a productive dialogue with Sudan but our experience tells us that the government of Sudan would eventually make every efforts to sabotage such endeavors. The upcoming Security Council special session is another opportunity for strong and proactive measures to hold the government of Sudan accountable to its horrendous spate of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur. It should also be an occasion for the world to renew its commitment to protect defenseless civilians in Darfur.


Sincerely,


Darfur Diaspora Association-Canada
Mahjob Abdalla
Treasurer

Darfur Association of Canada
Ismail Adam
President

Darfur Call (The Netherlands)
Ahmed M. Mohamedain
Managing Director Human Rights and Advocac

Darfur Peace and Justice Organization (Belgium)
Mohmadain Mohmad Eshak
President

Darfur People's Association in Belgium
Abdel-Rahaman Adriss
President

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (Switzerland)
Abdelbagi Jibril
Executive Director

Fur Association Europe
Idris Hasaballa
Chairman

Union of the People of Darfur in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
Ishag Mekki
Vice Chairman

Darfuri Leaders Network (United States)
Consisting of:

Darfur Alert Coalition
Ibrahim Hamid
Treasurer

Darfur Association in the United States
Mahmoud Braima
President

Darfur Association of Colorado
Ahmed Adam Ali
Secretary General

Darfur Association of Illinois
Mohamed Abdel Rahman
Secretary General

Darfur Association of Nebraska
Adam Omar

Darfur Association of Texas
Bashir Gamous Abdelrasoul
Branch Leader

Darfur Community Organization (Nebraska)
Bakheit Shata
Executive Director

Darfur Human Rights Organization of the U.S.
Elgasim Salih
Vice President

Darfur People's Association of Iowa
Abdou Ashour
President

Darfur People's Association of New York
Motasim Adam
President

Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Inc.
Elnour Adam
Projects Director

Fur Association of North America
Ishag Ahmed
President

Fur Cultural Revival
Mansour Ahmed
Secretary General

Western Sudan Aid Relief in the U.S.
Abdeljabbar Seddik
President

Darfur Working Group
Badawi Osman

At-Large Members of the Darfuri Leaders Network in the U.S.

Amal Allagabo
Washington, D.C.

Niemat Ahmadi
Washington, DC

Fatima Haroun
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Suad Mansour
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Marwa Salah Eddin
Portland, Maine

Mastora Bakheit
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Monday, April 14, 2008

It is still possible to affect change in Darfur

This month marks the 14th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – the last time we said "never again." And as President Bush seems genuinely troubled by the similar slaughter in Darfur, here are concrete steps that he can take to make a difference:

1. Work with France to end the proxy war between Sudan and Chad and to keep Sudan from invading Chad and toppling its government. Stopping the Darfur virus from infecting the surrounding countries must be a top priority. And even if the West lacks the gumption to do much within Sudan, it should at least try to block the spread of genocide to the entire region.

France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is leading the way in providing a European force to stabilize Chad and Central African Republic; we should back him strongly. If Sudan dispatches additional proxy troops, France and the United States should use aircraft to strafe the invaders. But we also should push Chad's repressive president to accommodate his domestic opponents rather than imprison them.

2. Broaden the focus from "save Darfur" to "save Sudan." There is a growing risk that the war between North and South Sudan will resume in the coming months and that Sudan will shatter into pieces. The United States should try to shore up the fraying north-south peace agreement and urgently help South Sudan with an anti-aircraft capability, to deter Khartoum from striking the South. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Darfur Crisis - peace talks in London

Activists Mark Darfur Anniversary

LONDON (AP) — About 3,000 protesters rallied outside Sudan's Embassy in London on Sunday to demand an end to the five-year conflict and the quick deployment of an international peacekeeping force to the region.

The demonstration came on the Global Day for Darfur, a day observed by activists, celebrities and survivors across the world who are trying to raise awareness of the suffering in the western Sudanese region. The day marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the conflict.

With rock music playing, the protesters in London chanted and raised up their palms, which were painted white in a symbolic call for peace.

"Don't be Deaf to Darfur," one placard read.

Ikhlass Mohamed, a mother of three who fled the conflict in 2004, said it was vital to keep the tragedy in the public eye.

"We came here looking for peace," she said. "Physically we may have peace, but mentally we will never be at peace until we see Darfuri people having a peaceful life."

Fighting has raged in Darfur since 2003, when ethnic African tribesman took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Sudanese Arab-dominated government.

Khartoum is accused of unleashing janjaweed militia forces to commit atrocities against ethnic African communities in the fight with rebel groups — charges the government denies. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sudan: UN Security Council must censure government

'The Sudanese government cannot claim to be working to protect the people of Darfur, yet allow its proxy forces to attack civilians with impunity, as is happening,' Amnesty International said today. The organization called on the UN Security Council to strongly censure the Sudanese government following a series of orchestrated attacks on civilians in Darfur by Janjawid militia.

'The Sudanese government bears primary responsibility for these Janjawid attacks, which have left many dead and injured and left inhabitants of the area paralysed with fear and unable to carry out their daily activities,' said Amnesty International.

'The UN Security Council must insist that the Sudanese government immediately disarm these Janjawid militia, arrest them and prosecute them for the war crimes they are committing.'

The Sudanese government, in its quest for a military solution to the crisis, continues to refuse to disarm and demobilize Janjawid militia, despite international outrage.

'The Sudanese government – instead of disarming the Janjawid – is actually nurturing their influence. It continues to arm Janjawid members, integrate them into paramilitary forces, and even facilitate immunity from prosecution,' said Amnesty International.

Sunday, 6 April marked the beginning of a series of what appeared to be orchestrated attacks on the towns of El Fasher and Kabkabiya in North Darfur. Both were carried out by Janjawid militia dressed in civilian clothes and border guard uniforms who raided the towns in armed vehicles and on camel and horseback.Read more >>>>>>>

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Memo to Bush on Darfur

Darfur and has periodically suggested to Condoleezza Rice: Why can’t we just send troops in and take care of it? Each time, Ms. Rice patiently explains: You can’t invade a third Muslim country, especially one with oil. And so Mr. Bush backs off and does nothing.

But this week marks the 14th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide — the last time we said “never again.” And while Ms. Rice is right that we can’t send in American ground troops, there are concrete steps that President Bush can take if he wants to end his shameful passivity:

1. Work with France to end the proxy war between Sudan and Chad and to keep Sudan from invading Chad and toppling its government. Stopping the Darfur virus from infecting the surrounding countries must be a top priority. And even if the West lacks the gumption to do much within Sudan, it should at least try to block the spread of genocide to the entire region.

France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is leading the way in providing a European force to stabilize Chad and Central African Republic, and we should back him strongly. If Sudan dispatches additional proxy troops, France and the U.S. should use aircraft to strafe the invaders. But we should also push Chad’s repressive president to accommodate his domestic opponents rather than imprison them. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Doubts remain even with the peacekeeping forces now in Sudan's Darfur

The Editorial, NSV - After four years of agonizing pain and loss of exceptional lives, taken at the totality of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, the talk about all those PRO-PEACEKEEPING resolutions by the United Nations Security Council is now officially over.

Whether or not it is coincidence, the International Peacekeeping forces, today on January 1, 2008, landed on the bloodiest soils of the death-stricken Darfur region, ending one and opening another chapter in what may go down in history and genocide as the greatest attempt in bringing justice to humankind in Africa.

After years of treating the international community to the sickening denying of genocides both in Darfur and during the 21-year north-south war that claimed more 2.5 million lives in South Sudan, the government in Khartoum has finally ‘caved in’, allowing the deployment of what Bashir has blatantly been referring to as the “colonial forces.”

Now, the questions competing for asking are: with the troops’ presence on the ground, is Darfur genocide receding to the back banner of civil wars? And was the Bashir government doing calculation during the gap between the Security Council Resolution 1706 and the SPLM-pullout from the Government of National Unity? Will the perpetrators of genocide answer at ICC? Will the Peacekeeping force have enough land for its bases? And finally, will the government in Khartoum remain selective in what UN member states can contribute to the peacekeeping force in Darfur? Read more >>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

China and Darfur

Yesterday afternoon, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas D. Kristof delivered a lecture on the current human rights violations in Sudan and China’s controversial involvement in the continuation of the civil conflict. The New York Times columnist has visited the war-torn region of Darfur in Sudan on several occasions and urges the international community — especially Americans — to focus their attention on providing more aid, including political relief, in hope of ending the genocide.

Kristof began the lecture by presenting a slide show of pictures taken during his visits to the Darfur region. The images depicted scenes of horror and turmoil. With each picture, Kristof related personal accounts from victims and stories of torture, forced slavery, mutilation, rape and murder. He explained that the Janjaweed, an Arab militia supported by the Sudanese government, has been committing genocide against many African tribes due to ethnic differences and conflicts over the scarce primary resources in Darfur.

“You drive around hour after hour and you don’t see live people besides the Janjaweed. Rural parts of Darfur have been completely obliterated. This year alone, 1,000 people a day have been displaced,” Kristof said.

He went on to describe his experiences and observations as a journalist in Darfur. He was particularly angered by the Sudanese government’s support of the Janjaweed and its denial of involvement in the genocide.

“The Sudanese government acknowledges that tribes are burning and people are being killed, but they say it's tribal conflict. However, at the various road blocks and checkpoints, there were Janjaweed militants that were just being waved straight through. This isn’t just tribal warfare, this is government warfare,” Kristof said. Read more >>>>>>>>

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pro-Khartoum militias loot Darfur town, kill one

KHARTOUM, April 6 (Reuters) - Pro-Khartoum "Janjaweed" militias ran riot in Darfur's main town of el-Fasher on Sunday, killing one person, injuring four others and looting shops in the market, former Darfur rebels said.

"The militias which belong to the government known as the Janjaweed did not get their money from the government and they looted the market where the (army) and the police could not control them," said Mohammed Dirbeen, military spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Movement's (SLM) Minnawi faction.

SLM-Minnawi, named after its leader Minni Arcua Minnawi, was the only one of three rebel factions to sign a 2006 Darfur peace deal and join Khartoum's government. But little of the deal has been implemented, causing distrust between the parties.

"They killed one citizen and injured four," Dirbeen said, adding the militiamen tried but failed to loot local banks. He was speaking from Khartoum after being briefed by colleagues in el-Fasher. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ex-Janjaweed fighter speaks

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/news/video/61000/nb/61847_16x9_nb.asx

Humanitarian Conditions in Darfur, Two Months Before the Rainy Season

This overview attempts to bring together the most substantial data and reports about the nature and scale of the current humanitarian crisis in Darfur, and to put this information within the context of the immensely threatening environment facing aid workers throughout the region. It draws on a range of materials, including the most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 30, reflecting conditions as of January 1, 2008). The sources for data, surveys, and anecdotal information are diverse, both on the ground in Darfur and within the international humanitarian community. Much information was provided exclusively on a confidential basis; non-confidential information comes chiefly from reports in the public domain, or public interviews by humanitarian officials.

It must be emphasized that there is a highly significant gap in the humanitarian data available concerning the scale of malnutrition in Darfur. Critical data for Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and other malnutrition indicators (e.g., Mid-upper Arm Circumference [MUAC]) are simply not available, even on a confidential basis. Although some individual humanitarian workers and organizations were willing to provide anecdotal information, on a highly confidential basis, this is clearly inadequate. The reason consistently given for this extraordinary lacuna in humanitarian indicators was the refusal of Khartoum’s “Humanitarian Aid Commission” (HAC) to permit either the gathering or dissemination of data bearing on malnutrition. This highly consequential decision, made by a bureaucratic extension of the very regime that has done so much to engineer the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, deserves much greater highlighting. Read more >>>>>>>>

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Anniversary of the referral of the situation in Darfur/Sudan to the ICC

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Anniversary of the referral of the situation in Darfur/Sudan to the ICC
On 31 March 2005 the United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court. Under the terms of Resolution 1593 (2005) the Security Council stated that the "Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall cooperate fully and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the prosecutor."

On 27 April 2007 the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Ahmed Muhammad Haroun, current minister for humanitarian affairs and for former Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kosheib" in connection with alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

The EU expresses its profound dismay with the Government of Sudan's continued failure to comply with its obligations under UNSC Resolution 1593 including its refusal to arrest and surrender these men to the ICC for prosecution, much less allow the ICC to question them. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, April 04, 2008

Darfur is in worse shape than four years ago, Ban says

New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that the conditions in Sudan's war-torn western region of Darfur have worsened, four years after the UN Security Council first turned its attention on the ethnic conflict there.

'The situation remains grim today, as then, if not worse,' Ban said in assessing the situation. 'Violence targeting civilians, including women and girls, continues at alarming levels with no accountability, or end, in sight.'

Of Darfur's population of 4.27 million, a total of 2.45 million people have been displaced by the fighting and continue to suffer from the conflict pitting black African rebel groups against Arab militias backed by the government in Khartoum. More than 300,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in 2003.

Ban in a statement said more than 100,000 Darfurians have been forced to flee the violence so far this year. Read more>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Darfur atrocities should dog Beijing

The Games should go on, as should the protests

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel became the first world leader to announce that she would not attend the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Though the German government gave no reason, Ms. Merkel recently caused sparks with the Chinese leadership by meeting publicly with the Dalai Lama amid Beijing's brutal crackdown in Tibet.

European governments are sending signals that, should the repression continue, Ms. Merkel will not be staying home alone.

As if China doesn't have enough problems managing its Tibet crisis, Beijing is about to have its brutal complicity in the Darfur atrocities brought to the American public's attention in a series of high-profile demonstrations intended to brand the summer games the "Genocide Olympics." True, it's unfair to indelibly stain the Olympic Games with the blood of Darfurians, but it's well worth countering Beijing's Olympics PR offensive with the ugly truth about its key role in the ongoing African genocide.

Chinese money and influence make possible the savage war Sudan's militant Islamist government is waging against its own people in Darfur province. China is Sudan's largest trading partner, is its arms dealer and last year gave President Omar al-Bashir money to build a new palace. And China runs interference for the Sudanese in the United Nations, using its Security Council veto to stave off sanctions against the nation for raping, pillaging and slaughtering more than 200,000 of its own people. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sudan's New Army Deputy Chief on Bush's Terror List

Sudan's New Army Deputy Chief on Bush's Terror List
Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Thursday, April 03, 2008
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A major reshuffle in Sudan's army command includes a general, who was added last year to the United States' sanctions list for his direct contribution to the conflict in Darfur.

Gen. 'Awwad Muhammad Ahmad Ebni (aka 'Awwad Muhammad Bin Oaf), the former head of Military Intelligence and Security, was promoted to the position of deputy chief of the Joint Staff.

According to the U.S. administration, Ebni acted as liaison between the Sudanese government and the government-supported Janjaweed armed forces, which have attacked civilians in the region. Ebni was also accused by the U.S. of providing the Janjaweed with logistical support, and of personally directing attacks.

Last January Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir appointed Mousa Hilal, a suspected Janjaweed leader as special adviser to the Ministry of Federal Government.

Hilal, leader of the Mahamid clan in Darfur, was questioned in 2005 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and admitted to recruiting militias on behalf of Sudan's central government. The Darfurian leader was named in an Internmational Criminal Court report in February 2007 as making a "racist" speech in July 2003. However, he was not named as a war crime suspect.

The United Nations Security Council imposed travel and financial sanctions on Hilal in April 2006. United States President George W. Bush issued an executive order imposing similar sanctions on him. Read more >>>>>>>>

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

'Sanctions on Sudan now'

Human Rights Watch's EU director Lotte Leicht says without international pressure the victims of Darfur will never see justice and they face even more abuses


Shortly after taking office, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown stood before the United Nations General Assembly and declared the situation in Darfur to be the “greatest humanitarian disaster” facing the world today. He sent a message to Darfur that “it is time for change”.

Brown pledged to place sanctions on the Sudanese government if the killings of civilians in Darfur did not stop. Nine months later, people are still dying and suffering - apparently, Khartoum did not get the message. It is time to send it with a new messenger – sanctions.

While Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be applauded for their efforts last year which resulted in the adoption of a United Nations resolution approving the deployment of a 26,000 strong peacekeeping force to Sudan, President Bashir has managed to obstruct and delay this deployment.

The UK and its EU partners have responded to Bashir’s continued stonewalling with only kid-gloves and toothless threats. Despite pledges to the contrary, the EU has still not imposed sanctions to encourage Bashir’s compliance. Without firmer pressure on Khartoum, the victims of Darfur will never see justice, and their persecutors will feel free to redouble their murderous ways.

Many in Europe have never heard of Ahmed Haroun, but for the villagers of Bindisi, Kodoom, Arawala and Mukjar, he is their worst nightmare. Four years ago, Haroun was State Minister of the Interior responsible for Darfur’s security during the time that Sudanese government forces and their allied Janjaweed militias carried out a brutal scorched-earth campaign of killings, rape, destruction and displacement.

Haroun and those under his watch are alleged to have murdered hundreds, raped women and young girls, destroyed property, and forcibly removed thousands from their homes. Some of the crimes were carried out by a militia leader named Ali Mohammed Ali, also known as “Ali Kosheib,” who received orders from Haroun.

Since then, the International Criminal Court has charged Ahmed Haroun and “Ali Kosheib” with 51 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, persecution and forcible transfer of population. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>