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 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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