Thursday, June 26, 2008

Robertson: Darfur now a living hell

(CNN) -- Life for the millions of people in Darfur's aid camps is a living hell. Women are often raped while out collecting firewood and security is so bad aid trucks can't get through, resulting in food handouts being halved.

So far this year 66 trucks belonging to the U.N.'s World Food Programme have been hijacked, three drivers killed in attacks and thirty more drivers are still missing.

A United Nations peacekeeping force with the power to shoot back if attacked has been deployed in Darfur in recent months, but despite being the largest ever sanctioned by the U.N. it is undermanned and under-equipped. The troops say there is no peace to keep and their troops are being attacked.

Recently 60 militiamen on horseback raided a peacekeeping patrol, stealing soldiers' weapons, ammunition, money and even their cell phones.

The crisis in Darfur first began when rebels who are mostly ethnic African farmers attacked government outposts in 2002 because they wanted power. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A video shocked me (torture and killing of children after JEM attack)

The video is taken on 10 May 2008, during JEM militia attack on Khartoum 10 May 2008. Find it on the following link. Group of children, some of them between 8 and 12 years old, tortured and humiliated by the security organs of the Sudan NCP/INF Regime, and some of them finally killed or died under torture. Those innocent children accused of taking part in attack of JEM!. Confirmed reports saying all of them were innocent, they have been collected from Khartoum streets because of their faces feature or their dark colors, presumed to be from Darfur , no more, in an ugly act not by all means less than Nazi deeds during the world 2nd. Clique on the link to see the scandal your self, and think what you can do?:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rape is a way of life for Darfur's women

Sudan (CNN) -- Sudan's Darfur crisis has exploded on many fronts -- violence, hunger, displacement and looting -- but United Nations peacekeepers say the biggest issue now affecting the region is the systematic rape of women and children.

Thousands of women as young as 4 caught in the middle of the struggle between rebel forces and government-backed militias have become victims of rape, they say, with some aid groups claiming that it is being used as a weapon of ethnic cleansing.

"That is one of the biggest issues in Darfur: the rapes, and crimes against women and children," said Michael Fryer, police commissioner of UNAMID, the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed to try to tackle the violence.

Relief workers say they are powerless to stop the attacks and say that if they do speak out, they fear that the Sudanese government will tell them to leave the country.

Humanitarian group Refugees International said in a report last year that rape was "an integral part of the pattern of violence that the government of Sudan is inflicting upon the targeted ethnic groups in Darfur." Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

U.S. Darfur Envoy, Actress Lambast U.N. Over Sudan Genocide

(RTTNews) - The U.S. presidential envoy to Darfur, Rich Williamson, joined his country's actress Mia Farrow Tuesday in lambasting the U.N. Security Council for failing in its duties to protect Sudanese people from genocide.

Williamson, who assumed charge in January, told a closed-door session of U.N. Security Council members it was "disheartening" that the world community had not done more to end the conflict and protect civilians caught in ethnic conflicts in the Sudan's Darfur region.

"All of us should be impatient. We have failed in our responsibility to the people of Sudan," he said. "If we continue this way, the slow-motion genocide will continue. We must do more," he added.

Williamson pointed to the two million people dead and the more than six-million displaced in Sudan's north-south civil war as a reminder to the U.N.'s colossal failure to bring peace to that war-torn country or to prosecute its alleged war criminals.

Farrow lambasted council members saying, "You are failing this body - the ideals and principles it represents. It is past time that a united U.N. Security Council stood up to end this human tragedy." Read more >>>>>>

Monday, June 16, 2008

Darfur: Millions of Vulnerable Civilians Sliding Closer to Starvation

The international community fails to heed the warning signs or hold Khartoum accountable

Eric Reeves
June 15, 2008

Despite five years of genocidal counter-insurgency warfare in Darfur, millions among its ravaged civilian population will soon enter a third month receiving only half the necessary food rations from the UN’s World Food Program (WFP). Despite the presence of the world’s largest humanitarian relief operation, the people of Darfur begin the current rainy season with only half the minimum kilocalorie diet necessary to sustain human life. Since the rainy season coincides with the traditional “hunger gap”---the period between spring planting and fall harvest---we may expect to see significant human starvation in the coming months, relentlessly adding to the hundreds of thousands who have already died from ethnically-targeted violence, displacement, and consequent malnutrition and disease. A grim genocide by attrition is set to enter its deadliest phase.

How can this be? And why don’t the alarms sounded by humanitarian organizations compel greater international response? Answers tell us too much about why Darfur’s agony shows no signs of abating.

Since the beginning of May, WFP has delivered to Darfur only half the required food tonnage. The reason is insecurity, as food convoys face the constant threat of violent hijacking. Drivers are beaten, robbed, and too often killed; as a result, they increasingly refuse to make the dangerous trip through the western part of Kordofan Province and especially inside Darfur. The Khartoum regime should of course provide military escorts for these critical, though highly vulnerable, convoys. But the National Islamic Front comprises the very men responsible for orchestrating the Darfur catastrophe. Although they have made soothing noises about protecting food convoys, they have in fact done nothing of significance. Indeed, an ill-advised Darfuri rebel attack on Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman in May has occasioned redeployment of military force away from the convoy routes. Those waiting for Khartoum to protect the vital corridors for urgently needed increases in foodstocks will wait in vain.

Indeed, Khartoum is much more interested in militarily supporting its proxy force of Chadian rebel groups, reportedly massing for a new assault on N’Djamena and the regime of Idriss Déby. Khartoum holds Déby responsible for supporting the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack on Omdurman, and this would appear to be the moment in which the regime means to settle the score. Read more >>>>>>

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Darfur genocide must be stopped

Philadelphia Daily News

STOPPING the genocide in Darfur should be the No. 1 priority for anyone with a good conscience. The world community has said "not again on our watch" after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It is sad that the genocide in Darfur continues and the world community has failed to stop it.
There is hope though. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have shown rare solidarity in wanting to stop the genocide.

We the people should make sure that whoever is elected the next president of the United States will put this issue on the top of his agenda and pressure the Sudanese government and all others who are directly or indirectly involved in this. Read more >>>>

Step up for Darfur

Step up for Darfur
Article Launched: 06/14/2008 07:02:57 AM PDT

Far too many innocent people are dying in Darfur and in the Sudan because of escalating violence. UN peacekeepers are still not being fully deployed, and those who have escaped death or torture still face starvation and mal-nutrition.

The current political candidates of both parties have agreed that taking action rises above politics and is matter of human help and have issued a statement of solidarity on this issue. We can't wait until our new candidates actually take office. Action is needed now.

In the meantime, President Bush must use his term, including the U.S. presidency of the United Nations Security Council in June, to push for full deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur, providing them the helicopters and equipment they need. Read more >>>>>

Friday, June 13, 2008

UN Security Council urged to get tough in Darfur violations

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - The UN Security Council should get tougher in its efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict, mediators said Thursday, warning of a worsening humanitarian and security situation on the ground.

"We can't deal with the problem alone," said Jan Eliasson, UN special envoy to the region.

"We can't reach full force without the weight of the Security Council (members). They have to exercise more willingness to get involved. The Security Council should take seriously that the resolution is not being implemented," he told AFP in an interview in Addis Ababa.

The Khartoum government and Darfur rebel factions have defied numerous UN resolutions since the conflict erupted in 2003 when tribal insurgents started to demand a fair share of national development funds.

The Council's ambassadors in early June visited an undermanned and ill-equipped UN-led peacekeeping force and victims in Darfur and expressed frustration over dire insecurity in the region the size of France.

Eliasson's co-mediator, African Union special envoy Salim Ahmed Salim, agreed, telling AFP that the absence of peace talks was worsening the situation on the ground. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, June 09, 2008

Perspective cover: An Olympian looks to Darfur

By Joey Cheek

I'd actually imagined what it would be like, which is terrible. You're never supposed to plan on winning.

But there I was, the gold medalist in the 500-meter speed skating event at the 2006 winter Olympics in Turin. And with the win came the right to 10 minutes, give or take, at a microphone in front of 60-odd cameras, tape recorders and sports reporters who were waiting to shout in my face: "How does it feel to win?" (It's a pretty short answer, actually: "Good.")

Except, I wanted to talk about something different. "I know you guys all want to do sweet stories about Hallmark and chocolates and butterflies and all that," I said, stepping to the microphone. "But I have a pretty unique experience and a pretty unique opportunity here. So I'm going to take advantage of it while I can."

And then I announced that I was going to donate my winnings from the U.S. Olympic Committee — $25,000 for that 500-meter victory and another $15,000 when I won the silver in the 1,000 meters a few days later — to Darfurian refugees in Chad.

Though I was just beginning to learn about the conflict in Darfur in February 2006, I knew that more than 60,000 children from Darfur had been displaced in the course of nearly three years of violence and that my donation to the Right to Play Foundation might help send them some small relief.

I also was just beginning to learn what it meant to be engaged with what's happening in Darfur — a deliberate campaign of atrocities that the U.S. government has called a genocide, launched by the regime in Khartoum and an allied militia known as the Janjaweed — and what it means to be on an international stage as an Olympian. Now, more than two years after I won my medals in Turin, I'm watching those issues collide as the world prepares for the Olympics in Beijing. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Courtney Woods: Darfur should get more attention

Dear Editor: I was so impressed recently when Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain made a statement about stopping the genocide in Darfur. This is an extremely important issue that is not getting enough attention in the media!

Since the Cap Times is Madison's primary media source for many people, I thought I'd contact you. Please publish more articles on the horrible acts going on in Darfur. The north/south civil war in Sudan didn't receive enough attention either. Meanwhile, while we publish frivolous articles on parent-school relationships and other special interest issues, people in Darfur are starving in refugee camps. Read more >>>>>

Saturday, June 07, 2008

ICC bid to arrest Sudan suspect failed

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court planned to arrest a Sudanese official indicted for crimes in Darfur when he went on a Muslim pilgrimage last year, but he heard about the scheme and evaded capture, an ICC spokeswoman said on Friday.

The idea was to divert a plane carrying Ahmad Harun, Sudan's minister for humanitarian affairs, as it was heading for Saudi Arabia, where the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage is held in Mecca, spokeswoman Florence Olara said.

The pilgrimage, which Muslims must perform at least once if they are able, took place last year from Dec. 17-21.

"Using cooperation from some states, the plane would have been diverted," Olara said. "There was a country ready to receive the plane once it was diverted, but he was tipped off and got off the plane. So he never went to Mecca."

Olara declined to name the countries involved and gave no further details of how the operation would have worked. But she said Saudi Arabia was informed of the plan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Friday, June 06, 2008

Top diplomats in Darfur as Sudan accused of 'crimes against humanity'

Diplomats from the United Nations Security Council began a visit to Darfur in western Sudan Thursday amid allegations that the "whole state apparatus" in Khartoum is involved in crimes against humanity in the region.

The allegations are in a report prepared by the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

About 300,000 people have died in attacks on indigenous African people in Darfur by roving Arab militias known as the janjaweed, which Moreno-Ocampo and others have said are backed by the Sudanese government.

Speaking in New York before accompanying the Security Council delegation to Darfur, Sudan's UN ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said Moreno-Ocampo's charges were "fictitious and vicious" and harmful to the prospects for peace.

The regime in Khartoum has always denied that it encourages the janjaweed but the allegations in the ICC report are the most serious yet levelled against Sudanese authorities. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pressure grows for Darfur war crime suspects

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Thursday implored the UN Security Council to demand Khartoum arrest two Darfur war crimes suspects and said he would unveil new evidence next month.

"I ask the Security Council to send a strong message to the government of Sudan... requesting that they arrest Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kosheib," he told the 15-member council.

In May 2007, the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, issued arrest warrants for Haroun, Sudan's secretary of state for humanitarian affairs, and Janjaweed militia leader Kosheib.

They are charged with 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including acts of murder, persecution, torture, rape and forcible displacement.

Moreno-Ocampo said that at the council's request his office would next month present new evidence exposing the facts and identifying those most responsible for the Darfur crimes.

Richard Dicker, an official with New York-based Human Rights Watch, told AFP that Moreno-Ocampo was likely to then announce new arrest warrants.

"The message needs to be heard in Khartoum that this (ICC) investigation is going up all the way up the chain of command," Dicker warned.

"Those in the (upper) echelons of the Sudanese government ought to be curtailing their travel plans because they may find themselves the focus of an international arrest warrant," he said. Read more >>>>>>>>

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Darfur - Waiting for Justice

Interviews with survivors of the attacks (in Mukjar, Bindisi and other towns in Wadi Salih, West Darfur) who name Ahmad Harun and ‘Ali Kushayb’ the two suspects indicted by the International Criminal Court.
Interviews: April/May 2008. See and listen (video)>>>>>>>>>


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Prosecutor links Sudan government to Darfur crimes

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court charges that "the whole state apparatus" of Sudan is implicated in crimes against humanity in the Darfur region, linking the government directly with the feared janjaweed militia.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo says in a report to the U.N. Security Council, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, that he has uncovered evidence showing "high officials" in the Sudanese government are linked to many horrendous attacks in Darfur.

Atrocities include killing, torture and rape of civilians, even girls as young as 5 or 6, with their parents forced to watch, the report says. It also says senior Sudanese officials are linked to the burning and looting of homes, bombing of schools and destroying of mosques.

The report does not identify any officials or present evidence of specific crimes. A spokeswoman said Moreno-Ocampo would name names and present evidence to the Security Council next month.

"This is the first time he's saying, well, there's basically a mobilization of the entire state apparatus," said Florence Olara, a spokeswoman for Moreno-Ocampo at the court in The Hague, Netherlands. "It's based on evidence from ongoing investigations in Darfur. He's looking at ongoing crimes, especially crimes targeting the 2.5 million already displaced in Darfur." Read more >>>>>>>

Sunday, June 01, 2008

ICC prosecutor to unveil new case next week against Sudan

THE HAGUE (AFP) — Urging decisive action against Sudanese warcrimes suspects, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Friday he would announce details of a new case next week against senior players in the Darfur conflict.

"I will inform the ... (United Nations) Security Council on June 5 when I will present my second case on Darfur," prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters in The Hague, the tribunal's permanent seat.

He is due to brief the Security Council in New York on the situation in Sudan's eastern Darfur region next Thursday, the same week that a council delegation is due to visit Khartoum.

The new case would start "in the near future", said Moreno-Ocampo, declining to reveal how many people would be targeted, or whom.

He did say they would be "at a higher level" than Sudanese secretary of state for humanitarian affairs Ahmed Haroun, who has yet to be detained despite the ICC issuing a warrant for his arrest a year ago.

"Haroun is still in the middle of this operation ... It is obvious that he is not arrested, he is a minister, so he is not alone," Moreno-Ocampo said, adding he was collecting evidence "to prove criminal responsibility at a higher level than Haroun." Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Sudan holding 89 Darfur child 'rebels' in good health: UN

KHARTOUM (AFP) - The UN Children's Fund visited on Saturday 89 children recently arrested by Sudan for allegedly taking part in a Darfur rebel assault on Khartoum, reporting they appeared in good health.
Sudan's powerful security services are holding the children about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the capital in two spacious buildings opening onto a courtyard not far from a Chinese-built oil refinery, witnesses said.

UNICEF officials were allowed to visit the children -- aged 10 to 17 -- two weeks after Sudan announced they were holding around 80 children press-ganged into Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"UNICEF has welcomed being given access to 89 children detained in connection with the attack by forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Omdurman on May 10," the UN agency said in a statement.

UNICEF condemned JEM -- militarily the strongest rebel group battling the Sudanese government in the western region of Darfur -- for using children in its brazen attack on Khartoum's twin city in which more than 220 people died.

"During a meeting with the children on Saturday, UNICEF was able to confirm that they appear to be in good health and that they are being detained separately from adults in line with international standards," the agency said.

"These children should be considered primarily as victims, and every effort must be made to enable their reintegration back into their communities in line with international conventions," UNICEF representative Ted Chaiban said. Read more >>>>