Saturday, November 08, 2008

Obama and Darfur

The crisis in Darfur is the most pressing humanitarian issue for President-elect Barack Obama. He can leverage the goodwill and pride in his recent electoral success to pressure the parties in Sudan to uphold the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 -- sending a powerful signal.

At least 250,000 people -- some estimates range as high as 500,000 -- have died and approximately 2.2 million have been displaced since 2003. In turn, the Sudanese militia, in tandem with an Arab militia known as the janjaweed ("devils on horseback"), waged a brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing against men, women and children.

An Obama administration needs to uphold the cornerstones of American policy established during the Bush administrations. Since 2003, the United States has placed Sudan on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and since 2007 has imposed economic sanctions. Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq told Agence France-Presse after Mr. Obama's victory that Khartoum "would like to see some real change between Sudan and the United States." "Real change" does not mean relaxing the pressure on Sudanese President, Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Read more >>>>>>

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