Saturday, November 20, 2010

Khartoum Under Fire Over IDP Camp Conditions

The Sudanese government is hampering international efforts to address chronic levels of malnutrition in camps for displaced people in Darfur, according to the country head of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

Nils Kastberg told the justice programme of Dutch-based broadcaster Radio Dabanga, an IWPR co-production, that Khartoum was blocking access to camps as well as delaying the release of vital nutrition surveys required by agencies such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme, WFP, to supply food aid to the region.

“We are extremely concerned,” Kastberg said. “When we conduct surveys to help us address issues, in collaboration with the ministry of health, very often other parts of the government such as the humanitarian affairs commission interferes and delays in the release of reports, making it difficult for us to respond in a timely way.”

Kastberg claimed that the country’s security services also hinder or delay access to the camps.

The grim situation has prompted further warnings from the International Criminal Court, ICC, of a continued campaign of genocide against internally displaced people, IDPs, in Darfur. Since 2003, the war-torn region has seen more than 2.5 million people pushed into these camps.

“The government is using hunger, rape and fear to attack these IDPs in their camps in Darfur,” Islam Shalabi, from the ICC’s office of the prosecutor, OTP, said. “This is another tool of war used by the government of Sudan.”

Prosecutors allege that Khartoum has conducted genocide by employing the national armed forces and allied Janjaweed militia to deliberately bring about the physical destruction of Darfur’s Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.

The ICC has issued arrest war crimes warrants for three members of the Sudanese regime, President Omar al-Bashir, former humanitarian affairs minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Abdul Rahman.. Bashir has been charged with genocide. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In Darfur, the worst may be yet to come

By By Morton Abramowitz

Reports are trickling in of increasing government-supported violence against Darfuris, deteriorating humanitarian conditions and widespread attacks on war-torn Darfur's beleaguered civil society. But the world has done little to acknowledge, much less address, this rapidly declining situation. Preparations for the North-South political referendum, which has potential for huge bloodletting, are sucking up all the oxygen. Even if Sudan peacefully splits, Darfur is headed for humanitarian and political purgatory.

Among some of the more dismaying events:

l In recent weeks Sudanese armed forces and elements of the Janjaweed armed militias have renewed attacks on villages throughout Darfur. Radio reports tell of targeted attacks on civilians in areas where Darfuri rebels claim they have no forces. Thousands of displaced people from razed villages are flooding westward into camps in Darfur, deepening problems for the displaced already there.

l Khartoum is likely to close a major camp for more than 80,000 displaced persons in South Darfur soon, reportedly to ensure better security for a nearby airport. Kalma is one of the oldest camps, and among its inhabitants are some of the most radicalized Darfuri rebels; in recent years, Kalma has been the site of intense clashes between rebel and government forces. There are not sufficient places to send the displaced or humanitarian aid to help them, so their future is uncertain. Efforts to move the displaced from Kalma could provoke still greater violence. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Darfur arms report that angered China goes to UN

The UN Security Council has received a controversial report on violations of the Darfur weapons embargo, after weeks of delays due to objections by China.

The confidential report, which was leaked, says Chinese bullets have been found in Sudan's conflict-torn region.

The document does not say Beijing is necessarily responsible.

But it suggests China is not doing enough to ensure arms it sells to Khartoum do not end up in Darfur. The Chinese have criticised the report.

They say it is vaguely worded and full of flaws.

Beijing had previously refused to allow the Security Council's Sudan Sanctions Committee to formally pass the report to council members.

Ceasefires and peace negotiations have failed to end the conflict in the volatile western Sudanese region. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Obama Administration "Decouples" Darfur

Eric Reeves

The relationship between Darfur and Southern Sudan has never been well understood by the Obama administration, largely because of the incompetence of the president's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force General Scott Gration. Gration came to the position in early 2009 without any significant diplomatic experience or familiarity with the extraordinary complexities of Sudan—Africa's largest and most diverse country; he touted as background only his birth in Africa to missionary parents and an apparent facility in Swahili (of no use anywhere in Sudan). But he has enjoyed until recently the full support of President Obama, and this has made informed, tough-minded engagement with the Khartoum regime impossible.

The consequences of this failure are increasingly evident in proliferating news coverage of the critical and unresolved issues between the regime in Khartoum and the southern leadership in Juba. Unsurprisingly, as the scheduled referenda for southern Sudan and Abyei draw nearer, there has been a corresponding proliferation of commentary, nearly all of it from sources as belated as the Obama administration itself in recognizing the dangers looming in Sudan. What these commentaries most conspicuously lack is any sense of the relationship between events in Darfur and Khartoum’s stalling on the southern electoral process.

THE COST of US belatedness in responding to the electoral calendar leading to the two southern referenda has been extraordinarily high ( ). With less than two months until the January 9, 2011 date on which the votes are to occur, Khartoum has successfully run out the clock and is in a position to extract significant concessions from the US—sweeteners to persuade the regime to allow the referenda to occur as guaranteed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which in January 2005 ended more than twenty years of unfathomably destructive civil war. Desperate to avoid the diplomatic catastrophe of a CPA collapse, the Obama team has been significantly expanded in recent weeks and months; however, it is far from clear that there is enough time to prevent war from re-igniting, the same war ended by the CPA almost six years ago. Warnings unheeded for well over a year have only now set off all the alarm bells; in turn, the most significant part of the US response has been to offer Khartoum more and more in the way of incentives. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, November 08, 2010

“The Perfect Ending” – November 7, 2010

“The Perfect Ending” – November 7, 2010

By Eric Reeves

“Misk al-Khitam” is the Arabic phrase—from the Qur’an—reportedly given by the Khartoum regime to its massive military offensive, currently underway in many parts of Darfur and North Kordofan. One rendering of this phrase into English is “The Perfect Ending”—perhaps the equivalent of the Latin “Finis Coronat Opus,” or “The End Crowns the Work.”

“The Perfect Ending” occurs in the midst of disgraceful diffidence and silence on the part of the UN and other international actors concerning humanitarian conditions and constraints in Darfur. Wire reports detailing the November 7 meeting between US Senator John Kerry and the Khartoum regime suggest that Obama administration has decided how it will respond to such terminal ambition:

“U.S. offers Sudan quicker route off terror list”
By Andrew Quinn
WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The United States will drop Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism as early as July 2011 if Khartoum ensures two key referendums take place on schedule in January and the results are respected, senior U.S. officials said on Sunday.

U.S. President Barack Obama made the offer through Senator John Kerry, who recently told Sudan's leaders the United States was ready to "decouple" the issue of Darfur from Khartoum's terror designation to win cooperation on the January polls, the officials said.

"We like to consider this a pay-for-performance operation," one [senior U.S.] official said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, November 06, 2010

UPDATE 2-Three Latvian pilots kidnapped in Darfur-WFP

KHARTOUM, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Three Latvian helicopter crewmen contracted to the U.N. World Food Programme were kidnapped in the South Darfur capital Nyala, a WFP spokeswoman said on Friday.

The South Darfur governor, Abdel Hamid Kasha, had earlier said the three were Russian. The abductions are the latest in a wave of kidnaps targeting foreign workers for money in Darfur.

"The abducted crew members are all Latvian nationals," WFP spokeswoman Amor Almagro said.

Kasha said the three men were taken from a minibus in Nyala on Thursday. Security forces were seeking the kidnappers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Nine Darfur activists arrested in Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BNO NEWS) -- Nine Darfur activists have been arrested in Khartoum, Sudan, just weeks away from the referendum on the secession of the south, AfricaNews reported on Tuesday

All the activists who were reportedly arrested are from Darfur and most of them worked for the Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND). A prominent human rights lawyer was also among the group.

The arrests began on Saturday and continued until late Monday night. However, the charges against the activists have not been disclosed as well as the location where the detainees are being held. The Sudanese National Security and Intelligence Services denied having information related to the arrests.

"The total number arrested is nine activists, all of them from Darfur," said civil society leader Elbaqir Mokhtar. "One of them is a very active lawyer in the Darfur lawyer's association. It has now really raised alarm bells that probably what is coming is going to be worse." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>.