Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Growing Violence in Darfur Deserves Honest Reporting, Not More Flatulent UN Nonsense

Growing Violence in Darfur Deserves Honest Reporting, Not More Flatulent UN Nonsense”
UN and UNAMID leadership, including Acting JSR for UNAMID Aichatou Mindaoudou, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons—all seem content to paper over Darfur’s rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and security crisis with unctuous words and feckless declarations. In place of meaningful responses to this desperate situation, they offer anodyne pronouncements, glib “proposals” without substance or detail, and silence on key issues of human security—preeminently rape, widespread murder, violence in the camps and towns, and the ongoing appropriation of arable land by Arab militia groups, often by violent means. In the absence of reporting by international news organizations, and given the denial of all access for human rights investigators—now for many years—Darfuris have made Radio Dabanga their voice. That voice, reporting largely on the basis of eyewitness accounts, deserves all possible amplification.
Eric Reeves
30 November 2012
Events have finally compelled the UN and the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to acknowledge that violence is escalating in Darfur, a sharp reversal of the self-congratulatory statements by the likes of former heads of UNAMID Rodolphe Adada and Ibrahim Gambari.  For example, Gambari recently celebrated his retirement as UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) by declaring that he was “gratified to note that barely 31 months on, all the objectives I set out to meet have largely been met.” But of course this is despicably dishonest and self-serving, given the dramatic increase in the level of violence, vast human displacement, and the deterioration of humanitarian access and resources that accelerated under Gambari’s tenure.  UNAMID—with an unforgiveable belatedness—now acknowledges some of these realities, although with a deeply disingenuous timeline.  UNAMID leaders and spokespersons would have us believe that this sharp upswing in violence is quite recent; in fact, it has been accelerating dramatically since late 2010.
I and others have chronicled the massive evidence of increasing violence in Darfur since late fall 2010, when Minni Minawi defected from the regime in Khartoum.  Minawi was the only rebel signatory to the disastrous Darfur Peace Agreement (Abuja, Nigeria, May 2006) and belatedly rues his decision.  For not only was he completely marginalized within the regime, his defection from the figurehead position he occupied has made his Zaghawa people the target of ethnic violence that is almost completely unreported by UNAMID or any other source.  Fortunately—at least for the sake of any historical account—Claudio Gramizzi and Jérôme Tubiana have provided a remarkably full overview of this violence in a report from the Small Arms Survey (Geneva): “Forgotten Darfur: Old Tactics and New Players,” (July 2012).  Their report is based on field research conducted from October 2011 through June 2012, and supplemented by extensive interviews, a full desk review of available reports, and a wide range of communication with regional and international actors.  The opening paragraphs in their Executive Summary gives a sense of what UNAMID chooses not to see:
“Since 2010 Darfur has all but vanished from the international agenda. The Sudanese government has claimed that major armed conflict is essentially over, that armed violence of all kinds has declined significantly, and that such violence is now dominated by criminality rather than by military confrontation [ ]. This view has been bolstered by statements from the leadership of the joint United Nations–African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur and by those invested in the under-subscribed 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, who have hailed declining violence and wider regional transformations as conducive to a final resolution of the conflict [citation of statements by Ibrahim Gambari]. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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