Feb 6, 2006

Darfur Spirals Into Despair

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(Khartoum, Sudan) The situation in Sudan's western Darfur region is deteriorating with more frequent and widespread violence, according to officials with the African Union.

"You may have thought the terrible situation in Darfur couldn't get worse, but it has," said the Africa director of Human Rights Watch, Peter Takirambudd. "Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad."

Two million people have been displaced - and up to one-half million have died - in the three-year war in Darfur, in which militia groups like the Janjaweed have targeted civilians for miltary attacks.

The African Union has deployed approximately 7,000 troops in Darfur - which is a region about the size of France - but the organization can no longer afford to pay for the forces much longer.

Border clashes have occurred between militias on the Chad-Sudan borders, and the hostilities threaten to turn an internal civil war into a regionsl conflict.

The United States is calling for the UN to take charge of the AU peacekeeping troops in Darfur. The UN Security Council gave preliminary approval for this to occur in February.

"It's a complicated and operationally, logistically difficult mission," said UN ambassador John Bolton, who added that the US will not be sending combat troops.

Meanwhile, the genocide continues, and the best-case scenarios call for UN troops to arrive in Darfur no sooner than 2007. Even this timetable may not be fast enough, though.

"The looming threat of complete lawlessness and anarchy draws near," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said of the conflict.

At what level of violence and genocide will people of conscience begin to pay more than lip service to human rights? The destruction of Darfur has been in the mainstream news for at least two years, and yet little has been accomplished in that time.

The refugees and victims of the Janjaweed campaign of extermination deserve better than this.

10 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

Save Darfur

It's an organization I've been supporting for quite some time. We seem to easily forget as a nation what is happening there.

We shouldn't. Nor should the rest of the world. Nor should it take until 2007 to do what should have been done already.

Lisa Renee said...

As New Violence Displaces Many Tens of Thousands of Darfuris,
as humanitarian security deteriorates badly, threatening hundreds of thousands,
the Bush administration decides these people are no longer victims of genocide

The disturbing headline written by Eric Reeves

Link

historymike said...

Thanks for the links, Lisa. If nothing else, bloggers can keep stories from being buried.

Lisa Renee said...

Yes, we can, and maybe someday enough people will make it an issue. There are some amazing people in the Sudan right now trying to make a difference.

Stephanie said...

Mike,

Thank you for the story...I hate how this has been swept under the rug.

Lisa,

Thank you for the links. I've signed up with the Million Voices one. Hopefully they will be successful and Bush will act.

Lisa Renee said...

Thanks Stephanie, I'm not sure how well those type of campaigns work but I signed it too, just incase this one does make him pay attention.

Dariush said...

While Human Rights Watch, Eric Reeves and Nat Hentoff have all put forth a heroic effort in making sure that this story (not to mention the people of Darfur themselves) don't get swept into the Memory Hole, the fact of the matter is that all these efforts are, and will continue to be, in vain. Sudan has allied itself with the U.S. government in the "War on Terror" and has provided it with "valuable intelligence". For Washington, this takes precedence over all else.

Sources:

-- Ken Silverstein, "Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism," Los Angeles Times; April 29, 2005

-- Democracy Now! -- Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005; "Bush Administration Allied With Sudan Despite Role in Darfur Genocide"; Amy Goodman interview with Ken Silverstein

-- Nat Hentoff, "An Ally from Hell," The Village Voice; Friday 20 May 2005

Stephanie said...

dariush,

This is supposed to be a democracy. The opinions of the people are supposed to matter.

Because that isn't always an essential truth in American lives, I am a Board Member of an organization called Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy which is working to restore the voice of the people within our government.

In the end, no matter what efforts you personally pursue, it's better to have tried and have an opportunity to succeed, then to do nothing and bemoan your self-fullfilled fate.

Calico Jack said...

So why doesn't the UN, or some other responsible government, arm the Darfuris who are being victimized? AK-47's aren't too expensive and ammo is plentiful.

Stephanie said...

Good question.