The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 29, 2023

Reuters: Ban Aims to Lay Ground For Darfur Peace In Tour. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set ambitious goals on Tuesday for a tour he will make next week of Sudan, Chad and Libya, saying he aimed to lay the foundations of lasting peace in violence-racked Darfur. But Ban told reporters a massive peace mission due to go to Darfur would come to nothing without cooperation from Sudan's government and he would press it for its full support. "I want to create the foundations of a lasting peace and security," Ban told a news conference about his tour. "My goal is to lock in the progress we have made so far. To build on it so that this terrible trauma may one day cease." Deploring as "simply unacceptable" a recent surge in violence in Darfur that he said had cost hundreds of lives, Ban said he would press Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to fully support the peacekeeping mission. "I appeal to the government of Sudan and to all parties to refrain from military action," said Ban, who diplomats say has made Darfur his top international priority during his eight months in office. He also pledged to raise with Bashir recent moves by the Khartoum government to expel European Union and Canadian envoys as well as the local head of the U.S.-based CARE aid group. Describing what he called a three-point plan to tackle Darfur -- peacekeeping, political talks and aid -- Ban said his trip would seek to "push the pace" on peace negotiations, which some rebel groups have so far stayed away from.

Agence France Presse: Sudan rejects Darfur fighting accusations. Sudan has rejected allegations that it is still involved in fighting in Darfur after it was accused of violating a UN arms embargo in the war-ravaged western region. "These accusations are false and founded on made-up information from organisations and agencies with a political agenda," foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadek told AFP late Tuesday. "The government hasn't had any military activities recently and the Sudanese army has no activities in Darfur," he said. London-based rights group Amnesty International last week said Sudan was continuing to defy a UN arms embargo, citing as evidence photographs of military equipment being delivered in July to Al-Geneina airport in Darfur. Sadek insisted that Khartoum was seeking stability in Darfur "the proof of which is that (the government) spared no effort to convince armed movements to reject violence."

Reuters: US teen's fund drive turns him into Darfur envoy. When he first heard of the crisis in Darfur, American high school student Nick Anderson knew he had to do something to help. Working with friends, he raised more than $300,000 online to help Sudan's war-torn region, where some 200,000 people have died and more than 2 million people driven from their homes, aid agencies say. After that outpouring of support, Anderson wanted to see Darfur for himself. On a tour of Darfur with aid group Oxfam America this month, Anderson was surprised to hear Sudanese teens ask for the training and materials to turn their refugee camps into permanent towns. "They want to move forward with their lives and build structures that are made of bricks, not of plastic sheets," said Anderson, 18, Oxfam's U.S. youth ambassador whose job is to reach out to high school and college students. "Everyone I encountered was really gung-ho about rebuilding," Anderson, of Conway, Massachusetts, said in an interview this week. "They just need the tools, and we as Americans can help provide those things." "Talking to these kids, I recognized myself and I recognized my friends," Anderson said. "They're all talking about popular music and sports stars." Of the money Anderson helped raise, $75,000 went to Oxfam, with the balance going to the Save Darfur Coalition and the International Rescue Committee, according to an Oxfam spokeswoman.

The following op-ed by Vaclav Havel appeared in Monday's Daily Star (Lebanon). 

What the world must do for Darfur

The critical conditions that continue to prevail in Darfur are causing immense suffering to its people. Both sides of the conflict - the government of Sudan and its allied forces, as well as all the opposition groups in Darfur - must understand that civilians should no longer fall victim to their political disputes.

The Sudanese government's consent to the deployment of the hybrid United Nations-African Union mission, which aims to keep peace in the region, is of course a welcome development. But the mandate of this mission must be strong enough to allow for full protection of the civilian population. Moreover, the force must have sufficient manpower, capacity, and funding to put this vital objective into practice efficiently. The countries and institutions that have committed additional funds in order to help secure the success of this mission - notably France, Spain, and the European Commission - should all be applauded.

It is important for international actors to assure Sudan's government that the UN-AU mission will not strive for regime change in the country or otherwise exceed its peacekeeping mandate. At the same time, the Sudanese government must be fully aware that only by adhering to past commitments and by cooperating in helping to prepare, deploy, and maintain the mission will the international community be encouraged to continue its support.

As for the Darfur opposition, the recent efforts by some of its leaders to overcome fragmentation and reunify their movement are a welcome development. It is essential that all major opposition groups achieve agreement about their aims and negotiating positions. Only then can they act as credible partners of the international community and the Sudanese government. All parties to the conflict must realize that, ultimately, there is no way to end their dispute other than through an equitable and sustainable peace agreement endorsed by all stakeholders. The return of internally displaced persons and due care for them must be a core component of any such arrangement.

Responsible people around the globe, particularly politicians and journalists, must remain focused on Darfur. For the grievances and harm suffered daily by millions of victims and refugees remain as gruesome as ever, notwithstanding the fatigue from the prolonged conflict that some may perceive. Now that there are signs of possible stabilization in the months to come, it is time to start preparing for increased volumes of international reconstruction and development assistance, in addition to humanitarian aid.

Economically advanced countries in particular should meet their global responsibility and help Darfur move toward renewal and prosperity. This increased assistance should emerge from an extension or re-focusing of national development cooperation programs. Additionally, international arrangements aiming at effective use of synergies should be carefully explored.

In facilitating the complex relations between the international community and the local actors in Darfur, the UN currently plays an indispensable role and must be actively supported. China in particular should use its considerable influence in Sudan to bring the country's decision-makers to a definitive peaceful settlement of the dispute.

Moreover, because Darfur is emblematic of wider difficulties in the world, the international community must look beyond the immediate circumstances of the conflict and increase efforts to deal with the threats that have played a role in the disaster, such as climate change and environmental degradation. Indeed, the accelerating expansion of deserts will likely lead to a decrease of agricultural yields from the surrounding areas, acute deterioration of the availability of water, and possibly to further conflicts and displacement of people.

Similar conditions exist - or may begin to exist - in several locations worldwide. So the global nature of this problem must be recognized and addressed in places where environmental degradation is already bringing about a dangerous deterioration in peoples' lives. Where such damage looms as a threat, early prevention is required.

The article is signed by Vaclav Havel, Prince Hassan Bin Talal, Andre Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, Mike Moore, Michael Novak, Mary Robinson, Yohei Sasakawa, Karel Schwarzenberg, George Soros, Desmond Tutu, and Richard von Weizsacker.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].

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