The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

December 4, 2022

Reuters: U.S. Presses Sudan, Experts Query Peacekeeper Plan. The U.N. Security Council may need to meet within weeks to consider new sanctions against Sudan unless Khartoum quickly accepts a U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, a top U.S. diplomat said on Monday. But some experts at a conference on Darfur said the peacekeeping force could be a waste of money or even an "occupation" force, and they urged more effort to address extreme poverty as the cause of the Darfur crisis. But now Sudan was throwing up obstacles and failing to meet its commitments, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad said. "The Security Council's credibility is on the line," he told the conference at New York's Columbia University. "If there's no cooperation, the Security Council will need to reconvene to discuss the issue of what to do to bring about compliance," he said, criticizing Sudan for "foot-dragging." Khalilzad said the world should be "unrelenting" in pressing Sudan, which has agreed in principle to the force of 26,000 troops. "If the Sudanese government fails to meet its obligations, (the Security Council) should be willing to respond by increasing pressure and consider imposing sanctions," he said. Asked after his speech when he thought the 15-member council, which includes Sudan's close ally China, should reconvene to take such action, Khalilzad said "within weeks." He said that meant before the end of the year, when the UN-AU force is due to take over command from an existing AU force that has been hampered by lack of funds and equipment.

Associated Press: UN Chief Urges Arrest of Abuse Suspects. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all nations Monday to help arrest two Sudanese accused of crimes against humanity and five Ugandans accused of abducting thousands of children and turning them into fighters or sex slaves. Ban's appeal came before the annual two-week meeting of the International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands, which has issued warrants for the arrests of the seven men. ''I urge all member states to do everything within their powers to assist in enforcing these warrants,'' Ban said, stressing that ''the single most important determinant of success for any international tribunals is cooperation.'' Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, reiterated again that ''our people will not be handed over to the Hague for any trial.'' ''The Security Council is a political organization and this (court) is a legal body, not part of the U.N. apparatus, and the secretary-general and the Security Council has no role at all in these things,'' Mohamad said. ''Our judiciary system is very capable of trying whoever is accused.'' The court can prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity but steps in only when countries are unwilling or unable to handle justice themselves. Sudan is not one of the 105 countries that have ratified the 1998 Rome statute establishing the court, but the U.N. Security Council referred the Darfur case to the court in 2005, requiring that Sudan's government and all other parties cooperate. The tribunal has issued arrest warrants for former Sudanese interior minister Ahmed Muhammed Harun, who oversaw security in Darfur and was appointed Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister after his indictment was announced, and Ali Kushayb, known as a ''colonel of colonels'' among the Arab militias that have terrorized Darfur villages.

Associated Press: Writers Fault Leaders on Summit Omission. Some of the best known writers in Europe and Africa criticized leaders in their continents for not placing the plight of people in Darfur and Zimbabwe at the center of an upcoming summit. The Dec. 8-9 EU-Africa summit in Portugal is to address governance and human rights, peace and security, migration, energy and climate change, and trade. "What can one say of this political cowardice?" more than a dozen top writers said in the letter. The writers said the meeting should include special sessions to discuss the suffering of people in Zimbabwe and Sudan's western Darfur region. Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian Nobel literature laureate who signed the letter, said in a separate statement that the summit offered a chance to address both crises. "However, our leaders — by putting their own desire to avoid a confrontation ahead of the suffering of millions — are squandering this opportunity and doing us all a disservice," Soyinka said. Other signatories include Vaclav Havel, Guenter Grass, Roddy Doyle and Tom Stoppard from Europe; and J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Gillian Slovo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Africa.

Reuters: Veteran Politicians Urge Darfur Deployment. A group of veteran politicians formed by Nelson Mandela urged the international community on Tuesday to supply equipment needed to allow a joint U.N-African Union to deploy to Darfur in western Sudan. They also said the north-south partners in Sudan's coalition government should accept international mediation to end a two-month stand-off that threatens to tear apart Africa's largest country. "Darfuris are eager and in some cases desperate for the arrival of the UNAMID force," the report from the so-called Elders said of a planned joint U.N./AU mission to the region. "If anything, their expectations are dangerously high." "We need a hybrid U.N.-AU force in Darfur with sufficient equipment and support. We need it now." U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno has cast doubt on deployment of the mission because of Sudan's restrictions on its movements and refusal to accept non-African troops. Western nations have also not provided vital equipment such as attack and transport helicopters needed by the force. "We urge you to ask your government to increase pledges of troops, funding, and equipment," the report said. "We urge the government in Khartoum to facilitate their entry." "We chose Darfur as our first mission because it is a blight on the conscience of humanity," the report said. "The success of the CPA is Darfur's dream; its failure is Darfur's nightmare," The Elders said. "This is of critical importance to the Darfur crisis and central to peace and security in Sudan."

The following editorial appeared in Monday's San Antonio Express-News.

One dream: An end to killing in Darfur

A deadline now looms to implement a U.N. Security Council plan to replace the beleaguered 7,000-man African Union peace monitoring force in Darfur with a more robust, 26,000-member U.N. force.

The word "peace" is a bit artful because after at least 200,000 deaths and 2.5 million people made refugees, the violence continues.

U.N. peacekeepers are supposed to start operating on Jan. 1. But the U.N.'s top peacekeeping official says the Sudanese government is throwing up obstacles that make the deployment of the peacekeepers impossible.

After agreeing to accept the force last summer, the government of Omar al-Bashir now says troops from non-African militaries may not participate.

And bureaucratic restrictions are impairing the capabilities of U.N. peacekeepers who can enter Darfur.

While al-Bashir is unresponsive to the pleas of the international community, he does heed the advice of his Chinese business partners. Seventy-one percent of Sudanese exports, mostly oil, goes to China, while 21 percent of the country's imports comes from China.

The grass-roots movement to put pressure on China has proven to be the only meaningful lever in Khartoum. That movement has two focuses: divestment from foreign companies that empower Sudan's genocidal policies, and the Beijing Olympics.

The theme of the 2008 games is, ironically, "One world, one dream." According to media reports, after China won the selection process in 2001, its vice president of the Olympic Games bid committee said, "By allowing Beijing to host the Games, you will help the development of human rights."

Even in his own country, this is a debatable proposition. But especially in Sudan, China has served as a silent conspirator in vast human rights violations.

Today, the Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay comes to San Antonio. The relay, an international effort, shines a spotlight on China's crucial role in ending the carnage in Darfur.

The first step in that process is getting the U.N. peacekeeping force on the ground without delay.

The following op-ed by Nancy J. Kemper, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, and Andrew Pepperstone, president of the Louisville Board of Rabbis and Cantors, appeared in Monday's Lexington Herald-Leader.

Darfur's people need our help

How long will decent people let the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan continue? More than three years ago, Congress and President Bush named the violence in Darfur what it is: genocide. Yet it continues.

After the Holocaust, the world said: "Never again." After the horror of Rwanda, the world said: "Never again." We want to know when "never," with regard to Darfur, will finally begin.

Since 2003, the Sudanese government and its proxy militia, the janjaweed, have been conducting a scorched-earth campaign against targeted African communities in Darfur, an area in western Sudan the size of Texas. With extensive support from the Sudanese military, the janjaweed has terrorized and killed civilians, raped women and girls and burned villages to the ground. Nearly a half-million people have been slaughtered.

When, please tell us, does "never again" begin?

With nearly 4.2 million people in need of humanitarian aid -- more than 2 million of whom have been displaced from their homes to live in makeshift camps dispersed through out the regions -- the genocide has gone on and on and on.

Despite condemnation from the international community and countless U.N Security Council resolutions, Khartoum has not taken any steps to disarm the janjaweed or to end attacks on civilians. The government, shrugging its shoulders at the U.N. arms embargo, continues to fly weapons into the region and does little to discourage the ever-growing number of splinter rebel groups in order to keep the chaos going.

We are reminded of the prophet Jeremiah who cried out against the rulers and people of his time: "For from the least to the greatest of them everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace. They have acted shamefully, they have committed abomination; yet they were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush."

Are we not embarrassed by the outrageous acts destroying innocent people in Darfur? It is time to do more than to shake our fingers and label the events of the past three years as genocide. It is time to use some muscle, and exercise the real clout that is based in economics. If we do not, we are party to the abominations and shameful acts.

The Sudanese government depends heavily on foreign investment to fund its military campaign in Darfur. For example, more than 70 percent of Sudan's oil revenue is used to buy or produce the military equipment Sudan uses against its own citizens.

While U.S. sanctions prevent American-owned companies from doing business in Sudan, many U.S. companies, mutual funds and individuals are unwittingly financing the Sudanese atrocities through their investments in foreign companies that operate in Sudan.

Federal divestment legislation -- House Resolution 180, which passed in July in the House by a vote of 418 to 1, and a similar Senate bill, the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (S. 2271), which was introduced in October -- could go a long way toward dramatically increasing economic pressure on the Sudanese government by prohibiting U.S. government contracts with all foreign companies whose business helps fund the Sudanese campaign in Darfur.

These companies which engage in the oil, energy, mineral extraction and weapons industries would be forced to choose between contracts with the U.S. government and business with Khartoum.

Citizens who are bothered by the catastrophe in Darfur should know that the Bush administration has slowed the progress on this legislation, fearing that it might endanger some current diplomatic activities with Sudan.

American people of conscience know that time has already run out for too many people. Thanks to the efforts of citizens throughout the nation, 21 states have already enacted Sudan divestment measures. Now it's time for the U.S. Senate to stand up and demonstrate that America isn't just giving lip service to opposing to genocide. If the Senate fails to act, a critical opportunity will be lost.

Ask Kentucky's senators, Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning: When does "never again" really begin? Tell them to vote for the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act.

Now is the time to act for our brothers and sisters in Darfur.


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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