The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

December 6 , 2007

Agence France Presse: UN officials in Sudan to discuss Darfur peacekeeping force. UN chief Ban Ki-moon is dispatching two top aides to discuss the make-up of a proposed UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur with the president of Sudan, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. UN Assistant Secretary General for peacekeeping operations Edmond Mulet and Ban's deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo travel to Lisbon on Thursday to meet with Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. Bashir will be in the Portuguese capital attending a European Union-Africa summit this weekend. The UN officials will try to persuade Beshir to lift his objections to UN plans to include soldiers from Nepal, Thailand and Scandinavian countries in an international peacekeeping force of 26,000 for Darfur. African soldiers are expected to make up the bulk of the force. Getting the UN-African Union force off the ground has been beset by logistical problems, especially the world body's inability to get any of its member states to provide 24 helicopters for critical air mobility and firepower.

New York Times: Official Urges Arrest of 2 Darfur Suspects. The lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged the Security Council on Wednesday to put pressure on Sudan to arrest and surrender two men indicted by the tribunal last spring for war crimes in Darfur. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, said one of the two, Ahmad Haroun, a government minister, was at the center of new violence against civilians and was being shielded by the Sudanese authorities. He said the second man, Ali Kushayb, a leader of the government-backed Arab janjaweed militias, had been detained in Sudan but then released “for lack of evidence.” Not only has Sudan not cooperated in turning over Mr. Haroun, it has named him its humanitarian affairs minister, and put him in charge of hearing human rights complaints from Darfur victims and of monitoring the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force scheduled to deploy in Darfur next month, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted. “Ahmad Haroun, a man charged with 50 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, should not be entrusted his victims’ safety,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. “He must be arrested.” Rights groups following the Darfur crisis have taken a keen interest in the Haroun case, and at a lunch at The New York Times with reporters and editors on Monday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked why he had not spoken out more forcefully about it. “There seems to have been a misunderstanding when it comes to the specific issue of Mr. Haroun,” Mr. Ban said. “It is true that I have not dealt with this matter in a public forum, but I have already spoken twice to President Bashir, in my telephone talks with him and in my private meetings with him when I was in Khartoum.” Richard Dicker, the director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, said Wednesday, “I think the secretary general has erred in placing so much reliance on quiet diplomacy with a government that is hellbent on obstructing justice and peacekeeping.” “My office will proceed to investigate who is bearing the greatest responsibility for ongoing attacks against civilians,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. “Who is maintaining Haroun in a position to commit crimes? Who is instructing him?”

Associated Press: Mia Farrow and Srebrenica survivors press China to help end abuses in Darfur. Srebrenica genocide survivors will join actress Mia Farrow's campaign urging China to press Sudan to end abuses in its Darfur region, the actress said Wednesday. Together with the association Mothers of Srebrenica, Farrow will on Friday light an Olympic-style torch which is touring countries that have suffered genocide. The Dream for Darfur Olympic torch was lit for the first time in August at the Darfur-Chad border and has so far toured Rwanda, Armenia and Germany. It is planned to pass Cambodia before reaching China in early 2008. "The aim is to push with all our mind on China which is the only leverage we have to stop the genocide and mass atrocities in Darfur," Farrow said in Sarajevo. The Mothers of Srebrenica association represents the survivors of Europe's worst massacre since World War II, when Bosnian Serb forces executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in this east Bosnian town in 1995. The World Court recognized the massacre as an act of genocide. "Who better understands that kind of suffering than the survivors here," the actress said. "We believe it is unacceptable for China to underwrite a genocide in Sudan while enjoying the prestige of hosting the Olympics, a pre-eminent symbol of international cooperation," the New York-based Dream for Darfur advocacy group says on its Web site. Farrow said "there is no way" the Sudanese government could "thumb its nose at the entire international community and the U.N. for five years without the full support of China."

Washington Post: Oasis in a Desert Of News Coverage. "Sand and Sorrow," the new HBO documentary about the ongoing tragedy in Darfur, is prefaced with a quotation from Albert Camus: "When there is no hope, one must invent hope." Easy for him to have said, perhaps; what is shown in the powerful and important film that follows might lead many viewers to ask whether they could invent even a hint of hope in such a manifestly desperate situation. It operates first from the supposition that what is happening to millions of men, women and children in Darfur is genocide, the kind of mass atrocity that was supposed to happen "never again" after the Nazi Holocaust. Elie Wiesel, the prevailing expert and scholar on that subject, laments late in the film that "the world has not learned from the lessons of the past," with Darfur the most prominently painful example. But merely labeling it genocide proved not so simple. The United States government took its own sweet time in doing that, Clooney says, even though the evidence shown and discussed in the film is overwhelming -- and includes very graphic footage of horribly mutilated bodies left rotting in the sun by the Janjaweed, "devils on horseback" who ride through villages slaying, burning and raping. The film wisely offers a condensed history of the conflict that has produced millions of refugees and untold thousands of dead and injured. In the narration -- written by producer-director-editor Paul Freedman -- Clooney criticizes not only what he sees as the quixotic foreign policy of the Bush administration but also the sleepy American media, especially network TV news. According to one study cited by Clooney, NBC devoted 130 minutes to the subject of Martha Stewart on its evening newscast in 2004 but only a scandalous three minutes to the horror in Darfur. The other networks did little better. Despite all the inducement to discouragement that is present in the facts, "Sand and Sorrow" didn't have to invent hope but instead found it in an unlikely place. In Batavia, Ill., high school students, welcoming two Rwandan refugees as guests, started a campaign to raise the community's consciousness about the plight of non-Arabs in Sudan. Their efforts are shown near the beginning and end of the film, with Clooney noting that these young citizens showed a greater willingness to act than did the federal government. One of the film's experts on Sudan notes the "cruel beauty" of Darfur's bleak landscape. There is beauty, too, in the faces of refugees even as they speak of the cruelty to which they've been subjected. One is struck by the bright colors of the women's garments, all the brighter against the dry hues of the desert -- cheerful, almost, in a bitterly ironic way.


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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