The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

December 7 , 2007

New York Times: Lack of Donated Copters Harms Darfur Effort, U.N. Leader Says. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that the refusal of countries to donate helicopters for the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur was endangering the scheduled start of operations three weeks from now. “Without the mobility and transportation, it will be extremely difficult for us to deploy our forces,” Mr. Ban told reporters outside the Security Council chamber. “And even if they are deployed, without effective additional mobility capacity, we will not be able to protect the civilians and even our own soldiers.” “We need on-the-ground capability, specifically helicopters,” Mr. Ban said. “We’re not getting them. Because of that, the entire mission is at risk.” He spoke after he sent a letter to the Council that appealed for help in securing 24 helicopters. Without them, he wrote, the force “will lack critical mobility and resupply capacity, which would fundamentally jeopardize its ability to carry out its mission.” Mr. Ban said that he had raised the issue with senior leaders of industrialized and major developing nations at every stop on his recent trips through South America and Europe and that he had cornered heads of government at the Middle East conference last week in Maryland. Asked what reasons countries had given for resisting his pleas, Mr. Ban said: “I think it is a matter of political will. I know that, and I appreciate the circumstances where many countries, potential contributing countries, are overstretched in their critical assets.” “Without that permission to operate the nighttime planes,” Mr. Ban said, “we may not be able to operate, particularly in cases of emergency.” Earlier Thursday, the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, told the Council that 280,000 people had been forced to flee the violence in Darfur this year, that attacks on aid workers and their convoys had reached “unprecedented levels” and that national authorities were closing off access to areas “where there are tens of thousands of civilians in severe need.”

Reuters: Action Sought on Darfur And Mugabe At EU - Africa Summit. Human rights groups urged European and African leaders gathering for their first summit in seven years on Friday to act on Sudan's Darfur crisis and confront Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe over rights abuses. Activists hoped the 73 leaders from the world's largest trading bloc and its poorest continent would put rights at the top of their agenda at the summit, which will aim to create fresh partnerships on issues like immigration and development. A group of 40 African and European parliamentarians was joined by 50 human rights groups in urging the leaders to tackle the plight of thousands of civilians in Sudan's Darfur region. "MPs, campaigners and human rights activists are all asking the same question: how can our leaders ignore one of the world's worst crises?" asked Glenys Kinnock, a member of the European Parliament. "Especially when (Sudanese) President (Omar Hassan al-) Bashir, the man primarily responsible for so much of the suffering, is in their midst," she said in a statement.

Reuters: EU rights champion urges Europe to act on Darfur. The winner of the European Union's top human rights prize demanded on Tuesday that the bloc take a more active role in resolving the Darfur crisis, saying it could not simply stand by during "genocide". Speaking before an EU-Africa summit this weekend, Sudanese lawyer Salih Mahmoud Osman called on the EU to commit troops for a Darfur peace force and help bring rights abusers to justice. "Europe has always been talking tough about the policies of the government of Sudan, but we don't see acts," he told a news briefing in Brussels. "Europe is confused, it is divided on the issue of Darfur. The EU hasn't any unified political will." "Europe keeping silent and watching while genocide is happening will never be accepted," he said. "We are surprised if you are waiting for the number to increase to 800,000, as happened in Rwanda, then you call it genocide -- when it is too late. That is not acceptable. We expect more from you, we expect you to take steps to prevent our children from being raped, from being killed." Osman, an opposition member of the Sudanese parliament who works for the Sudan Organisation Against Torture, was in October named the winner of the European Parliament's annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Boston Globe: 'Darfur Now' is an eye-opening plea for help. "Darfur Now" isn't another documentary about the genocide in western Sudan. It's about what some people are trying to do to stop that genocide, and how you and I might try, too, if we could ever get off our duffs and past our atrocity fatigue. Slick, impassioned, and guardedly upbeat, Ted Braun's film is a morale booster aimed at US audiences rather than the 2.5 million displaced Sudanese tribespeople whose villages have been destroyed and families slaughtered. That we need a pick-me-up more than they do is pathetic, but there you are. Braun focuses on six individuals coming at the crisis from different directions and in different countries. In the Hamadea camp near the border with Chad, Ahmed Mohammed Abakar serves as the local sheik; himself a refugee, he's the fixer for 47,000 people desperate for safety and services. Hejewa Adam is a former villager who has joined the rebel forces after the Janjaweed militia killed her 3-month-old son; to her, "fighting is normal, like drinking water." In the Hague, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court sifts the evidence as he prepares indictments and arrest warrants against the Sudanese officials who unleashed the Janjaweed. Pablo Recalde, a relief worker from Ecuador, organizes trucks to ferry 40,000 tons of food per month to the refugee camps; it's a good day when his convoys aren't hijacked. In the States, UCLA grad Adam Sterling hands out fliers to bladers on Venice Beach and agitates for the passage of a bill that would force California to divest from Sudan. In nearby Hollywood, actor Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda") uses his celebrity status and famous friends like George Clooney to bring attention to the region, despairing of the US government's lack of initiative. "We're the highest-ranking delegation to visit [the region]," Cheadle stews. "That's embarrassing." That argument is simple: You can do it too, dude, so why don't you want to? "If we bottle half the enthusiasm that gets people to phone into 'American Idol,' it's a done deal," says Sterling in youthful optimism. Leave it to Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine junta survivor, to sound a less rosy note about the ICC's ability to prosecute war criminals. "If this court is not working well," he says, "in 25 years the world will be like 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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