The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

November 1, 2022

Reuters: US officials try to delay Sudan divestment bill. The Bush administration is seeking to delay Senate action on a bill authorizing states to divest assets in companies doing business with Sudan, a letter made public on Wednesday said. Twenty states have initiated some form of divestment from companies that do business with, or in Sudan, congressional aides said. But the letter from the State Department to Senate leaders argues that the legislation, which attempted to provide a legal framework for such divestment, interferes with presidential foreign policy. Some state divestment laws have been challenged in the courts. Activists denounced the State Department letter, saying it was another example of bureaucracy trumping action on Sudan. The Bush administration has focused its Sudan policy on sanctions and support for U.N. efforts to solve the crisis. The Senate Banking Committee on Oct. 17 approved the divestment bill 21-0. Sponsored by Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd, it would let states and local governments and private asset fund managers, if they choose, adopt measures to divest from companies involved in four key business sectors in Sudan. With bipartisan support, the bill had seemed headed for floor action soon. It was unclear what impact the objections from the State Department would have. "This letter directly repudiates what the president himself has said about urgently protecting the Darfuri people and increasing pressure on all responsible parties. Almost five years into the Darfur tragedy it seems that bureaucratic wrangling has consistently trumped urgent efforts to end the suffering and dying. We must do more now," said Allyn Brooks-LaSure, spokesman for the Save the Darfur Coalition. The group says the Sudanese government uses up to 70 percent of its oil revenue, generated mainly through foreign direct investment, to give arms and supplies to the Janjaweed militia accused of the killings in Darfur.

Associated Press: Sudan Tries to Clear Out Darfur Refugees. Sudanese officials have been pressuring people to leave refugee camps in its wartorn Darfur province in recent weeks, and United Nations officials say the regime has even forcibly loaded some civilians onto trucks to clear them out. Rights activists say Sudan hopes to empty the camps before January, when a U.N.-African Union force of 26,000 peacekeepers is to deploy in Darfur. Some refugee leaders think the Arab-dominated regime wants to scatter the ethnic African refugees before a national census. Sudanese officials agree they want the camps to close, saying the camps have become too big, squalid and dangerous and have made refugees too dependent on humanitarian aid. They insist, however, that no one is being forced to leave. But this week, U.N. officials said they had evidence Sudanese government forces were chasing refugees out of at least one camp — Otash, which houses 60,000 people on the outskirts of south Darfur's capital, Nyala. "Given that security forces were threatening the displaced with sticks and rubber hoses at Otash camp, the involuntary nature of this relocation is clear," the United Nations' humanitarian chief, John Holmes, said in a statement. Most Darfur refugees agree conditions at camps are bad, but they say they have nowhere else to go because their villages remain too dangerous. "Do you think we like living here? Do you think we have a choice?" Husseina Mukhtar said recently at Otash, before the incident reported by the U.N. but when an increase in government harassment of refugees was already evident. As she spoke, the stench of overflowing latrines hung over the camp, a result of officials refusing to allow any more latrines to be built.

Associated Press: EU force readying to deploy around Darfur despite French charity fiasco. An EU peacekeeping force for countries bordering Darfur will deploy in the second half of November, officials said Wednesday, despite tensions over a French charity's bungled effort to take children out of the region. The force will deploy according to plan, between Nov. 15 and Dec. 1, in Chad and the Central African Republic to help refugees on their border with Darfur, two European officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. While the preparations for the force were getting under way, the debacle over the French charity raised concerns that the force could face a rocky start. The incident has strained relations between France and Chad. France has led the push for the peacekeepers, which Chad initially had resisted. About half the 3,000-strong force will be French. However, Chad's president assured France this week that the incident would not affect plans for the EU force. European officials involved in the force would not comment on the charity debacle, insisting it was a political matter and not a military one.

Reuters: Most Of Chad Case Children "Not Orphans": U.N. Most of the 103 African children which a French group had planned to fly out of Chad were not orphans as the group had claimed, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday. A UNHCR spokeswoman in Chad said information derived from interviews with the children carried out by U.N. agencies and the Red Cross contradicted statements by the French group Zoe's Ark which had described them as sick and destitute orphans from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. "They are not orphans and they were not sitting alone in the desert in Chad, they were living with their families in communities," Annette Rehrl of UNHCR told Reuters in Chad. Officials from UNHCR, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been caring for the children, 21 girls and 82 boys aged between one and 10 years, at an Abeche orphanage. They had been asking them about their families and where they came from. "During interviews with humanitarian staff, 91 children said they had been living with their families consisting of at least one adult they considered to be their parent," the English version of a joint U.N. and Red Cross report said. Some of the children had already told journalists their parents were still alive and they were lured from their villages on the Chad-Sudan border with offers of sweets and biscuits.

Agence France Presse: Sudan's Beshir blames 'external intervention' for Darfur problems. Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir blamed Britain, France and the United States for "the problems in Sudan in general", particularly in Darfur, in an interview published Thursday. Speaking to The Guardian from Khartoum, Beshir also called on the British government to issue a public apology for undermining recent talks in Libya on the humanitarian crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur by threatening sanctions against the government if the talks failed. Beshir told the newspaper that in his eyes, "Britain, the United States and France, throughout, they adopted all the resolutions to punish the government of Sudan in the international arena and institutions." "What we suffer here and in Darfur in particular and the problems in Sudan in general are caused by these three powers, Britain, France and the United States." He said that if the peace talks in Sirte, Libya, failed, "it will be the responsibility of the external interventions, particularly from Britain, France and the United States." Key rebel groups boycotted the African Union and United Nations-sponsored talks, and Beshir said that Brown's remarks served to encourage them.

The following editorial appeared in today's New York Times.

Playing Sudan’s Game

After four years of genocidal massacres that have killed more than 200,000 people, the Darfur region of Sudan desperately needs a peace agreement and a robust multinational force to carry it out. Regrettably, this week’s internationally sponsored peace conference in Libya is doing little to meet those urgent needs.

The problem is not just Sudan’s continuing duplicity — it announced a cease-fire and then promptly violated it. Sudan does not really want a peace agreement. It merely wants more time to let the janjaweed militias it backs in Darfur finish killing or drive off what remains of the region’s non-Arab population.

Many of the rebel groups that claim to be Darfur’s defenders also bear serious responsibility. Some of the best-known rebel leaders failed to show up. And so, the killing is likely to proceed, with Sudan taking maximum advantage of the rebel’s fecklessness, the diplomatic timidity of those closest to it and the failure of an Iraq-distracted Bush administration to pay consistent, high-level attention to the Darfur issue.

The Arab League, to which Sudan belongs, and China, a major customer for Sudan’s oil, have at least started talking about Darfur. But they have yet to apply real pressure on Khartoum.

The Arab League is reportedly readying proposals for Darfur’s future economic development that all but overlook the far more pressing problem of creating the peace that is essential for development. China’s tepid complaints seem aimed more at fending off Darfur-related protests at next year’s Beijing Olympics than stopping the slaughter. President Bush’s words on Darfur have been admirably strong, but he has not followed up with the high-level diplomacy and focus needed to rally effective international pressure on Sudan.

These failures, large and small, go a long way toward explaining why the killing continues monthly despite worldwide protests, White House speeches, American sanctions, African peacekeepers and Security Council resolutions. They make it easier for Sudan to take credit for announcing cease-fires that it has no intention of honoring, agreeing to peacekeepers that it has no intention of cooperating with and attending peace conferences that have no realistic possibility of bringing peace.

Meanwhile, the genocide goes on.


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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