The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 17, 2023

Reuters: U.N. Says Violence Increasing In Darfur Camps. Violence is increasing in camps for displaced people in Darfur, where nearly a quarter million people have been displaced so far this year, a U.N. report said on Monday. The United Nations said rising violence in the overcrowded camps of the remote region of western Sudan was making it harder to carry out humanitarian aid work to help the thousands of newcomers arriving each week. "Over 240,000 people have been newly displaced or re-displaced during 2007," the U.N. report said. "In many IDP (internally displaced people) camps, armed elements are present, and violent incidents are increasing." "During August, humanitarian activities had to be suspended in several camps due to insecurity," the report added. Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said "the slightly more energised peace process" in Darfur and the pending deployment of a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force may help calm the region. But she said Sudan was doing little to prosecute those responsible for ongoing crimes in Darfur, including for sexual attacks against women living in camps.

Washington Post: In China, a Display of Resolve on Darfur. The Chinese military put on a display of its first Darfur-bound peacekeepers Saturday, having troops throw up Bailey bridges and feign combat to dramatize Beijing's desire to be seen as a partner in bringing peace to the violence-torn corner of Sudan. The training demonstration, by an engineering unit of the People's Liberation Army, was observed by foreign journalists as part of a new campaign by the Chinese government to show that it is cooperating with the United States and other nations to end the Darfur fighting, which since 2003 has displaced about 2.5 million people and contributed to the deaths of as many as 450,000 from violence and disease. Military engineers wearing U.N.-blue caps worked feverishly to build a stretch of road, erect a bridge and put together a prefab shelter designed to serve as a headquarters building. Force protection troops, meanwhile, simulated reacting to an ambush and sped about the training grounds here in armored personnel carriers in what an army announcer called "a military training show." In another facet of China's initiative, its special diplomatic envoy for Darfur, Liu Guijin, repeatedly has sought in Washington and at the United Nations to broadcast China's role in persuading the Sudanese government to drop its opposition to a full U.N. peacekeeping force. With Olympic enthusiasm high among the Chinese public, anything that casts a shadow over the Games would become a political problem for President Hu Jintao and the party. The training exercises, at this base in Henan province 400 miles south of Beijing, involved a 315-man force of military engineers who are scheduled to deploy to Darfur early next month. Their mission, officers said, is to lay groundwork for the full U.N. peacekeeping force by building roads, bridges and landing strips.

Associated Press: Protests Urge Swift Darfur Action. Protesters held demonstrations in several countries on Sunday to urge world leaders and the U.N. General Assembly to work harder to end the crisis in Darfur. Hundreds of activists rallied in London, many donning black blindfolds to symbolize the international community's failure to act since vowing to stop atrocities in Darfur two years ago. Demonstrators in Rome wore white T-shirts with a bloodstained hand on the front and marched to the central Piazza Farnese. The protesters carried a peace torch, which they said was lit in Chad, where hundreds of thousands from Darfur now live in refugee camps. Organizers planned protests in more than 30 countries, including Australia, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Mongolia, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States. They said the international community had become complacent since the U.N. Security Council approved plans on July 31 for a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for the vast, war-battered region in western Sudan. The deployment of the joint African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force faces delays, however, due to a lack of aviation, transport and logistics units, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said. ''The world has acknowledged the atrocities in Darfur. And its leaders have promised to end them. Now they must fulfill that promise,'' said Colleen Connors from Globe for Darfur, a coalition of aid groups working in Darfur.

The Observer (UK): Darfur: a glimmer of hope on horizon. A real and unprecedented opportunity for peace in Darfur is emerging after breakthrough talks between Britain and Khartoum last week, according to the UK's key envoy to the region, Mark Malloch Brown. A new optimism is building ahead of next month's crucial talks between some 13 rebel factions and the Sudanese government in Libya. Malloch Brown, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, met Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday. He said that the meeting had run on for twice as long as scheduled and that the two men had discussed 'with some emotion' the ancient ties between Britain and Sudan and prospects for lasting peace in the troubled Darfur region. 'There suddenly seems a lot of straws to grasp at,' said Malloch Brown. But he emphasised: 'The Sudanese government did some terrible things and we stood up against them,' adding: 'There is no room here for blind trust or naivety.' Malloch Brown believes that 'despite cynicism' the celebrity pressure worked and praised an 'exciting new activism' that was springing up among ordinary Americans. 'The Save Darfur Coalition has done a fantastic job of keeping the pressure on the American public. Bush and Blair both had a great deal of personal passion about Darfur. But there's a limit to what leaders can do if there isn't a heavy level of concern from the public.'

Associated Press: Female celebrities, activists call for Darfur cease-fire. Female celebrities and activists urged world leaders on Saturday to demand an immediate cease-fire in Sudan's Darfur region and the swift deployment of an expanded peacekeeping force there. The women — including American actress Mia Farrow and Australian writer Germaine Greer — made the statement in an open letter to newspapers around the world ahead of next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting to discuss the Darfur crisis. The letter also came just before the Global Day for Darfur, street protests planned on Sunday in countries such as Britain, the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa and Japan to call for action in Darfur. Organizers of the protests include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Save Darfur Coalition, and some of the demonstrators are expected to wear blindfolds while urging world leaders not to "look away now." "The crisis in Darfur and eastern Chad remains one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The international community must not look the other way as the situation deteriorates," said the letter by the 26 activists, eight of whom recently traveled to the western Sudanese region. Other signatories of the letter included Dame Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder who died in England earlier this week; Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Kerry Kennedy, the founder of America's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights; models Elle Macpherson and Eva Padberg; and actress Cate Blanchett.

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

Olympics Bound

China sees the 2008 Olympics, to which it is playing host, as an international coming-out party for its rising global economic, political and military power. Which is why China’s president, Hu Jintao, lobbied so hard to persuade President Bush to accept his invitation to the opening ceremonies. Mr. Bush was right to agree, although we wish he had played a lot harder to get.

China’s Olympic bid was controversial from the start. Human Rights Watch notes that the 2008 Games will be the first since the 1984 Games in Sarajevo to be held in an undemocratic country. Some critics continue to call for protests or a boycott because of China’s abysmal human rights record and its inaction on Darfur.

Beijing promised the International Olympic Committee it would allow accredited foreign journalists “complete freedom to report” in China before and during the games — and in 2006 it unveiled new, temporary regulations to that effect. But Human Rights Watch says these regulations have been ignored or denied and there has been scant letup in the detention, harassment and intimidation of foreign reporters. The government also maintains a “stranglehold” on the activities of domestic journalists, the rights group says.

Meanwhile, dissidents have been put under house arrest, the homeless swept off the streets. Under pressure from the United States and threats from Hollywood celebrities, China has been taking steps to help end the four-year conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made homeless. However, as a leading consumer of Sudanese oil, it has not wielded its obvious economic leverage with the Khartoum government to greatest effect.

The United States-China relationship is complicated and Beijing’s cooperation is needed to resolve some of the most challenging problems on Mr. Bush’s agenda, including North Korea, Iran and the trade deficit. Mr. Bush very likely earned some good will by accepting Mr. Hu’s Olympic invitation when the two met earlier this month at a regional meeting in Sydney.

Officials say the White House decided to accept now to soften the blow of Mr. Bush’s decision to attend next month’s ceremony in Washington where the Dalai Lama — the exiled spiritual leader who is seeking autonomy for Tibet from Beijing — is to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. And they say Mr. Bush privately urged Mr. Hu to allow the Dalai Lama to visit China before the Olympics next August. There has been no commitment by Beijing, but White House aides remain hopeful.

We suspect that Mr. Bush might have gotten even more leverage if he had put off his acceptance until closer to the games. Since he did not, however, American officials must be even more vigilant in the coming months in pressing China to relax restrictions on foreign and domestic reporters, and to give space to political dissidents and religious worshipers. The international media ought to use any access it gets to report on human rights developments in China, not just the buildup to the Olympics.

More than anything, administration officials need to remind the Chinese that the whole world will be watching, and that the Olympics, which extol human dignity in sports competition, give China an opportunity to prove that it truly has advanced as far as it claims.


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].

African Voices
Join the Darfur Consortium


Action Professionals Association for the People

Aegis Trust Rwanda

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

African Center for Development

African Center for Justice and Peace Studies

Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR)

African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)

The Ahueni Foundation

Alliances for Africa

Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies

Andalus Institute for Tolerance

Anti-Slavery International

Arab Coalition for Darfur

Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

Association Africaine de Defense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE)

Centre for Research Education and Development of Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights (CREDO)

Citizens for Global Solutions

Conscience International

Conseil National Pour les Libertés en Tunisie

Darfur Alert Coalition (DAC)

Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development

Darfur Leaders Network (DLN)

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO)

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre

East Africa Law Society

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Femmes Africa Solidarité

La Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

Forum of African Affairs (FOAA)

Human Rights First

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa

Institute for Security Studies

Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH)


International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya)

International Refugee Rights Initiative

Justice Africa

Justice and Peace Commission

Lawyers for Human Rights

Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections

Legal Resources Consortium-Nigeria

Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme

Makumira University College, Tumaini University

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Minority Rights Group

National Association of Seadogs

Never Again International

Open Society Justice Initiative

Pan-African Movement

Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone STAND Chapter

Sisters' Arabic Forum for Human Rights (SAF)

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT)

Syrian Organization for Human Rights

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Universal Human Rights Network


Women Initiative Nigeria (WIN)

©2007 Darfur Consortium. Design by Deirdre Reznik