The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

December 22, 2022

Associated Press: UN says Darfur conflict shows no sign of ending. As the conflict in Darfur enters its sixth year, there is still widespread violence in the region, no sign of a political settlement and millions of civilians living in camps on lifesaving international aid, the U.N.'s peacekeeping chief said Friday. Alain Le Roy told the U.N. Security Council that the joint African Union-United Nations force that took over peacekeeping in Darfur almost a year ago "has been much too slow in providing real improvements for the ordinary citizens on the ground and inadequate in resolving the Darfur crisis." He said the U.N. must accelerate deployment of the 26,000-strong force, but stressed that "the fundamental responsibility for making real progress" lies with the government of Sudan and rebel groups which must stop fighting and start talking under U.N. mediator Djibrill Bassole.

Reuters: Darfur peacekeepers still need helicopters: U.N. U.N. peacekeeping efforts in Darfur have been hamstrung by the failure of countries to provide the force with helicopters and other vital equipment, a senior U.N. official said on Friday. Briefing the U.N. Security Council, U.N. under-secretary-general for peacekeeping Alain Le Roy said millions of people were living in refugee camps, including 100,000 driven from their homes in the last six months. "For over one year we have been requesting pledges for a multi-role logistics unit, a medium transport unit, a heavy transport unit, an aerial reconnaissance unit, light tactical helicopters, and 18 medium-utility helicopters," Le Roy said. "Pledges for these resources have been, and still are, outstanding," Le Roy said, urging countries with the capability to come up with the equipment without delay.

New York Times: Angry Youths Become a Force in Darfur. The agitated youth in this West Darfur refugee camp, young men and adolescents who traditionally would have deferred to his authority, had gotten wind of his presence at a ceremony also attended by an official with the Sudanese government, their longtime antagonists. Terrified that the youths would accuse him of treason, the sheik begged United Nations officials to rush to his aid and vouch that he had not even broached the topic of compromise involving his people's cause. The youths are known collectively as the "shabab," the Arabic word for young men. And they have become a vehemently pro-rebel political force in the camps for the 2.7 million people displaced by years of war between the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The following op-ed by Madeleine K. Albright and William S. Cohen appeared in Saturday's New York Times.  

Never Again, for Real

Some we see; others remain invisible to us. Some have names and faces; others we do not know. They are the victims of genocide and mass atrocities, their numbers too staggering to count.

This month was the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It has been 20 years since the United States became a party to the treaty. Despite six decades of efforts to prevent and halt systematic campaigns of massacres, forced displacements and mass rapes, such atrocities persist. Why are we still lacking the necessary institutions, policies and strategies?

It is not because the public doesn't care. We have seen a surge in interest in this country, galvanized by the crisis in Darfur and driven in large part by students and faith-based organizations. And it is not because our leaders do not care. Over the years, many champions in Congress and successive administrations have demanded more action to stop genocide.

When we were in the Clinton administration, we experienced firsthand the challenges of responding to such crises, sometimes because the political will was lacking, but more often because the American government simply does not have an established, coherent policy for preventing and responding to mass atrocities.

Moreover, a lack of dedicated resources for prevention and the absence of bureaucratic mechanisms allowing rapid analysis and response have impeded timely action. What is needed is a national blueprint to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.

Barack Obama should demonstrate at the outset of his presidency that preventing genocide is a national priority. No matter how one calculates American interests, national borders today provide little sanctuary from international problems. Left unchecked, genocide will undermine American security.

First, genocide fuels instability -- usually in weak, undemocratic, corrupt states. It is in these states that we find terrorist recruitment and training, human trafficking and civil strife.

Second, genocide and mass atrocities have long-lasting consequences that go far beyond the states in which they occur. Refugees flow into bordering countries and then across the globe. The need for humanitarian aid can quickly exceed the capacities and resources of a generous world. The international community, including the United States, is called on to absorb displaced people and to undertake relief efforts. And the longer we wait to act, the higher the price tag.

Third, America's standing in the world is eroded when we are perceived as bystanders to genocide. Yes, we must understand that preventing mass killings may eventually require military intervention, but this is always at the end of the list of intervention options, not the beginning. We must learn to recognize the early warning signs of genocide and move quickly to marshal international cooperation, to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against those who violate the norms of civilized behavior.

Success will require that the president summon political will not only during a crisis but before one emerges. This means taking on inertia within the government, investing political capital, doing the heavy lifting of persuasion. It means fending off critics and cynics. It means taking risks.

We are keenly aware that the incoming president's agenda will be daunting from Day One. But preventing genocide and mass atrocities is not an idealistic addition to our core foreign policy agenda. It is a moral and strategic imperative.

Madeleine K. Albright, the secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, and William S. Cohen, the secretary of defense from 1997 to 2001, are the co-chairmen of the Genocide Prevention Task Force.

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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