The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

December 23, 2022

Reuters: Up to 6, 000 Child Soldiers Recruited In Darfur: U.N. Up to 6,000 child soldiers, some as young as 11, have been recruited by rebels and government forces in Sudan's Darfur conflict, the United Nations said. Youngsters have repeatedly been seen carrying weapons, even though Sudanese law and international agreements banned the use of children in conflicts, the head of the U.N. children's fund (UNICEF) in Sudan Ted Chaiban told reporters late on Monday. Chaiban said UNICEF had evidence that all of Darfur's main rebel groups used children, including the powerful Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army led by Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur. Government forces, including the army, the police, Darfur's Central Reserve Police and state-allied militias had also recruited under-18s, Chaiban said.

Agence France-Presse: Sudanese accused of spying in ICC Darfur case: lawyers. A Sudanese man appeared in court on Monday charged with crimes against the state for allegedly trying to help the International Criminal Court investigate a minister over war crimes in Darfur. Mohammed el-Sari is the first person to be hauled before Sudanese courts accused of trying to assist the ICC -- which Khartoum does not recognise -- and could face the death penalty if found guilty, lawyers said.

The following op-ed by Rep. Steny Hoyer and Rep. Barbara Lee appeared in today's San Francisco Chronicle.  

5 steps to end genocide in Darfur

We are tragically familiar with the numbers: 300,000 dead; 2.5 million displaced. We know the words too well: devils on horseback; refugee; orphan. We have heard the stories, too: villages burned from the air; militiamen who "sing while they rape."

We don't write today to rehearse the facts about Darfur - it is too late for that. In April 2007, we traveled to Darfur with nine other members of Congress to study the crisis firsthand; and through the media, millions of us have watched the genocide unfold. If ignorance ever excused inaction, that time is long gone.

But there is still a chance for vigorous American leadership to bring the conflict to an end. The United States cannot do it alone, but the prospects for peace are strengthened significantly by an incoming administration that has made Darfur a top foreign-policy priority. President-elect Barack Obama called the crisis "a collective stain on our national and human conscience." Vice President-elect Joe Biden has spoken just as bluntly: "Let's stop the bleeding. I think it's a moral imperative."

Unmistakable words like those can set the tone for foreign policy - but the Obama administration will need concrete plans to keep its pledge of strong action. That is why we, as part of a bipartisan group of legislators, have sent the new administration a Darfur White Paper. It consists of five sets of detailed recommendations to help stop the killing.

First, we must reinvigorate the peace process. Darfur needs a comprehensive political solution. The United States can help identify participants and urge them to the negotiating table, but that work is much more likely to succeed with the appointment of a full-time, senior-level envoy.

Second, it is essential to ensure continued humanitarian access. Humanitarian conditions in Darfur continue to erode: There are increasing food shortages and violence in Darfur's Internally Displaced Persons camps, and murder, theft, and vehicle hijacking is on the rise. The Obama administration should insist that peacekeepers establish police patrols at the camps. And it should press Khartoum to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles it has used to keep humanitarian organizations from delivering life-saving assistance.

Third, we must help the peacekeepers do their jobs. In 2007, the U.N. Security Council established a hybrid African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force for Darfur, yet less than half of the 26,000-strong force is in place. President-elect Obama should encourage foreign governments, particularly Arab states, to contribute more troops; help the peacekeeping force secure the two dozen helicopters it needs; urge peacekeepers to earn local trust by collaborating on vital infrastructure projects; and work with the United Nations to get the remaining troops in place.

Fourth, the Obama administration should engage the international community on Darfur. Next to the United States, no country has greater power to stop the genocide than China, whose $8 billion investment in Sudan's oil industry gives it both an economic interest in stability and the leverage to bring it about. The issue of China's responsibility must be raised at the highest diplomatic levels. Obama could make no better investment of political capital than building a coalition against genocide.

Fifth, the civil war between Sudan's North and South must not be allowed to flare again into violence. The United States must help implement the 2005 peace treaty that ended that bloody conflict. American diplomats must press for the complete disarmament of militias in Southern Sudan, anti-corruption programs to bring some semblance of good government, and strong rules allowing humanitarian access.

On the walls of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, one can still read these heartrending words from the camps: "All of us dying here amidst the icy, arctic indifference of the nations, forgotten by life and the world." And today, in another language, from another side of the world, those same words are still audible.

Next month, it will be a new president's duty to answer them - and we look forward to helping him do so.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., serves as the House majority leader. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and is the chair-elect for the Congressional Black Caucus.

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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