The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

October 8, 2023

The following is an excerpt from last night's town-hall style presidential debate. The full transcript can be viewed here.

Darfur in last night's town-hall debate

    Brokaw: Sen. Obama, let me ask you if -- let's see if we can establish tonight the Obama doctrine and the McCain doctrine for the use of United States combat forces in situations where there's a humanitarian crisis, but it does not affect our national security.

    Take the Congo, where 4.5 million people have died since 1998, or take Rwanda in the earlier dreadful days, or Somalia.

    What is the Obama doctrine for use of force that the United States would send when we don't have national security issues at stake?

    Obama: Well, we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake.

    If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in?

    If we could've stopped Rwanda, surely, if we had the ability, that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act.

    So when genocide is happening, when ethnic cleansing is happening somewhere around the world and we stand idly by, that diminishes us.

    And so I do believe that we have to consider it as part of our interests, our national interests, in intervening where possible.

    But understand that there's a lot of cruelty around the world. We're not going to be able to be everywhere all the time. That's why it's so important for us to be able to work in concert with our allies.

    Let's take the example of Darfur just for a moment. Right now there's a peacekeeping force that has been set up and we have African Union troops in Darfur to stop a genocide that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

    We could be providing logistical support, setting up a no-fly zone at relatively little cost to us, but we can only do it if we can help mobilize the international community and lead. And that's what I intend to do when I'm president.

    Brokaw: Sen. McCain, the McCain Doctrine, if you will.

    McCain: Well, let me just follow up, my friends. If we had done what Sen. Obama wanted done in Iraq, and that was set a date for withdrawal, which Gen. [David] Petraeus, our chief -- chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff said would be a very dangerous course to take for America, then we would have had a wider war, we would have been back, Iranian influence would have increased, al Qaeda would have re- established a base.

    There was a lot at stake there, my friends. And I can tell you right now that Sen. Obama would have brought our troops home in defeat. I'll bring them home with victory and with honor and that is a fundamental difference.

    The United States of America, Tom, is the greatest force for good, as I said. And we must do whatever we can to prevent genocide, whatever we can to prevent these terrible calamities that we have said never again.

    But it also has to be tempered with our ability to beneficially affect the situation. That requires a cool hand at the tiller. This requires a person who understands what our -- the limits of our capability are.

    We went in to Somalia as a peacemaking organization, we ended up trying to be -- excuse me, as a peacekeeping organization, we ended up trying to be peacemakers and we ended up having to withdraw in humiliation.

    In Lebanon, I stood up to President Reagan, my hero, and said, if we send Marines in there, how can we possibly beneficially affect this situation? And said we shouldn't. Unfortunately, almost 300 brave young Marines were killed.

    So you have to temper your decisions with the ability to beneficially affect the situation and realize you're sending America's most precious asset, American blood, into harm's way. And, again, I know those situations.

    I've been in them all my life. And I can tell you right now the security of your young men and women who are serving in the military are my first priority right after our nation's security.

    And I may have to make those tough decisions. But I won't take them lightly. And I understand that we have to say never again to a Holocaust and never again to Rwanda. But we had also better be darn sure we don't leave and make the situation worse, thereby exacerbating our reputation and our ability to address crises in other parts of the world.

    Brokaw: Sen. McCain, thank you very much.

Agence France-Presse: Security situation in Darfur deteriorating: UN chief. The security situation in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region is deteriorating, and the UN-African Union force (UNAMID) struggling to maintain peace there is overstretched, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned Tuesday. "The situation in Darfur is deteriorating. We are seeing increasing attacks on UN and international staff," he told a press conference, pointing to the ambush killing of a Nigerian UN peacekeeper Monday. "The UNAMID mission is severely stretched." The Nigerian was gunned down when up to 60 gunmen ambushed a UNAMID patrol in Sudan's war-torn western region of Darfur, bringing to 10 the number of peacekeepers killed in hostile incidents since the launch of joint operations on December 31.

Reuters: Ukraine may offer helicopters for Darfur - UN's Ban. Ukraine might offer badly needed helicopters to an international peacekeeping mission in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. "President Viktor Yushchenko and I explored the possibility of deploying Ukrainian military helicopters and personnel to Darfur," Ban told reporters at a news conference. "We have had subsequent discussions with the Ukrainian defense minister in New York last week," he said. "These efforts are continuing."

Associated Press: France extremely worried about Darfur situation. France is extremely worried about the situation in Darfur and has urged Sudanese officials to freeze a government offensive in the province, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. During high-level talks in Paris over the weekend, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also pressed the delegation to hand over two Sudanese nationals wanted by the International Criminal Court, or ICC. Kouchner "expressed France's extreme worry about the worsening of the situation in Darfur," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The following op-ed by Irwin Cotler appeared in yesterday's National Post (Canada). 

Darfur remains the tragedy no one will discuss

Over five years after the killing began, the world continues to bear witness to a genocide by attrition in Darfur, where over 400,000 have died, three million have been displaced and 4.5 million are on a life-support system. The tragedy is not only continuing; it is continuing with impunity. As international leaders dither, Darfurians continue to die. Yet this standing atrocity is still only receiving passing mention in the international community, thereby lending credence to the notion of the banality of evil.

Young people, in concert with Save Darfur NGOs, have sounded the alarm. However, political leaders, including here in Canada, have been indifferent and inactive -- ignoring the lesson of history that genocide occurs not only because of the machinery of death but also because of crimes of indifference, conspiracies of silence.

In the leaders' debates prior to the last federal election, none of the leaders of the four major parties even mentioned the word "Darfur." Nor did any member of the media put a question about Darfur to any of them.

The Conservative government's Throne Speech in the last Parliament made no mention of this atrocity either. That is especially disturbing, given Canada's role as the principal architect of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, which mandates international collective action to protect the Darfurian population from genocide.

In this federal election campaign, important questions about Darfur need to be addressed by the leaders of Canada's major parties: How do we respond to the Sudanese government beginning its sixth year of genocidal warfare by launching ferocious ground and air assaults on its African civilian populations? How do we protect the Darfurian people as the Sudanese government attempts to destroy the relief efforts set up to offer food and shelter to those in need? How do we reassure aid workers whose own lives are threatened by a government-orchestrated campaign of terror? How do we respond to the bloodshed in the Kalma displaced persons camp last month, where the Sudanese government killed 31 people, including 17 women and children?

If Canada is to be an international leader in combatting the killing fields in Sudan, these questions must be answered. And there is much that we can do.

As I have previously recommended, what is desperately needed now is a "Darfur Summit" convening the leadership of the African Union, the European Union, the UN, the Arab League, NATO and the Sudanese government, to implement a "Save Darfur/Sudan" action plan. This would include the urgent mobilization and effective deployment of the UN-African Union protection force, which could include the 10,000 South Sudan volunteer peacekeepers who are ready to act, the enhancement of humanitarian assistance and protection of aid workers, the rescue of the Darfur Peace Process and the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, both of which are in a coma, the leveraging of China to end its arms sales to Darfur and the implementation of a no-fly zone to stop the indiscriminate bombing of civilian villages.

The international community also needs a leader to champion the role of international criminal law in bringing the genocidaires to account -- and Canada can be that leader.

The killing fields must be stopped. Those responsible for murder must be held to account. The culture of impunity -- in which Ahmed Harun, the man who planned and perpetrated atrocities in Darfur, is appointed Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and President Omar Al-Bashir, the object of an application for an arrest warrant on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, rejects the legitimacy of the international criminal process -- must come to an end.

Our country holds a unique and influential role in the international community. We are in a position to respond to one of the most compelling issues of our time. This election campaign should be the medium for Canadian voices to be heard on the subject of Darfur.
National Post

Irwin Cotler is a former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada and is a professor of law on leave from McGill University. He was the chair of the Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition in the last parliament.

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