SUDAN WATCH: Government of Sudan and the international community have completely failed the people of Darfur

Monday, November 01, 2004

Government of Sudan and the international community have completely failed the people of Darfur

Despite promises, neither the international community nor the Government of Sudan has provided adequate assistance and security to the people in Darfur, concludes international relief organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a report presented today.

Over a year after their escape from their villages and after countless promises from the Government of Sudan and world leaders, peoples lives are still daily under threat.

"So much talking, so much attention, but so little is changing on the ground with regards to security for civilians," said MSF emergency co-ordinator Ton Koene. "The world has to remind itself the violence and suffering has still not ended."

The MSF report shows the pervasiveness of the violence and appalling consequences of the atrocities committed against people in Darfur. Camps of refuge are anything but -- displaced Darfurians tell MSF that they are living under the guard of some of the same armed men that burned their villages and killed their families. They are too scared to go home and yet frightened to remain where they are. Even now, safety is an illusion for Darfurians.

In this, the Government of Sudan and the international community have completely failed them.

To redress the situation the people of Darfur must have expanded assistance in terms of quality and quantity delivery of aid wherever they have chosen to seek refuge freedom from the threat of violence, the fundamental cause of this crisis.
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While fresh fighting breaks out in Darfur, the Southern Sudan peace talks break for a month.

Peace talks to end Sudan's southern war are on hold until later this month, after the U.N. Security Council holds its regular meeting in Nairobi in a move to pressure both sides to sign a deal.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body that is chief mediator in the talks, today (Monday) said both sides agreed to shelve negotiations until November 26 when lower-level negotiators will return.

Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebel leader John Garang and Sudan's First Vice President Ali Osman Taha are then due to return on December 11 with the aim of finalising a pact to end Africa's longest-running civil war.
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Note, reports say 10,000 refugees are dying every month. The death toll of 70,000 has remained static during past month which means by December, 30,000 more will have died, bringing the death toll to 100,000. (These are UN figures for past seven months only - the UN have no figures for the thirteen months prior to March 2004.)

Several months ago, USAID predicted a death toll of 300,000 by Christmas. Recent reports say a further 100,000 Darfurians may soon flee over the border into Chad, adding unimaginable strain to the 200,000 already there in camps. 85% of deaths in camps are due to malnutrition and disease.
Yesterday, 2,000 Sudanese were reported fleeing for shelter over the border into Uganda.

Sudan's rebel groups are using innocent civilians, and the UN Security Council, as pawns in their war. The rebels' continuing violence, and blocking of aid to 1.5 million hungry and defenceless men, women and children, makes them as evil, greedy and ruthless as the government of Sudan.


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