Who disarms first: Janjawid militia or Darfur rebels?
'The disarmament of the Janjawid would help the government reach a peaceful solution," Juan Mendez, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, said in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.Well, internally displaced people would say that, wouldn't they? Since when do top UN officials quote displaced people who are on the side of the rebels?
Appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2004, Juan Mendez said his mandate was preventive and designed to offer recommendations to Annan in order to avoid massive violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which, if not stopped, could lead to genocide.
Mendez said according to the IDPs, "the disarmament of the Janjawid militia is a priority for them to return to their homes".'
It would be more helpful if the UN would explain how to disarm the Janjawid. It is easy to say "disarm the Janjawid". How about disarming the rebels? And explain how it is to be done? Who disarms first, Janjawid militia or rebels?
Imagine telling coalition forces in Iraq to "disarm the insurgents otherwise there is no possibility of reaching a positive solution, the disarment of the Iraqi insurgents would help the government". It is a nonsense.
Beware of propaganda. All sides are at it, turning up the heat, with carrots and sticks. Psychological pressure. A war of words. There is a lot at stake.
The present series of Darfur Peace talks are viewed by the African Union as the final round. UN special envoy Jan Pronk has suggested setting a deadline of December 31. This time last year, during the run up to the signing of a peace deal between Khartoum and southern Sudan's rebels, there was an upsurge in violence and relentless beating of war drums from all sides.
Photo: Juan Mendez, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (IRIN)
"The situation in Darfur now is disturbing, violence is spreading, and the displaced don't trust the Sudanese police or the Sudanese judiciary system," Juan Mendez told reporters Sep 27 after his second assessment visit to Darfur. His first visit was a year ago.
Tags: Africa Darfur genocide propaganda Sudan peace talks aid worker UN oil human rights African Union Khartoum