SUDAN WATCH: UN's Egeland claims "We need a UN force on the ground"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

UN's Egeland claims "We need a UN force on the ground"

Fundraising time. Donors conference takes place in Brussels July 18. You can set your clock for the time when UN aid chief Jan Egeland pops up in the media with horror stories from war-torn Sudan, a country the size of Europe (with just as many different tribes) that's never been at peace with itself.

Man is a predator. Many parts of Africa are still wild. Fighting and killing is a way of life there. Thugs get away with murder. Opportunists with guns are rife. Millions of Sudanese people can't even read or write. See Gaddafi lashes out at 'backward society' in Middle East. It'll take hundreds of years before they're anywhere close to catching up with today's world. Meanwhile, like wild animals, they are tamed and ruled with a stick.

Mr Egeland cries "We need a UN force on the ground" but doesn't explain how UN peacekeepers will fare better than AU peacekeepers. See IRIN report Factional fighting displaces thousands more in Darfur July 13, 2006 - excerpt:
"It is heartbreaking to see that what the SLA groups had rightfully accused the Janjawid [government-backed militia] of doing, they are now doing themselves to the civilian population caught in the crossfire," Egeland told a news conference in New York.

"In Darfur, security is non-existent for the civilian population and non-existent for humanitarian workers," said Egeland. "I have also received reports that the government is using white helicopters, the same colour that AMIS [the African Union Mission in Sudan] and the United Nations is using. This is a violation of international principles and poses a direct threat to UN and non-governmental organisation staff who normally [use] white helicopters and are neutral and impartial and should not be attacked," he added.

A member of CARE staff had been killed in the massive Kalma refugee camp, a UN World Food Programme convoy ambushed and looted a few days ago in South Darfur, while the abduction of a national staff member and mounting security concerns had forced Oxfam to suspend operations in two of its six offices in North Darfur earlier this week, Egeland said.

He said AMIS lacked the capacity to effectively protect civilians or provide adequate security for humanitarian operations. "We need a UN force on the ground (...) It is completely unsustainable the way it is now," he added.

The African Union has extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Sudan until the end of 2006, and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has agreed to the reinforcement of the AU presence, but has fallen short of agreeing to the eventual deployment of a full UN force for the region.

Egeland stressed that nations that had thus far pledged to support a UN force for Darfur were the organisation's traditional troop contributors, mostly developing countries, and not western states. It was therefore incorrect to state that the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan would be a "western force and, therefore, should be resisted", he said.
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Reminder: March 12 2006 Sudan's Salah Gosh met UK and US officials last week in London for talks on al-Qaeda and Darfur peace process


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