Monday, February 28, 2005

War crimes indictment could save Sudanese lives

Here is a copy of an easy to read report at Radio Netherlands that explains the US position on the International Criminal Court. Louise Arbour, the top United Nations' human rights official, says that indicting and arresting people suspected of committing war crimes could save lives and protect victims. She is urging the UN Security Council to refer the case of Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and says,

"The ICC could be activated immediately. With an already existing set of well-defined rules of procedure and evidence, the Court was the best institution to ensure speedy investigations leading to arrests and demonstrably fair trials."

Contentious issue
This is a contentious issue - especially for the United States. Though the US has been at the forefront of recommending tough action on Sudan, it opposes the international court in The Hague, fearing that one day, Americans could be put on trial there.

David Scheffer was the top US negotiator for the ICC under the Clinton administration; he says the US has nothing to fear and everything to gain by referring this case:

"Even if you're the greatest sceptic of the ICC - and there are many of them in the Bush administration - there simply is no strong argument they can come up with as to why the ICC should not be seized with the Darfur situation. An ICC investigation of Darfur need not expose any US national, or the US government, to any criminal liability whatsoever before the ICC."

US doesn't want it
But this argument is unlikely to sway opponents of the ICC. Nicholas Rostow is the General Counsel at the US mission to the United Nations in New York:

"Our position is that we don't need it, we don't approve of this particular court and we don't wish to be faced with questions - as we are all the time at the United Nations - having to do with how to vote or deal with language implying US support for an institution which we do not support. Beyond that, if the parties to the court want to use it for themselves ... that's fine."

Not straightforward
But the case of Darfur is not that straightforward. Sudan is not party to the treaty on which the ICC is founded - therefore war crimes committed in Sudan can only be prosecuted if the Security Council refers the case. The irony is that America fought for the court to work in exactly this manner:

"When we were negotiating the statute for the ICC back in the 1990s, this was our dream case. And this was the dream case of everyone in the Pentagon, and on Capitol Hill. A case in which the Security Council would have exclusive power of referral to the court and would be able to shape the court's role through a Security Council resolution. This case of Sudan presents that possibility, and only that possibility."

Sharing the burden
But instead, the US has proposed the creation of an ad hoc court to bring perpetrators of war crimes to account. Nicholas Rostow says:

"We have an idea for the creation of an African Criminal Court which would become a permanent fixture of the African landscape ... They need such an institution, and as I understand it, they want it. That's the position the US favours. It's not an attack on the ICC. It's not an alternative to the ICC. It's a regional sharing of the burden, so that it could be an African institution, supported by others, which would address horrific crimes which have recently occurred in Africa."

But it's not clear who would be willing to share this burden. The majority of members Security Council members support the International Criminal Court. It's doubtful whether they would be willing to bypass an institution they helped to create and fund, in order to satisfy American demands. It's also not clear what kind of mandate an ad hoc court would have: all that would have to be negotiated.

Heart of independence
Money is another concern, says David Scheffer:

"It will be a significant cost and even if the current administration is willing to pay it, I'm not so sure Congress is. And furthermore, it goes to the very heart of the independence of that tribunal if the US is the only funder of that court. What does it say about the independence of that court?"

Meanwhile, as the haggling continues, so does the violence in Darfur. It's estimated that some 300,000 people have died in the conflict to date. In her presentation to the Security Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, highlighted recent atrocities. Further delays in intervention will mean more victims.

End to the conflict
The US has pushed hard for a end to the conflict in Sudan. But critics now say that America's dislike of the court is overriding its strong commitment to achieving peace in the region. David Scheffer says:

"I think an American veto [of a resolution to refer the case of Darfur to the ICC] would be the final evidence of what has been occurring over the past four years under the Bush administration, which is that the US is relinquishing what it used to have leadership in. A veto would send a strong signal to the rest of the world that the US is stepping back from the challenge of international justice."
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African leaders should lean on Sudan

Here is an article by Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Laurie Goering Feb 27, who writes about the African Union, Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe and explains that analysts are saying African leaders appear increasingly unwilling to stand for undemocratic seizures of power on the continent, but remain reluctant to act against established regimes that commit atrocities or flout democratic principles. Here is an excerpt relating to the Sudan:

"When African leaders really want to lean on somebody, they do. The peer pressure is enormous," said John Prendergast, an Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group in Washington. "There's a consensus that's developed that any kind of non-democratic transition of power, or military coup, will be vociferously opposed and overturned."

But the same leaders "bristle at anyone who tries to tell a government in Africa how to govern," Prendergast said, and that means that the African Union has hesitated to take any action on Darfur without the Sudanese government's approval.

In Sudan, the African Union has staged "an impotent, irrelevant intervention that doesn't have an impact on people's lives on the ground," even as the World Heath Organization reports 10,000 people a month dying in Darfur and a growing threat of famine, Prendergast said. That inaction, he said, threatens to compromise the African Union's standing as a body capable of dealing with Africa's problems.

As the U.S. Congress puts growing pressure on the Bush administration to take stronger action in Darfur, the United States may soon "start twisting arms in the [UN] Security Council," Prendergast said. "Then you'll see something start happening."

Specifically, he believes growing U.S. pressure and a new threat of some type of Security Council-mandated international troop intervention in Darfur could push Sudan's government to at least accept a larger contingent of African Union troops in Darfur, one with a mission to protect civilians.

"For the government of Sudan to be influenced sufficiently to accept a mandate that is much more interventionist, it has to see the larger international community, particularly countries like the U.S., pushing for that stronger mandate," Prendergast said.

If the UN Security Council fails to threaten strong action against Sudan, he said, "Sudan gets the message loud and clear that there is no cost" to continuing its campaign of what has been called ethnic cleansing against African peasants living in a region that has spawned a rebel uprising against Khartoum.
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Rwandan president calls for more troops in Darfur

28 Feb article by China News quotes Rwandan President Paul Kagame today as saying:

"The issue of numbers of the troops will have to be critically examined by the African Union. If they had more troops on ground covering many positions, then you are likely to have fewer violations of the ceasefire and other agreements on the ground. I think this is a matter that the African Union would like to review," said Kagame, who was in Sudan for three days last week.

"We will give the AU information that we came with based on what we heard and saw and felt on the ground," he added.
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African leaders work on new summit for Darfur crisis

28 Feb AFP report from Cairo confirms African leaders are working to set a date for a new summit in Egypt, sponsored by the African Union, to try again to solve the crisis in Darfur, the Egyptian president's office said Monday.

"The various parties involved are currently engaged in negotiations to set a new date for the Darfur summit initially slated for March 5 in Aswan" in southern Egypt, presidential spokesman told the official MENA news agency. The leaders of Sudan, neighbouring Egypt, Chad and Libya, as well as Nigeria -- which chairs the African Union -- are due to take part.

A similar meeting on the troubled west Sudan region of Darfur was held in Libya in October 2004, but yielded little result on the ground. Another summit grouping several other African leaders was held in Chad earlier this month and outlined new steps to ensure that a moribund ceasefire was being respected in Darfur.

Violations of the April 2004 ceasefire by the Sudanese government, its militia allies, and the Darfur rebels had led to the collapse of the Abuja peace talks in December last year.

The Abuja talks -- the only direct negotiations between warring parties -- have yet to resume, despite an earlier announcement from Khartoum that the process could restart by the end of February.
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The Secret Genocide Archive


Photos courtesy Nicholas D. Kristof's report in New York Times re-published online today via Venezuela and Italy.
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For an American city's Sudanese, Darfur hits home

27 Feb report by Beth Quimby, Portland Press Herald Writer - excerpt:

Abdelrahim Khamis was one of about 65 tribal Fur refugees and 30 others who gathered at the Darfur Unity Conference in Portland, USA at the weekend to discuss the plight of their countrymen and try to find some solutions.

They flew in from across the country, joining many from Portland's own 70-member tribal Fur community, the largest in the country. They are part of the city's roughly 400-member Sudanese community.

"Unity is needed, much more than ever before," said the conference chairman. He told the gathering that it took only a few years for the militias to rid Darfur of its tribal people, but it could take 100 years for them to return unless Darfurian refugees and the international community join together.

"We worry about them," said Abdel Abkar of Portland. He said he wanted to help people learn about the genocide taking place in his homeland.

Mohamed Ahmed of Baltimore said the African Union cannot save the people of the Darfur region alone.

Amanda Moore of Cape Elizabeth said she read about the conference in Saturday morning's newspaper and felt compelled to attend. She had never done anything similar before. "It seems the very least we can do is hear the story," she said.
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Kofi Annan heads For London on a visit headlined by Middle East situation

26 Feb The situation in the Middle East dominates the agenda of a day-long visit to London tomorrow by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his second trip to the British capital in a month.

Mr. Annan will address the London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority, which is being hosted by the UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair, on Tuesday morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Four million face starvation as war brings famine to refugees of Darfur, Sudan

A news report in today's Telegraph quotes a UN WFP officer for south Darfur, as saying: "If no more assistance is forthcoming it will be a disaster."

When the UN makes such statements, don't you wonder who they are aiming them at? Regular Sudan Watchers will have noticed that such emotive one-line statements are regularly made by the UN and aid agencies at monthly and three-monthly intervals during the run-up to UN Security Council meetings. Note too how they never put forward a proper case for the funding or give any explanation as to why AU troops are so thin on the ground in Darfur, despite the fact that the African Union has received over two hundred million dollars for 3,000 soldiers. Also, no UN figures are provided on how much Darfur costs in terms of lives lost or how many billions of dollars have been spent/will be needed, and for how long, to provide what the UN terms as a "Band-Aid" to prop up genocidal dictators in Khartoum and cushion relations between members of the UN Security Council.

Where are all the African and Arab voices around the world shouting genocide, clamouring for food, water, aid, and jumping up and down calling for action and justice for Darfur? Americans hoot and holler about genocide and human rights in Darfur but are relatively silent when it comes to anything that does not involve throwing money at Darfur. American bloggers don't seem to have much to say about the US delaying Security Council action on bringing Darfur war criminals to court asap. Another 10,000 Sudanese have died since the US started arguing against using the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Unlike many other countries, America stands alone with China and several other rogue states in not supporting the ICC. The US refuses to join the ICC incase it harms US personnel. And the US refuses to join in with everyone else and sign up to the Kyoto agreement to help protect the environment, incase such a move harms US industry. America is bound to end up with another bloody nose like 9/11 if it does not start learning humility and listen to the rest of the world.

There are many ancient cultures around the world that need to be respected. Countries with long histories of wars. Centuries of knocks to inhabitants from strong stock with long-held traditions and faiths. America is only 200 something years old. Westminster Abbey in London is going on 800 years old. Only 10% of Americans are passport holders. America is like a baby trying to run before it can walk and got its first knock on 9/11.

What I am saying here is that America, whether it likes it or not, still has a lot to learn to fit in with the rest of the world. If the US continues to think it can go it alone and refuses to see itself the way the rest of the world sees it [talking pre 9/11 here, about America's gross consumerism and being the new loud kid on the block] it does so at its peril. It has few friends and needs to respect the ones its got while learning to grow up.

According to the UN, Darfur continues to be the world's greatest humanitarian disaster. And the British government say the crisis in Darfur will go on for another two years. It looks like members of the UN Security Council, especially China, are simply counting on the West to continue pouring billions of taxpayers' dollars into aid and development for the Sudanese so countries like China can carry on their business as usual in the Sudan while millions of Sudanese are homeless or imprisoned, for years on end, in concentration camps provided by the West. Even the UN says 10,000 refugees continue to die each month from malnutrition or disease.

Note, the following excerpt from today's Telegraph points out how Khartoum are still not providing unimpeded access for aid, despite demands by UN Security Council resolutions over the past ten months:

In the nearby mountains of eastern Jebel Mara, Janjaweed attacks have hampered even the aid agencies' food deliveries. Last week, however, the first convoy for four months ventured into the area and distributed 14 lorry loads of grain to desperate villagers.

Local leaders complain that the government is thwarting efforts to get food through. "The government blocks the roads that people use for trade," complained Omar Abido, the traditional ruler of Muhajeria. "Sugar used to be 1,000 dinars a bag. Now it is 1,500. Benzine used to be 30,000 dinars a barrel. Now it is 70,000.

"The government diverts all commercial lorries that are supposed to come through here," he said. "There have been no trucks from Khartoum for three months."

For Halim Osman, pausing to stare in blank reproach through the woven grass fence before wandering dejectedly away from the feeding station, the outlook is bleak: compounding problems on the ground, the World Food Programme has so far received only 55 per cent of the £274 million that it appealed for last year.

Aloys Sema, the WFP officer for south Darfur, said: "If no more assistance is forthcoming it will be a disaster."

At 16 months, Mohammed must be fed via a tube

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Darfur, Sudan: World's worst humanitarian crisis likely to continue for the next two years

A report in the Scotsman on Wednesday quoted British International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, as saying:
"The humanitarian situation in Darfur and eastern Chad at present remains dire, with large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps and host communities with poor water and sanitation and health facilities. Essential food and non-food supplies are, in some places, intermittent or non-existent and there is considerable risk from outbreaks of communicable disease ...

"This is a complex and acute crisis, with protection of civilians at its heart, which is likely to continue for the next 18-24 months."

On health issues, Mr Benn stated: "The health of the IDP and refugee population is in a critical state. The World Health Organisation has estimated that between 6,000 and 10,000 people are dying each month in Darfur."
[Note: 24 months x 10,000 deaths per month = 240,000 deaths in Darfur. The crisis has gone on for 24 months now = 480,000 deaths (according to estimates projected by Sudan experts). Therefore, 240,000 + 480,000 = 720,000.

800,000 perished in Rwanda. So, if the sums are right, within the next 24 months, it is expected that 720,000 will have perished in Darfur - on top of the 2 million deaths in Southern Sudan]
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Darfur, Sudan: British government is working "very very hard"

The perpetrators of the violence which has killed tens of thousands in the Darfur region of Sudan must answer for their crimes, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn insisted yesterday.

Mr Benn said Britain would like to see those responsible for the violence tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC), even though the US continue to withhold support for that institution.

Mr Benn was giving evidence to the Commons international development select committee, which is conducting an inquiry into Darfur.

Mr Benn told MPs: "The Government's position is clear. We are a long-standing supporter of the ICC. Our clear preference is for these cases to go to the ICC.

"It is for the United Nations Security Council to take that decision. Discussions are taking place.

"What is essential is that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice. The British Government is working very very hard to make sure that is the case." Full Story.
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Blair wants stronger AU intervention in Darfur

25 Feb Scotsman report confirms British Prime Minister Tony Blair today repeated his call for African peacekeeping forces to intervene in Darfur.

Mr Blair was asked if the world is not capable, or is unwilling, to intervene in Darfur, given the latest UN assessments of massive food shortages and continued harassment of relief workers.

"Well, the world is trying to help, but the help that is most needed is the intervention of the African Union force," he said. "And that's the key requirement, and in fact the Commission for Africa report, when it comes out, I think you will see that there is an entire chapter devoted to how we build the capability for Africa, because that's the only answer in Darfur. The only answer is to make sure you have sufficiently capable troops to go and police the situation whilst you negotiate the settlement. And that's what we are trying to do."

ap_PMTony_Blair 25feb05.jpg
Photo: Tony Blair, during his monthly news conference in Downing Street London, says the world community needs to support a bigger African Union intervention in Darfur.
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White Nile affair threatens to undermine the entire peace process?

26 Feb (Dow Jones) -- White Nile Ltd, the startup firm that says it has an oil concession in an area of southern Sudan previously earmarked for Total SA, could hamper the delicate peace agreement signed in January.

Diplomats, analysts and lawyers say the oil-development agreement between the speculative London energy firm and the former rebel group, the SPLM, could at best force the Sudanese government of the north into further negotiations with the SPLM. At worst, the agreement could unravel.

"White Nile's deal goes against the letter and spirit of the peace agreement," said Abdulrahman Elkhalifa, a Khartoum University legal professor who helped the government draft the peace agreement. Full Story courtesy Sudan Tribune.
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French Total faces minefield as it heads back to Sudan

25 Feb Paris (Dow Jones) -- Total SA reopened an outpost in Sudan earlier this month, twenty years after leaving the African country. The French oil major hopes to resume exploration work on a promising block, as large as Greece.

Total aims to send employees and contractors to the field as soon as it has received guarantees that the area is safe and mine-sweeping operations have been completed. But a diplomatic minefield may create new danger for Total's effort in Sudan.

Note, Total was eager to revive its 25-year old permit before the signature of the January peace settlement because a key clause in the agreement says oil contracts signed before Jan. 9 won't be subject to re-negotiation.

Kwaje, the SPLM spokesman, said the White Nile agreement takes precedence over any Total permit because it was signed in August 2004, before Total's December revised contract.

Kwaje said Total made efforts to revive its 1980 agreement when it saw that it had been outpaced by the British firm. But Total countered that it had learned about White Nile's existence only this week, from media reports. Full Story courtesy Sudan Tribune.

Further reading:

26 Feb Sudan Tribune report: In a statement last Friday, the oil exploration firm said it "had concluded an agreement with the government of South Sudan to acquire a 60% interest in the 67,500 square kilometer Block Ba." A White Nile spokesman declined comment. The block was previously held by France's Total SA, which disputes the legality of the deal.

26 Feb Sudan Tribune report: Sudanese official says Southerners signing of oil drilling deals 'unacceptable'.
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Darfur: New Atrocities as Security Council Dithers

25 Feb Human Rights Watch report excerpt:

New eyewitness accounts from Darfur of rapes, torture and mutilation by government-backed militias underscore how the UN Security Council must take urgent action to protect civilians and punish the perpetrators, Human Rights Watch said today.

Last week, eyewitnesses in South Darfur told Human Rights Watch how government-backed Janjaweed militia attacked villages in the Labado area in December and January, and singled out young women and girls for rape. Male relatives who protested were beaten, stripped naked, tied to trees and forced to watch the rape of the women and girls. In some cases, the men were then branded with a hot knife as a mark of their humiliation.
Members of the international media and human rights groups have also found it increasingly difficult to acquire visas for Sudan and Darfur, an indication of the Sudanese government's efforts to reduce international exposure of its "ethnic cleansing" campaign in Darfur.

"The Sudanese government has long closed off regions where it's committing massive abuses, but in Darfur last year it was forced to open its doors to media and human rights monitors," Takirambudde said. "Now it's trying to close that window by intimidating aid agencies and refusing visas to journalists."
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US warns of Sudan over Darfur crisis

25 Feb (Xinhuanet) -- The United States said on Friday that it will not fully normalize ties with Sudan until violence in Sudan's Darfur region is ended.

"The United States will not fully normalize relations with Sudan until the situation in Darfur has stabilized," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at a news briefing.

"We take this opportunity to underscore our grave concerns about the violence and atrocities in Darfur," Boucher said.
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Sudanese officer denies role in attack on southern town of Akobo

25 Feb via Sudan Tribune report:

NAIROBI, Feb 24, 2005 (Sudan Radio Service) --SPLA Sudan People's Liberation Army forces recaptured Akobo town in southeastern Sudan, near border with Ethiopia, on 19 February after it was briefly overrun by an armed group suspected to be allied to the government of Sudan last week.

Last Friday, the SPLM commissioner of Akobo, Commander Dou Yaak Chol, accused the Sudan government ally, Brig Timothy Taban Juc, of being behind the attack on Akobo.

But Brig Taban Juc in Malakal denied any links with the attack on Akobo. He insisted that he is the legitimate commissioner of Akobo appointed by the government of Sudan.

Juc said "No not myself, I told you that I did not go to Akobo and I'm now talking to you in Malakal and not in Akobo. I'm with the Sudan government and I'm already integrated as a brigadier in the Sudan Armed Forces".

Commander Dou Yaak says the armed group that briefly occupied Akobo killed three SPLA soldiers, looted property and destroyed buildings.

Yaak indicated three people were killed. Part of the hospital is destroyed, the church is destroyed, and some buildings in the church were destroyed. About 2,000 tukuls (huts) were destroyed.

Photo: SPLA fighters guard a village.
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South African troops to keep peace in Darfur

25 Feb IOL report excerpt:

A contingent of 284 South African troops will depart for Darfur next week on a peacekeeping mission, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said on Friday.

"This would indeed be a very difficult mission of the African Union, but the preparation has been very thorough," he told the soldiers at De Brug military base.

The contingent, which would include women, would fly to Sudan on Monday, the minister said, adding that this would be the first full contingent South Africa was deploying to Darfur.

He said the group would join 39 observers who had been in Darfur since July 2004.

Lekota said the soldiers' mission in Darfur would be to intervene and stop the fighting with the aim of stabilising the area so that the region's people could rebuild their lives.

"These tasks will present you with huge responsibility as you will be expected to comply with our country's laws and with international law."

Lekota said the cost of the mission had become "lighter" since South Africa initially formed part of the African Union mission in Burundi.

"There is now more trust and enthusiasm for Africa and this has led to resources for missions," Lekota said. - Sapa
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Russia Exports 14 APCs

25 Feb All Africa article: Uganda and Sudan are buying armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) from Russia's Arzamas Engineering Plant, a Russian newspaper has reported.
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WFP warns of potential food crisis in Sudan

24 Feb Aljazeera report excerpt:

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that there are strong signs of a potential food crisis in Sudan, explaining that rapidly increasing prices of staple foodstuffs showed that stocks were dwindling.

"We are beginning to worry that more people than we had anticipated would be unable to feed themselves," Laura Melo, WFP spokesperson said on Thursday.

She added that WFP has estimated that 3.2 million people in Sudan, excluding the western region of Darfur, would be in need of food aid, and that the agency appealed for a US $302 million to help those affected by the shortages in 2005.

The reaction to the agency's appeal "had not been very good", Melo said, adding that they received only eight percent of the requited amount. She said that the problem was because of a poor harvest as a result of inadequate rainfall.

Regarding Darfur, Melo also said that WFP had so far received 55 percent of the $438 million appealed last year, adding that most of the contributions were in the form of cereals, making the agency short of other items, such as vegetable oils, pulses, sugar, salt and corn soya blend.

"We need funds to continue providing a balanced diet to the people." Melo said. She also noted that about 2.3 million people in Darfur were in need of food aid.

Photo: WFP said that there are strong signs of a potential food crisis in Sudan.
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World is stingy says Oxfam

A wealth of donations from across the globe that followed the tsunami disaster in Asia shows how "stingy" people really are in the face of the world's 15 other major crises, the charity Oxfam said on Friday.

"The tsunami has shown that when the world wants to deal with a humanitarian crisis it can mobilise massive resources and save lives," Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam Great Britain, said in a statement. "So far the global response to the world's other emergencies has been stingy in comparison. The aid agenda should be set according to need and not according to media coverage," she said.

The comments came as wealthy countries wound up a two-day meeting in Switzerland to discuss aid spending plans for 2005.

Sorry, to disagree here. The UN represents at least 181 member states. Taxpayers fund the UN. Aid agencies are also supported generously by the public. When it comes to Darfur, Oxfam needs to blame the wasteful UN and its Security Council, corrupt African politicians - and stingy China, Russia and UAE to name a few - not us the people.

Western taxpayers are expected to continue to pay millions upon millions of dollars each year to keep 10,000 aid workers going indefinitely in the Sudan and to feed, water and care for at least three million people in the Sudan and Chad -- hundreds of millions of dollars to the African Union for a paltry 1,800 strong security force for Darfur -- and to pay one billion dollars for 10,000 UN peacekeepers to monitor Southern Sudan (Darfur is in Western Sudan) -- not to mention the millions (if not billions) of dollars donated by the public to international aid agencies and churches.

Not once has the Security Council explained the consequences of its inaction in Darfur over the past two years and the cost in terms of human life or projected costs in aid over the next two years. Nor has there ever been a proper explanation from the EU or US as to what is the hold up with the African Union that has received hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars for troops in Darfur that have not materialised.

Millions of Sudanese are displaced and unable to work or plant their own food, all because of a handful of men in Khartoum and the West is paying for it.

China and all the other countries working to block action against Khartoum need to be forced to do a lot more to help - along with the Arab states and other African countries.

Also, the report in the Scotsman says:
The UN has only received 5% of a $1.5bn appeal for the Sudan but it does not give a reason why the funds are not forthcoming.

Underscoring the difference in donations to the Indian Ocean disaster that struck two months ago and ongoing emergencies elsewhere, Oxfam revealed that each individual affected by the tsunami had received $500, whereas each person touched by a war in Uganda had only been granted $0.50.

A mere 0.8% of about $158m requested by the United Nations for Uganda has been pledged and just 0.4% of an appeal to save the lives of 1.2 million people in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
My guess is that most people are happy to fund natural disasters but not wars in countries with corrupt regimes. Speaking for myself, I no longer believe that any donation I make for Africa actually reaches those in need. From what I have learned over the past year in blogging about the Sudan, I feel foolish for donating as much as I have in the past. Perhaps government donors also feel the same -- afterall, they are accountable to taxpayers.

[Note, Oxfam says the international community has raised a mere 4% of a $3.2bn appeal launched by the United Nations last year to fund these forgotten emergencies, which are largely in Africa and affect 29 million people. In my view, Africa cannot expect to be helped until it is governed by competent managers. Kenya has just made the news headlines for its corrupt politicians awarding themselves outrageous sums of money. Change has to come within. We in the West cannot be expected to impose the change that is needed]

Photo: A Sudanese girl waits to use toilets set up by the British aid organization Oxfam in the Abu Shouk refugee camp, on the outskirts of El-Fasher in Sudan's northern Darfur region. A wealth of donations from across the globe that followed the tsunami disaster in Asia shows how 'stingy' people really are in the face of the world's 15 other major crises, the charity Oxfam said. (AFP/Jose Cendon)
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Chamberlin urges quick donor response to avoid further human misery in south Sudan

25 Feb (UNHCR) report: Acting High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin on Friday urged donors to invest in preventing human misery by supporting UNHCR's cash-strapped south Sudan operation so that millions of refugees and displaced people can go home and stay home.
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In Darfur, three from Boston see horrors first hand

Liz Walker, the longtime Boston TV news anchorwoman, was standing in the middle of a sea of straw huts in a Darfur refugee camp, peering into a closet-sized shelter where six people live.

In the midst of a recent fact-finding trip in which she had heard harrowing accounts of burned villages and gang rapes, Walker looked out at the tortured, parched earth of Sudan, where internal fighting has claimed the lives of 70,000 people and made 2 million homeless. For a long moment, she was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness.

''When I think about it, it just tears me up," said Walker, who returned earlier this month from the trip and is filming a documentary about Sudan.

Accompanying Walker were Dr. Gloria White-Hammond, a Boston pediatrician active in Sudan, and Linda Mason, a member of the board of directors of Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian agency that has relief workers in the Darfur camps.

The Boston women declined to name the two camps they visited, fearing government retribution against humanitarian aid workers and refugees. Full Story by Steven Rosenberg, Boston Globe Staff, February 25, 2005.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Darfur rebels ambush Sudan government troops

24 Feb Lebanon news report reveals that rebels ambushed Sudanese troops and Sudan's military bombed and destroyed eight villages in Darfur, officials said Wednesday.

The rebel ambush reportedly took place on Tuesday in Graida, a town about 100 kilometers south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, said a member of a commission monitoring the ceasefire. Full Story.
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Arms depot blast in Juba, South Sudan

24 Feb Reuters report says an explosion at an ammunition dump in a military training centre in the south Sudanese town of Juba has killed 24 people. An Army statement says the blast has been caused by a warehouse fire and it does not believe "hostile action" is involved.

Juba stayed in Government hands throughout southern Sudan's two decades of civil war, with a large garrison to protect it from rebels.

"The extreme rise in temperature led to the explosion of an ammunition dump in the city of Juba which led to the death of 24 people," a police statement released by the Interior Ministry said.
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Two eastern Sudanese rebel groups merge

23 Feb AFP report: Two eastern Sudanese rebel groups, the Beja Congress and the Free Lions, have merged to form a new party called the Eastern Front, officials from the organizations announced here Wednesday.

The "suffering of the people of Eastern Sudan ... can come to an end only under one leadership and unified programmes and objectives," said Beja Congress chairman Mussa Mohammed Ahmed.

"We are ready for peace talks with the government based on the Naivasha model, the peace accord between Khartoum and South Sudan," he said, flanked by Free Lions chief Mabruk Mubarak Selim at a joint news conference.
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Sudan peacekeepers would cost $1B in first year

23 Feb Associated Press report reveals the cost of deploying UN peacekeepers to help enforce an agreement ending a 21-year civil war in Sudan will top $1 billion in the first year, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report Wednesday.

The estimate is based on the phased deployment of 10,130 military personnel, 755 civilian police, 1,018 international staff, 2,623 national staff and 214 United Nations Volunteers, Annan said.
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Canada willing to contribute to UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur

22 Feb Brussels, Belgium a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Martin said he raised the issue of ongoing violence on the Darfur region in Sudan. He said it's clear the African Union has not been able to organize a peacekeeping mission for the region and the United Nations will have to step in.

Canada is willing to contribute equipment and military instructors, Martin said. - via Canadian news.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

White Nile denies needing Khartoum blessing for deal

A UK oil exploration company insists former rebels have full authority for oil agreement in south Sudan.

The tale of White Nile - London's most explosive flotation since the dotcom boom - grew even more extraordinary yesterday amid claim and counter-claim about the status of the company's oil exploration agreement in south Sudan.

Phil Edmonds and Andrew Groves, White Nile's founders, were forced to attack reports that the Khartoum government, in northern Sudan, still claims to have some control over oil deals in the south. - Full Story in Guardian, 22 Feb.

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White Nile signs joint oil venture with Sudan

22 Feb Telegraph UK report: White Nile, the Aim-listed oil company where share dealings were suspended last week, said yesterday it had clinched a deal to explore for oil in the Sudan.
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South Sudan Official: Total, Marathon, KPC rights invalid

21 Feb Dow Jones report: Potentially lucrative oil rights reassigned to Total SA, Marathon Oil Corp and Kuwait Petroleum Corp are invalid, with a share of Total's awarded to London-listed White Nile Ltd instead, a southern Sudanese official said Monday.
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Sudan oil minister: No central government deal with White Nile Ltd

21 Feb Dow Jones report: Sudan's Oil Minister said Monday that the central government hasn't signed an exploration deal with London-listed White Nile Ltd., a speculative oil and mining stock whose shares rose 13-fold in value last week on news of a Sudanese oil deal before being suspended.

The minister told Dow Jones Newswires that foreign companies have to sign all concession agreements with the oil ministry in Khartoum, despite January's peace deal with southern rebels that ended decades of bloody civil war, which will soon see a regional government in the south with significant autonomy.

"If you look at the agreement, the only place to go for a concession is the oil ministry," the minister said.

But an official with the former southern rebel movement, the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, said the south's regional government can negotiate its own oil deals with foreign companies.

"Of course we can negotiate for these deals," said the SPLM official, speaking from Nairobi, Kenya. He wasn't aware of any deal with White Nile.
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Sudan tells China that suspects have been brought to trial

22 Feb China news: Chinese Foreign Minster Li Zhaoxing says China supports the peace process in Sudan and will make efforts to resolve the Darfur issue. Li Zhaoxing was speaking on the telephone to his Sudanese counterpart Mustafa Osman Ismail. They agreed to further develop cooperation between the two countries.

The Sudanese foreign minister also briefed Li Zhaoxing on the latest developments of the Darfur issue, saying the local situation is becoming more stable and that suspects have been brought to trial.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sudan I: Cancer dye could be in more foods

Britain's largest food recall was ordered after an illegal dye known to cause cancer was found to have contaminated millions of ready-made meals, snacks and cooking sauces. The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned that the foodstuffs, ranging from prawn salads to pot noodles, were contaminated by Sudan I - a red colouring normally used in products such as oils, waxes, shoe polish and petrol.


Major brand products feared to be contaminated

The FSA previously named more than 350 goods feared to be contaminated with Sudan 1. Products were recalled from major British supermarket chains such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Makro, Morrisons and Asda. Now it is reported the cancer dye could be in many more foods.

The London Times reports that Walkers Worcester sauce crisps yesterday became the latest product to be removed from supermarket shelves in the food scare. Production of the crisps has been put on hold by Walkers, which is owned by PepsiCo, the international food giant.

Supermarkets are expecting the food crisis to grow as more food manufacturers realise they have been affected by a tainted shipment of 5-ton batch of red chilli powder imported into the UK in 2002. Chillis often turn brown when they are stored and the suppliers had laced the powder with Sudan 1 to enrich the natural colour.

Even South African health authorities are closely monitoring the local implications of the recall of more than 350 products from British supermarkets over the weekend. Some of the goods withdrawn from stores can also be found on South African supermarket shelves, such as products from Crosse and Blackwell, Colmans (Unilever), Heinz, McDonalds' Low Fat Caesar's Salad Dressing and Schweppes/Coca-Cola's Tomato Juice Cocktail.

Further information at FSA website. A list of affected products can be found at Shoppers have been advised to check food in their homes against the official list.

Further reading:

20 Feb BBC news provides further news links.

20 Feb London Times says the carcinogenic risk to humans of Sudan 1 has not been established, but research has shown that it causes liver tumours in laboratory animals.

21 Feb New Zealand news says the NZ food authority believed few, if any, of those products listed were in New Zealand. Heinz had assured the authority that its products on sale in New Zealand were either made in NZ or in Australia.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Janjaweed leader says followed orders in Darfur, Sudan

20 Feb Reuters report copied here in full:

An Arab tribal chief suspected of human rights abuses in Darfur said on Sunday he was doing only what the government told him when he recruited militiamen to help put down an uprising there.

Musa Hilal, who tops the US State Department's list of Darfur human rights abuse suspects, said Khartoum had entrusted tribal leaders with recruiting young men to join the militias in Darfur. "The war in Darfur was not in our hands. The decision to make war was taken by higher powers in the state.

"We, the leaders of the tribes, Arabs and others, were charged by the government to take part in the conscription effort and we only obeyed," he said.

Darfur rebels and human rights groups have accused Khartoum of using the Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, as a proxy force to crush a rebellion in the dry western region, where at least two million people have been displaced in two years of violence.

They say the Janjaweed, whom the government calls outlaws, have conducted a campaign of rape and village burning. The government says it recruited militias to fight the rebellion but denies using the Janjaweed.

A UN-appointed panel has drawn up a confidential list of 51 people suspected of "heinous crimes" in Darfur and has recommended they be tried at the new International Criminal Court (ICC). UN sources say Hilal is on the list.

Hilal said he would not agree to the "humiliation" of being prosecuted abroad.

"As an individual who is independent and has a sense of his own freedom in his own country, I do not accept that I be prosecuted outside of Sudan. I reject it completely," he said.

The UN-appointed panel last month gave UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan its list of suspects and evidence of killings, pillaging and rape in Darfur, where at least 70,000 people have died since March.

"I have my doubts about the international community's agenda toward Sudan, both as an Islamic country and as a Third World country," Hilal said.

Further reading: 12 Feb post: Darfur war criminals in Sudan must fear The Hague
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UN urges more troops to aid Darfur, Sudan

20 Feb Tribune news report says UN humanitarian chief urged world leaders Friday to vastly increase the number of troops in Darfur to protect unarmed civilians and relief workers facing a wave of murder, rape and looting.

Jan Egeland, the undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, depicted a crisis in which the number of people needing lifesaving assistance could jump from 2 million to 4 million if immediate action isn't taken.

Egeland said the need for more African Union troops is urgent. There are 9,000 aid workers in the western Darfur region, but only about 1,850 African Union soldiers, he said.

A young Sudanese child is helped with a drink of clean water at the Abu Shouk refugee camp near El Fasher, in Darfur, Sudan, 24 August 2004. The United States proposed new targeted sanctions for Sudan in what it called a bid to turn up the pressure over Darfur and get both the government and rebels to end the bloodshed. (AFP/File/Jim Watson)
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The world's worst dictator Al-Bashir lauds China's stances towards Sudan

20 Feb Khartoum news says Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir has commended China's stands backing Sudan at international forums and its efforts to promote bilateral ties for realizing common interests.

Al-Bashir made the remark on Saturday when he received the visiting envoy of Chinese government. The meeting has explored means to boost further joint ties, said the visiting Chinese official, pointing to China's concern to enhance its relations with Sudan as the two countries maintain fruitful cooperation and share similar stance on international issues.

The meeting has also discussed Darfur, he said, adding that China will maintain consultations with Sudan to arrive at just solution to the issue.

Photo: Al-Beshir
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Libya and Egypt back African answer to Darfur crisis

19 Feb AFP report: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed on the need to support efforts by the African Union to resolve the crisis in Darfur within an African framework and with out any foreign intervention that may hamper the continuation of the African efforts to solve Darfur crisis.

[Note they do not object to Sudan raking in foreign aid and money while it takes orders for brand new MiGs and shops around to buy its own 60 million dollar satellite]
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Kenyan troops ready for Sudan peacekeeping role

19 Feb PANA report: The Kenyan military has finalised the training of a battalion comprising peacekeepers, peace monitors and senior military staff for possible deployment to southern Sudan and the western region of Darfur, military sources said Saturday here.

The troops, awaiting the final dispatch orders, were trained at the Nairobi-based peace support training centre, where peace and security monitors from across the sub-Saharan Africa do their military training.

Defence Department spokesman Bogita Ongeri said the training was done in advance to prepare the officers for deployment once the go-ahead orders are issued.

"The officers have been trained but no formal decision has been taken regarding their deployment. The decision would have to be taken on whether we are sending peacekeepers, peace monitors or military observers," Ongeri told PANA.

Further reading: 9 Feb article PANA - Kenya closer to sealing oil deals in Saudi Arabia, Sudan.


Photo: A Kenyan soldier brusher sand from a landmine during a de-mining demonstration at the East African International Mine Action Training Center (IMATC) in Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 17, 2005. (Reuters).

Friday, February 18, 2005

Sudan has two weeks to withdraw troops from seized areas in Darfur

Associated Press news Feb 18 says Sudanese troops have two weeks to pull out of positions they seized after the government signed an oft-violated truce with rebels in Darfur, officials said today:

The move is intended to ease tensions in the region and help the adversaries negotiate a settlement without distractions from the battlefield, said Adam Ali Shogar, spokesman of the rebel SLA.

Khartoum has agreed to meet the deadline and its forces will be replaced by African troops deployed in the region, said head of the commission that monitors the April truce. The commission includes representatives of Sudan's government, the two main rebels groups in Darfur, Chad, the AU, UN, EU and the US.

"The government agreed to withdraw its troops in one week and the commission will verify that in two weeks," Shogar told The Associated Press. "The countdown began yesterday."

The commission did not fix the date for the next round of peace talks as expected. Mediators will consult with all sides to ensure that they are fully committed to negotiating a political settlement before fixing the date.

Three previous rounds of talks and the cease-fire agreement have failed to calm Darfur, which plunged into violent conflict in February 2003.

The most recent round of Darfur peace talks began Dec. 11, but rebels boycotted meetings with government delegates two days later, alleging a new government offensive. The talks broke down within weeks.

The commission also rejected Sudan's plans on disarming the dreaded pro-government militia, known as the Janjaweed, because the scheme was too vague, Abdallah said.

He said Sudan agreed to present a new plan for the disarmament of its allies, who are accused of carrying out the bulk of atrocities in Darfur.

On Thursday, the Janjaweed attacked Duma - some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur - burning four villages in the raid that continued Friday, Shogar said. "I don't have any details about casualties and the number of people forced to flee the villages, but more than 150 houses have been burned," Shogar said.

Note: the above report makes no mention of the Darfur rebel group JEM who, when the talks broke down in December, refused to return to the negotiating table until the UN took over as mediators, in place of the AU. Also, note this excerpt from a Reuters report today, Feb 18:
SLA spokesman Adam Ali Shogar said the Sudanese government had to withdraw from all the areas it took after September 8, the date of an oft-violated ceasefire agreement, and respect a no-fly zone before the rebels would consider a return to the negotiating table.

"Two days ago we had a sighting of a government Antonov in North Darfur State, so it is obvious that the government is not respecting its commitments. When the government delivers on these commitments then we will set a date for talks," he said.
If true, this proves the Sudanese government, after its recent bombing of Darfur, has already broken its promise made February 5, 2005 that no more Antonov planes would fly over Darfur.
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African mission to check ceasefire in Darfur

Turkish Press report Feb 18 confirms the joint ceasefire Commission on Darfur is to send a fact-finding team to verify positions occupied by the opposing sides with a view to mapping out a separation plan and ensure the truce is being honoured.

The move was announced late Thursday at the end of a meeting of the commission headed by Chadian President Idriss Deby and the head of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare.

The commission decided "to send a team on the ground in Darfur to verify the positions occupied by the forces present there, with a view to drawing up a plan to separate these forces and also to verify the effectiveness of the ceasefire declaration by the parties," the meeting's final communique said.
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Sudanese official says trip of UK envoy to Eritrea "important"

Here is another interesting development reported by BBC Monitoring Services 17 Feb:

Sudan news says a political adviser of the president of Eritria believes that the forthcoming visit of the UK's Special Representative for Sudan, Dr Alastair McPhail, to Eritria would be important.

He told Suna "As soon as we finished with the Nairobi talks, we were hit by another crisis at the UN Security Council over Darfur which has had an impact on the progress of the talks with the rebels. Therefore, we definitely can do without another concocted problem in the eastern region".

Further reading: Eritrea wants to repair aircraft, air defence systems in Belarus report by BBC Monitoring Services.
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Darfuris still flooding refugee camp - aid workers

Reuters report Feb 18 confirms hundreds of refugees are still flooding into the sprawling, overcrowded Kalma camp in Darfur as they flee attacks by soldiers and militias, aid workers said on Thursday.

"Last week we received 600," said one humanitarian aid worker, who declined to be named. "In November, December and January, there was a flood of people coming into the camps from a combination of attacks by military and militias," said Philippe Schneider, an aid worker with a UN agency.

The camp, built for 60,000 people, is now home to more than 150,000.
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UN Council deadlocked over court for Darfur trials

Reuters report Feb 18 reveals for the first time, 12 of the 15 Security Council members said they favoured sending perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur to the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, which the Bush administration opposes. No formal vote was taken.

The meeting came after Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy representative, told Reuters the EU might fail in its bid to refer the Darfur crisis to the ICC because of Washington's opposition and may have to settle for the Tanzanian option.

The ICC was established by 120 countries in 1998 to "ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished", but the US has consistently been suspicious of the tribunal, accusing it of not being answerable to nation states.

Further reading at Financial Times Feb 17: Solana voices doubts on Darfur case going to ICC.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

African leaders warn against sending non-African troops to Darfur, Sudan

At a meeting in Chad's capital N'Djamena, African leaders, including Sudan's President Bashir, urged the international community not to send non-African troops to Darfur and not to impose sanctions.

"The heads of state called on the international community to continue to give its support to African efforts already under way and to abstain from all action which could harm these efforts, including the imposition of sanctions and all deployment of non-African forces," they said in a statement.

The leaders called for a "total and definitive ceasefire" in Darfur and urged the AU to transform its mission into a real peacekeeping operation, respecting Sudan's sovereignty.

Previous agreements to stop the fighting and disarm have been repeatedly flouted by both sides and there have been close to 100 confirmed truce violations since late last year.

Bashir said after the talks in Chad that he would respect all previous ceasefire accords.

"We want this problem to remain African, in the hands of the African Union, that the AU assumes its responsibilities and has the confidence of the international community," he said. - Reuters Full Story via Wired News 17 Feb.
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Annan urges immediate action to end 'Hell on Earth' in Darfur

"While the United Nations may not be able to take humanity to heaven, it must act to save humanity from hell," Annan said at a UN meeting Feb 16 called to review a report submitted earlier this month by a UN-appointed commission on Darfur.

The report accused the Sudanese government and militias of "heinous crimes." It said rebels were responsible for serious crimes but its chief criticism was directed at the government's inability to stop marauding Arab militiamen.

"This report is one of the most important documents in recent history of the United Nations. It makes chilling reading. And it is a call to action," said Annan.

"The report demonstrates beyond all doubt that the last two years have been little short of hell on earth for our fellow human beings in Darfur." - BBC Full Story 17 Feb.
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UN rights chief says Hague court should try Darfur crimes

The UN Security Council is considering trials for perpetrators of atrocities who have been named on a sealed list drawn up by the UN-appointed commission.

Annan and Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said on Feb 16 that any meaningful prosecution had to be handled by the International Criminal Court, an institution which Washington opposes.

"Referral to the ICC is the best means by which to halt ongoing violations and prevent future ones," Arbour told the UN Security Council at an open meeting yesterday.

"With an already existing set of well-defined rules of procedure and evidence, the court is the best-suited institution for ensuring speedy investigations leading to arrests and demonstrably fair trials," she said.

In Darfur, Sudan, Physicians for Human Rights Team finds substantial evidence of intentional destruction of livelihoods

PHR urges UN to support compensation and increased African Union Force: Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reporting Feb. 16, from a three-week assessment in Darfur, called on the UN Security Council to step up security and establish an International Compensation Commission to provide reparations to Darfurians whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the recent conflict.

PHR has an extensive collection of high quality photographs of its recent investigation taken by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Wadleigh. Here are some of the photos, and captions taken from the above mentioned PHR report February 16, 2005.

Destruction of Villages

Photo: At left, a village in Darfur. At right, a village after an attack.

Focusing on the village of Furawiya in the northern part of West Darfur, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) documented the full range of loss of livelihoods, including loss of community, economic structures, livestock, food production, wells and irrigation, farming capacity, and household structures. When this detail is applied to the estimated 700-2,000 villages destroyed in Darfur, the scale and cost of livelihood destruction is enormous. From the air and land, the PHR team also photographically documented the utter devastation of dozens of villages in the southern border with Chad.


The findings bolster PHR's genocide assessment from its June 2004 investigation along the Chad/Sudan border that highlighted evidence of an organized attempt to affect group annihilation. In particular, PHR's livelihood study is applicable to Article 6c of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court which defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

"Perpetrators of the heinous war crimes committed in Darfur must be brought to justice and PHR urges the UN to send a referral to the International Criminal Court, but prosecuting perpetrators alone will not be enough to restore livelihoods lost," said John Heffernan who led the most recent investigation. "The non-Arab Darfurians have lost everything, making the prospect of returning without some sort of compensation, even in a secure environment, difficult."


Destruction of Livestock

According to an account by one of the few Furawiya residents who never left his village, nearly all the prewar livestock was lost. The percent of livestock lost as a direct result of the attack was 40% killed and 20% stolen or eaten by attacking Janjaweed forces. Of the remaining animals, 30 died as a result of lack of food and water from either the long trek to Chad or from neglect. Food production for family consumption and for upkeep of their livestock was completely wiped out. Not only were homes attacked, looted and/or destroyed, the crops were also burned. Because of continuing intimidation and regular return attacks against Furawiya (in May, June, July and August 2004 per the UN assessment report), villagers are unable to return home.


Physicians for Human Rights team member and medical consultant Dr. Michael Van Rooyen, a humanitarian aid expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, "An essential part of survival is community structure. People can't and won't return unless their entire village returns. It is vital that the international community and the Government of Sudan take concrete steps to rebuild these people's lives."

Without access to their land there is no home, and no farm. Without the farm there is no way to eat or feed livestock. Without livestock there is reduced access to water and no economy. The continuation of attacks and intimidation has forced the population into the harsh desert to live off of the wild grains and berries. It is only the presence of humanitarian aid organizations that has prevented the starvation and annihilation of the Furawiyan population. This pattern repeats itself across a land the size of France.


To ensure return of people to their homes, save lives and prevent further attacks, Physicians for Human Rights calls on the UN Security Council to immediately support:

- An enlarged and more robust African Union force, with increased troops, equipment and strong logistical and financial support from donor nations.

- Disarmament and disbandment of the Janjaweed militia forces by the Government of Sudan with measures to ensure that all parties respect the ceasefire agreement.

- An International Compensation Commission to enable Darfurians to restore their livelihoods. This should include devising a means of holding the Janjaweed militias and the Government of Sudan accountable to return seized lands, provide reparations, and restore plundered and pillaged property, as well as compensation for damaged crops and infrastructure.

- Targeted sanctions on the government of Sudan and others responsible for the ongoing attacks.

- Holding perpetrators accountable by referring crimes committed in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.

Darfur's Victims







Physicians for Human Rights has an extensive collection of high quality photographs of the investigation taken by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Wadleigh. [View a selection of the images]

PHR will release its findings, as well as its complete recommendations for action, in an upcoming full report.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to ensure the health and dignity of all people. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sudan: Leaders of six Darfur tribes sign a new pact

Associated Press Feb 16, says leaders of six tribes with links to either side of the Darfur conflict signed a reconciliation pact today, agreeing to cease fire and to waive claims for compensation and bloody money. According to the report, this may quiet South Darfur, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the past two months.

The news seems hopeful as Norway's highly regarded Hilde Frafjord Johnson is mentioned as a witness. Here is an excerpt:

The accord, the first of its kind since the conflict began two years ago this month, commits the leaderships of six South Darfur tribes not to hide fighters associated with either the rebels or the pro-government Janjaweed militia.

"We swear to God that we will not conceal anyone who will seek to terrorize people," the pact states.

"We declare that we are dropping all claims for blood money or losses because we need each other, and because most of our people have been displaced and we do not possess money," the pact adds.

The signing ceremony in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, was witnessed by the provincial governor, Al-Haj Atalmannan Idris, and Norway's Minister of International Cooperation Hilde Frafjord Johnson, who is visiting Sudan.

The Sudanese government, which the UN has criticized for failing to stop the Darfur conflict, arranged for journalists to fly from Khartoum for the ceremony.

The authorities said the negotiations for the pact began two months ago, with each tribe represented by 10 elders.

The Darfur conflict has pitted rebels, who come from the region's ethnically African population, against the government and allied Janjaweed, which draws its members from the region's Arabs.

The tribes taking part in Wednesday's ceremony came from either side of the African-Arab divide. In some cases, members of the same tribe are believed to have fought on opposite sides.

The government hopes the accord will quiet South Darfur, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the past two months.

In a case singled out by the UN's mission to Sudan, unidentified militia ransacked the South Darfur village of Hamada in January, killing about 100 people, mainly women and children.

The fighting in Darfur has forced about 2 million people to flee their homes. One of the largest camps for the displaced, Kalma, stands outside Nyala.
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Summit on Darfur crisis opens in Chad

AFP report Feb 16 says Presidents from several African countries began summit talks Wednesday in Chad to seek ways ways to enforce a ceasefire in Darfur. Here is an excerpt:

The two-day meeting has brought Gabon's Omar Bongo Ondimba and the Congo Republic's Denis Sassou Nguesso to Ndjamena to join Chad's Idriss Deby, Omar el-Beshir of Sudan and Alpha Oumar Konare, a former president of Mali who is now chairman of the commission of the African Union.

The leaders plan, with Chad as mediator, to get a ceasefire back in place for Darfur. This pits two rebel groups from the local population of black African origin against an Arab horseback militia, the Janjaweed, widely accused of major human rights violations.

Note, Sudan's Bashir is to briefly visit Nigeria later on Wednesday for talks. The heads of state meeting in Chad was due to be followed by talks between Darfur's two main rebel groups - the SLM and the JEM - and Sudanese government officials.


16 Feb AFP report: Several African leaders wrapped up summit talks, agreeing on steps to ensure respect of a ceasefire in western Darfur.

16 Feb Reuters report: Sudan's president on Wednesday, speaking after talks with African leaders in Chad, urged the international community not to send troops to the Darfur region, saying he wanted the problem to remain in the hands of the African Union. "We also ask the international community not to send neutral forces so that the rebels can realise their aims. We want the rebels to come to the negotiating table with serious intentions,: Bashir told reporters.

16 Feb Sudan Tribune report: The Darfur rebel group SLA/M issue a statement on N'djamena meeting on Darfur.
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Khartoum to negotiate with Eastern Sudan rebels

Aljazeera article yesterday, Feb 15, says the Sudanese government has agreed to negotiate with the opposition Beja Congress as the legitimate representative of the people of eastern Sudan.

Photo: Self appointed President of Sudan, al-Bashir, recently named the world's worst dictator

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How many have died in Darfur, Sudan?

Nobody knows for sure how many people have died during the two-year conflict in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of people are still out of the reach of aid workers. Today, the BBC says the widely quoted UN figure of 70,000 is clearly wrong, because it was based on a study that does not include those killed in the violence and covers just six months of the conflict. Here are some snippets from the BBC report dated Feb 16:

The UN says that 1,650,000 of the estimated six million population have fled their homes within Darfur and a further 200,000 have crossed the border into Chad. But the organisation is reluctant to even suggest how many might have died.

Khartoum consistently underplay the scale of the crisis. The UN Security Council remains unable to agree on how to sanction the government or the perpetrators of abuses. The small African Union force meant to monitor a ceasefire is ineffective and under strength. This has led to continuing clashes, meaning many parts of the province remain insecure and inaccessible to those who might investigate.

The only major study of deaths in Darfur so far has been conducted by the UN's World Health Organisation which estimated that as many as 70,000 people had died of disease and malnutrition caused by the conflict between March and October 2004.

The UN's emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland has admitted the death toll in Darfur could be much higher than the 70,000 WHO figure but says he does not know.

US academic Eric Reeves estimates the toll at 340,000 at the beginning of 2005.

Dr Jan Coebergh, who once worked in Darfur, has examined a range of aid agency health surveys. He puts the figures slightly lower at about 300,000 - but he admits it is little more than a stab in the dark. "We don't know enough about how many people are dying from violence let alone natural causes in inaccessible areas. The reality is that we just don't know the scale of the problem," Dr Coebergh told BBC News.
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Food shortages in four Sudanese states, including North and West Darfur

Yesterday, Feb 15, Sudan's Agriculture minister said the international community must finance Sudan. Here are some snippets taken from IRIN and VOA news reports:

The minister was in Rome for a day to sign a loan agreement of about 25.5 million US dollars granted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development for the Western Sudan Resources Management Programme that will benefit an estimated 200,000 households in the central Sudanese region of Kordofan.

On the issue of bringing to trial those responsible for the incidents in Darfur, he declared that the Sudanese government was in favour of a trial, but by its own courts in Sudan and not by an international court.

He said the amounts of food in Sudan are satisfactory with some states having surplus food. But, he said, there are four states where there are food deficiencies, including north and west Darfur. He added that through food reserves the government has secured enough food for the region until July 2005.

He acknowledged that many crops would be left untended in Darfur. People in rural areas live in fear of violent opposition rebel groups. Those who have been displaced are scared to return to their homes. The minister said the situation has improved and the health situation is considered satisfactory, but many still feel threatened by the violence. He said the government is coordinating with voluntary organizations in the area to supply surplus food from other states to those that need it. But he agreed that there is still looting and insecurity in the region which creates difficulties in transporting the assistance.

Referring to the recent suggestion by Kofi Annan for NATO or EU intervention in Darfur, he said this had no basis because the security situation is continuously improving. The matter should remain under the responsibility of African Union troops because, he said, "they understand our mentality better."

In the same breath, he said the international community must support the Sudanese government, help it decrease its debt and invest in the country. Full Story at VOA Feb 15.

Further reading:

UN warns Darfur could face new food shortage. A Reuters report Feb 15 says the UN urged donors on Tuesday to speed the flow of food aid to Darfur or risk worsening shortages in the region. "Urgent and timely financial backing is crucial to ensure that WFP is able to meet the needs of those most at risk in the coming months," spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume said. Without rapid assistance, a recent improvement in the food situation of about two million people driven from their homes by violence in the region could be reversed, the agency said.
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UN agency seeks to develop locally produced, fuel effective stoves

UNICEF Feb 14 said one of the main concerns women and girls raise is the constant threat of rape they face when they leave camp to collect firewood. “Darfur is largely a desert and women and girls are walking for miles and miles to collect enough firewood to feed themselves and their families,” a UNICEF spokesperson explained.

To minimise the exposure of women and girls to attack, UNICEF is working to develop locally produced, fuel-effective stoves which use much less firewood. These would cut down the time spent outside the relative safety of the camps.


Note, It has been said that if the men collect firewood they are killed. When the women collect firewood they are raped. They are all being stopped from foraging for food, water and firewood. Incacerated. Prisoners in the camps, for years if other countries who are against western actions and intervention have their way. What a life eh?
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Bundeswehr observers ready for Darfur

Today, Feb 16, the EUobserver confirms Germany would take part in UN mission to Sudan. German government spokesman Thomas Steg said on Monday that Berlin is prepared to let German soldiers take part in a UN-led mission to Sudan.

Yesterday, a German news article said Germany's most widely-read newspaper, Bild, has quoted a defence ministry report as saying that Berlin is ready to provide personnel to act as observers in Sudan and to help run any military headquarters.

Bild said that the UN peace-keeping mission in Sudan will involve 10,000 soldiers from participating countries. Germany's role in the mission will be limited as it will send only military observers and staff officers for the headquarters, the paper quoted German military sources as saying

Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament approved on December 3 a government plan to make some 200 soldiers available to the African Union to help resolve the crisis in Darfur.

Photo: Towards the end of ast year, German troops airlifted African Union soldiers into Darfur
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I would stop my contacts in Darfur in case of foreign intervention, Libya's leader says


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has commented on Kofi Annan's call for NATO and EU intervention in Darfur, says Libyan news Feb 15:

"In case of foreign intervention in Darfur, I would halt my contacts that I am undertaking now with the people of Darfur, its tribes, chiefs and military leaderships, which I am making in implementation of the decisions of the quintet African Summit held in Tripoli last October," he said.

"The statement of Kofi Annan is very serious, and bars us from continuing our African efforts. If the content of the statement is to be implemented, the Sudan could turn into another Iraq. I have informed the president of the African Union and Darfur leaders of my position," he added.
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Sudanese opposition parties meet in Ugandan capital

Note for new readers, the following two items do not relate to Darfur in Western Sudan which is a separate conflict from the one that recently ended in Southern Sudan:

A report at China News Feb 16 says Sudanese opposition parties are meeting in Kampala to discuss political developments following the signing of a final peace accord by the Khartoum government and the SPLM/A, Radio Uganda reported on Wednesday.

An executive member of the opposition parties' umbrella organization, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Mutaz el Fahal, was quoted as saying that "top executive members of the NDA are discussing how they can prepare their parties for participation in the political arrangement in Sudan after the signing of the peace agreement ... and how to prepare the people for democracy." He said 30 top NDA officials were attending the meeting which started on Monday.

Members of the NDA include the Democratic Unionist Party, the Sudanese Communist Party, Darfur's Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, and the SPLM/A. The NDA was established in 1989 following a coup in which Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir overthrew Sudan's prime ministerSadiq el-Mahdi.

During the past 16 years, armed NDA members fought alongside the SPLM/A in the southern civil war, which left two million people dead, and launched sabotage attacks and other low-level violence in Sudan's north and east in opposition to the Khartoum government.
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White Nile shares suspended

British based oil exploration firm White Nile, whose shares have soared since listing last week, said on Wednesday it had sealed a deal in southern Sudan.

A snippet in Feb 16 Scotsman says shares in White Nile were suspended at the request of the company after it agreed to buy a 60% interest in an oilfield in southern Sudan and pledged to publish details of the deal by the end of this week.
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Thank you to Stones Cry Out blog for linking to this blog and highlighting the plight of the Sudanese.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Highlights of new US draft on Sudan at UN

A report from Reuters today reveals:
Diplomats said the US had so far failed to get enough council support for its proposed new court set up in Arusha, Tanzania. Some nine of the 15 council members prefer the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Consequently, the resolution may be adopted, possibly within two weeks, without mentioning the name of a court if no agreement is reached by then while negotiations continue.

The measure again threatens an oil embargo if violence continues in Darfur, but diplomats said there was little chance it would be implemented. The resolution also leaves the door open for a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur and asks Kofi Annan to report on options to help the African Union.
Another report from Reuters today, is copied here in full:

The United States proposed on Monday a draft UN Security Council resolution on a peacekeeping force in southern Sudan and sanctions in Darfur. Following are highlights of the eight-page measure that may be voted on within two weeks.

- Establishes a U.N. Mission in Sudan, called UNMISUD, for an initial period of 6 months to help enforce a landmark peace agreement in southern Sudan that ended 21 years of civil war. The draft calls for 10,000 troops, 715 police and civilian personnel with a mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of violence.

- Asks Secretary-General Kofi Annan to come up with options in 60 days on how to reinforce an African Union monitoring mission in Darfur.

- Sets up a special unit to make sure peacekeepers do not sexually exploit the local population as was the case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

- Imposes a travel ban and financial assets on violators of a Darfur cease-fire and other violence as determined by a new Security Council committee, consisting of all 15 member nations. Exemptions are possible on religious grounds and for negotiating purposes.

- Widens an arms embargo in Darfur to include the Sudanese government and demands Khartoum refrain from conducting military flights in and out of Darfur unless the Security Council approves them in advance.

- Determines that perpetrators of crimes and atrocities identified in a sealed list by a U.N. inquiry commission be brought to justice by "internationally accepted means."

Council members are still debating where the trials will be held, with the United States wanting a court in Tanzania and at least nine other council members preferring the International Criminal Court that Washington opposes. The resolution may be adopted without naming the specific court.

- Establishes within a month from the date of the resolution's adoption, a panel of four experts, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and El Fasher in Darfur, to assist the Security Council and make recommendations on future action.

- Threatens to consider an oil embargo if the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate.

- Urges parties to the North-South agreement, including former rebels, to "play an active role" in the Darfur talks in Abuja, Nigeria.


Some members of the Security Council are set to object to the new US Sudan resolution. According to sources from within the Security Council they anticipate opposition from Russia and China, who both have the veto power, as well as Algeria. All three have rejected previous calls for sanctions in order to give Khartoum more time to rein in the militia. [Photo courtesy Aljazeera]
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Gaddafi attacks Annan's proposals for Darfur

Reuters confirms today that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has attacked Kofi Annan's call for the EU and NATO to help end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, saying it risked creating a second Iraq.

"The brother Kofi Annan's statement is very dangerous and stops us from pursuing the African efforts. If his statement were to be implemented that will make Sudan a second Iraq," Gaddafi said in remarks reported late on Monday by the official news agency Jana. "I made my position on that known to the African Union chairman and the leaders in Darfur."

Gaddafi has close relations with the government in Khartoum as well as tribes and rebels in Darfur region, which borders on Libya and Chad.

Monday, February 14, 2005

US draft on UN Sudan mission skirts trials issue

This evening, Reuters news confirms the US has circulated a draft UN resolution that would send as many as 10,000 peacekeepers to South Sudan (this was on the cards nine months ago); ban arms sales to Sudan, including the government (pretty hard to monitor); impose a travel ban (it does not say if this includes top Sudanese officials, rebel and Arab tribal leaders); and impose a freeze on assets on those responsible for violating a ceasefire in Darfur (it does not detail who).

It looks like a Security Council committee would be set up to identify which individuals should be subject to the sanctions. US officials said they hoped to bring to the resolution to a vote within two weeks.

The US draft is silent on where those responsible for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur should be tried. The draft text expresses only the council's determination that perpetrators of the crimes identified by the UN commission "be brought to justice through internationally accepted means."
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UN rights chief prepares to brief UN Security Council on possible war crimes in Darfur

14 Feb Canadian and UN human rights chief Louise Arbour addressed a Moscow news conference yesterday. After flying back to Geneva yesterday she is due in New York this week to brief the UN Security Council Wednesday on the human rights situation in Darfur.

She'll return to Canada in a few weeks, where she'll press for an increased Canadian role in global politics. Full Story.

Photo: UN human rights chief Louise Arbour (Ivan/Van Sekretarev/AP)
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14 Feb UN News Centre report confirms that just as the top UN human rights official prepares to brief the Security Council on reported war crimes in Darfur, scattered reports of violence continued to come in today from the region.

The UN Advance Mission in Sudan said incidents included an armed attack by tribal militia four days ago in South Darfur, where two civilians were reportedly killed and 1,500 cattle looted. The police intervened and the attackers fled.

The African Union, which has monitoring teams in the area, is facilitating the return of livestock stolen by the Janjaweed on 9 February in the Kass area of South Darfur where other cattle looting has been reported.

The AU reported that part of a market was burned down in tribal clashes east of Nyala in which four villagers were allegedly killed and four wounded.

In North Darfur SLA rebels reportedly attacked Sudanese Government forces east of Al Fasher and also allegedly seized nine commercial trucks, UNAMIS said.
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Sudan, France reject NATO role in Darfur

Yesterday, Feb 13, Kofi Annan called at an important security conference in Munich, Germany for urgent Western intervention in Darfur. "People are dying, every single day, while we fail to protect them. Additional measures are urgently required. Those organizations with real capacity -- and NATO as well as the EU are well represented in this room -- must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy," the UN chief said.

Annan saluted the work of the 1,850 African Union peacekeepers currently deployed in Darfur, but said other international bodies must act as quickly as possible in a region where tens of thousands have died and 1.6 million displaced. "Remember this -- our current collective shortcomings are measured in lives lost," he said.

Today, Islam online says Sudan and France roundly rejected yesterday's call by Kofi Annan for a NATO intervention in Darfur, saying that world ought to back the existing AU observer mission. Full Story.

Also, today China View news says Sudanese Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry Najeeb el-Kheir said any effort to handle the Darfur conflict must come in accordance with the stance of the Sudanese government and the African Union on the issue. "Any outside work will be rejected, the Sudanese official told reporters.

"It is AU's responsibility to ensure a just solution to the Darfur dispute," the official said. He attributed the current situation in Darfur to the failure of "the developed countries to fulfill their commitments to meet the needs of the region."

The Sudanese official said the AU has made effective contribution to improve the situation in Darfur, expressing hope that the AU would expand its mandate in peacekeeping across the region. He said the Sudanese government would cooperate with the AU to help it achieve its mission, urging the international community to fulfill its commitments to help the Sudanese government and the AU on the issue.

[Note, this sounds like (to me anyway) bargaining dialogue, ie Khartoum is really saying: "if we allow the AU to expand their mandate, there will be no need to bring in foreign troops". Also, the bit where he says the developed countries have failed to fulfill their commitments to meet the needs of the region - sounds like Khartoum are miffed at not getting the loads of money promised for development, once a peace deal was signed. The money will be handed over once there is peace in Sudan - which includes Darfur.]
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Sudan slams Annan call for Western intervention in Darfur

13 Feb AFP: Sudan hit out Sunday at a call by Kofi Annan for EU or NATO intervention in Darfur, saying the world body ought to back the existing AU observer mission.

"We believe that the AU has the full mandate and capabilities to accomplish its mission satisfactorily and we expect that no other agency would tamper with this mission," a junior foreign minister told AFP.

"We commend the work done by the AU which has been recognised by the UN as the major body responsible for supervising the peace efforts in Darfur, and we expect the UN secretary general to spare no effort to bolster the AU in carrying out its assigned mission," Abdel Wahab said. - Full Story at Sudan Tribune Feb 13.

[Note the AU mission in Darfur is hamstrung without the full mandate to be effective, which is why the Darfur rebels are complaining AU troops are only observing]
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Annan calls for urgent Western intervention in Darfur

13 Feb UN News Centre: Kofi Annan today called on European and US officials gathered at a leading international forum in Munich, Germany to support efforts to strengthen the UN so that its system of collective security can better respond to changing conditions in the world.

He also addressed the case of Darfur, Sudan. "Additional measures are urgently required," the Secretary-General said. "Those organizations with real capacity - and NATO as well as the European Union are well represented in this room - must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy."

He conceded that peace-building efforts succeed only one time out of two. "Half of the civil wars that appear to have been resolved by peace agreements tragically slide back into conflict within five years," he observed.

The UN is stretched thin, with more than 75,000 personnel deployed in 18 peace operations on four continents, while a 19th operation is planned for Sudan. "For the foreseeable future, the global demand will outstrip the capacity of the UN to respond -- particularly when only one in five of our uniformed personnel comes from developed countries," he warned. Full Story.

[Note We have heard the prospect of foreign troop intervention before. Perhaps it is another tactic to pressure Khartoum and get them and the AU to agree to expand the mandate of AU troops in Darfur. NATO recently said it might look into helping if asked to do so by the AU. If EU troops are ever deployed in the Sudan, they will be part of the 10,000 UN peacekeepers monitoring the peace deal in Southern Sudan, not for the separate conflict in Darfur in Western Sudan. The UN peacekeeping force for South Sudan is not expected to be completed for another six months]
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Darfur rebels criticise AU troops

13 Feb UN News Centre: The AU force has come in for strong criticism from the Darfur rebels. SLA spokesman Mohammed Hamed Ali charged Saturday that ever since their deployment last year, the AU observers had "sat idly by while government planes mounted air raids and the Janjaweed militias carried out massacres." A peacekeeping force should be made up of "UN troops because they have the capacity and necessary means to protect Darfur," he said.

Full Story.

[Note This criticism is unfair. The AU troops are hamstrung without a mandate that allows them to operate as protection force and not just as observers and monitors. This could be a tactic employed by the rebels to stoke the UN to stoke Khartoum and the AU to expand the mandate of AU troops in Darfur]
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Senator Clinton calls for NATO to stop genocide in Darfur

14 Feb New York Times: Ex-first lady sways security policy forum in Munich, Germany: In her maiden appearance before the clubby - and overwhelmingly male - gathering of experts, Senator Hilary Clinton advocated a direct role by NATO to stop the genocide in Darfur. She asked for logistical, communication and transportation support.

"We cannot continue to say, 'Never again,' as it happens again before our eyes," she said in her speech, although the flatness of her delivery robbed her words of their impact.

Senator Clinton's husband, former US President Bill Clinton was in the audience. He has a new job with the UN, dealing with countries providing the aid for Asia's tsunami disaster.
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14 Feb Guardian report confirms the US government, departing from its normal practice of relying on US farmers to supply food for hungry foreigners, expects to turn to overseas markets for part of its food aid program.

[Note, This is good news, first of all for the overseas farmers, and for the logistics and cost involved transporting food aid from the US to countries such as Africa]
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Could Sudanese deal inspire secession?

Southern Sudan's secession six years from now? A United States of Africa in which borders become meaningless?

Sudan was created by the British who co-ruled it with Egypt from 1899 to 1955. Four times bigger than Texas, it straddles the great African divide between the Arab Muslim north and the black, heavily Christian south, and that faultline has defined the country's 21-year southern civil war.

This month's peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels could be the first test of whether Africa's largest country can stay in one piece.

Now that a deal has been signed with Sudan's southern rebels stipulating that the south will get to vote on independence in six years, the Darfur insurgents in the west of the country have started to speak more forcefully about autonomy. There's unrest in the central areas of Sudan too.

And why stop there, in a country U.N. special envoy Jan Pronk has described as "a failed nation ... many nations together in one huge territory, held together by force"?

For that matter, why stop at Sudan? It is only one of many African nations whose borders, it could be argued, are artificial.

Click here for full story via AP at Guardian, February 14, 2005.

[Note, the report states that President Bashir sounds determined to hold Sudan together. "Our ultimate goal is a united Sudan, which will not be built by war but by peace and development," he told crowds during a tour of the south following the signing of the peace deal. "You, the southerners, will be saying 'we want a strong and huge state, a united Sudan.'"]