ME and Ophelia

Friday, May 07, 2004

BBC reports on the "politics of starvation"

On British TV last night, Channel 4 news reported on Darfur's human tragedy. They referred to it as an "under-reported" war that started one year ago.

Their video footage and report came directly out of Western Sudan. Referring to it as "the land without life", they reported on the 14 massacres where 800 people died. The perpetrators were Arabs, against Africans. Channel 4 said they'd be following up on their report and will talk to the Arabs, to get their side of the story.

Today, BBC News reports:

The United Nations says Darfur refugees are systematically starved. Human Rights Watch says black Africans are deliberately being driven off the land.

A report released by the New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Sudanese government of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of western Sudan. It says the tactics involved include mass rape, summary execution and the systematic burning of villages and crops.

It said a UN team found "appalling" conditions when it visited the town of Kailek less than two weeks ago. Militias prevented food deliveries and stopped anyone leaving, the report said. One aid worker in Kailek described what happened there as the "politics of starvation". Eight or nine children were reported to have been dying from malnutrition every day.

Members of the UN team were said to be "visibly shaken" by circumstances in the town. The report said women and girls were raped and described inhumane sanitary conditions and a lack of medical treatment.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail has acknowledged there might have been human rights violations, but denies a campaign of ethnic cleansing is going on. Later on Friday, the report will be presented to the UN Security Council in New York.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 5/07/2004
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