ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Blogs about indictments and no fly zone for Darfur

This morning I posted a comment at Clive Soley's blog in response to his post on "Sudan and failing states". Clive has raised two possibilities (1) no fly zone for Darfur (2) indictments. This is a rushed post. More later. Meantime Clive has published a response to the comments received - note his interesting suggestion about an Arab regional group.

In a previous comment at Clive's blog, I found Random Ramblings who feels, quote : "what we should do is put a whole lot of pressure on the African Union to take some action and pay for and heavily support that action in anyway possible (including commitment of troops, even if it's not on a huge scale." - and adds, "there's no time for pussyfooting about because every day we dely another 1000 people die."

Further reading:

Aug 9: Arab resolution on Darfur calls for disarming of militias. The unanimously adopted resolution by Arab foreign ministers on Darfur crisis sets an example of regional and international coordination and cooperation between regional organizations and the UN. This is the first time the UN, AU [African Union] and AL to meet under the AL umbrella to discuss an issue of such importance.
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Charity bosses have praised UK Government as "brilliant"

Aug 10: Yay for top U.N. donor countries Australia, Canada, Britain, The Netherlands, and U.S.A. It's good to see the UK getting some credit for everything it is doing for Sudan. It's about time Khartoum showed some appreciation and said a word of thanks for all the aid and work being carried out by aid workers from all over the world who are risking their lives to help the people of Sudan, against all odds. Don't hold your breath though, the government of Sudan resents the world's help because it does not want the displaced people saved. The Arabs have moved in to the villages of Darfur and moved into the good homes of those that have fled, sort of like what the Germans did when the Jews were forced from their homes and exterminated.

Charity bosses have praised the UK Government's aid provisions for Sudan's humanitarian crisis as "brilliant". The UK is the third largest donor to the UN's effort in the Darfur region, already giving over £36m - and overall the government has pledged £62.5m.

Christian Aid praised the UK Government for "taking the lead" with humanitarian aid - and told BBC News Online: "The UK did take the lead in terms of aid. But they also took the lead by brokering the deal which got round the bureaucratic barriers and allowed aid agencies access to the people in Darfur."

CA spokeswoman said UK Government could use the same brokering skills to get parties in the Sudan dispute around the negotiating table. But added: "Obviously the most important thing is to get the aid into the areas where it is need - the UK has done brilliantly with that."

"We feel we have been doing as much as we can" - UK Government.
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Nigerian troops could follow on August 25

Aug 10: About 100 African Union (AU) monitors are deployed in Darfur to record and investigate attacks and the Dutch ambassador to Ethiopia said the Netherlands would begin to airlift 154 Rwandan troops into Darfur on Saturday to protect them. Nigerian troops could follow on August 25, the ambassador said.

The AU hopes to increase the proposed number of AU forces protecting the monitors from 360 to about 2,000 and extend their mandate to peacekeeping, which Sudan refuses.

The African Union said rebels and Khartoum had agreed to peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja on August 23, but the rebels said they had not received formal invitations and the date was unsuitable, although they welcomed the location.
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To assist with transportation of aid to Darfur

Aug 10:: President Thabo Mbeki says government will send trains to the war-torn Sudan to assist with the transportation of humanitarian aid in the devastated southern region of Darfur. He said the South African Railways was already hard at work ensuring that the engines were delivered in the strife-torn country.

Humanitarian organisations working in the area have cited logistics such as transportation as a major obstruction to delivering aid to victims of the civil war. South Africa is leading efforts to ensure the post-conflict reconstruction of Sudan under the auspices of the African Union (AU).

President Mbeki said government had already started work in that regard and had had contacts with other countries beyond the continent. President Mbeki will be visiting Sudan in December.

Sudanese Ambassador Kuol Alor Kuol expressed appreciation for South Africa's efforts to rehabilitate Darfur, reaffirming his country's pledge to resolve the catastrophe that has claimed the lives of over 50 000 people have been killed and displaced 1.2 million others.
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To work out a plan for voluntary return of refugees to Darfur

Aug 10: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday it will oversee and assist the voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to safe areas in the troubled Darfur region in western Sudan. The announcement came as part of a recent agreement between the Sudanese government and the United Nations.

The IOM is dispatching a senior official to Khartoum, capital of Sudan, on Tuesday to discuss the terms of the agreement with the Sudanese government and to work out a plan for the voluntary return of IDPs, IOM spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy said.

The plan calls on Khartoum to identify parts of Darfur that can be made safe and secure for the return of IDPs, to control the activities of government forces and armed militiamen, to agree to the deployment of military observers, and to demonstrate a political commitment to peace talks.

The plan, drawn up by Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail and UN envoy Jan Pronk, will be implemented within 30 days in linewith UN Security Council Resolution 1556. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are some 1.2 million IDPs in the Darfur region.

Sudan joined the IOM as an observer in 1993 and became a memberof the Geneva-based organization in 1998.
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Is the responsibility of Sudan alone

BBC report Aug 9: UN had been unable to reach children behind rebel lines in Darfur. African Union has delayed any decision on plans to deploy African peacekeepers to Darfur. Sudan rejected an AU proposal to send some 2,000 peacekeepers in the region saying it could amount to colonialism. Ahead of the AU talks, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ismail warned that the "security of Darfur is the responsibility of Sudan alone".

Note you can't believe a word Ismail says - he is not as wonderous as old Iraq's funny Minister for Information, but he is just as informative. Take any reports out of Khartoum with a pinch of salt - 99.9% of it is total propaganda, utter rubbish, outrageous lies and not even amusing - so it's a waste of reading time. Beware though, the fork tongued lying thugs - will say and do anything to save their own skins -- they are cunningly slick at covering their tracks these past 15 years and are wicked masters of PR -- watch out: the propaganda pops up in the most unexpected places - question reports, even from top news agencies.
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While Janjaweed attack refugees trying to escape

Aug 10: Sudan has carried out fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur while Janjaweed Arab militia forces attacked refugees trying to escape the conflict, the United Nations said in a strongly worded statement. "Fresh violence today (Tuesday) included helicopter gunship bombings by the Sudanese government and Janjaweed attacks in South Darfur. The violence has already led to more displacement," the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement in Geneva.

"Janjaweed attacks on internally displaced persons in and around IDP settlements continue to be reported in all three Darfur states," it added. Civilians have previously said Sudan used helicopters and other military aircraft to attack villages in Darfur.
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And pressurising refugees to return to unsafe villages

Aug 10: The U.N. in Geneva said the Sudanese government was hampering access to hungry Darfuris by restricting relief flights and causing "major delays" in deployment of aid workers.

The world body also said Sudanese authorities were pressuring traumatised refugees to return to unsafe villages. "We have interviewed people in hospital who tell us they have gone back to the villages, believing the government commitment, and have been shot by Janjaweed raiders," said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Peter Kessler in Geneva.

"We can't tell if people are being led into a trap -- we would hope not," he added.
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Doctors without Borders in Darfur war zone

American blogger Nick has just started working in emergency medicine. It involves crazy hours and shifts that include being on call to attend emergencies by helicopter. Here's wishing him best of luck that the helicopter gets a shout while he's on call so he can blog about it -- and maybe post pictures. It'd be interesting to read the ins and outs of such an operation. Do the patients have to pay for the whole deal if a helicopter and emergency team comes to their aid? Is the helicopter pad on the roof - or in the grounds of the hospital - do the medics have to learn emergency procedures - like parachuting in case of a bail out.

In Nick's latest post, he writes about his buddy from Boston, Jonathan Spector, who is in the war zone of Darfur right now where he has spent the past two months working for Medecins Sans Frontieres. Best of luck to Jonathan, and best wishes for a safe return home.
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For talking to foreigners

A human rights group said civilians in Darfur are being routinely imprisoned or harassed by Sudanese authorities for talking to foreigners about the conflict in the remote western area bordering Chad. London-based rights group Amnesty International said in a report Sudan had rounded up scores of people who spoke to journalists and foreign leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, on recent visits to Darfur. Amnesty counted at least 50 people arrested, including 15 men detained at the Abu Shouk camp after Powell's June 30 visit, and another five taken from there after French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier's July 27 trip.

A U.S. State Department official called the reports "of serious concern".
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Despite EU statement

EU Business - US Senate leader insists "genocide" underway in Darfur, despite EU statement:

In Brussels on Monday, the head of the returning EU delegation, Pieter Feith, said "it is clear there is widespread, silent and slow killing going on and village burning of a fairly large scale" in Darfur, but said: "We are not in the situation of genocide there."

Feith, the personal representative for Sudan of EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana, added that there were "considerable doubts as to the willingness of the government of Sudan to protect the civilian population".

Pressed to justify his use of the word genocide, Frist replied: "The United States through our commander in chief and our secretary of state will make an official stance, whether it is genocide" or not."

Last month, both houses of the US Congress adopted a resolution which declared that "the atrocities unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, are genocide."

Frist said that interviews with about 12,000 refugees and leaders in the region also justified the term.

"The raping of women, the purposeful killing of hundreds of civilians, the widespread burning of villages and the destruction of lives and the racial overtones... all of which put together qualifies as genocide," he said.
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Aug 9: China View reports flash: independent inquiry finds allegations of misconduct by UN oil-for-food serious.
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But does not consider military intervention as appropriate

Aug 11: Senator majority leader Dr Bill Frist, who has been on a visit to Darfur, described as "genocide" the murder and displacement of thousands of the indigenous black community by Janjaweed Arab militias said to enjoy government backing. Based on accounts of survivors in refugee camps, it was impossible not to conclude the crisis amounted to genocide, Frist said, arguing he disagreed with the European Union report that declined to qualify the atrocities as such.

The US Government will, however, not send soldiers to the region because it does not consider military intervention as appropriate, Frist said. It would instead support an African-sourced peace keeping force that should ideally constitute an equal representation from Khartoum, Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) and the African Union (AU), Frist said. He said the crisis would be easier to tame if the Islamic Government severed links with the Janjaweed and that any continued support for the militia could only worsen the crisis.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/11/2004
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