ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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USA and Sudan Peace Act -- And where are 4 million Darfuris?

Forthcoming posts I am working on, over the next week or so, relate to three of my previous posts:

(1) July 21, 2004: "THE ORIGINAL SUDAN PEACE ACT - A powerful tool for coercing Khartoum into stopping genocide? The more oil that's found, the worse the violence will become?"

(2) August 02, 2004: "OIL AND MINERAL RICHES IN DARFUR, Uranium discovered in Hofrat Al Nihas: France is interested in Uranium and has drilling rights in Sudan"

(3) August 03, 2004: "SUDAN UPDATE: RAISING THE STAKES - Oil and conflict in Sudan".

Sorry, there is a problem publishing links in posts here at the moment - for a copy of above posts please click into July and August archive in right hand sidebar here.

Today, I found a map I'd been searching for that shows Hofrat En Nahas in South Darfur. Also, I found some stats on the population of Darfur that I'd been looking for because I haven't been able to work out where the people of Darfur are living right now.

Four months ago, when I started posting on the Sudan, I'd read somewhere the population of Darfur was estimated at 6 or 7 million. Since then, I've puzzled over UN and USAID statistics -- along with refugee numbers used in news reports. For instance, roughly speaking: 200,000 have fled from Darfur into Chad; 50,000 - 80,000 have been killed; and a total of 2.2 million have been "war-affected". What about the rest? Maybe they are still in Darfur? Or in the mountains and other areas? If that is the case, how are they managing for food and water? If the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it managed to feed 1 million in July -- what about the other 1.2 million the UN refer to?

According to the UN website, the population numbers - in the year 2003 - for north, south and west Darfur - add up to a total of 6,360,000. But the Sudanese Embassy website puts the figure very much lower -- for the year 2004. In fact the numbers are so low (around one million) one can't be sure they've missed out some areas. Most odd that they'd updated the population numbers on their website for the year 2004. How did they arrive at those numbers? Is anyone questioning them?

It bothers me that that UN and news agencies keep reporting "200,000 displaced people from Darfur in Chad" because this figure seems to remain static on UN website and in news reports -- but in reality it should be ever changing (and increasing or decreasing) by the day. UN must know much more what is going on than they let on -- why, I wonder.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) say they have fed 1 million in July -- new figures coming out seem to put the "disaffected" at 2.2 million -- so where are the other 1.2 million people they are talking about? How does the UN arrive at its figures, and how does it know to separate 2.2 million from the total population of 6-7 million?

In other words, what is going on with the other 3-4 million people that are not mentioned in any news reports? Are they all in Darfur and making a living from the land? The figures the UN, USAID and other aid agencies use - which are perpetuated in news reports - are very unclear. I'm in the middle of reading an updated report by Dr Eric Reeves, who estimates 2,500 people a day are dying from the Darfur conflict and death toll over the past 18 months is 180,000 - and 2.3 to 2.5 million are "war affected" More on this in later post with links to Dr Reeves' report entitled "Darfur mortality update III", dated August 14, 2004.
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Here are some excerpts from Dr Reeves' report (llinks to the report should be at or darfurgenocide site:

-- the mid-July 2004 UN figure of 30,000-50,000 total deaths offered by Jan Egeland, Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, is untenably low, even as the previous figure of 10,000 deaths (the only UN number offered for mortality from March 2004 to July 2004) was also clearly untenably low.

--no explanation of methodology or the nature of the data has ever been offered by the UN in conjunction with these mortality estimates; deaths are not even generally categorized as a function of violence or disease and malnutrition.

--all this follows a pattern of both underestimation and belatedness that has marked UN efforts in the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

--US Agency for International Development's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005" suggests that over 2,500 people are now dying daily---mainly invisibly.

-- current "war-affected" population may reasonably be estimated at over 2.3 million.

--figure offered in a June 3, 2004 joint communiqué from the UN, the European Union, and the US was 2.2 million "war affected".

-- in the intervening 10 weeks, the rains have greatly intensified, logistical resources and transport capacity have proven ever more inadequate, and fewer than 1 million people received food from the World Food Program in July, though this represented a significant increase from June.

-- the most troubling part of any calculation of mortality and morbidity in Darfur is the unknown number of people who are neither in the camps, nor accessible by UN or humanitarian organizations. The World Food Program internal working figure for this population was 300,000 in July (confidential source), a number that is deliberately obscured in a World Food Program statement of August 11, 2004 indicating that access to insurgency-controlled areas of Darfur would increase by "tens of thousands" the number of people who might benefit (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, August 12, 2004). The number is hundreds of thousands, as the World Food Program well knows---indeed, some on the ground in Darfur, or who have recently returned from Darfur, suggest that the number may be greater than 1 million. This deliberate "low-balling" (directly and indirectly) of numbers on the part of the World Food Program continues a disturbing pattern, and it is immensely dangerous.

--the "war-affected" population in Darfur: there can be little doubt that this figure is well over 2 million; it is very likely over 2.5 million.

--the figure of 2.2 million "war-affected persons" used in the joint communiqué of the UN, US, and the EU on June 3, 2004. (Significantly, the UN World Food Program [in the June 28, 2004 "90-Day Humanitarian Action Plan for Darfur"] commits to a figure of 2 million for food aid only in October 2004; this implies a highly dramatic shortfall in current response by the WFP.

-- there is growing evidence that the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator report considerably understates the number of people in critical need in areas to which there is no humanitarian access.

--it has seemed most reasonable to use an estimate, very likely conservative, of 2.3 million to 2.5 million, in determining the population that must figure in any calculation of mortality on the basis of US AID's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005." This decision is justified in the views of several senior aid officials. [end of extract]
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What is going on inside Darfur? How many people are still there? Surely the UN and intelligence agencies know what is going on: 50,000 or 180,000 deaths or more is a lot of bodies. Where are all the bodies? Why are there no photographs? Who is digging the graves?

From what I can gather, by reading various news reports, it would appear the rebels were holed up in Darfur all along -- and that Sudanese forces were either blocking them from getting out - or blocking the Janjaweed from getting in -- not sure which. During the past week, there were news reports that WFP negotiated with the Darfur rebels to get aid into Darfur (who was stopping it getting through in the first place?)

And, I've read a stray news report from last week that says 3,000 Sudanese forces have gathered along the border of Sudan (and Chad I believe) to patrol the area. What are they doing: blocking refugees, or Janjaweed, getting from Sudan into Chad?

Today, a Daily Star report says China has deployed 4,000 of its troops to guard its oil interests in Sudan.,0,3892931.story?coll=ny-opinion-headlines

If you look at the oil map (previous post above) and see Block 6, the Chinese concession: it looks like it extends into South Darfur. Will the Chinese troops be within South Darfur?

What a coincidence that Sudan - the largest country in the African continent - with land as far as the eye can see without a twig in sight - is having a whole load of trouble and 4,000 Chinese troops concentrated within one area involving Block 6 on the map of South Darfur (the same area I refer to above re Uranium discovery in Hofrat Al Nihas).

Note the Daily Star report about the 4,000 Chinese troops was not via a top news agency: it was authored by Gerald Butt, Gulf Editor of the Cyprus-based Middle East Economic Survey, who writes a regular economic analysis for The Daily Star. The report says it is from Nicosia in Cyprus (the Turks occupy half of Cyprus). The French are flying their Mirage jets around the Chad border, checking their 200 troops are OK. The West has all sorts of observers, monitors, aid workers, satellite surveillance, intelligence reports.... but why is there no real news out of Darfur? It is a very perplexing and deeply disturbing story. Yesterday, I was shocked to read the following, about the Sudan Peace Act:

Genocide in Sudan 1983 to present ( of 2004) - excerpt:

"The US government's Sudan Peace Act of October 21, 2002 accused Sudan of genocide for killing more than 2 million civilians in the south during an ongoing civil war since 1983. Organised campaign by Janjaweed militias (nomadic Arab shepherds with the support of Sudanese government and troops) to rid 80 black African tribes from the Darfur region of western Sudan. Mukesh Kapila (United Nations humanitarian coordinator) is quoted as saying: "The vicious war in Darfur has led to violations on a scale comparable in character with Rwanda in 1994. All the warning signs are there."

Sudan Peace Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - excerpt:

"The Sudan Peace Act is a US law condemning Sudan for genocide. It was signed into law October 21, 2002 by President George W. Bush.

According to Nat Hentoff:

More than 2 million black, non-Muslim civilians in the South have died from an ongoing civil war since 1983 in that country. The United States now declares in a law that "the acts of the government of Sudan . . . constitute genocide as defined by the [1948 United Nations] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

The northern National Islamic Front government in Khartoum has enslaved women and children in the south of Sudan; engaged in ethnic cleansing; bombed churches and schools; and prevented food from humanitarian agencies from reaching the black Christians and animists trying to withstand the armed "jihad" forces of the north."
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CHINA offers more aid for Darfur:

Aug 17 - The Chinese government will offer another 5 million yuan (610,000 US dollars) worth of humanitarian aid Darfur.

NIGERIA plans mission to Darfur:

Aug 17 - Olusegun Obasanjo called for lawmakers to approve the deployment of up to 1,500 peacekeeping troops to Darfur.

SUDAN asks Libyan leader for help in Darfur:

Ismail gave Libyan leader Gadhafi a letter from al-Bashir in which the Sudanese president detailed the situation in Darfur.

Middle East Online - UK - Sudan asks Kadhafi to interfere in Darfur crisis - TRIPOLI - Sudan asked Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi Tuesday to "intervene personally" in the escalating crisis in Darfur, Libya's official JANA news agency.

SUDAN Says More Police to Shield Darfur Refugees:

Aug 17 - Sudan plans to double the number of police in Darfur to 20,000, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Aug 17 - China News says the Sudanese government said on Tuesday that it has deployed another 2,000 policemen in Darfur to secure the situation in the area under an agreement with the United Nations.

OM chief visits Sudan on Darfur crisis:

Aug 17 - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday that its director general is traveling to Khartoum.

Algeria, Egypt and Libya tell Arab League they're ready to send armed troops to Darfur:

Aug 15 - Algeria, Egypt and Libya "informed the committee of Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo on August 8 to discuss Darfur that they would dispatch troops as part of the Africa Union contingent," said Samir Hosni, in charge of the Darfur issue at the League said.

Algeria's charge d'affaires in Cairo Menawer Rabiai told AFP he could not confirm this information.

During that meeting, the foreign ministers had called on countries belonging both to the African Union (AU) and the Arab League to contribute troops to the force tasked with protecting observers monitoring a ceasefire in Darfur.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/18/2004
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