ME and Ophelia

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Killings in Darfur constitute genocide

Breaking news from the BBC: "US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the killings in Sudan's Darfur region constitute genocide. Speaking before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr Powell said the conclusion was based on interviews with Sudanese refugees.

He was speaking as the UN Security Council prepared to debate a US resolution that threatens oil sanctions if Sudan does not stop the abuses. His use of the term genocide is likely to influence the diplomatic debate. The draft resolution presented by Washington is due to be discussed later on Thursday.

Mr Powell blamed the government of Sudan and pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias for the killings. "We concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility and genocide may still be occurring," Mr Powell said.

The Sudanese government says it believes Sudan's allies within the UN will not agree to sanctions."

Update - More via Reuters: "U.S. Declares Genocide in Sudan"
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On the genocide in Sudan

In a comment at Passion of the Present today, re news of declaration by US on genocide in Sudan, Jim Moore writes:

"The facts are speaking for themselves. This conclusion that the government of Sudan is guilty of genocide, backed up by data that meets high standards, has already been long ago reached by many other independent observers, including independent human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International(who are not slow to condemn others, by the way. Amnesty International has a major campaign in the United States against violence in prisons and the use of electrical stun guns). In any case, the next step is a referral to the International Court, which will over the next few years examine the evidence carefully, and in the end will prosecute those who it deems guilty. This declaration by the United States is a major victory for people who are oppressed by authoritarian regimes.

Jim posts a key excerpt from Colin Powell's testimony that Sudan is responsible for genocide in Darfur - and links to a copy of Mr Powell's testimony.
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To US Secretary of State Colin Powell

Jim suggests we take action and thank Colin Powell for taking this important and courageous action with one click here and a quick email message ...

So I did. It was easy. And quick. Here's what I sent this afternoon:

Thank you to the Bush Administration, and in particular Secretary of State Colin Powell, for everything they have done to help the Sudanese in Darfur and Chad - and for having the courage to declare that the killings in Darfur constitute genocide.

God bless America, and thank you - from Ingrid Jones, Dorset, England, UK.
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Note, the reply I received states that messages congratulating the Secretary are carefully recorded.

Today, a friend sent me a quote by the philospher Bertrand Russell:

"Most men would rather die than think, and many do."

This afternoon, I was minded of the quote when I saw the BBC's breaking news on Powell finding genocide in Darfur. It made me hope the regime in Khartoum would start doing some real thinking.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 9/09/2004
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