April 3, 2004
BBC News

UN Urges Global Action in Darfur

A senior UN official has urged the world to pressure the Sudan government and rebels into ending human rights abuses in the western Darfur region.

UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said the organisation was getting daily reports of atrocities but was unable to help those affected.

He accused the government in Khartoum of tolerating "ethnic cleansing" by Arab militias.

"We must put pressure on the parties," he told the Security Council on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced in the fighting, with more than 100,000 fleeing across the border into neighbouring Chad.

Fighting in Darfur broke out more than a year ago, when rebels attacked government targets, saying black Africans were being oppressed in favour of Arabs. . . .


[Nearly $20 million in surplus U.S. military equipment will be sent to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda, the officials said, adding that the three countries support Sudanese opposition groups preparing a joint offensive to topple the government of Sudan.--David B. Ottaway, "Wielding Aid, U.S. Targets Sudan," The Washington Post, November 10, 1996]

Enver Masud, Sudan: Villain, or Victim of Religious Persecution?," The Wisdom Fund, November 7, 1997

David Hoile, "Farce Majeure: The Clinton Administration's Sudan Policy 1993-2000," The European Sudanese Public Affairs Council, June 2000

Declan Walsh, Scam in Sudan: An elaborate hoax involving fake African slaves and less-than-honest interpreters is duping concerned Westerners," The Independent (UK), February 24, 2002

Karl Vick, Ripping Off Slave 'Redeemers'," Washington Post, February 26, 2002

Sudan Slavery Propaganda Exposed," The European Sudanese Public Affairs Council, May 15, 2003

Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights," Human Rights Watch, September 2003

[The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, operates in the north from bases in southern Sudan. More concerned with destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA has linked up with Interahamwe and anti-RCD rebels around the Bunia area. --Lord's Resistance Army,"]

Declan Walsh, " Rape, torture, and one million forced to flee as Sudan's crisis unfolds. Will we move to stop it?," Independent, April 23, 2004

[The trafficking of human beings is a problem in every African country--"Scale of African slavery revealed," BBC News, April 23, 2004]

[In the end, it was agreed that the government will have 55% of the positions in the disputed regions and the rebels 45%.

The two sides have already established that the south should be autonomous for six years, culminating in a referendum on the key issue of independence, with Sharia law remaining in the north.

Protocols have also been signed on how to share out oil revenues, the establishment of separate monetary systems in the north and south, and security arrangements involving the two armies.--"Joy at historic Sudan peace deal," BBC News, May 27, 2004]

[United Nations media sources, for example, have noted "a lack of accurate information on the conflict" and Reuters has also stated that "it is hard to independently verify claims by government or rebels in Darfur." Human rights reports have consistently reported - and attributed - human rights abuses within Darfur in circumstances in which independent confirmation of such assertions is impossible. The New York Times, while echoing many of these allegations of human rights abuses, was candid enough to admit that "it is impossible to travel in Darfur to verify these claims". Claims of Khartoum's control over the "Janjaweed" persist despite increasing evidence that they are out of control.--"THE DARFUR CRISIS: HUMAN RIGHTS AND HYPOCRISY," The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, May 27, 2004]

[Darfur is home to some 80 tribes and ethnic groups divided between nomads and sedentary communities. The unrest appears to have been identified within two or three communities such as the Fur and the Zaghawa tribes. A number of anti-government commentators have chosen to project a partisan analysis of events in Darfur, claiming that government-supported "Arab" - "Janjaweed" - militias have been involved in attacks upon "African", Fur or Zaghawa, villagers (and in doing so often merely echo questionable rebel claims). A combination of anti-Sudanese activists and lazy journalists have sought to portray the inter-tribal violence that has taken place in Darfur as "ethnic cleansing" and even "genocide".--"ALLEGATIONS OF GENOCIDE IN DARFUR: SENSATIONALIST PROPAGANDA?," The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, June 1, 2004]

Ewen Macaskill, "Sudan refugees tell of world's worst humanitarian disaster," Guardian, June 8, 2004

[Militiamen arrived at a village mosque in the same region and defecated on Korans before executing the imam and his muezzin. More than 30,000 civilians have been murdered in the past year. A million have been forced to flee into neighbouring countries--Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, "Muslims must look to their own wrongs," Independent, June 14, 2004]

"Sudan to Disarm Militias," Reuters, June 20, 2004

[Tensions in Darfur have simmered since the 1970s, when drought and competition over scarce resources sparked clashes between largely nomadic cattle and camel herders, who view themselves as Arabs, and the more sedentary farmers, who see their ancestry as African. Both groups are Muslim.

The tensions flared in February 2003, when groups of students and political activists from three of Darfur's African tribes started a rebellion against the government, complaining that the Arab ruling elite had failed to develop the area. . . .

The first major victory of the Darfur groups was the capture of the military town of El Fashir in a battle last year. They killed 75 government soldiers, stole weapons and destroyed four gunships and two Antonov aircrafts, government officials said. In response, the government began to arm local militias to boost the army and also launched an aerial bombardment of villages, witnesses say.--Emily Wax, "In Sudan, Death and Denial," Washington Post, June 27, 2004]

VIDEO: Julie Flint, "Darfur Destroyed," Human Rights Watch, 2004

[Characterising the Darfur war as 'Arabs' versus 'Africans' obscures the reality. Darfur's Arabs are black, indigenous, African and Muslim - just like Darfur's non-Arabs, who hail from the Fur, Masalit, Zaghawa and a dozen smaller tribes.

Until recently, Darfurians used the term 'Arab' in its ancient sense of 'bedouin'. These Arabic-speaking nomads are distinct from the inheritors of the Arab culture of the Nile and the Fertile Crescent.

'Arabism' in Darfur is a political ideology, recently imported, after Colonel Gadaffi nurtured dreams of an 'Arab belt' across Africa, and recruited Chadian Arabs, Darfurians and west African Tuaregs to spearhead his invasion of Chad in the 1980s. He failed, but the legacy of arms, militia organisation and Arab supremacist ideology lives on.--Alex de Waal, "Darfur' s deep grievances defy all hopes for an easy solution," The Observer, July 25, 2004]

[The silence is all the more odd, given that Darfur is a region which is rich in oil and through which pipelines are to be constructed. Moreover, the main investor in the Sudanese oil industry is the China National Petroleum Company, and China is Sudan's biggest trading partner overall. It has been alleged that there are Chinese soldiers in Sudan protecting Chinese oil interests there, and that these troops have engaged in skirmishes with the rebels. Moreover, while there are numerous foreign oil companies present in Sudan, it is precisely in Southern Darfur that the Chinese National Petroleum Company has its concessions. . . .

According to Arab sources quoted by the informative Turkish paper, Zaman, oil is the basis of the crisis in Darfur. These sources say that renewed fighting broke out at the very moment when a peace agreement was about to be signed which would have brought an end to 21 years of conflict. This is certainly what the Sudanese government itself alleges. If so, this would conform to the pattern established in Bosnia and Kosovo, when the international community moved to scupper peace deals, preferring to encourage wars which provide the pretext for intervention.--John Laughland, "Fill full the mouth of famine," Sanders Research Associates, July 26, 2004]

John Laughland, The mask of altruism disguising a colonial war: Oil will be the driving factor for military intervention in Sudan, Guardian, August 2, 2004

Sudan army's anger over UN 'war', BBC News, August 2, 2004

African Union to deploy peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region, AFP, August 4, 2004

Jeevan Vasagar, Sudan agrees Darfur aid plan, says UN envoy, Guardian, August 6, 2004


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