Scotsman.com News - Sudan - UN's damning verdict: Sudan failed to halt killing (Scotsman.co.uk, registration may be required)
Thu 2 Sep 2004
SUDAN has failed to protect its citizens from armed militias, the United Nations Security Council has decided in a surprisingly damning report on the Khartoum regime. It demands that an international force be sent to the African state to guarantee the safety of people in Darfur and end a catastrophe which has seen tens of thousands killed.
Three days after the deadline ran out for the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militia it used to drive more than 1.3 million people from their homes in Darfur, the Security Council will today be asked to decide what should now happen to force the regime to comply with the will of the international community.
Referring to the demands of the 30 July Security Council resolution, Kofi Annan's report says: "Stopping attacks against civilians and ensuring their protection is the responsibility of the government of Sudan. The government has not met this obligation fully, despite the commitments it has made. Attacks against civilians are continuing and the vast majority of armed militias has not been disarmed. Similarly, no concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice, or even identify, any of the militia leaders or the perpetrators of these attacks, allowing the violations of human rights and the basic laws of war to continue in a climate of impunity."
The report - which was compiled by Mr Annan's special envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk - accuses Sudanese forces of taking part in attacks after the Security Council passed its resolution, and it paints a picture of a region whose people live in daily fear of fresh attack.
Janjaweed rape and pillage continues despite UN warning (Scotsman)
Thu 2 Sep 2004
ATTACKS against civilians continued throughout August despite a United Nations resolution calling on the government of Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militia and bring its leaders to justice.
Last week the Washington office of Human Rights Watch told The Scotsman that it had evidence of a catalogue of incidents which had taken place after the UN resolution, including rapes, attacks on villages and the involvement of government troops.
Monitors from the African Union are investigating reports that Sudanese helicopter gunships bombed the village of Um Hashab last Thursday. [...] Sudanese police sent to Darfur to protect civilians have been accused of raping women in the camps. Mr Annanís report says that reports of rape, sexual violence and exploitation remain a major concern. Eight aid workers went missing on Saturday afternoon after driving to Tongragra village, 53 miles south of El-Fasher, to register displaced people and assess conditions in the area.
UN workers launched a land and air search for the missing workers - three from the UN World Food Programme and five from the Sudanese Red Crescent - who disappeared in rebel-controlled territory. An aid worker was shot on Monday when a vehicle was targeted by a lone gunman despite being clearly marked as belonging to the ACT/Caritas agencies. The worker was part of a team delivering medical supplies to refugees in Mershing. The worker, who has not been named, is in a stable condition. Aid agencies have now been advised not to travel on the road until security checks can be conducted.
Nigeria-Sudan: Fresh Rebel Demands Delay Signing of Humanitarian Agreement (UN IRIN)
ABUJA, 2 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - The signing of an agreement to improve the humanitarian situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region at peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja was stalled on Thursday after rebel delegates tabled fresh demands. The agreement, worked out by mediators during 10 days of talks, would have cleared the way for unhindered humanitarian assistance to over one million people displaced from their homes in Darfur by fighting between two rebel groups, Khartoum's security forces and the pro-government Janjawid militia.
However, Ahmed Tugod, a spokesman for the two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, said they would not sign the agreement on humanitarian assistance until "issues of security" were settled. "Basically we're calling for Darfur to be declared a no-fly zone for all military aircraft, we're calling for the disarmament and disbandment of the Janjawid, we're asking for an independent body to investigate their crimes," Tugod told reporters.
The rebels also object to proposals to restrict their fighters to specified cantonment sites unless government troops in Darfur are similarly confined to barracks. "We're not going to commit ourselves to any agreement that is going to canton us in a specific area, which will enable the military to bombard us in a minute," Tugod said.
Frankly, the situation sounds utterly hopeless. The government of Sudan is not only not interested in dealing with the situation, its personnel are actively engaged in committing more atrocities. And whatever you think of the rebels -- aside from the people caught in the middle, there don't seem to be any good guys in this mess, and quite a few sincerely evil ones -- given the government's previous behavior in these matters, their refusal to put themselves all in one place isn't entirely unreasonable, given that the government seems to like bombing any concentrations of people it can find. The only Sudanese truly interested in peace are the ones being robbed and raped, and they don't have any power to enforce anything at all.
It will be interesting to see what happens next. Certainly the countries surrounding Sudan will be demanding some sort of action. The Organization for African Unity is going to need to figure out some way to provide sufficient forces for security without making Sudan feel threatened -- and that ought to be quite the effort. The US most certainly cannot, probably will not, and given our standing in that region of the world these days, probably should not provide forces for this, and OAU has been notably reluctant, for some reason, to get involved in this at all.Posted by iain at September 02, 2004 06:51 PM