It looks like Darfur is getting worse, your thoughts...?
UN says Darfur conflict worsening, with perhaps 300,000 dead
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer 7 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS - The conflict in Darfur is deteriorating, with full deployment of a new peacekeeping force delayed until 2009 and no prospect of a political settlement for a war that has killed perhaps 300,000 people in five years, U.N. officials said Tuesday.
In grim reports to the Security Council, the United Nations aid chief and the representative of the peacekeeping mission said suffering in the Sudanese region is worsening. Tens of thousands more have been uprooted from their homes and food rations to the needy are about to be cut in half, they said.
"We continue to see the goal posts receding, to the point where peace in Darfur seems further away today than ever," said John Holmes, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
The conflict began in early 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated central government, accusing it of discrimination. Many of the worst atrocities in the war have been blamed on the janjaweed militia of Arab nomads allied with the government.
A joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force took over duties in Darfur in January from a beleaguered 7,000-man AU mission. But only about 9,000 soldiers and police officers of the authorized 26,000 have deployed.
"We are late and we are trying to speed up the deployment of this mission, and we facing many obstacles," said the U.N.-AU force's envoy, Rodolphe Adada. "But eventually, with the help of some donors, we could be in a position to achieve maybe 80 percent of the force by the end of this year."
The mission faces major problems in putting troops into a very hostile environment, Adada said. It still lacks five critical capabilities to become operational — attack helicopters, surveillance aircraft, transport helicopters, military engineers and logistical support.
Holmes said further progress in deploying the joint peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, would help protect civilians and possibly humanitarian convoys.
"But only an end to all violence and concrete steps towards a political settlement will make the fundamental difference needed, as the rebel movements themselves above all need to recognize," Holmes said. "Otherwise the reality is that the people of Darfur face a continued steady deterioration of their conditions of life and their chances of lasting recovery."
The U.N. and AU have tried for months to open new peace talks between Sudan and rebel groups following the failure of a 2005 agreement to stem violence. But most rebel chiefs are boycotting the negotiations, and security in Darfur has further deteriorated in recent months.
Adada told the council that "unfortunately, it is commonly understood today in Darfur that peace is not at all attractive — neither economically nor politically."
Darfur's main rebel chief said Tuesday he told Security Council representatives last month that no peace talks can be held until security is restored.
"Wrong negotiations will only complicate the matter and prolong the suffering of the people of Darfur," Abdulwahid Elnur, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, told The Associated Press during an interview in Paris, where he lives in exile.
When former U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland brought the Darfur conflict to the Security Council's attention in April 2004, he said approximately 750,000 people were in danger.
Today, Holmes told the council, "of Darfur's estimated 6 million people, some 4.27 million have now been seriously affected by the conflict."
He said nearly many of them have had to flee their homes — some 2.45 million people are sheltering elsewhere in Sudan and 260,000 more in neighboring countries. Some 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee just this year, Holmes said. Some 60,000 of them were displaced in West Darfur, which has seen an upsurge in violence.
"Those in the camps feel helpless and voiceless," Holmes said. "The fear of never being able to return to their areas of origin, and the pressure by government authorities to return when conditions are clearly not right, lead to increasing tension, polarization, politicization and even militarization."
The U.N. World Food Program announced last week that it will have to halve the amount of food provided to Darfur's needy next month because humanitarian convoys are being attacked. The cut "could not come at a worse time ... as the rainy season approaches," Holmes said.
Egeland, the former U.N. humanitarian chief, estimated in 2006 that 200,000 people had lost their lives because of the conflict, from violence, disease and malnutrition. He said this was based on an independent mortality survey released in March 2005 by the U.N. World Health Organization.
"That figure must be much higher now, perhaps half as much again," Holmes said Tuesday.
Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed countered that "in our own calculations, the total number does not exceed 10,000."
He said his government counts only people killed in fighting, saying there are no dead from malnutrition and starvation "because in Darfur there is no epidemics, no starvations."
"The exaggerated number given is to serve political ends," Mohamed said. "It is only to give the impression that the government is not doing much in the peacekeeping to save its own people."
Queried by reporters, Holmes said the estimate of 300,000 dead "is not a very scientifically based figure" because there have been no new mortality studies in Darfur, but "it's a reasonable extrapolation."
"What I'm saying is if that figure of 200,000 was anything like right in 2006, then that figure must be much higher now," he said.
Egeland told AP last month that he estimated the toll had risen to around 400,000.
South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the current Security Council president, said he was especially concerned that "there's absolutely nothing (moving) on the political process."
Asked if the council consider sanctions against those obstructing peace efforts, Kumalo said: "Well, the people who are obstructing the peace process are sitting in the nice capitals of Europe, so what can we do? And Europe is represented in the council."
He was clearly referring to Elnur, the rebel chief living in Paris.
Sudan's ambassador said one message came through "loud and clear" from Tuesday's meeting.
"We should give priority again to the peace process, because even peacekeeping with the maximum number is not a substitute to the political process," Mohamed said.
Western officials have blamed Sudan's government for the delay in deploying peacekeepers and key military equipment. Sudan denies that, but it has vetoed troop contributions from some non-African or non-Muslim nations.
"Contributors have to come from the whole world. It's the only guarantee that the force works on the ground, with neutrality," Elnur told AP.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
This may answer your question in another way:
The following is what I found:
(All materials are based on the Economist, a British weekly journal, a staunch supporter of Iraq Invasion)
1) Sudan is running the longest civil war on Earth. Wars were waged among the tribes in the South, the West and partly the North. They had been in fighting since the 1950s, when the old colonial masters, the English and French, left. This Sudan government, sovereign in name, had never been in full control.
2) The Sudan government is of black-Islamist, who took side with the Arabs whenever the Israel-Arab conflicts flared up. That certainly cannot be tolerated by Israel and US. Sudan once gave refuge to Bin Laden but drove him out under US pressure. It also tasted US bombs during the Clinton Administration in 1998 when a pharmaceutical plant was a target. Sudan was still under US embargo.
3) In the South, non-Arab blacks, with American support , gradually got the upper hand in the struggle, and negotiated a peace treaty with the Sudan government under Colin Powell’s watch. To Americans’ credit, the peace treaty would not come into being without Colin Powell’s perseverance and occasional show of intimidation. Before, Sudan was one piece. Now, it is partitioned into two. A new geopolitical unit is added to the map by the US, it is called Southern Sudan.
4) Oil was discovered. They were the bones of contention between the South and the Sudan Government. The Sudan Government made oil concessions to French, Canadian and other European oil companies, which, under US pressure, many quit and sold concession rights to Malaysia and China and India. China came in 2006. with 40% of investment share in one oil adventure only. Within that adventure the rest is shared between Malaysia, 40%, and the Sudan government.
5) If you ask, why does the civil war never end in Africa? Answer: the boys had no jobs! What else can they do?! So it is obvious that an investment by any country would create job opportunities for the young Sudanese. But here comes an obstacle: the US embargo had never been lifted. It was the Executive Order 13067 issued in 1997.
6) But why did US try very hard to negotiate a peace treaty between the South rebels and the Sudan Government? This question can be answered only in this way: a) US pressed for a peace treaty only to see that the Southern rebels would not be crushed by the government; 2) the US and UK did not like oil companies coming in other than Exxon and BP.
7) Then what about Darfur? It is a region, the size of a France, in West Sudan. Practically speaking, it is beyond Sudan government control. Unlike in Southern Sudan, where fighting is between the Government and the local rebellions, in Darfur it is the locals who fight the locals.
8) So how exactly can you put pressure effectively on a party that is not involved in the other two parties’ fight? If you argue that the Sudan Government is a sovereign which should bear a direct responsibility, then you face this problem: the Sudan government cannot be considered an effective government , not effective at all since it could not even end a civil war that has lasted for the past 50 years. As a matter of fact, this Sudan government is not even in full control of its own northern territory, where the revolt is looming large.
9) Oil makes poor nations rich. This is a proven example as we see the Arabs and Latin Americans on their way to wealth. So China’s investment in Sudan is a plus to African people . Furthermore, the Chinese are also building roads, digging wells and doing other infrastructures work. Pressuring them out of Sudan is disserving the interests of Sudanese people. Killings shall go on in Darfur even if the Chinese quit Sudan.
After a month-long research on Darfur issue, it has indeed amazed me to see how the UK and the US flex their mind-manipulation power against China.
Same as their swindling the whole world into accepting the Iraq invasion on a trumped-up WMD-plus-biochemical pretense, a mind-manipulation campaign has been under way to make the world believe that Darfur is China’s fault.
- Joe from WILv 61 decade ago
That 300,000 number is a fraction of how many have been killed in the last 5 - 7 years. Darfur is not the only place in the Sudan where there is inhumanity.
- 1 decade ago
Over the years the places and faces change however, man's inhumanity to man doesn't. I hate to be a pessimist however, I don't feel man can truly live in peace with his neighbor.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Unfortunate and inhumane.
But, this will continue to thrive for the government and the international community are failing to act on this preventable issue........
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- Rock and RollLv 51 decade ago
Way to much to read. I could care less about Dafur. That place is none of our business.That's my thoughts.