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Old 10-06-2007, 08:02 PM   #31
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Followup on Tutu, Carter, Brahimi, Branson and Machel's peace mission to Darfur last week.
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'Elders' criticize West's response to situation in Darfur
Brahimi says West 'pampered' rebels, while Carter calls US's use of term 'genocide' to describe violence 'unhelpful.'


By Arthur Bright
Christian Science Monitor, October 6



As the Darfur peace mission of the retired statesmen known as the Elders came to an end, two of their number--former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and former US President Jimmy Carter--chastened the West for its handling of the violent situation in Sudan.

The BBC reports that Mr. Brahimi--a member of the group of Elders that includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu, rights advocate Graca Machel, and entrepreneur Richard Branson--chastised the West for pandering to Sudanese rebel groups that may not represent the people of Darfur. "The international community has acted rather irresponsibly on all this in the past by pampering a lot of these people around--not really wondering whether they really represented anybody and whether they were acting responsibly," said Mr Brahimi. The BBC adds that although he praised the plans for UN-sponsored peace talks later this month in Libya, Brahimi warned that the West needs to ensure that the people of Darfur are properly represented at the talks. Brahimi's criticism of the West's handling of Darfur was joined by that of Mr. Carter, who singled out the United States government for its use of the term "genocide" to describe the Sundanese conflict. Reuters reports that Carter called Washington's use of the term "genocide" was both legally inaccurate and "unhelpful." "There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that legal standard. The atrocities were horrible but I don't think it qualifies to be called genocide," he said. Washington is almost alone in branding the 4-1/2 years of violence in Darfur genocide. Khartoum rejects the term, European governments are reluctant to use it and a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry found no genocide, but that some individuals may have acted with genocidal intent. Carter, whose charitable foundation, the Carter Center, worked to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), said: "If you read the law textbooks ... you'll see very clearly that it's not genocide and to call it genocide falsely just to exaggerate a horrible situation I don't think it helps." [The legal definition (UN-CPPCG, Article 2): "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." --y.]

Brahimi's and Carter's comments come at the end the Elders' two-day mission to Sudan. Voice of America reports that during their visit, the Elders found that "people in Darfur were desperate for protection, despite the Sudanese government's insistence that the situation in the region is getting better." Some people they visited slipped them notes full of allegations of rape and other abuse by militias aligned with the Sudanese government. The wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, told of her meeting with women in Darfur. "The first thing they told us they need security," she said. "They need security. They gave us examples of what happened to them, even graphically, to show how women are being raped, are beaten and are brutalized. I think because they thought we may not get a clear translation, they went at length of using gestures to show us how brutal it was, the kind of assault they are subjected to." But she said bringing up the issue of rape with Khartoum officials was discouraging: "I must confess it was one of the most depressing moments of discussion. The government doesn't have any understanding of what it means when women have to say repeatedly to different people ... we have been raped, we are being beaten, we are being brutalised, we are fearful."

Although the situation in Darfur remains grim, there have been some positive signs in the last few days. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the Elders earned one "victory of sorts" in the form of a pledge of $300 million from China and the Sudanese government to help rebuild Darfur. And Reuters reports that on Thursday, Ethiopia pledged 5000 troops to a planned joint peacekeeping mission of the UN and the African Union. But AU force commander Martin Luther Agwai noted that no African nation has the military equipment that the 26,000-strong mission would require, and said that non-African nations would need to help.

In addition, a report just released in Britain warns that Darfur refugees who are turned away by British government face "appalling torture and beatings" at the hands of Sudanese officials, writes The Independent of London. The report, published by the anti-genocide campaign Aegis Trust, documents the extensive abuse suffered by men deported from Britain back to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The Aegis Trust, which helped the men escape back to Britain, condemned the government for sending the asylum-seekers back into harm's way. Dr James Smith, chief executive of the Aegis Trust, said: "[British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown has shown welcome leadership on Darfur. "However, sending Darfuri survivors to Khartoum sends a message that Britain regards the Sudanese security apparatus as trustworthy--the same security apparatus responsible for the atrocities in Darfur." The criticism comes as the House of Lords court of appeals begins to hear "a test case that could seal the fate of hundreds of Darfuri people currently facing deportation." The British Home Office responded to the Aegis Trust's criticism by saying that despite "grave concerns" over the situation in Darfur, the government "[does] not think it unreasonable to expect failed asylum-seekers to relocate to Khartoum, where the Court of Appeal found there is no risk of persecution."
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:58 PM   #32
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Would you believe I received a letter from the White House basically stating that the white house is doing all it can with the crisis in Darfur and in not the exact words but to stop sending letters.

I guess they didn't like all the petitions I kept signing and sending to the President.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:54 PM   #33
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You're amazing JCOSTER. Keep sending those letters!

My friends and I are part of an advocacy group at uni trying to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur... it's really sad that people just don't care... and now the Australian government is limiting the number of refugees from Sudan as they cannot "adapt to the Australian way of life" and are the cause of "gang violence". It makes me really upset that commercial news stations present dishonest reports which lay blame on one ethnic group, thereby misleading the public, instilling fear, ignorance and hatred. It's disgusting and completely unfair. They never mention anything about the white gangs with machetes or that the murdereres of a young Sudanese man where actually white. If the Sudanese man had murdered the white men, there would have been public outrage.

(Check this out:
http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/tra...s/s2054150.htm)

Okay, I'm sorry for the rant. I just feel really really sad about this issue as I have heard horrible and completely unfounded things being said of late... Anyway, thanks heaps for what you have been doing JCOSTER. The world needs more people like you.

On a more positive note, I found this website for anybody out there who wants to help:

http://www.chrf.org/sudan.html
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:17 PM   #34
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^ thank you so very much, I was feeling rather down today, but you just gave me a little lift.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:35 PM   #35
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Quote:
by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF (columnist)
New York Times, March 7, 2009


The first gauntlet thrown at President Obama didn’t come from Iran, Russia or China. Rather, it came from Sudan, in its decision to expel aid groups that are a lifeline keeping more than a million people alive in Darfur. Unfortunately, the administration’s initial reaction made Neville Chamberlain seem forceful. The State Department blushingly suggested that the expulsion “is certainly not helpful to the people who need aid.”

Wow. Since then, the administration has stiffened its spine somewhat. Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations and designated hitter on Sudan, told me, “If this decision stands, it may well amount to genocide by other means.” That’s exactly what we may be facing, for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is confirming the International Criminal Court’s judgment when it issued an arrest warrant for him on Wednesday for “extermination,” murder and rape. Now Mr. Bashir is preparing to kill people en masse, not with machetes but by withholding the aid that keeps them alive. More than one million people depend directly on the expelled aid groups for health care, food and water.

I’ve been in these camps, so let me offer an educated guess about what will unfold if this expulsion stands. The biggest immediate threat isn’t starvation, because that takes time. Rather, the first crises will be disease and water shortages, particularly in West Darfur. The camps will quickly run out of clean water, because generator-operated pumps bring the water to the surface from wells and boreholes. Fuel supplies to operate the pumps may last a couple of weeks, and then the water disappears. Health clinics have already closed, and diarrhea is spreading in Zam Zam camp and meningitis in Kalma camp. These are huge camps—Kalma has perhaps 90,000 people—and diseases can spread rapidly. Children will be the first to die. Hundreds of thousands of people in the camps may try to flee to Chad, but that would overwhelm Chad’s own impoverished and vulnerable population. And to top it off, Mr. Bashir has armed a large proxy force of Chadian rebels who are said to be preparing an attack on the Chadian government. “This is a whole new kind of hell for the people of Darfur,” Josette Sheeran, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, told me. “The life bridge for more than a million people has just been dismantled.”

My hunch is that Mr. Bashir’s calculation is twofold. First, he hopes that if there’s enough suffering in Darfur, the United Nations Security Council will approve a one-year delay in the court’s proceedings (he miscalculated, for that won’t happen). Second, he has long wanted to get rid of aid workers in Darfur, partly because they are the world’s eyes and ears there.

I was on the Chad-Darfur border a couple of weeks ago, talking to Darfuri refugees, and they worried that Mr. Bashir might lash out after an arrest warrant. But they still rejoiced at the prospect, as a sign that the deaths of their loved ones mattered and as a sign that impunity for murder and rape might be coming to an end. Not a single Darfuri I spoke to favored a delay in International Criminal Court proceedings.
For Americans, the Save Darfur campaign has form letters available to send to President Obama and Secretary Clinton.



And, further reminders of how the broader politics of the region have hampered coordinated international action...
Quote:
al-Jazeera, March 7

A delegation of senior Middle Eastern leaders has travelled to Sudan to express international support for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is accused of war crimes in Darfur. Officials from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah joined Syria's parliament speaker and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group for talks with al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, on Friday...Ali Larijani, Iran's parliament speaker and a member of the international delegation in Khartoum on Friday, said the ICC arrest warrant is an "insult directed at Muslims. This group today indicates a readiness, a will and a unified position to support Sudan, its government and people," Larijani said at a news conference following the talks. He said nations who support al-Bashir's prosecution "miscalculated" by thinking they "can sit and issue orders to have others behave as they wish. This has changed. They have to play with a new chessboard."
Quote:
Washington Post, March 6

The US ambassador to the United Nations demanded Friday that Sudan reverse its "callous" decision to expel foreign aid workers from Darfur, saying it endangers the lives of millions and threatens to damage Khartoum's relations with the rest of the world. But the effort by Susan E. Rice to pressure Sudan ran into stiff opposition from China, which blocked the adoption of a draft Security Council statement demanding that the relief workers be allowed to return to Darfur.

The standoff in the council underscored the challenges the Obama administration faces in rallying international backing for a tougher line on Sudan. It also highlighted Sudan's initial success in rallying allies to stand beside it following the issuance of an arrest warrant against the country's leader, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, by the International Criminal Court...The African Union and the Arab League agreed Friday to send a high-level delegation before the Security Council this month to urge suspension of the arrest warrant. And China cited the warrant in resisting the Security Council statement, insisting that the statement blame the international court for provoking the crisis.
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