Thursday, January 31, 2008


Emmanuel Jal was a conscripted soldier in a rebel army in Sudan. These days, the 28-year-old is a hip-hop artist who gave up his machine gun for a microphone, but keeps his aim on the Sudanese government.

He and other Darfur citizen-activists brought their case to the Ethiopian capital Tuesday to "tell the African leaders, 'You've failed us,'" he said. More than 40 heads of state are gathering today in the capital for the African Union's annual summit, which starts Thursday.

The Sudanese campaigners — who included Darfuri women — urged the speedy full deployment of an AU-United Nations force to the war-ravaged western Sudanese region. They also demanded a stronger mandate for the troops that would allow the soldiers to better protect civilians.

Their call is being echoed today by the human rights group Africa Action which is calling on the UN to get off its derierre and do something besides passing resolutions.

Since 2003, the United Nations has passed nineteen Resolutions on Darfur, including Security Council Resolution 1706, the only instance in history of a UN peacekeeping mission that was authorized and failed to deploy. On July 31, 2007, Security Council Resolution 1769 again authorized a multinational UN-led peacekeeping force for Darfur – the “hybrid” African Union/United Nations operation termed UNAMID. UNAMID officially assumed control of peacekeeping operations in Darfur on December 31, 2007, however, its deployment is well behind the timetable laid out by the Security Council.

Meanwhile, the genocide continues.

The following is from
Africa Activism.

Africa Action Releases New Report on International Failure to Protect Darfur

Today, half a year after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007, Africa Action releases new analysis detailing the failure of the international community to deploy the peacekeeping force for Darfur authorized by this resolution. Africa Action calls on the Bush administration to put its words into action and move from rhetorical opposition to genocide to proactive engagement with the United Nations to achieve the fully resourced deployment of the complete “hybrid” UN-African Union force (UNAMID) that the Security Council called for six months ago.

Over the past months, UN officials and humanitarian groups operating in Sudan have warned that UNAMID is on the brink of collapse, and recent estimates caution that it may take most of 2008 to deploy the complete mission. For a chronology assessing the missed deadlines and analysis of the current status of this operation, please see the latest Africa Action report.

“What the people of Darfur need now is less rhetoric and more sincerity from the international community including the United States,” said Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action. “History will remember this administration not for its statements of ‘opposition to genocide in Sudan’ but for the concrete steps it took to put an effective peacekeeping mission in place and the vigor of its diplomatic efforts. The U.S. must provide international leadership to combine the expedited deployment of this protective force with an inclusive political peace process for Darfur as well as progress in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan.”

Less than 1,500 of UNAMID’s allocated 6,000 police officers and 7,000 out of 20,000 troops are currently in Darfur. No country has yet to offer to provide the two-dozen tactical and transport helicopters the mission requires. The government of Sudan has yet to accept a UN Status of Forces Agreement that would allow UNAMID personnel the operational freedoms, such as freedom of movement and communications and the ability to conduct flights after dark, that they need to fulfill their mandate.

“300,000 people were newly displaced by the violence in Darfur in 2007,” said Marie Clarke Brill, Deputy Director of Africa Action. “The UN and aid agencies report that the situation on the ground is the worst since widespread hostilities broke out in 2004. Yet the new US special envoy for Sudan announced earlier this week that he would indefinitely postpone his visit to the country for unspecified reasons. After the premeditated January 7 attacks on a clearly marked UN convoy by Sudanese military forces, the U.S. and the international community can no longer hide from the fact that Khartoum bears the primary responsibility for the suffering of Darfur’s civilians. It is unacceptable for the U.S. to prioritize ‘War on Terror’ intelligence interests in Khartoum over the lives of Sudan’s people.”

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