November 2, 2004
Though it has been apparent for the past two months that disintegration of the nominal cease-fire in Darfur was accelerating, very recent reports make clear that a dramatic security crisis has been precipitated by a rapid increase in violence, intimidation, and forced expulsions from camps for the displaced. Today, in an extraordinarily threatening development reported by Reuters and Associated Press, Khartoum’s military and police forces have surrounded and cut off several of the largest camps in West and South Darfur, which serve many tens of thousands of internally displaced persons. This follows an earlier decision by aid agencies to evacuate workers from two camps following violent incidents: “More than 20 aid workers left the town of Zalengei by helicopter on Sunday while aid workers were also evacuated from the town of Nertiti, also in western Darfur.” (BBC, November 1, 2004)
Today the reports are considerably more alarming:
“The Sudanese army and police have surrounded several refugee camps in the war-torn region of Darfur and denied access to humanitarian groups, the United Nations said Tuesday. ‘It started at 3 a.m. without any warning,’ said Christiane Berthiaume, spokeswoman for the World Food Program. ‘Agencies have been denied access to these camps since this morning [November 2, 2004].’ At least 160,000 refugees in western Darfur cannot be reached by road ‘because of insecurity.'”
“The UN food agency has relocated a total of 88 aid workers from three camps in [West Darfur]: Golu, Zaleinge and Nertetie. [ ] WFP is concerned that government forces may start relocating people in the camps back to their villages, where there is less protection from government-backed militias known as Janjaweed.” (Associated Press, November 2, 2004)
Reuters has subsequently reported that in South Darfur:
“Security forces moved in before dawn and removed some people from camps near Nyala [capital of South Darfur], the World Food Programme [said]. ‘Early this morning, police surrounded two camps and later on relocated a number of internally displaced people’ the WFP’s spokeswoman in Nyala, Bettina Leuscher, told Reuters. Leuscher identified the two surrounded camps as Otash and Al-Jeer Sureaf, both in South Darfur state. She said one WFP worker entered Al-Jeer Sureaf and saw police relocating people.” (Reuters, November 2, 2004)
The closing of camps serving as refuge for more than 200,000 desperately needy people is intolerable, indeed constitutes a war crime. Moreover, Khartoum’s further pursuit of its clear policy of forced returns of displaced persons is one that will eventually result in tens of thousands of deaths. For these coerced returns are likely to be death sentences for huge numbers: people returned to burned-out villages—without security, food, or agricultural means—will either starve or fall victim to ongoing predations by the Janjaweed.
These outrageous acts must be immediately challenged and reversed by the international community or we can be sure that Khartoum will extend this deadly policy. This is a security crisis of the first order, and cannot be addressed by the African Union (AU) monitoring force, even when it deploys at full strength.
BACKGROUND FOR DETERIORATING SECURITY
In many ways, as shockingly provocative as Khartoum’s military actions today against humanitarian operations are, they have been growing more likely for a number of weeks. The two most recent Darfur reports from the US Agency for International Development contain ominous harbingers:
“Insecurity and restrictions on humanitarian access continue to impeded the delivery of food and other assistance. In North Darfur, the Kebkabiya Tawila, El Fasher-Mallit-Malha, and the El Fasher-Um Kaddada roads remain closed for UN operations. [ ] In South Darfur, some UN operations are suspended due to closure of the Kass-Nertiti and Nertiti-Zalingei roads.” (US AID Fact Sheet # 5, “Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency,” October 29, 2004)
The previous US AID report had also spoken of a worsening security situation:
“The US AID/Disaster Assistance Response Team reports that the security situation has deteriorated in Darfur, with violent incidents occurring with greater regularity. Attacks are occurring closer to towns even where the international humanitarian community and African Union are present.” (“Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency,” fact sheet #4, October 22, 2004)
CUI BONO? WHO BENEFITS FROM INSECURITY IN DARFUR?
Having finally gained access from Khartoum, humanitarian organizations are now increasingly prevented by insecurity from making anything approaching full use of this access. Moreover, it should be noted that there has long been fear among humanitarian agencies that violence, particularly violence directed against aid workers by Khartoum’s Janjaweed militia proxy, might reduce the international humanitarian presence in Darfur, which certainly serves the longer-term goal of the regime.
The ambition to reduce international presence also lies behind Khartoum’s efforts to force internally displaced persons to return to the sites of their former villages, without security or the resources for resuming agriculturally productive lives. Thus last week’s deeply disturbing dispatch from the UN’s Regional Information Networks, anticipating today’s events, is hardly surprising:
[Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan, told IRIN on Friday]. ‘[Foreign Minister Mustafa] Ismail provided [UN Special Representative for Sudan Jan] Pronk with an update [indicating that] 70,000 internally displaced persons in Darfur were claimed to have been repatriated.'”
“She said that Pronk took note of the number of people who had been returned to their homes, but he needed more information to establish whether this had occurred on a voluntary basis. ‘He was particularly concerned that neither the UN High Commissioner for Refugees nor the UN Organisation for Migration had been consulted prior to the repatriation, as had been agreed upon earlier,’ Achouri added.” (IRIN, October 25, 2004)
Given prevailing conditions, it is extremely unlikely that these 70,000 displaced persons returned voluntarily; for if the returns were indeed voluntary, Khartoum would have made much of the fact, and would have eagerly consulted with both the UN High Commission for Refugees and the UN Organization for Migration, as the regime had agreed to do. The failure to abide by this agreement is entirely in character for Khartoum, and strongly suggests that there were sinister motives for earlier concealing this “repatriation,” viz., it was anything but fully voluntary. Moreover, by failing to notify the appropriate UN organizations, Khartoum ensured that there was no prior determination of either the level of security available to these people, or their access to food and agricultural supplies.
In a related announcement, UN spokesperson Fred Eckhard said at UN headquarters last week:
“relief agencies reported that people in the southern part of Darfur [are receiving] threats and pressure from local [government] authorities to return to their villages. In west Darfur, he said uprooted people said they were increasingly being ‘harassed, intimidated and questioned by police’ about their relationship with rebel groups.” (Reuters, October 27, 2004)
Forced returns of camp residents, as well as continuing intimidation and violence directed against these most vulnerable people, are the most critical security issue that Darfur will face over the coming months. Moreover, a generally deteriorating security situation on the ground will make forced displacement harder for the UN and humanitarian organizations to monitor. Indeed, in the present context it must be stressed again that even deployment of 3,500 AU troops and police is radically insufficient as a means of monitoring or controlling Khartoum’s genocidal actions.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR INSECURITY
How are we to understand the current security crisis in Darfur, its sources and consequences—and the beneficiaries of heightened insecurity? To be sure, some cleave to an expediently optimistic view of security in Darfur:
“European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana Sunday [October 24, 2004] noted an improvement in the security and humanitarian situation in Sudan’s crisis-hit Darfur region.” (Agence France-Presse, October 24, 2004)
And others have begun to apportion increasing blame for insecurity to the two insurgency movements, the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and the smaller Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). But the relationship of the two organizations is tense, and a clear divide between the SLA/M and the JEM has emerged in the Abuja (Nigeria) peace talks, with the former insisting on secular governance, and the JEM (with ties to Islamist ideologue Hassan el-Turabi) strongly opposed, insisting on the preservation of shari’a (Islamic law). Moreover, political and military coordination is often quite weak for a variety of reasons—both between and within the two movements—most notably because of communications and transport limitations. In addition, two newer insurgency groups, one of potential significance, have recently been reported.
Certainly to the extent that the insurgents are responsible for attacks on civilians, abductions, or endangering humanitarian access, this deserves swift, harsh, and unambiguous condemnation. But the situation on the ground is a good deal more complicated than is commonly recognized. The April 8, 2004 cease-fire agreement has been so massively and continuously violated that it is exceedingly difficult to single out particular military actions by the insurgents that might be labeled “provocative” or “unhelpful.” Moreover, it is too often forgotten that the Janjaweed are not party to the April 8 cease-fire agreement, and thus are not bound by it; nor do their actions fall within the purview of the AU cease-fire monitors. An attack on the insurgents (or on defenseless civilians) by the Janjaweed, without support from Khartoum’s regular forces, is technically not a cease-fire violation.
The impunity with which the Janjaweed continue their attacks, at the same time that they continue to be based and supplied in garrisons with Khartoum’s regular forces, calls into question the meaning and equity of the April 8 cease-fire. This agreement called for the disarming of the Janjaweed; so, too, did the “Joint Communiqu” signed by Kofi Annan in Khartoum on July 3, 2004. UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004) “demanded” such disarmament. In light of these abandoned “agreements” and “demands,” blame for the current deterioration in security must be placed squarely on the international community that refuses to hold Khartoum to its various commitments concerning the most destructive military force in Darfur.
Nonetheless, Reuters reports US special envoy for Sudan Charles Snyder as finding that, “[the government of] Sudan was making some efforts to respect the cease-fire and to curb the Janjaweed,” and that his “concern” was for SLA and JEM attacks (Reuters, October 29, 2004). Perhaps Mr. Snyder is guided by the same evidence that convinces the EU’s Javier Solana that there is “improvement in the security and humanitarian situation [in Darfur].” But others, with less reason for political expediency, have found quite the opposite.
Emmanuel Akwei Addo, UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan, recently declared that,
“it was clear that Khartoum was not able or willing to disarm the Janjaweed or effectively protect civilians in Darfur, and he urged a greater international role in the region, particularly from the African Union.” (UN News Centre, October 29, 2004)
Jemera Rone, a Sudan researcher for Human Rights Watch recently back from Darfur, declared:
“the government had not cracked down on the Janjaweed and said one reason the attacks had diminished is that there are fewer people left to displace. ‘I don’t think they [the Khartoum regime] is trying to rein in anybody,’ she said. ‘If you are saying attacks are down, that does not mean everything is OK and people can go home…. The aim is reversing the ethnic cleansing and allowing them to go home.'” (Reuters, October 29, 2004)
What is clear from remarks by officials like Snyder and Solana is that they are disingenuously attempting to bring pressure to bear on the insurgency leadership during present peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria. Particular efforts are being made to secure an accord on humanitarian access, and here it must be said that the insurgency leaders have made a serious error in not signing onto this accord without preconditions. There can little quarreling with Rone’s assessment:
“‘What is underlying this is the need to bring pressure on the rebels at the bargaining table,’ she said, [adding that] the rebels ‘are not in a hurry to settle…partly because the feel the international community is on their side because all criticism has been directed at the government.'” (Reuters, October 29, 2004)
But bringing appropriate diplomatic pressure to bear on the insurgency leadership, particularly concerning humanitarian access and security issues, is one thing; arguing that they now bear a larger responsibility for military violence in Darfur is obscenely inaccurate. So long as the Janjaweed continue their savage predations; so long as Khartoum refuses—despite the “demand” of Security Council Resolution 1556—to “apprehend and bring to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates”; so long as Khartoum refuses even to provide UN Special Representative Jan Pronk with an authoritative list of Janjaweed commanders (as stipulated in the so-called “Plan of Action” negotiated by Pronk on August 5, 2004); then it is profoundly misguided international policy to highlight military actions by the insurgents.
Attention must be focused squarely on the overwhelming threat to security posed by the Janjaweed, as recently highlighted by UN spokeswoman Radhia Achouri:
“The United Nations charged that pro-government Arab militias were continuing to commit crimes in Sudan’s crisis-hit western Darfur region and urged Khartoum to crack down on them. ‘Although I do not have a precise figure, rape cases are in the hundreds and are continuing,’ said [Achouri]. ‘Those crimes are going on and are committed by the Janjaweed.'” (Agence France-Presse, October 20, 2004)
The appropriate focus of attention is also suggested by recent reports that Khartoum continues to engage in aerial attacks on civilian targets in Darfur. A dispatch from the BBC yesterday reports on a particularly significant accusation, given given current peace talks in Abuja:
“The Sudan Liberation Movement said Sudan’s army attacked the village of Kafott in north Darfur on Saturday, using helicopters and Russian-made Antonov aircraft. Spokesman Mahgoub Hussain said people had been killed and warned his group may counter-attack.” (BBC, November 1, 2004)
Several days earlier Associated Press reported on other accusations of civilian bombing attacks by Khartoum:
“Rebels accused Sudan’s government of launching fresh bombing raids that killed 10 people in the troubled Darfur region, dealing another blow to peace talks that have so far failed to even set an agenda. SLA spokesman Mahgoub Hussain said government forces began bombing the town early Tuesday [October 26, 2004] and air-raids continued Wednesday. ‘Until now they are bombing,’ Hussain said, just before talks resumed Wednesday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. He said the dead included ‘about 10 civilians, including one lady who was pregnant.'” (Associated Press, October 27, 2004)
These allegations must be immediately and authoritatively investigated by the AU team on the ground. Such accusations by the SLA/M in the past have typically proved to be accurate following subsequent investigation.
“BLOWBACK” FROM THE UN PLAN FOR DARFUR “SAFE AREAS”
The upsurge in violence derives from another cause, though one that UN officials are unwilling to discuss. For the UN plan for “safe areas” in Darfur, also negotiated by Jan Pronk on August 5, 2004 as part of the so-called “Plan of Action,” has proved a disaster. Indeed, so disastrous has this feature of the “Plan of Action” been that the UN has quietly—exceedingly quietly—abandoned it. But much of the damage has already been done, precipitating violence of precisely the sort predicted by this writer two months ago (see September 3, 2004 analysis of the UN “safe areas” plan; available upon request).
In the August 5 “Plan of Action,” the Khartoum regime committed to,
“identifying parts of Darfur that can be made secure and safe within 30 days. This would include existing IDP camps, and areas around certain towns and villages with a high concentration of local population. The Government of Sudan (GOS) would then provide secure routes to and between these areas. These tasks should be carried out by Sudan police forces to maintain confidence already created by redeployment of the GOS armed forces” (text from “Plan of Action for Darfur,” August 5, 2004 [Khartoum]).
As became clear only later, with Secretary-general Annan’s report to the UN Security Council on Darfur, the “safe areas” in the “Plan of Action” were conceived as entailing “the securing and protection of villages within a 20-kilometer radius around the major towns identified” (“Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to [ ] Security Council Resolution 1556,” August 30, 2004).
What did this mean on the ground in Darfur?
We should note first Khartoum’s gross failure to “ensure that no militias are present in all areas surrounding Internally Displaced Persons camps” (language from the Joint Communiqu signed by the regime and Kofi Annan, July 3, 2004). Even now, four months later, there are continuous reports, including from the UN, of an extremely ominous Janjaweed militia presence in and around the camps.
But most ominously, the creation of “safe areas” not only threatened to consolidate the effects of Khartoum’s campaign of ethnic clearances and genocidal destruction, but it was deliberately manipulated by Khartoum for offensive military advantage. Human Rights Watch noted at the time that, “These safe areas could become a form of ‘human shield.’ This would allow the government to secure zones around the major towns and confine a civilian population that it considers to be supporting the rebels” (“Darfur: UN ‘Safe Areas’ offer no Real Security,” Human Rights Watch, September 1, 2004).
And in fact, the “police” deployed to the “safe areas,” nominally to replace redeployed regular military forces of the regime, were not the “credible and respected police force” the July 3 Joint Communiqu stipulates: they were mainly soldiers and other militarily trained personnel in the uniforms of “police.” And given the geographic latitude provided by the 20-mile radius stipulated in the Plan of Action, these “police”/paramilitary forces proved to be extremely active: not in securing the areas and protecting civilians but in consolidating and expanding areas under Khartoum’s military control.
For the camps for the displaced, as well as the towns contemplated under the Joint Communiqu and the Plan of Action, lay in and around insurgency-controlled areas (especially those of the SLA). It is, then, no accident that a great deal of the fighting of the last two months, instigated primarily by Khartoum, has been concentrated in villages within the radius of “safe areas”; this is especially true of Nyala town and el-Fasher.
FURTHER CONTEXT FOR UNDERSTANDING PRESENT INSECURITY
Too often comments by those who seek to place greater blame on the insurgency groups in Darfur for present insecurity fail to understand the challenges to such tenuous military organizations. A number of features of the combat activities of these insurgents should be highlighted:
 Khartoum makes extensive reconnaissance use of Sudanese nationals serving with international humanitarian organizations, both within the camps and in convoys. Indeed, there has been significant recruitment into Khartoum’s notoriously efficient security services, as well as infiltration by security agents into various positions that enable intelligence gathering. A number of previously reported incidents involving humanitarian operations have grown directly out of suspicions by the insurgents that particular convoys were in fact serving as unwitting reconnaissance missions.
 The insurgents, like everyone else in Darfur, are running out of food and medicine, as well as the fuel they require for mobility and military survival. These facts in no way constitute an excuse for the commandeering of humanitarian resources. It is a test of the leadership within both the SLA and JEM to insist that their forces respect the integrity and safety of humanitarian aid efforts. But it would be misguided to think it likely that under present circumstances the insurgents will not feed themselves, or secure what they regard as militarily necessary to sustain their campaign against Khartoum’s genocidal tyranny.
Again, this must not be understand as excusing in any way the interference with or attacks on humanitarian assistance. It is, however, a consideration that must figure in any realistic assessment of security needs in Darfur.
 The military record of the insurgents should also be assessed in light of remarks made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, in her briefing of the Security Council a month ago:
“My mission [to Darfur] received no credible reports of rebel attacks on civilians as such but did receive reports of attacks on police officers.” (Statement to the UN Security Council, September 30, 2004)
No doubt there have been a number of acts committed by the insurgents that have violated international law, particularly international humanitarian law. Noncombatant Darfuris of Arab ethnicity have certainly been killed, though there is no indication this is a large number. There have been abductions, but also a number of abducted persons returned after they had been determined not to be part of Khartoum’s military intelligence. But all evidence strongly suggests that the there can be no comparison of the conduct of war by the insurgents and Khartoum.
 In the wake of the massive devastation wrought by Khartoum’s regular and militia forces, in what the UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian affairs has called a “scorched-earth campaign” of “ethnic cleansing,” there has been a huge upsurge in banditry, typically opportunistic and serving no agenda other than personal greed. Many of the attacks on convoys can be attributed to such banditry.
Such lawlessness is another argument for the deployment of a much larger and more robust intervention force, one that has widely dispersed law enforcement as part of its larger mandate. It is here that concern for security in Darfur should be focused, not on parsing the degree of responsibility the insurgents must bear for the current security crisis.
The multiple and challenging security tasks in Darfur will overwhelm the currently deploying AU force. There is simply no way that 3,500 troops, police and monitors can possibly secure the camp areas and their environs (and remove Khartoum’s threatening security presence), protect humanitarian workers and convoys, create safe-passage corridors within currently inaccessible rural areas, oversee the safe return of voluntary returnees, and monitor cease-fire violations.
And this still leaves aside both the urgent task of mechanically disabling all military aircraft involved in attacks on noncombatants (a task that should be substituted for imposing an impracticable “no-fly zone”), and the need to disarm or militarily neutralize the Janjaweed. The current security crisis in Darfur cannot be ended without substantial resources—transport, logistical, and military—that are nowhere in sight. To deflect attention from this desperate need onto the behavior of the insurgents is yet another aspect of the international failure to respond to Khartoum’s genocidal policies.
WHAT INSECURITY MEANS FOR THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
The ultimate insecurity is evident in the UN’s most recent “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” (No. 7) and an “Emergency Nutrition Assessment of Crisis Affected Populations, Darfur Region,” prepared by WFP and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For food insecurity threatens the populations of Darfur and Chad in the most fundamental way. Darfur’s African tribal populations have been driven from the lands and livelihoods they know, have been deprived of virtually all resources, and are now forced into camps that are dramatically inadequate in providing for their basic human needs, including security.
“Darfur Humanitarian Profile” (No. 7) indicates that 48% of the people targeted for humanitarian assistance have no shelter, 60% have no access to clean water, and 58% are without sanitary facilities. A third have no access to primary health care. (“Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” No. 7, page 15; based on data as of October 1, 2004). These figures are essentially unchanged for the past few months.
Troublingly, the number of conflict-affected persons defining humanitarian need in the eyes of the UN continues to rise rapidly, as does the number of internally displaced persons. The number of conflicted-affected persons has risen, according to this most recent “Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” from just over 1 million in June 2004 to over 2 million at the beginning of October 2004—an average monthly increase of 250,000 (page 9). The number of internally displaced persons has increased from approximately 1 million in June 2004 to 1.6 million at the beginning of October 2004—an average monthly increase of 150,000. The straight-line graphs representing these two increases, over four months, strongly argue that additional increases must be estimated as of November 1, 2004, producing an updated total of 2.25 million conflict-affected persons and 1.75 million internally displaced persons.
These figures do not include the more than 200,000 people who are refugees in Chad; nor do they represent the increasingly distressed rural populations that are beyond humanitarian access or even assessment. This latter figure is likely in excess of 500,000—perhaps well in excess. Together these figures indicate that the total conflict-affected population is approximately 3 million in Darfur and Chad. Data in the current “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” suggest that the average Crude Mortality Rate (CMR) for this vast conflict-affected population is 3.0 per day per 10,000, a figure very likely significantly higher for the rural populations without humanitarian assistance. In short, approximately 1,000 human beings are dying every day; 30,000 every month. These are in addition to the 300,000 who have already died from violence, disease, and malnutrition.
And data from the World Food Program/CDC study (collected between September 2 and September 20, 2004) strongly suggest that there is still a significant statistical understatement of the scale of Darfur’s humanitarian crisis. For example, 22% of the Internally Displaced Persons households “did not have a ration card” (“Emergency Nutrition Assessment of Crisis Affected Populations, Darfur Region,” page 3), and thus were not entitled to food distributions. Since food registration by the World Food Program is the primary tool in assessing food need and actual distribution, such a high percentage of people without ration cards is deeply troubling. Here we need to bear in mind the picture recently drawn by a spokesman for the UN High Commission for Refugees:
“As for conditions in the camps, [UNHCR spokesman Ron] Redmond says, ‘It varies from camp to camp. I mean we’re talking about an area the size of France. So this is a huge area and there are literally scores of these makeshift camps for internally displaced people that have been set up over several months. They’re scattered across the Darfur region.'” (Voice of America, October 19, 2004)
Clearly a tremendous number of people have fallen between the cracks of a desperate and necessarily hasty humanitarian operation.
The overall picture of nutrition in Darfur—where the agricultural economy has collapsed and people have suffered devastating losses of food, including cattle—is devastating:
“The prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) was 21.8%; [ ] The prevalence of severe acute malnutrition was 3.9%.” (“Emergency Nutrition Assessment of Crisis Affected Populations, Darfur Region,” page 3)
These are terribly high figures and indicate that the current mortality rate of 1,000 human beings per day will surely rise.
Other data is equally dismaying: “Supplementary feeding coverage is low, with only 18% of children identified as moderately malnourished enrolled at the time of the survey. No children identified as severely malnourished were enrolled in therapeutic feeding” (page 3). All these latter children will have died.
And we catch a terrifying glimpse of how far from meeting food needs current humanitarian efforts are, however heroic:
“Of those households with a ration card [78%] that received a ration in September , more than half did not receive oil or pulses [leguminous foods] (64.5% and 72.8% respectively). [ ] More than half of households (57%) only received a cereal in the general ration in September” (page 3).
This is the context in which to assess the meaning of the figure of 70% receiving food aid in September, claimed in the most recent “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” (page 15). People cannot live on cereal indefinitely. 20 months into an extraordinarily destructive and traumatic conflict, many of those receiving only cereal will suffer severe health consequences; a great many will die.
This is the real face of insecurity in the wake of Khartoum’s genocidal assault on Darfur, and must guide international efforts to respond.
In a predictable effort to deflect attention from his regime’s genocidal policies, National Islamic Front President Omar Bashir recently declared:
“‘[Humanitarian] organizations operating in Darfur are the real enemies,’ the official Al-Anbaa daily quoted Bashir as saying, without elaborating. ‘The conspiracy against Darfur is not new.’ The president also accused the West of fueling the 20-month conflict in the region that has left tens of thousands of people dead, displaced more than 1.4 million others from their homes and forced a further 200,000 into Chad. ‘Western countries are funding the unrest in Darfur,’ Bashir charged. He argued that those ‘claiming to be concerned’ about the crisis were ‘liars and hypocrites. They are all enemies.'” (Agence France-Presse, October 29, 2004)
At the same time, at UN headquarters in New York, a different view was being expressed:
“Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and a delegation of US religious leaders appealed to the United Nations on Wednesday [October 27, 2004] for more action in Sudan’s violent Darfur region and a daily accounting of the dead. ‘It is a slow-motion genocide,’ said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos of the National Council of Churches after the 10-member group met U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. ‘…it is happening as we speak.'” (Reuters, October 28, 2004)
Differing views about the degree of responsibility that insurgents in Darfur must bear for current insecurity cannot be allowed to obscure the vast moral chasm that separates the worlds of Elie Wiesel and Omar Bashir.
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