They cannot be fed with investigations by the International Criminal Court
June 8, 2005
The mismatch between humanitarian capacity and human need grows more deadly by the day in Darfur. The most recent warnings of this mismatch come in a June 2, 2005 announcement from the UN’s World Food Program (WFP): “the number of people in Sudan’s Darfur region who need food has jumped to 3.5 million—more than half the population—as rural families join refugees in the hunger line, the UN said on Thursday [June 2, 2005]” (Reuters, June 2, 2005). Holdbrook Arthur, regional director for WFP in East and Central Africa, bluntly declared: “We are talking about 3.5 million, including the local population who have lost or are dramatically losing their livelihood because of insecurity.” Jamie Wickens, WFP’s associate director of operations, declared: “The rural population is becoming more and more food insecure. The are in the same situation as internally displaced persons” (Reuters, June 2, 2005).
The figure of 3.5 million represents a huge and unanticipated increase from the WFP projected estimate of 2.8 million people made at the beginning of the current year. Indeed, the UN’s Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 (the most recent, representing assessments as of May 1, 2005) speaks of “WFP plans to scale up operations targeting 3.25 million (worst-case scenario) by August 2005” (page 9). But even in December/January there was no evidence of the tonnage capacity required for such a vast population: 2.8 million people require almost 50,000 metric tons of food per month (humanitarian logisticians estimate 17,000 metric tons of food per month per million of population in need). Capacity in Darfur has been in the range of 30,000-35,000 metric tons per month over the past half year.
3.5 million people represent a requirement of almost 60,000 metric tons of food per month. And this does not include critical non-food items (medical supplies, shelter, water purification equipment, blankets, cooking fuel). Nor does this figure of 3.5 million include the approximately 200,000 refugees in eastern Chad. Some people in this huge population are not completely without food resources, but food scarcity is increasing rapidly after two failed harvests (Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14] speaks of “a near total crop failure” in 2004). Moreover, inflation in food prices puts food beyond the financial reach of more and more non-displaced persons, even as rural populations are unable to re-engage in agricultural production because of extreme insecurity.
Malnutrition rates are rising alarmingly in some locations, and the traditional “food gap” has only just begun. DHP 14 notes that:
“Several nutrition surveys conducted in various parts of the region in January and February resulted in Global Acute Malnutrition rates between 4.9% and 10%. In March and April these rates increased to 14% to 25%.”
Even assuming a “conflict-affected” population of 2.7 million (the figure cited in this most recent UN Profile), 45% of the population is without access to clean water, a rapidly growing health crisis in itself; and almost one third of the camp populations are without adequate sanitary facilities, a hugely threatening issue in the rainy season.
In short, there is an enormous deficit in humanitarian delivery capacity, as well as a disgraceful shortfall in international funding, and an impending logistical nightmare with the early onset of seasonal rains. Human mortality among this population, clearly at acute risk, will be staggering in the coming months.
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT AND SECURITY IN DARFUR
Much has been made of the June 6, 2005 announcement by the International Criminal Court that investigation of Darfur atrocities has commenced (the UN Security Council has referred violations of international law occurring in Darfur to the ICC). But as important as this may be as a matter of principle and international law—and as a long-term deterrent to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide—the announcement does nothing to change the situation on the ground in Darfur.
Indeed, as a number of humanitarian organizations have reported, the ICC referral has only heightened security concerns in the theater of operations. Moreover, there has been a recent and significant increase in Khartoum’s harassment of humanitarian workers and operations, including last week’s arrest of two senior officials of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the organization with the largest and most important presence in Darfur.
All this comes at a time when the first heavy rains of the season have been reported in West Darfur, with evidence strongly suggesting a generally early arrival of the seasonal rains. Logistical difficulties will only increase over the next four months of increasingly disabling rainfall. The modest pre-positioning of food and non-food items throughout Darfur, and recent improvements in sanitary facilities and disease control, will be overwhelmed by transport difficulties, deterioration of sanitary conditions within the camps, and the continuing influx of rural populations drawn to the camps by hunger and the desperate need for security.
There were no major outbreaks of cholera or dysentery last rainy season (2004), with less than half the current camp population. It is unlikely that the displaced people of Darfur will be so fortunate this season. Moreover, much of the population is more distressed than last year, with those most recently arriving in the camps often the weakest and most malnourished. Malaria, measles, meningitis, and a stubborn presence of Hepatitis E are only some of the health threats that loom ever closer.
Extreme insecurity remains the fundamental issue constraining humanitarian capacity, and though the causes of this insecurity are now more diffuse, and increasingly the responsibility of the insurgency movements, it remains the case that the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum has done nothing to improve security, either in the camps or in rural areas. US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has expediently declared his agnosticism about Khartoum’s role in directing the Janjaweed militia forces it has so clearly supported for over two years: “[Zoellick] said it was hard to say whether the pro-government militia [the Janjaweed] were still receiving instruction from Khartoum” (Associated Press [dateline: al-Fasher], June 3, 2005). This flies in the face of all evidence, and an assessment offered less than a month ago by a senior UN official:
“Pro-government Arab fighters are still targeting civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region and rape, kidnapping and banditry actually increased in April, [Hedi Annabi, UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping] told the Security Council on Thursday [May 12, 2005].” (Reuters, May 12, 2005)
Khartoum’s “instructions” to attack the non-Arab or African tribal populations of Darfur are in fact standing orders, and have been for two years. There is no need to reiterate the “instructions” contained in a document leaked by African Union personnel to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times in February of this year (Kristof had the document vetted by a number of Sudan experts, all of whom found it authentic):
“The [AU] archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August , the document calls for the ‘execution of all directives from the president of the republic’ and is directed to regional commanders and security officials. ‘Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes,’ the document urges. It encourages ‘killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur.'” (New York Times, February 23, 2005)
If we are in any doubt about who these “regional commanders” are or how clearly they define the activities of the Janjaweed, we need only recall another extraordinary set of documents, secured by Human Rights Watch last July:
“Human Rights Watch said it had obtained confidential documents from the civilian administration in Darfur that implicate high-ranking government officials in a policy of militia support. ‘It’s absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the militias—they are one,’ said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. ‘These documents show that militia activity has not just been condoned, it’s been specifically supported by Sudan government officials.'”
“Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and government-backed militias are responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and ‘ethnic cleansing’ involving aerial and ground attacks on civilians of the same ethnicity as members of two rebel groups in Darfur.” (Human Rights Watch, July 20, 2004)
The burden of proof is clearly on those who would argue that Khartoum has made any effort to disarm or control the Janjaweed, as “demanded” by the UN Security Council:
“[The UN Security Council] demands that the government of Sudan fulfill its commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates who have incited and carried out human rights and international law violations and other atrocities.” (UN Security Council Resolution 1556, July 30, 2005)
Certainly Janjaweed attacks continue in Darfur, as the Sudan Organization Against Torture reports today (June 8, 2005):
“On 26 May 2005, armed militias on camels, reportedly the Janjaweed militias wearing military uniform, attacked Um Dom village in Ishmael area, Nyala province, South Darfur state, wounding at least two men. The militias looted approximately 185 livestock.” (SOAT, Human Rights Alert: June 8, 2005)
What is represented by Zoellick’s agnosticism about the ongoing relation between Khartoum and the Janjaweed is impotence—the refusal to acknowledge that the US and its European allies are finally unwilling to force Khartoum to comply with the singular UN Security Council “demand” of note. Khartoum for its part, having openly flouted the UN “demand” for months, is now convinced that are no consequences for its intransigence. Zoellick, despite his professed agnosticism, may find it politically useful to declare that:
“‘we [the US] are sending a very strong message to the government of Sudan that we want them to stop the militias. They have a responsibility…and we also want them to move to disarm the militias,’ Zoellick told reporters in el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.” (Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2005)
But Khartoum hears this only as more words, of precisely the sort the regime has ignored without consequence for almost a year.
Khartoum’s refusal to disarm or control the Janjaweed—coupled with increasing fragmentation among the insurgency groups and a dramatic increase in opportunistic banditry (the product of a general climate of impunity that the Janjaweed has left in its broad and violent wake)—ensures that insecurity remains the major obstacle to humanitarian relief operations and efforts to expand capacity. One response has been the increased use of very expensive air transport for food and other items that could be trucked into and within Darfur if there were not such danger attending overland routes. Thus the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently announced a massive increase in the use of air transport:
“The [ICRC] said Saturday it had begun airlifting food supplies to refugees in the violence-wracked Darfur region, saying a rising number of attacks on aid convoys made it too risky to move the food by road.”
“[The ICRC said] the airlift had been prompted by dwindling food supplies and the growing number of people dependent on food aid. ‘This situation is underscored by increasing insecurity on the roads from Khartoum to Darfur where attacks on aid convoys are on the increase.'” (AP, June 4, 2005)
And in an ominous moment of honesty, the ICRC spoke for international aid efforts in Darfur generally, at least with currently prevailing insecurity:
“‘We cannot do more, we are reaching our limit logistically,’ [Dominik Stillhart, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan for the past two years,] said.” (Reuters, June 2, 2005)
Other signs of the need to rely on air transport—generally about five times more expensive than overland trucking—come from the UN’s World Food Program (WFP), which is already flying 5,000 metric tons of food per month from Libya into Darfur. Reuters reports on WFP’s appeal for additional funds for Darfur food aid:
“Its massive aid operation, hit by a chronic lack of trucks and attacks on its land convoys, will also start flying mobile teams to remote areas to distribute rations, [WFP regional director for East and Central Africa Holdbrook] Arthur said.” (Reuters, June 2, 2005)
This is clearly in anticipation of the need to deliver much more food by airdrop in the coming months, which will be necessary given the unrelenting insecurity on the ground. A UN “sit rep” of June 2, 2005 suggests the role of Khartoum and the Janjaweed in debilitating attacks on trucking:
“North Darfur: on 1 June , three WFP-contracted trucks were stopped 10 kilometers south of Malha by three armed men in uniform. The occupants of the trucks were robbed of their personal belongings and allowed to continue.”
The most recent UN Joint Logistics Committee Darfur Bulletin (#62, June 7, 2005) reports that the obstruction of major overland transport routes in South Darfur (the transport hub for Darfur) continues:
“[UN security personnel] continue to assess the three main truck routes for UN movement. The routes Nyala-Manawashi-Fasher; Nyala-Kass-Nertitie-Zallingi-Geneina; and Nyala-Labado-Muhajaria-Ed Daen routes remain “NO GO.”
Khartoum has also stepped up its obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of humanitarian workers and operations. Even after signaling that MSF personnel would not be prosecuted, Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail was unapologetic for the arrests of the two senior MSF workers in Darfur, and clearly suggested that other organizations would be held “accountable”:
“Striking an unapologetic note after the arrest of two foreign aid workers, Sudan’s foreign minister Wednesday warned international organizations not to meddle in the country’s affairs or tarnish its image. ‘Organizations operating in Sudan should observe the country’s national security in their dealings and they should not be seen to tarnish Sudan’s image through issuance of false information,’ Ismail said [alluding to the charges against MSF because of their clinically authoritative report on rape in Darfur].”
“‘We would like to see this episode [the arrest of MSF workers] ending with a confirmation of Sudan’s sovereignty and independence, and an end to all attempts seeking to smear or tarnish the image of Sudan by some organizations,’ Ismail said” (AP, June 1, 2005)
Khartoum’s brazen contempt for humanitarian efforts is also reflected in outrageous new charges for air transport of relief supplies:
“The Sudan Civil Aviation Authority has started imposing landing, navigation, parking and security charges in the amount of approximately [$1,710 USD] per flight for an IL-76, with varying rates for other aircraft. These charges were imposed without advance notice in the Darfurs on aircraft chartered by [the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance] to deliver humanitarian supplies, and on UN World Food Program aircraft flying in from Chad.” (UN Joint Logistics Committee Darfur Bulletin, #62, June 7, 2005)
Khartoum also continues to obstruct the free passage of humanitarian supplies through Port Sudan (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14], page 10). And most significantly, Khartoum is clearly behind and (multiple intelligence sources indicate) responsible for a sharp uptick in attacks against humanitarian workers and convoys. DHP 14 notes that “the specific targeting [of humanitarian convoys that] is unprecedented and a development of utmost concern” (page 4).
It is important to bear in mind that as much as violence and insecurity affect humanitarian operations, and thus threaten the greatest number of lives, violence and official harassment directed against individual Darfuris continues on a terrifying scale as well. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reports recently from Kalma camp (South Darfur):
“Refugees fleeing to Kalma from a village called Saleya described how nine boys were seized by the janjaweed, stripped naked and tied up, their noses and ears cut off and their eyes gouged out. They were then shot dead and left near a public well. Nearby villagers got the message and fled.”
“Aid workers report that in another village, the janjaweed recently castrated a 10-year-old boy, apparently to terrorize local people and drive them away.” (New York Times [dateline: Kalma camp, South Darfur], June 7, 2005)
Other means are more subtle, but no less deadly. Kristof was able to file an earlier dispatch from the Kalma area, noting the representative difficulties facing a woman from one of Darfur’s African tribal groups, “Magboula.” She had earlier been gang-raped by eight Janjaweed before making it to Kalma camp. But as Kristof discovered,
“the Sudanese government is blocking new arrivals like her from getting registered, which means they can’t get food and tents. So Magboula is getting no rations and is living with her children under a straw mat on a few sticks. [A] few days ago, Abdul Hani, Magboula’s baby, died.” (New York Times, May 31, 2005)
There are countless “Magboula’s” struggling against the genocidal ambitions of Khartoum and its murderous Janjaweed allies. DHP 14 speaks of “systematic sexual assaults [that] continue unabated in and around Internally Displaced Persons gatherings, suggesting that continued international pressure and Government of Sudan pledges to end impunity and violations have had only a very limited effect” (page 4).
Large numbers of displaced Darfuris continue to be victims of Khartoum’s policy of forced expulsions and deportment from camps, a policy reported by many humanitarian organizations, though typically not for attribution for fear of retaliation by regime officials. Those forced to leave the relative security of the camps for their former villages or other sites, without food or security, are at extreme risk of starvation and Janjaweed attack. Despite vigorous protests from the international community, Khartoum continues with this savagely callous policy.
KHARTOUM’S RESPONSE TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Though a great deal of hope has been expressed in the wake of the June 6, 2005 announcement that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has begun its investigation of violations of international law in Darfur, the Khartoum regime—several of whose senior members are on the list of 51 names referred to the ICC—has been consistently and adamantly contemptuous, indeed threatening. In the domestic press the comments have been particularly strenuous:
“Sudan stressed on Monday [June 6, 2005] that a probe by the ICC into alleged war crimes in Darfur could torpedo efforts to achieve peace in the country. ‘It is surprising that the ICC declaration was made while a government delegation is preparing to head to Abuja for talks with rebels on Friday to seek a political settlement,’ said Najeeb el-Kheir Abdu-el-Wahab, minister of state of the Foreign Ministry. He said such a move by the ICC could poison the atmosphere for the talks and send a wrong signal to rebels.” (al-Sahafa Paper, UN Daily Press Review, June 7, 2005)
The message is clear: any aggressive move toward prosecution by the ICC will lead Khartoum to stall on the diplomatic front, even as it is clear to all that only a negotiated settlement provides a long-term solution to Darfur’s catastrophe.
Officially, and for the international community, the regime is just as adamant:
“Also Wednesday [June 8, 2005], the government gave its first Cabinet-level response to this week’s decision by the ICC to begin investigating war crimes in Darfur, as the UN Security Council had mandated it to do. ‘Our decision not to hand any Sudanese national for trial outside the country remains valid and has not changed,’ Justice Minister Ali Karti was quoted as saying by the official Sudan Media Center.” (AP, June 8, 2005)
None of this is new of course: senior members of the NIF regime have for weeks been saying as much. What the ICC announcement has done is make clearer Khartoum’s determination, as well as the ways in which the regime might undermine ICC efforts:
“‘There are a number of things [the Khartoum regime] can do,’ one lawyer at the court here said. ‘Khartoum officials cannot stop the process, but they can stall and buy time.'” (New York Times [dateline: The Hague], June 7, 2005)
The New York Times dispatch concludes:
“Prosecutors can act only after a government shows itself unwilling or unable to conduct credible trials in its own courts. If Sudan goes through with its own trials, international prosecutors would be forced to take time to show that those trials were not credible. Proceedings would be delayed further if they have to prove a government cover-up or that officials were shielding crucial suspects.”
We catch a glimpse of Khartoum’s strategy in forestalling the workings of the Court in a Reuters dispatch:
“‘If [the ICC investigators] want to observe what is going on from the ICC and others, they are welcome (but) if they want to start trials of the Sudanese this is not acceptable,’ Majzoub al-Khalifa, the head of the government’s Darfur talks team, said. ‘The investigation is part of the trial system.'” (Reuters, June 6, 2005)
In other words, if the “investigation is part of the trial system”, and ICC trials of Sudanese are “unacceptable,” the investigations will ultimately be regarded as “unacceptable,” and impeded and frustrated by Khartoum in all the ways it has perfected not just in Darfur but in other crisis areas of Sudan.
THE REFUSAL TO INTERNATIONALIZE THE DARFUR CRISIS
Khartoum’s opposition to ICC investigation and prosecution derives in large measure from the fact that senior regime officials are among those under sealed “indictment” in The Hague. Given the regime’s chains of command and the lines of authority and reporting, as authoritatively detailed by the UN Commission of Inquiry, we may be sure that those indicted include First Vice President Ali Osman Taha (with primary responsibility for Darfur policy), NIF head of Security and Intelligence, Saleh ‘Gosh’ (the genocidaire recently flown to Washington, DC by the CIA for discussions of international terrorism), and Interior Minister Abdel Rahmin Mohamed Hussein (architect of the policy of forcible returns and expulsions in Darfur).
But beyond the regime’s powerful and ruthless instincts for self-preservation lies a calculated policy of minimizing the international presence in Darfur. This policy is animated by the belief that if such presence can be attenuated, and eventually eliminated, there will be a corresponding diminishment of international attention and pressure on the regime. Thus the conspicuous effort to keep journalists and human rights reporters out of Darfur, the harassment and sanctioned attacks on humanitarian convoys and workers, and the adamant refusal to countenance troops or personnel not part of the African Union.
The AU for its part, along with the Arab League, has done all too much to assist Khartoum in resisting the necessary international response. The AU waited an unconscionably long time before admitting it did not have the resources to deploy sufficient troops, police, and other personnel to Darfur—and still refuses to recognize that it cannot provide sufficient numbers. Moreover, the 7,500 figure, planned for deployment by September, is still woefully inadequate to the critical security needs of the region. As the International Crisis Group has recently argued:
“The AU may have the best will in the world, but with the kind of support now on offer it is simply not able to do what is necessary, with the requisite urgency, to prevent tens of thousands more lives from being lost. Thus far, in an understandable effort to maintain the mission’s African face, the AU and its international partners have been very clear about not wanting to put Western troops on the ground. Yet if all other military protection options fail, as it looks like they will, a multinational intervention force may be needed to fill the gap until the AU can take up the entire task.” (Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005)
As the ICG’s Evans also notes, the AU still has not secured an adequate mandate for its operations in Darfur. It has been unwilling or unable to demand of Khartoum a mandate for civilian protection, and thus officially remains a “monitoring” presence in Darfur. Compounding the difficulty of securing a robust international response, guided by an appropriate mandate, are key members of the African Union—notably Nigeria, Egypt, and Libya—that have insisted Darfur is an “Africa only” problem.
Egypt and Libya are also part of the Arab League, which is even more vicious in its expedient effort to reject international efforts to halt genocide. Amr Mussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and now head of the Arab League, offers a chilling example of a refusal to recognize the ethnic character of human destruction in Darfur, despite overwhelming evidence on this issue from scores of human rights reports and other analyses and dispatches from the ground:
“‘I cannot see any justification for concentration on differences between the Arab and African tribes in Darfur,’ [Mussa] commented. ‘We reject plans for driving a wedge between these two groups of tribes who are now mingling and intermarrying with each other,’ Mussa added.” (Agence France-Presse, June 4, 2005)
If we carefully parse the meaning of this deeply and cruelly disingenuous description of the Darfur conflict, we must see that what Mussa and the Arab League (and thus Egypt) are saying is that “ethnic conflict in Darfur is a contrivance of Western nations”; in fact, Mussa suggests, there is nothing but ethnic harmony (“mingling” and “intermarrying”), and if there is presently some unpleasant violence and deprivation, this does not require international intervention, which would be the equivalent of “driving a wedge” between happily “mingling” and “intermarrying” tribal groups. In short, Mussa is warning that any internationalizing of the Darfur crisis will be viewed by the Arab League and Egypt as an infringement on their hegemonic interests in Sudan.
Clearly Mussa doesn’t care about the truth, or reports like those from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International. More than a year ago Amnesty was only one of several important organizations chronicling ethnic hatred gone mad in Darfur:
“A refugee farmer from the village of Kishkish reported…the words used by the [Janjawid] militia: ‘You are Black and you are opponents. You are our slaves, the Darfur region is in our hands and you are our herders.'”(Amnesty International, “Darfur: Too many people killed for no reason,” February 3, 2004, page 28)
“A civilian from Jafal confirmed [he was] told by the Janjawid: ‘You are opponents to the regime, we must crush you. As you are Black, you are like slaves. Then all the Darfur region will be in our hands. The government is on our side. The government plane is on our side to give us ammunition and food.'” (page 28)
THE ABANDONMENT OF DARFUR AND SOUTHERN SUDAN
Khartoum has in too many ways already prevailed in its genocidal endeavors, both by human destruction deliberately orchestrated in concert with the Janjaweed and by means of the obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of relief efforts. Extreme insecurity ensures that overall humanitarian capacity will be seriously insufficient throughout the current rainy season and “hunger gap.” Human mortality, already at roughly 400,000 (see April 30, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=51&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0), will increase by obscene monthly increments. The collapse of agricultural production throughout Darfur, and the destruction of the means for resuming such production, ensure that the catastrophe will deepen for the foreseeable future.
Despite the clear culpability of Khartoum, the UN Security Council resolutely refuses to take any meaningful action—either to secure compliance with previous demands or even to impose sanctions already voted. Human Rights Watch recently reported:
“On March 29,  the UN Security Council authorized sanctions on individuals responsible for violating international law in Darfur; the penalties include asset freezes and travel restrictions. Under Resolution 1591, the UN secretary-general must appoint a panel of experts in consultation with a committee made up of all the members of the Security Council, all within 30 days from the date the resolution was passed. Two months after the resolution, the matter remains pending in the Security Council committee, and no one has been appointed to the panel of experts.” (Human Rights Watch press release, June 2, 2005)
In southern Sudan, increasingly overlooked by the international community despite its desperate emergency transitional needs in the wake of the January 9, 2005 peace agreement, the regime characteristically ignores its most basic responsibilities, even as famine has begun to bite deeply in Bahr el-Ghazal.
“Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN advance mission in Sudan, has said there is famine in some regions in southern Sudan. At a media conference today [June 8, 2005] she said the UN would work hard to meet the requirements of the regions suffering from food shortage in the coming period.
Donors promised $4.5 billion to bolster the [north/south] peace deal at a conference in Oslo in April, but warehouses at the Kenyan border town of Lokichoggio used as a staging post for aid dropped by UN cargo planes are almost empty.” (Sudan Tribune, June 8, 2005)
Elsewhere Deutsche Presse Agentur reports further international failure to support southern Sudan and the peacekeeping mission there:
“The German government fears a UN peacekeeping mission in war-torn Sudan is being jeopardized by Khartoum’s interference and by foot-dragging by countries that have pledged to send troops to the war-town nation, according to a published report Saturday. [ ] The vanguard of the German contingent received visas for only a four-week stay in Sudan, despite the fact that the peacekeeping mission is scheduled for six years, [Der Spiegel] magazine quoted Defence Ministry sources as saying.”
“In addition, other countries have reneged on their troop commitments to the extent that, of the originally planned 10,000 troops, only about 1,500 are now actually expected to be on the ground in Sudan.” (dpa, June 4, 2005)
How seriously does the international community regard the crisis in Darfur? the challenges of sustaining peace in southern Sudan? These callous attitudes and grim facts speak all too incisively.
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