Khartoum’s continuing restriction of humanitarian aid
August 17, 2005
The UN World Food Program, as well as its implementing partners in the humanitarian community, is currently attempting to respond to the food needs of 3.5 million human beings in Darfur. The number of conflict-affected persons is even greater if we consider those who need medical and other humanitarian assistance. These extremely vulnerable people, both within camps for displaced persons and in rural areas, represent the all too predictable human consequences of over two years of ethnically-targeted destruction, orchestrated by Khartoum’s National Islamic Front (NIF) through its own military forces and by means of various paramilitary proxies in Darfur, primarily the Janjaweed. Given the nature of the violence—deliberate ethnic murder and the concerted destruction of the means of life for Darfur’s non-Arab or African tribal groups—we must regard the deaths resulting from this violence as genocide.
But the NIF also bears responsibility for ongoing obstruction, harassment, and denial of humanitarian assistance—all with deadly, and again finally genocidal consequences. For though Khartoum’s choke-hold on humanitarian assistance is not as extensive as the period prior to July 2004, it remains significant—and hugely destructive.
This is not news. Several months ago Human Rights Watch declared:
“The UN has estimated that as many as 3.5 to 4 million people in Darfur will not have enough to eat in the next few months. The Sudanese government has recently stepped up its bureaucratic war on the vast humanitarian relief effort that is attempting to help millions of Darfurians. Since December , the Sudanese government has been trying to intimidate some humanitarian agencies in Darfur through arbitrary arrests, detentions and other more subtle forms of harassment.” (Human Rights Watch press release, May 24, 2005)
Many have made observations such as that of Nicholas Kristof, the intrepid New York Times journalist who has repeatedly traveled to Darfur:
“The Sudanese government is blocking new arrivals like [a displaced African woman named Magboula] from getting registered [in camps], 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.” (New York Times [dateline: Nyala, South Darfur], May 31, 2005)
This writer has chronicled in detail “Khartoum’s Continuing Assault on Humanitarian Aid Workers,” (June 1, 2005 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=506&page=1).
But there is far too little frank acknowledgement of these fundamental realities on the part of humanitarian organizations, who understandably fear the consequences of their outspokenness. On the other hand, the refusal of the UN political leadership to speak honestly about the immense consequences of obstructing humanitarian assistance—directly and indirectly—is simply a disgrace. And it is a disgrace that extends to the US administration, to the governments of Europe, to the leadership of the African Union (AU), and to the various international actors who might pressure Khartoum to reverse policies that are now almost two years old.
For it was in December 2003 that Tom Vraalsen, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan, declared Khartoum was “systematically” (Vraalsen’s word choice) denying humanitarian relief to the African tribal populations of Darfur, and that Khartoum’s actions had brought “present humanitarian operations practically to a standstill” (Tom Vraalsen, Note to the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator for Sudan, December 8, 2003).
There can be no denying the motives behind such obstruction and denial of aid: to destroy the lives and agricultural livelihoods of the Fur, Massaleit, Zaghawa, and other African tribal groups perceived by the NIF as supporting the insurgency movements. The same motives lie behind Khartoum’s current manifold and insidiously destructive obstruction of humanitarian relief.
But we should hardly be surprised that the NIF has chosen such a tactic of human destruction: the regime’s deliberate denial of humanitarian relief was the instrumental cause in the ghastly 1998 famine in Bahr el-Ghazal Province (southern Sudan), which may have claimed over 100,000 lives. The NIF imposed, for more than a decade, a terribly destructive blockade on all humanitarian relief into the Nuba Mountains (southern Kordofan Province). This has writer chronicled for years Khartoum’s numerous large-scale obstructions of humanitarian relief in southern Sudan, indeed its deliberate aerial and ground attacks on humanitarian operations in southern Sudan (see, for example, Washington Post op/eds of August 15, 2000 and July 6, 2002 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=49&page=1 & http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=40&page=1).
There is nothing new or out of character in the NIF’s current obstruction of humanitarian relief in Darfur. Such destruction is, like the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war and the current engineered insecurity on the ground, a deliberate tool of genocidal destruction. Not to say as much, and not to respond with appropriate urgency, is acquiescing before genocide. Such acquiescence only works to convince the NIF that there will be no consequences for such actions going forward.
THE VULNERABILITY OF HUMAN POPULATIONS IN DARFUR
The needs of people who have been left without their foodstocks and the means of agricultural production are staggering no matter how we assess them. But these needs must be measured most basically in terms of huge monthly tonnages of food and critical non-food items, as well as the personnel to distribute these humanitarian supplies in efficient fashion. Aid logisticians estimate that the humanitarian food needs of 1 million people are 17,000 metric tons per months. In Darfur more than 3.5 million people need at least some significant food assistance as well as essential non-food items (such as medicine, shelter, sanitation supplies); to be met adequately, these needs require approximately 60,000 metric tons delivered per month, a quantity not approached in any monthly dispatch totals to date. As of July 2005, the UN World Food Program’s largest monthly disbursement of food reached 2.1 million people—an enormous achievement, but far short of what is now required.
Conditions in camps for the displaced, though much improved in a number of cases, are often extraordinarily threatening of human health. Guido Sabatinelli, the UN World Health Organization Representative in Sudan, recently said of camp conditions:
“The combination of crowded conditions in the settlements, shortage of clean water, inadequate latrines, insufficient soap, and the mire caused by rain-soaked mingling with excreta, have combined to make hygiene an impossible goal for people living in small, tarpaulin-covered huts, and these conditions need to be solved.” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [IRIN], July 6, 2005)
The largest effect of inadequate humanitarian relief in Darfur is that monthly mortality, chiefly from disease and malnutrition, continues to exceed 6,000 human beings. Indeed, perhaps now, in the heaviest months of the rainy season, monthly mortality is well in excess of 6,000 (see June 30, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer at: http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=58&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
Even a conservative use of the data from most recent morality rate assessment overseen by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), without any adjustment for factors that must clearly increase monthly mortality, yields a figure of more than 5,000 “excess” deaths per months. The main statistic in the survey, which attempted to measure mortality rates in all of Darfur, from November 2004 to May 2005 (i.e., prior to the rainy season), was a Crude Mortality Rate (CMR) of 0.8—the number of deaths per day per 10,000 of affected population (“Mortality Survey in Darfur, May-June 2005: Main Findings,” Khartoum, June 2005).
Taking account of a 2003 UNICEF estimate of the “normal” CMR for Darfur (0.3), these two figures yield an “excess” (conflict-related) mortality of 0.5 persons per day per 10,000 of conflict-affected persons. Even excluding Chad (where 200,000 refugees are also struggling with the consequences of genocidal violence), the “denominator” (the relevant population) must be at least the 3.5 million who are presently in need of food assistance (and this almost certainly undercounts those in need in rural areas). These data in aggregate suggest monthly mortality well in excess of 5,000 (0.5 CMR x 3.5 million conflict-affected x 30 days).
It must be emphasized yet again that these are genocidal deaths. They derive directly from various acts stipulated in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide as constituting genocide when directed at a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” These five acts include:
[a] Killing members of the group;
[b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
[c] Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
[d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
[e] Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
(from Article 2)
All of these acts have been directed at significant parts of the various African tribal populations of Darfur, primarily the Fur, Massaleit, and Zaghawa people. Violent mortality (“killing”) has claimed over 200,000 lives (see June 30, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer; URL above). Rape as a systematic weapon of war has not only caused “serious bodily and mental harm” to the women and girls of these groups (as well as their families), but has also had the effect of “preventing births within these groups” (see June 25, 2005 analysis by this writer at: http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=509&page=1). We also have numerous, highly authoritative accounts of abductions of girls and boys from these groups (“forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”).
But as has been the case for over a year now, it is clause [c] of Article 2 of the Genocide Convention that has greatest relevance for Darfur: “deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part.” And a key element of this act of genocide is the ongoing obstruction of humanitarian assistance. Such obstruction justifies a detailed anatomy.
KHARTOUM’S CONTINUING CHOKE-HOLD ON HUMANITARIAN AID
Humanitarian relief in Darfur is highly complex, and its deficiencies reflect various factors. But it must be said first that the failure of the international community to fund adequately operations in Darfur represents a shameful financial complicity in genocide—and a recent Washington Post editorial rightly singles out some of the rich nations most culpable:
“How can France, which prides itself on its leadership in Africa, give only $2 million to this year’s UN appeal for Sudan—an amount that, when rounded, comes to zero percent of total contributions to the country?”
“There are plenty of other culprits. Japan accounts for just 2 percent of total contributions despite the size of its economy; China has made no contribution to the UN effort, even though it has extensive investments in Sudan’s oil sector. But perhaps the most striking absentees are the oil-rich Arab countries, which have more money than ideas on how to spend it, thanks to oil prices above $60 a barrel. Saudi Arabia has contributed a grand total of $3 million, according to the UN data; the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have given less than $1 million between them.” (Washington Post, August 12, 2005)
The consequences of this scandalous miserliness are everywhere in evidence, from quantities of food and non-food items to transport resources. For example, air transport of critical time-sensitive non-food items, especially medicines, is currently suspended for lack of funding, according to the UN Joint Logistics Center.
Another fundamental feature of the humanitarian scene in Darfur, evident for the entire time of humanitarian deployment, is the pervasive lack of security. Though continuously remarked by all observers, this insecurity remains the primary factor limiting humanitarian capacity. Indeed, some aid organizations have withdrawn from Darfur because of insecurity, including the very important Save the Children/UK (which had several of its workers killed). Should insecurity escalate to the point where the major aid organizations are forced to withdraw—the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), UN organizations—the results would be catastrophic. Last December, UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland estimated that as many as 100,000 civilians would die every month in such circumstances.
But despite the enormous threat that physical insecurity poses to humanitarian operations, there has been little change on the ground. Khartoum’s brutal Janjaweed militia continue to be the primary threat to both civilians and humanitarian operations, though banditry and attacks by the insurgency movements have significantly increased the overall level of insecurity:
“‘There is one overriding problem that needs to be resolved—that of armed militias [the Janjaweed],’ Niels Scott, head of the Darfur unit of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Khartoum, added. ‘We are receiving reports of banditry and armed attacks on a daily basis and these people need to be neutralised,’ he said.” (UN IRIN, August 9, 2005)
But what must be borne in mind here is that the NIF has no intention of disarming the military proxies that are working to constrain humanitarian relief. As Kofi Annan is obliged to note in his most recent report to the Security Council—more than a year after the UN had secured from Khartoum a promise to disarm the Janjaweed, and more than a year after the Security Council “demanded” that Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed—
“there is little evidence of any serious efforts by the Government [of Sudan] to disarm the Janjaweed and other armed, outlawed groups. [ ] Despite [its previous commitments], Government of Sudan officials have recently made it known that the disarming of the militias will commence only after a political settlement is reached. In so doing, the Government has unilaterally introduced a conditionality on future compliance that contravenes its obligations and sets back efforts to provide safety and security for civilians.” (July 2005 Monthly Report of the Secretary-General on Darfur to the Security Council, paragraph 10).
The genocidal aftermath of more than two years of extremely violent predations by the Janjaweed, working in concert with Khartoum’s regular military forces, is partially depicted later in Annan’s report:
“So many villages have been destroyed since the war began that there are now fewer locations for militia to strike. In addition, the threat of [Janjaweed] attack—on villages or other concentrations of civilian population—persists. [ ] Active combat has been replaced by a suffocating environment of intimidation and fear, perpetuated by ever-present militia.” (Paragraph 40)
Despite these acknowledged realities, neither the UN nor the international community is prepared to respond to the primary source of insecurity in Darfur.
Given this lack of commitment, the NIF shows every sign of maintaining the Janjaweed in Darfur (along with a security and “police” presence that increasingly includes former Janjaweed members). It is simply not the case—as Kofi Annan’s special representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, recently argued—that “[Khartoum] can’t do it [i.e., disarm the Janjaweed]” (Reuters interview, August 4, 2005). Such a judgment is unwarranted and irresponsible, given the NIF’s continuing efforts to support the Janjaweed, including paying regular salaries and recruiting new fighters. A recent dispatch by the New York Times (dateline: Khartoum) confirms what has long been evident:
“The Sudanese government, after promising a parade of foreign leaders over the past year to rein in the violence in Darfur, is still paying regular salaries to leaders of militias there that continue to attack and kill civilians, say American officials and aid workers stationed in Sudan. [ ] State Department officials say because government-financed militias and others have been so successful at intimidating or killing civilian residents, now almost everyone who might have been a target is either dead or living in a refugee camp.”
“Yet the militias remain armed and poised in the western provinces, American government officials say. The militias also continue to train and arm recruits. At a recent ceremony for 400 recruits, senior Sudanese military officers applauded the graduates, African peacekeepers who saw it told aid workers.” (New York Times, July 21, 2005)
There are continuing authoritative reports of attacks by both the Janjaweed and Khartoum’s regular military forces; too often the AU monitors either do not investigate, or the results of the investigation remain muffled for political reasons. For example, the main insurgency group in Darfur claimed on July 24, 2005 that “Sudanese troops backed by helicopters and militiamen [Janjaweed] were raiding villages in South Darfur” (Agence France-Presse, July 24, 2005). But there has been no public confirmation or disconfirmation by the AU of this highly significant charge, in all likelihood a reflection of lack of capacity, but perhaps also representing another report suppressed for political reasons.
The cumulative effect of insecurity has recently been described by Dr. Nathalie Civet, the head of mission in Darfur for MSF:
“‘The scorched-earth campaign of 2003-04 has now been replaced by less overt and large-scale, but equally devastating, forms of violence and intimidation of civilians, including the effects of sporadic fighting, direct attacks and sexual violence,’ said Dr Civet.” (The Scotsman, July 30, 2005)
Direct obstruction of humanitarian relief:
In this environment of extreme insecurity and woefully under-funded relief operations, the NIF easily sustains “genocide by attrition” through various actions that limit the efficacy of the humanitarian presence that has been so arduously established. Some actions directly target relief workers, either by violence or bureaucratic obstruction. Of the latter, Annan notes in his report to the Security Council:
“the humanitarian community continues to face numerous obstacles in discharging their duties, including difficulties for international nongovernmental organizations to obtain visas for new staff (particularly of African nationalities) as well as multi-entry visas; the length of time in processing visas; inconsistency in applying/interpreting procedures.” (Annex to Annan’s report by the “joint implementation mechanism” missions in Darfur)
The huge Kalma camp, outside Nyala (South Darfur), is the largest in Darfur, with roughly 150,000 displaced persons; yet the camp continues to be subject to a Khartoum-imposed blockade that severely restricts the movement of residents and interferes with humanitarian operations. For example, the US Agency for International Development reports it has,
“received reports from [humanitarian organizations] that identification cards issued by the Government of Sudan Humanitarian Aid Commission were not sufficient to enter [Kalma] camp, and that nongovernmental organization staff were asked to provide additional documentation.” (US AID “fact sheet,” August 5, 2005)
There are numerous, highly authoritative reports from the ground that the NIF threatens, intimidates, even arrests Sudanese nationals who work for aid organizations. This has a terrible chilling effect, and makes it increasingly difficult to secure the necessary workers (Sudanese nationals represent approximately 90% of the 11,000 aid workers in Darfur). Translators, as well as displaced persons so bold as to tell their stories to visiting dignitaries, are particular targets of the NIF:
“A UN source at Kalma camp in Nyala [South Darfur] said detentions carried out by Sudanese security increased after a May visit by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. A senior UN official said Sudanese security harassed Annan’s translator after the secretary-general met rape victims.”
“Sudanese security threatened refugees in Darfur with arrest and beatings to find out what they told Condoleezza Rice when she visited their camp, UN sources told Reuters on Thursday.” (Reuters, July 28, 2005)
More direct examples of obstruction of humanitarian relief come from a recent UN “sit rep” for Darfur:
“[The NIF’s] Humanitarian Aid Commission blocked this month’s food distributions in Otash and Dereig [camps for displaced persons], claiming that Internally Displaced Persons allegedly left out of distribution lists should be included.”
The obscene logic by which the NIF’s “Humanitarian Aid Commission” blocks food distributions to desperately hungry people because of a contrived registration “error” is of a piece with the larger campaign against humanitarian operations. The same “sit rep” notes that:
“Despite months of discussions with, and recent written clarifications from the HAC in Nyala, the Ministry of the Interior, National Security, and HAC officials at Nyala airport continue to request travel permits from humanitarian staff traveling in South Darfur.”
Bureaucratic obstruction by Khartoum even extends to visas for the UN peace support operation that is currently deploying to southern Sudan to preserve the north/south peace agreement:
“Visa problems are contributing to delays in deploying thousands of UN peacekeepers in southern Sudan, the German Foreign Ministry said Monday [August 8, 2005].” (AP, August 8, 2005)
The brazenness of such obstruction should signal how much contempt the NIF feels for efforts by the UN and other international actors, as well as for the exceedingly fragile peace agreement signed on January 9, 2005. Obstruction of peacekeepers sends the worst possible signal about the commitment of the NIF to peace.
Interference with humanitarian operations is sometimes violent. Of particular note is MSF’s recent report of an attack on the camp in Shagil Tobaya (North Darfur):
“On July 24,  the MSF team in Shangil Tobaya, in north Darfur, witnessed an attack on the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp located directly next to the MSF clinic. Grenades were used, several shelters in the camp were burned, and hundreds of IDPs were forced to again run for their lives.”
Reports from a range of other sources on the ground make clear that the attack was orchestrated by Khartoum. Indeed, the US AID reports in its August 5, 2005 “fact sheet”:
“According to MSF, a group of armed men in Government of Sudan military uniforms entered the camp [at Shangil Tobaya], opened fire and burned shelters.”
Again there has been no public AU report on this well-known incident.
For over a year the NIF has engaged in a policy of forced, coerced, and inappropriately induced movements of displaced populations. The effect of this policy is deadly, as too often those deported or returned to “their” homes become acutely vulnerable. Aid workers were speaking out in July 2004 about the implications of such a policy:
“‘[Khartoum] wants the internally displaced to go home, the UN wants them to stay,’ said an aid worker. ‘There is no food in their villages: they will go back to die.'” (UN IRIN, July 12, 2004)
Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, warned at the time that the Janjaweed were continuing to destroy food sources in rural areas, especially in the Jabal Marrah region of Western Darfur:
“Calling for immediate action to stop armed militias destroying food and water sources in the violence-wracked Darfur region of Sudan, a United Nations rapporteur today urged the UN Commission on Human Rights to convene a special session on the situation in Darfur. Mr. Ziegler said Khartoum wanted to send people back to their homes even though [Janjaweed] militias have either destroyed, damaged or looted crops, agricultural areas, livestock and drinking water installations.” (UN News Service, July 9, 2004)
The consequences of such a policy were articulated in stark terms:
“Humanitarian workers fear that a forcible mass return of some 1.2 million Internally Displaced Persons [now more than twice this number—ER] in Darfur could result in enormous fatalities.” (UN IRIN, July 13, 2004)
This deadly policy, working directly counter to humanitarian ambitions, continues, despite a denial from the ever-expedient Jan Pronk, who recently declared that “we stopped [Khartoum’s] forced returns policy,” that now “people have the choice to say,” and that “there is no indication whatsoever that [this policy continues],” Reuters interview, August 4, 2005)
The truth lies elsewhere. The July 29, 2005 “fact sheet” from US AID reports:
“On July 24  the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the Government of Sudan (GOS) Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), with support from the GOS police, began relocating an unknown number of IDPs from Al Sereif IDP camp to Al Salam IDP camp in South Darfur on July 22. [ ] According to OCHA and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the HAC has declared Al Sereif camp closed to new arrivals. IOM declared the relocation exercise in violation of the Management and Coordination Mechanism (MCM) procedures previously agreed upon by the GOS, UN, and IOM for the voluntary return of IDPs.”
Behind the complexity of acronyms and bureaucratese lies clear evidence of what are in effect forced relocations of human beings. A UN “sit rep” of July 17, 2005 offers further evidence that Khartoum’s policy continues, despite denials by Pronk and Annan:
“Government of Sudan (GOS) authorities are pressuring Abu Shouk [displaced persons] to return to their homes through the provision of cash, shelter materials and food. However, GOS prematurely collected World Food Program ration cards without making the necessary arrangements to have food assistance, nor any other kind of assistance, provided in the meantime. Moreover, GOS started this process without informing IOM of the return, as per the MCM agreement. In practice, this means that over 216 families in the camp who have not yet left, are now unable to receive WFP food distributions.”
These coerced families are a microcosm of suffering and deprivation in the ghastly humanitarian universe that is Darfur. More broadly, the July 1, 2005 “fact sheet” from US AID reports:
“The International Organization for Migration [Geneva] has indicated that not all organized return cases [from displacement camps] are being reported to IOM by [Khartoum’s] Committee for Voluntary Return, and many of them are reported with insufficient time for IOM to determine if the returns are voluntary and appropriate. IOM also noted that it continues to receive information [from the Khartoum government] about returns that is not credible or cannot be verified.”
There is no mistaking the implication of Khartoum’s providing information that is not timely and is “not credible or cannot be verified”: this represents a deliberate effort to obscure the forcible, non-voluntary return of displaced civilians. If Khartoum’s means for forcibly relocating or deporting victims of genocide have become more subtle in response to international pressure, this hardly diminishes the effectiveness of its policies in compromising humanitarian ambitions.
THE STRANGLE-HOLD CONTINUES
Any honest summary of Khartoum’s obstruction of humanitarian access in Darfur reveals that the NIF remains intent on sustaining the genocide it began in 2003. In addition to various forms of deliberate obstruction, ongoing insecurity and targeted violence directly undermine humanitarian operations, threatening additional hundreds of thousands of lives. This is the NIF’s goal, not an unfortunate or unintended consequence of counter-insurgency warfare.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, and other UN officials continue to speak of the “climate of impunity” in Darfur. But this “climate” is now a function of the UN substituting words for action. The NIF has heard the UN “demand” (July 2004) that it disarm the Janjaweed—and yet there are no consequences for ignoring this demand. The NIF has seen nominal “sanctions” imposed by the UN Security Council in March 2005, only to have them rendered meaningless by Chinese obstructionism. The situation Human Rights Watch depicted in early June has changed little:
“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)
The genocidaires in Khartoum see all of this, and they draw the only appropriate conclusion. There is no international will to halt genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Humanitarian aid—attenuated by under-funding logistical difficulties, weather, insecurity, and deliberate obstruction—remains the only meaningful international response to ethnically-targeted human destruction.
Indeed, even the very effort to investigate these ultimate crimes poses physical threats to humanitarian workers. For the NIF is prepared to attack those who cooperate in the International Criminal Court investigation of crimes in Darfur; as lead prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo warned in his report to the Security Council:
“The information currently available highlights the significant security risks facing civilians, local and international humanitarian personnel in Darfur. These issues will present persistent challenges for the [ICC] investigation.” (ICC Report to Security Council, June 2005)
The deployment of AU forces has increased security in some locations, but is far from adequate to address the many human protection issues in Darfur. To date the AU force—operating without a mandate for civilian protection and without nearly the human or material resources required—only forces a re-direction of genocidal energies. Moreover, Khartoum’s choke-hold on humanitarian access is largely unaffected by the AU presence.
The dying continues amidst a situation in Darfur that could easily deteriorate rapidly, with no additional protection resources in the offing. The suffering and dying—of innocent children, women, and men—continues with no end in sight.
We continue to be judged for our refusal to intervene.
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