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Sudan: Late Response, Limited Focus
Jun 4, 2004 (040604)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"We admit we are late - some agencies have been so slow, some
donors have been so slow, the government restrictions have been so
many." - Jan Egeland UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian
International agencies and NGOs are accelerating their response to
what is widely acknowledged to be "the worst humanitarian crisis"
in the world today. Tellingly, however, yesterday's donor meeting
to mobilize greater international action rated only a few lines on
page 20 of the Washington Post and page 6 of the New York Times.
Despite the scale of the crisis and the testimony to continued
atrocities, the death and devastation in western Sudan is still on
the periphery of international attention.
Most significantly, even the welcome attention to stepping up
humanitarian relief fails to add real pressure on the Sudanese
government to stop the campaign of slaughter by governmentsponsored
militia. Ironically, the peace process inching towards
conclusion in the parallel war between the Sudanese government and
southern rebels (see http://allafrica.com/stories/200406030005.html
and http://allafrica.com/stories/200405270542.html for latest
developments) seems only to have added an excuse for looking away
from Darfur rather than the lesson that more international pressure
Samantha Powers and John Prendergast, writing in the Los Angeles
Times on June 2, put it this way: "With the specter of forced
famine looming, the United States and its allies are treating
symptoms and ignoring causes. They have pressed for humanitarian
access to Darfur without demanding that the homeless be returned to
their torched villages and farms. They have supported the
deployment of international cease-fire monitors but have settled
for 60 African Union observers to patrol a region the size of
France. And they have denounced atrocities without attempting to
create mechanisms for punishing the perpetrators. ... humanitarian
actions do not solve what are, at base, political problems; only by
urgently applying high-level and sustained pressure on Khartoum
will lives in Darfur be saved."
This issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a summary from the UN's
Integrated Regional Information Service (IRIN) on the donor meeting
in Geneva, as well as brief statements from Oxfam International,
Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
For the Powers/Prendergast op-ed, the latest analytical report from
the International Crisis Group released on 23 May, and other
For extensive daily updates from a variety of sources, visit
For links to additional background and to previous AfricaFocus
Bulletins on Sudan, see
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Sudan: Donor Meeting On Darfur Appeals for US $236 Million
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
June 4, 2004
A high-level donor meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday
appealed for at least US $236 million to help an estimated 2.2
million victims of war and "forced ethnic displacement" in western
Sudan's Darfur region, the United Nations reported. In total, about
$126 million has been pledged for 2004, leaving a deficit of $110
million, it added.
Representatives of 36 states and institutions, including donor
governments, Sudan, the Arab League, the African Union (AU) and
NGOs, were present at the conference.
Addressing journalists midway through the meeting, UN
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said
this was the most important conference in recent history as the
world's biggest humanitarian crisis was unfolding in Darfur.
Even with humanitarian aid, many lives would be lost, he said. "We
are late in responding and the Janjawid [militia] attacks [are] so
harsh that even under the best of circumstances [in terms of donor
response] it will still be a humanitarian crisis."
A joint statement issued by the UN, US and EU added that hundreds
of thousands of lives were at risk in Darfur "unless immediate
protection and relief are provided".
Donors aim to feed, shelter up to a million IDPs in three months
Egeland said the conference participants had agreed to try to meet
a series of key targets in Darfur over the next 90 days. These
- feeding up to one million people across the region; - drilling
new boreholes, and providing water pumps and tanks for camps for
displaced people and host communities; - providing basic drugs and
health care for 90 percent of the displaced; - providing basic
materials to help displaced people and refugees construct temporary
shelters; - providing seeds and tools to 78,000 families; and -
deploying human rights and protection staff to the area.
Unanimous concern was expressed at the conference about the
continuing attacks being perpetrated by the government-allied
Despite a ceasefire agreement signed by Khartoum and Darfur's two
rebel groups in the Chadian capital, N'djamena, on 8 April, the
Janjawid were still very active, with reports from the region
indicating an increase in attacks and human rights violations, said
He added that the rainy season would render roads impassable within
just a few weeks, making the delivery of aid "a race against the
New restrictions to access deplored
Andrew Natsios, the head of the US Agency for International
Development, said too few NGOs were operating in Darfur to deliver
sufficient quantities of aid. Coupled with this was the fact that
whereas the Sudanese government had removed permit requirements for
NGOs, it had imposed new restrictions on vehicles and air
transport, thereby effectively limiting the movement of NGOs to and
James Morris, the executive director of the World Food Programme,
commented that the government needed to remove administrative
roadblocks like visas, permits and laborious checks on basic
necessities such as medical supplies.
Bertrand Ramcharan, the UN acting high commissioner for human
rights, raised the issue of protection. "Let me say it again: More
than one million people are utterly vulnerable, living in a state
of fear and without any means of protection... We know all this, we
have no excuse for not knowing it: now is the time not to assess
but to act," Ramcharan said in a statement.
He stressed that the humanitarian crisis was the direct consequence
of a human rights crisis. "It is not impersonal, unswayable
elements that are behind this tragedy: this tragedy is entirely
man-made." It was the government's responsibility to resolve the
crisis in line with its legal obligations, he added.
No rights mechanisms protect Darfurians - HCHR
A key concern was that there were "no human rights or protection
mechanisms currently in place" to help Dafurians, he continued. He
had requested his office to dispatch six human rights officers as
soon as possible to Darfur to provide support to UN counterparts on
monitoring ceasefire violations and protecting civilians, he said.
The officers would also work closely with the AU mission to be sent
An "advance team" of 10 AU staff members had been deployed to
Khartoum on Wednesday to prepare the logistics for a team of 90
ceasefire monitors, 60 of whom would be soldiers, an AU spokesman,
Desmond Orjiako, told IRIN. The rest of the observer mission would
go to Darfur as soon as "conditions" were ready, he added.
Amnesty International noted this week that nearly two months after
the 8 April ceasefire, the monitors were not yet in place in
Darfur. "It is not clear how effective 90 monitors - 60 military
and 30 civilians - will be in an area the size of France where
daily killings and rapes are still being reported," Amnesty said in
The Sudanese News Agency reported, however, that during meetings
held on Wednesday and Thursday between the Sudanese government and
the AU mission, the two sides had expressed "their confidence on
achievement of a peaceful solution for Darfur".
Government expresses commitment to ceasefire
The Sudanese External Relations Ministry also issued a statement
this week, affirming "the government's deep resolve" to abide by
the N'djamena ceasefire accord, and stating that the government was
keen to provide "more security, tranquillity and trust".
But ceasefire violations are being frequently reported. On 28 May,
an Antonov aircraft and two helicopter gunships bombed a crowded
market, killing at least 12 people in a village near Al-Fashir,
Northern Darfur, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported. "There have
also been numerous credible reports of continuing attacks on
civilians in displaced camps and settlements under government
control," it added.
On 22 May, Janjawid killed at least 40 villagers and burned five
villages, including Tabaldiyah and Abqarjeh, both south of Nyala,
Southern Darfur, AI reported. They had reportedly arrived - some in
army uniform - on horses and camels. "The government is not
addressing the impunity of the Janjawid; it is integrating them
into the army," HRW added.
The government has denied the attacks and accused the Darfur rebels
of violating the ceasefire.
World Must Boost Aid to Sudan, Chad Humanitarian Crisis - Geneva
Donors' Meeting a Vital Opportunity
http://www.oxfam.org / http://www.oxfamamerica.org
June 2, 2004
International agency Oxfam today urged rich governments to boost
their contribution to the relief effort in western Sudan and Chad
on the eve of an emergency meeting in Geneva to discuss the crisis.
The June 3 meeting has been convened by the United Nations to look
at how to get aid to an estimated two million people affected by
what the UN describes as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis".
These include up to one million people who've been forced to leave
their villages inside Darfur, and another 150,000-200,000 who have
crossed the border into Chad.
"The scale of the challenge facing us in Darfur and Chad is
immense," said Oxfam Regional Director Caroline Nursey who will be
attending the Geneva meeting.
"People have fled their homes with nothing and are struggling to
survive in desperately harsh desert conditions. Rich-country
governments must come through with a much greater injection of cash
to help aid agencies save lives.
"It's very telling that in the first three months of the 2003 Iraq
appeal, donors mobilized nearly US$2bn, whereas the UN's appeal for
the whole of Sudan has received less than US$200 million - not even
a third of what the UN have asked for.
"When a crisis is considered important in western capitals, money
flows easily. The suffering of people in Africa needs to be given
Oxfam has been scaling up its relief work in Darfur since the
Sudanese government approved extra visas for expert staff last
month. However, the agency said, this access must be sustained over
the next three months and beyond if aid workers are to
significantly improve the health of thousands of displaced people
and prevent outbreaks of disease.
"No-one's pretending that international humanitarian aid is the
only thing that's needed to end this crisis," said Oxfam's Caroline
Nursey. "But if we are going to save lives, aid is needed and it's
For Sudan as a whole, the UN has appealed for US$644,722,042.
This includes an extra US$141,067,595 announced in March 2004 to
cope with increased needs in Darfur. So far, the UN has received
less than one third of its appeal, US$ 196,616,419.
The UN has received pledges amounting to less than a third
(US$50m) of the US$171m it appealed for to aid Sudanese refugees
Death and devastation continue in Darfur
3 Jun 2004
AI Index: AFR 54/060/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 137
For online content and actions on the Darfur crisis, go to:
Amnesty International delegates, who recently returned from a
research mission among Sudanese refugees in Chad, are calling on
the international donors' conference on Darfur, meeting in Geneva
on 3 June, to ensure that the protection of civilians is addressed
with the same urgency as humanitarian aid.
"The armed militias (Janjawid) supported by the Sudanese government
armed forces have been responsible for massive human rights
violations against the civilian population in Darfur," the
"Our research confirmed again the systematic and well-organized
pillaging and destruction of villages, which led to the forced
displacement of the rural population of Darfur," said Amnesty
International's delegates. "The Janjawid, often in military
uniform, accompanied by soldiers, attacked each village not once,
but often three or four times before the population fled. Local
people gave us more details of the two large-scale extrajudicial
executions in Murli and Deleij carried out by security forces and
The international concern about the horror and devastation in
Darfur needs to be translated into real changes on the ground, said
Amnesty International's delegates.
The Sudanese government has so far failed to take concrete and
prompt measures to stop the horrendous cycle of killings and rape
committed by the Janjawid militias against the civilian population
"While the logic of peace is emerging between the Khartoum
authorities and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the
dynamic of war is still well rooted in Darfur."
"The violence against civilians breached not only international
human rights standards but also appeared often to be an intentional
attempt to humiliate and destroy the social fabric of the
communities. We heard accounts of summary and systematic killing of
civilians including in mosques, rape of women and girls with their
husbands or parents nearby and the burning of old women in their
homes," organization's delegates said.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to abandon
their devastated villages in Darfur. Some of them have been
compelled to seek refuge in overpopulated centres in the region.
These centres face serious scarcity of basic needs such as food,
water, tents and medical supplies.
Thousands of others have braved serious risks to life to reach
eastern Chad. A refugee told Amnesty International's delegates: "I
have lost everything now; I have nothing but the fingers of my two
hands." Another added: "As long as the safety of my family is not
guaranteed, I don't wish to return home."
A 13-year old boy told how he was abducted by security forces and
the Janjawid from a farm and taken to a camp near Khartoum. There,
he was stripped naked and flogged. Another youth told how he was
held in a Janjawid camp for three weeks until he escaped.
One of the focuses of the Amnesty International mission was
violence against women. "They came and took away our wives and
daughters; they were not ashamed to rape them in the open," a
village chief said of the violence done to women during the
A woman told how she and a group of girls were taken away by
attackers wearing civilian clothes and khaki uniforms and raped
repeatedly over a three-day period. They told them: "next time we
come, we will exterminate you all, we will not even leave a child
"The 8 April cease fire agreement between the Sudanese government
and the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) has not changed the disastrous daily plight
of civilians in Darfur and in the refugees in eastern Chad," said
Nearly two months after the ceasefire, signed on 8 April 2004, the
ceasefire monitors, who are mandated to report on violations, are
not yet in place. It is not clear how effective 90 monitors, 60
military and 30 civilian, will be in an area the size of France
where daily killings and rapes are still being reported.
"The international community should provide the African Union with
the necessary political and logistical support for them to be
effective and they must report publicly," the organization urged.
Amnesty International is repeating its call for human rights
monitors under a mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to closely monitor the human rights situation in
Darfur. "Given the many cases of rape and accompanying trauma,
monitors must include a component with expertise in gender and
sexual violence," it said.
On 22 May, Janjawid violated the ceasefire and killed at least 40
villagers and burnt five villages including, Tabaldiya and
Abqarajeh, 15 km south of Nyala. They reportedly arrived, some in
army uniforms, on horses and camels. On the day the observer
agreement was signed on 28 May the Sudanese air force bombed the
village of Tabet on a market day, reportedly killing 12 people. The
Sudanese authorities have denied these attacks and accused the SLA
and the JEM of violating the ceasefire.
"The Janjawid who attacked the Tabaldiya villages reportedly came
from the former army training camp of Dumai, near Nyala," said
Amnesty International. "The government is not addressing the
impunity of the Janjawid, it is integrating them into the army."
Delegates stressed the continuing fear of the refugees in the Chad
border area of attacks by the Janjawid.
"Only if steps are taken to ensure that the militias are no longer
in a position to abuse human rights will the displaced have any
confidence in the future," they said. "Consistent reports from
Sudanese in Chad and Darfur suggest that the Janjawid are actually
occupying many of the villages left empty by the fleeing
Darfur needs action on human rights
Human Rights Watch
3 Jun 2004
(Geneva, June 3, 2004) -- Donor governments meeting in Geneva today
should address the human rights crisis in Sudan as well as the
humanitarian crisis, Human Rights Watch said today.
Currently one million people are internally displaced within
Darfur, an arid region in western Sudan, and another 110,000
refugees have fled to Chad. All of them desperately need
humanitarian assistance. The United Nations has called Darfur "the
worst humanitarian crisis in the world today."
But the root cause of this humanitarian crisis is the Sudanese
government's campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against civilians of
three ethnic groups. Only by addressing the human rights crisis can
donor governments hope to solve the humanitarian disaster, Human
Rights Watch said.
"The crisis in Darfur is a manmade emergency," said Kenneth Roth,
executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Humanitarian aid is
urgently needed, but it is not enough. A political solution is
necessary: the Sudanese government's ethnic cleansing must not
The Sudanese government has armed, trained and deployed militias
known as Janjaweed who have attacked and burned to the ground
hundreds of villages, killed thousands of civilians, looted
hundreds of thousands of animals and destroyed farming supplies and
water sources. Khartoum has backed up the Janjaweed with Sudanese
army forces and air support from Antonovs and attack helicopters.
These joint forces are targeting civilians from three ethnic groups
-- the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa -- from which rebels in Darfur draw
their recruits. After attacks, the Sudanese government has
prevented the surviving civilian population from returning to their
Roth urged donor governments to insist that the Sudanese government
disarm, disband and withdraw the Janjaweed from the areas they have
occupied, as well as assure protection and assistance for the
displaced so that they may return home voluntarily and in safety.
If the Sudanese government fails to act, Roth said, the U.N.
Security Council should be prepared to invoke Chapter VII of the
U.N. Charter, which permits the Security Council to take all
actions necessary to "maintain or restore international peace and
On April 8, the Sudanese government signed a ceasefire agreement
with Darfur's two rebel groups. But attacks against civilians,
including murder and rape, have continued. The Janjaweed militia
has continued its campaign of ethnic cleansing in South Darfur,
burning villages, killing civilians -- as many as 56 in one
village, according to survivors -- and displacing thousands.
Meanwhile, a Sudanese government Antonov airplane and two
helicopter gunships bombed a crowded market on Friday, May 28,
killing at least 12 persons in a village near El Fashir, capital of
North Darfur. There have also been numerous credible reports of
continuing attacks on civilians in displaced camps and settlements
under government control.
In the April 8 ceasefire agreement, the parties tasked the African
Union with creating a commission to monitor the ceasefire, but the
accord did not give it a specific mandate to protect civilians.
Donors need to generously fund not only the emergency relief
program but also human rights monitors to observe that the return
of the displaced is done in safety and voluntarily. These monitors
should also investigate the safety of the displaced in camps where
they are now subjected to Janjaweed looting, rape and murder.
Monitors also need to watch villages not yet attacked.
If and when the Janjaweed withdraw from Darfur, measures also will
be necessary to prevent the rebels from taking advantage of a
government militia pullout.
The Sudanese government took up the campaign in Darfur in early
2003 in response to surprise rebel attacks on its military garrison
in El Fashir, the capital of North Darfur. The rebels destroyed at
least seven military planes on the ground, inflicted casualties and
held Sudanese military personnel.
Khartoum has obstructed international efforts to set up a relief
campaign. Although it has recently promised to facilitate visa
applications for relief workers, the Sudanese government has
stalled on approving the appointment of a U.N. official to
coordinate the massive relief operation. Donors must insist that
the Sudanese government immediately accept the United Nations'
senior resident representative and allow him to take up his posting
"Humanitarian assistance will save lives, but strong political
action is also needed to stop the gross human rights abuses causing
the displacement and starvation of these farmers," Roth said.
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