Save the People of Darfur
Save the People of Darfur
Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.
Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.
Op-Ed / Africa

Save the People of Darfur

The UN Security Council – with the support of the U.S. and every country capable of helping – must act immediately in Darfur, western Sudan, to save the lives of over one million people who are today at immediate risk of starvation, disease, and state-sponsored violence.

The Sudanese government’s scorched-earth campaign against groups of African descent in Darfur has involved ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It has produced a humanitarian crisis of dire proportions:

  • Up to 30,000 civilians have been murdered already.
     
  • More than one million people have been forced from their homes.
     
  • Up to 200,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Chad.
     
  • 300,000 or more people will die by December if strong and immediate action is not taken. USAID fears an ultimate death toll far higher still.

Darfur’s humanitarian tragedy is man-made. The Khartoum government and its proxy “Janjaweed” militias, under the guise of responding to rebel attacks, have bombed homes, poisoned wells, killed indiscriminately, and raped women and girls in a policy of targeted destruction that has driven the survivors from their farms and homes.

While now pledging cooperation, the Sudanese authorities continue to obstruct international relief efforts in multiple ways, and violence continues.

The UN Security Council should move immediately to demand that the Government of Sudan:

  • control the Janjaweed militias and stop further atrocities and violence;
     
  • give full and unfettered access to relief organizations, and facilitate an immediate surge in relief supplies on the ground;
     
  • give unrestrained access to international monitors throughout Darfur; and
     
  • commence good faith negotiations to address the roots of the crisis.

The Security Council must also stand ready to apply targeted sanctions, ensure individual accountability, and authorize ultimate military intervention if these demands are resisted.

Anything less will run the risk of all of us in the international community – ten years after the Rwandan genocide – having once more hundreds of thousands of deaths on our collective conscience.

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