Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Improvement is in the Eye of the Beholder

Memorial of St. Justin

A Coalition for Darfur Post

Jan Pronk, U.N. envoy to Sudan, recently said that Secretary-General Kofi Annan was greatly impressed by improvement of the situation in Darfur. In Pronk's words
"Mr. Annan was really impressed by the improved situation in Darfur, which he visited on Saturday," Pronk told a press conference in Khartoum.


"Foreign press reports, especially in the American press, which speak of no progress in Darfur are completely untrue," he added.
At the time Annan was in Darfur, The Scotsman was reporting that
Confidential African Union (AU) reports have provided damning new evidence of the involvement of Sudanese government forces and their Janjaweed militia allies in the murder and rape of civilians in the Darfur region.
At the same time, two aid workers from Doctors Without Borders were arrested because of a recent report documenting hundreds of cases of rape in the region.

On top of that, the World Food Program reported that the number of people requiring food aid in Sudan is now more than six million, while the UNHCR reported that Janjaweed and government attacks have all but destroyed village life and forced some 2 million people into makeshift slums. With the majority of villages destroyed and insecurity rampant, it is not surprising that the displaced have become entirely dependent on foreign aid and are increasingly unwilling to return home.

As Eric Reeves explained in his most recent update
Sometime in the summer of 2004 (we will never know precisely when), genocidal destruction in Darfur became more a matter of engineered disease and malnutrition than violent killing. In other words, disease and malnutrition proceeding directly from the consequences of violent attacks on villages, deliberate displacement, and systematic destruction of the means of agricultural production among the targeted non-Arab or African tribal groups became the major killers.
According to a recent International Crisis Group estimate, "a minimum presence of 12,000-15,000 [military] personnel is needed now to undertake the tasks of protecting villages against further attack or destruction." But as it stands now, the African Union hasn't even been able to deploy the 3,000 or so troops required under its current mandate and will most likely be able to field the 7,000-12,000 troops called for in its expanded mission.

Thus, it is rather difficult to comprehend just what sorts of "improvement" Annan and Pronk claim to have witnessed in Darfur.

The international community continues to fail to seriously addresses this crisis and so we ask you to join the Coalition for Darfur as we attempt to raise awareness of this genocide and collect contributions for worthy organizations providing life-saving assistance to the forgotten people of Darfur.

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