Friday, September 15, 2006

Darfur updates.

Africa: George Clooney testified at the UN about the need to actually do something on the situation.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. actor George Clooney and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday the world would be blamed for another Rwanda if atrocities were not halted in Sudan's Darfur region. "In many ways it is unfair but it is nevertheless true that this genocide will be on your watch. How you deal with it will be your legacy," Clooney said. "Your Rwanda, Your Cambodia, your Auschwitz." To a crush of cameras, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton invited the celebrities to an unusual session of the 15-member council to highlight the catastrophe amid continuing U.N. frustration about Sudan's refusal to allow U.N. troops to provide safe havens for civilians in Darfur. The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 when non-Arab villagers took up arms because of lack of resources. The government then mobilized Arab militias, which have conducted a campaign of murder, rape and looting.
Death toll in Sudan may be higher than reported.
The Darfur conflict in Sudan claimed the lives of between 170,000 and 255,000 people in its first 31 months, according to a new estimate by sociologists. The authors consider the range of numbers, based on interviews with survivors at refugee camps, to be the minimum death toll from the fighting and genocide. "The numbers may actually be much higher," said John Hagan of Northwestern University in Illinois. "Our goal is to have an estimate that accurately portrays the scale and urgency of the situation."
Sudan says go to hell.
BANJUL, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Thursday fended off intense international pressure for him to accept U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur, denouncing what he called a hidden agenda to "recolonise" his country. But two senior members of Sudan's national unity government, both ex-rebels, came out in favour of a U.N. mission in Darfur. They said African Union peacekeepers already on the ground were failing to halt the bloodshed in the conflict-torn region. Western leaders, some African presidents, and humanitarian groups are piling pressure on Bashir to accept a U.N. resolution to deploy more than 20,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops in Darfur, which has been rent by political and ethnic violence since 2003. They say this is the only way to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the west Sudanese region, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced by fighting between government troops, rebels and militias. On Thursday, Bashir again reaffirmed his resistance to a U.N. peacekeeping force. "The U.N. forces have a hidden agenda in Sudan because they are not coming for peace in Darfur. They want to recolonise Sudan," Bashir said in Gambia after a brief visit. "We are not ready to be ... recolonised," he added. But when Bashir later flew on to Dakar for a brief stopover, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade chided him for refusing to accept a U.N. force. And even China, a close ally of Sudan, has been lobbying Khartoum to let U.N peacekeepers into Darfur, Beijing's U.N. ambassador said.
Tutu wants sanctions or even bust into Sudan without any UN resolution.
Archbishop Tutu's call comes ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Darfur and Sunday's "International Day for Darfur", with calls on people around the world to take part in events to put pressure on their governments to do more to end the suffering in Darfur. "We have a horrendous tragedy unfolding in Darfur," the South African archbishop told BBC Five Live radio. He said the UN should give Sudan a deadline and say to the government: "If you do not agree to a peacekeeping force, you will have to face sanctions." He also suggested that a UN force could be sent to into Sudan, even without the government's permission, under the guise of seeking to arrest the officials accused of war crimes. However, the Security Council resolution which backed the creation of a UN force said it could only be deployed with Sudan's approval. Russia and China have previously blocked tough measures against Sudan by the Security Council - both have important trade links to the Sudanese government. Archbishop Tutu also accused the international community of taking crises in Africa less seriously than in other parts of the world. "The harsh truth is that some lives are slightly more important than others... If you are swarthy, of a darker hue, almost always you are going to end up at the bottom of the pile."
Considering the amount of crises they are in Africa that is of African governments doing, the international community has to put them in order of importance at this point. America has been pushing and prodding for the last couple of years to get something done thru the institutions that Bishop Tutu touted as needed for world peace. Its china and Russia that are in the way of anything getting done, so it would be in his best interest to start on them instead of the entire international community.

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