West silent over Darfur crisis despite risk of spiralling violence
24 Mar 2010 15:31:00 GMT
By Alex Whiting
London (AlertNet) - There's a deafening silence over the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. Few on the ground are talking and the powers that be are pushing out a single line - the war between Darfur rebels and the government is over.
This statement does not tell the whole story, experts say. Widespread fighting may have eased, but the humanitarian crisis continues and insecurity poses serious problems for aid workers and peacekeepers. Fighting is still uprooting thousands of civilians, and another 2.6 million are living in worsening conditions in displacement camps.
Those who could challenge the government line are international aid agencies, but they fear being expelled, while Western governments and the media have shifted their focus to the fragile north-south peace process as it reaches a critical stage.
The country's first multi-party elections in 24 years are due next month and in January 2011 south Sudan is to vote on whether to secede from the north. If the oil-rich south does vote for independence, many experts say the north may not give up without a fight - despite government assurances to the contrary.
KAMPALA (Reuters) - A Ugandan rebel leader wanted for war crimes may be in Sudan, whose President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the same war crimes tribunal, Uganda's president said.
President Yoweri Museveni said on Friday that Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group, was forced out of the Democratic Republic of Congo about a month ago. He fled to the Central African Republic and from there to Sudan's Darfur region, he said.
"I was told by our intelligence that he disappeared to Central African Republic. He again left that place and our forces say he disappeared with a small group which is wandering in Darfur," Museveni told a news conference at his party headquarters.
Kony and Bashir are wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. The ICC issued a warrant for Kony and other senior LRA commanders, who remain in hiding.
Sudan Rejects US Charge on Arms Transfers to South
Date: Wednesday, February 03 @ 00:00:00 GMT
Topic: Main News
UNITED NATIONS - (Reuters)
Sudan's U.N. ambassador on Friday dismissed as "irresponsible" U.S. allegations that weapons from northern Sudan were going to armed groups in the semi-autonomous south ahead of a nationwide April election.
Earlier this week the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Washington was concerned about the flow of arms, including heavy weapons, into southern Sudan, and believed they were coming from northern Sudan and neighboring countries.
Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem told Reuters that Khartoum "categorically denied" Rice's allegations. "The statement by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. attributing arms flows to south Sudan to the north is most irresponsible," he said in an interview.
Obama warns Sudan may face more pressure on Darfur
Tue Feb 2, 2010 7:54am GMT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged Sudan on Monday to cooperate in efforts to stabilize the country or Washington will conclude that engagement is not working and seek "additional pressure" on Khartoum.
Obama, answering questions submitted via YouTube, said the United States, United Nations and other countries were working to broker a series of agreements to stabilize the country and allow refugees back to their homes.
"We continue to put pressure on the Sudanese government. If they are not cooperative in these efforts, then it is going to be appropriate for us to conclude that engagement doesn't work, and we're going to have to apply additional pressure on Sudan in order to achieve our objectives," Obama said.
NAIROBI (AlertNet) - Increased attacks on relief workers, ethnic violence and simmering political tensions ahead of elections next year are hampering efforts to deliver aid to millions of Sudanese, putting more lives at risk, aid agencies said.
This year has been the most violent period since the war ended in Sudan in 2005 and hundreds of thousands of people in the south of the country are trapped in a worsening crisis, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.
A surge in ethnic violence in the south, which has killed some 2,000 and displaced a quarter of a million people, is creating a humanitarian disaster, aid workers said.
It’s more than six years since mostly non-Arab rebels in Sudan’s western Darfur region revolted after accusing Khartoum of neglecting their remote corner of Africa’s biggest country. Khartoum’s U.N. Ambassador, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, declared in New York this week that the “war in Darfur is over.”
But Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, disagrees. Although levels of violence in Darfur have fallen, he told the Security Council that crimes “are continuing.” He said those crimes include indiscriminate bombings of civilians, creation of inhumane conditions for displaced people in order to “exterminate” them, rapes and sexual violence, and the use of child soldiers.
The ICC has already issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, another government official and a former Janjaweed militia leader for war crimes in a government-led counter-insurgency campaign that drove more than 2 million from their homes. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in 2003, but Khartoum rejects that figure.
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. envoy to the United Nations sharply criticized Khartoum on Monday over a U.N. report that accused the Sudanese army of harassing and threatening international peacekeepers in Darfur.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, that limits on the freedom of movement of UNAMID personnel violated an agreement with Khartoum on their deployment and made it difficult to protect civilians. "The United States is particularly concerned about ... the secretary-general's report of some 42 instances in which UNAMID personnel and patrols have been denied freedom of movement and access," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after a meeting of the Security Council on Sudan.
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The United States and other world powers should impose sanctions on key members of the Sudanese government for refusing to end violence in Darfur and south Sudan, a report by an anti-genocide group said on Monday.
Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem reacted angrily to the report, calling the Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide group, "war mongers."
The Enough Project's report said there was a risk of a new civil war and warned that nationwide elections next year and a 2011 referendum on whether the oil-rich and semi-autonomous south should secede from the Khartoum-led north would not be free and fair.
WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The United States on Monday announced a new policy toward Sudan, maintaining economic sanctions but offering deeper engagement with Khartoum in a bid to end violence in Darfur and the semi-autonomous south.
Officials said the U.S. approach would balance incentives and pressures on Sudan -- a growing African oil producer -- in hopes of achieving political stability ahead of national elections next year and a 2011 referendum on secession in the south.
WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Monday said it would renew economic sanctions on Sudan, but also offered Khartoum new incentives to end violence in Darfur and the semi-autonomous south ahead of crucial polls next year.
President Barack Obama, who during last year's U.S. presidential campaign urged a tougher line on Khartoum, said the action was necessary to prevent the oil-rich African giant from falling further into chaos.