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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Accommodating Genocide in Darfur: Conditions in Camps for  

Displaced Persons, now---and six months from now

Eric Reeves
September 20, 2004

With the patent failure of the UN Security Council to move decisively in
responding to Darfur's massive genocidal catastrophe, and with no sign that
humanitarian intervention in Darfur will proceed without UN auspices, we are left only
with the prospect of a continuing acceleration of human destruction, both in
camps for the displaced and in the vast inaccessible regions of Darfur. Present
mortality rates, very conservatively estimated by the UN's World Health
Organization as ranging up to 10,000 human beings per month, are certainly much greater
if we take into account the total number of war-affected persons in Darfur and
Chad, now approximately 2.5 million people. This is in addition to the more
than 250,000 who have already died in the past 19 months from violence and
disease/malnutrition (for extrapolations yielding figures for war-affected persons
and total mortality, see September 15 and August 27, 2004 mortality assessments
by this writer, available upon request).

CALCULATING THE NUMBER OF DISPLACED IN "CAMPS"

The total displaced population in Darfur has for weeks continued to be reported
by several important news organizations as 1.2 million. In fact, this figure
seriously understates what the UN has reported; it doesn't reflect even the
number of displaced persons in camps to which there is humanitarian access, and
certainly doesn't reflect the more than 200,000 who have fled to camps in Chad
(current figure from the UN High Commission for Refugees).

An August 25, 2004 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) made clear that the number of people in accessible camps
exceeded 1.3 million in early August, not including those in Chad (see OCHA report
of August 25, 2004, section on "water and sanitation,"
http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/94A360F79679A653C1256EFB003FDD70?OpenDocument).
The current working figure from OCHA, reflecting end of August 2004 data, is
1.44 million for the total population in accessible camps throughout Darfur
(email communication to this writer, received September 20, 2004 from OCHA,
Khartoum). Significantly, insecurity is so great in South Darfur that a fully updated
assessment of the region cannot now be rendered by OCHA, and the number of
displaced persons in camps may be greater yet (email communication to this writer,
received September 20, 2004 from OCHA, Khartoum).

This means that the total population of displaced persons (Darfur) and refugees
(Chad) in camps with humanitarian access was approximately 1.65 million human
beings at the end of August.

But both UN and humanitarian sources on the ground have reported very large,
new influxes of displaced persons. Oxfam reports a particularly large and
alarming increase:

"In recent days Greda camp has been overwhelmed by fresh arrivals fleeing
renewed violence. On August 26 [2004] the camp housed approximately 10,000 displaced
people, by September 7 the camp had boomed to over 40,000 people. People are
still arriving every day at the camp. 'Literally tens of thousands of people have
poured into the camp in recent days and the flow still hasn't stopped. A
quadrupling of numbers puts a massive strain on resources and infrastructure.'"
(Oxfam Press release, September 13, 2004)

Other camps also continue to report steady increases. Moreover, many tens of
thousands of people within 50 kilometers of Chad are reported by UN and
humanitarian sources to be on the verge of flight into Chad if security does not
improve. For example, the highly vulnerable population in the Masteri area of West
Darfur was reported in late August to be poised to flee into Chad to escape
continuing predations by the Janjaweed:

"The UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned Friday [August 20, 2004] that a
further 30,000 displaced people were poised to flee over the border into
neighboring Chad, joining 200,000 refugees already there, because of the continuing
depredations by the militias." (Agence France-Presse, August 21, 2004)

There are also large numbers of displaced persons fleeing to the urban areas of
Darfur, joining the food-dependent people already swelling these towns. As the
UN recently reported of el-Fasher (North Darfur):

"Several thousand internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have sought refuge in
El Fasher, capital of the Sudanese state of North Darfur, said they fled their
villages because of continuing attacks by armed men, relief workers reported.
The IDPs also claimed the assailants had raped women and looted property, the
sources said. Some of the displaced people claimed the attackers were Janjawid
militia [ ]."

"'They arrived about a week ago from villages south of El Fasher and we are
trying to find out what happened,' [spokesperson for the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Khartoum Jennifer] Abrahamson said. 'It is
estimated that nearly 1,000 households---roughly 5,000 people, have fled into the
town.'" (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, September 17, 2004)

Here we should bear in mind that the displaced persons in urban areas are both
food-dependent and extremely difficult to access for humanitarian relief. It
is highly likely that as food supplies continue to be delivered to the camps,
they will become magnets for desperately hungry displaced persons.

In aggregate, various reports from Darfur strongly suggest that well over
100,000 people have fled to camps and urban areas over the last month, and certainly
more than 50,000 to camps.

But even a figure of over 1.7 million displaced persons in camps throughout
Darfur and eastern Chad doesn't suggest how grim the overall situation really is.
For there are a great many camps that are not counted in the census of "camps
with humanitarian access." Many concentrations of displaced persons are either
inaccessible or marginally accessible, as the UN and humanitarian organizations
readily admit. Here we must again bear in mind that the Khartoum regime has
announced a policy of emptying the camps as rapidly as possible, forcibly if
necessary, and has denied humanitarian access to many concentrations of displaced
persons. In turn, these "camps" are not reflected in the official census of
"camps."

And most ominously, there are the huge numbers of people in Darfur who figure
in no assessment, have received no reckoning, and who are completely without
humanitarian relief.

If we assume a pre-conflict population for Darfur of approximately 6 million,
and that roughly 70 percent of this population is ethnically identified as
"African" (and thus the target of Khartoum's genocide), then we must account for
approximately 4+ million human beings. More than 1.7 million people are in camps
in Chad and Darfur; perhaps another 1 to 1.2 million are living in swollen
urban areas (there are few useful demographic data bearing on this issue: the
figure offered here is a crude extrapolation from total urban population for towns
for which there are census numbers, themselves deeply suspect). Some displaced
persons are with host families, whose food reserves are also rapidly being
depleted.

[The same depletion of basic resources can be seen among the hosting
communities in Chad:

"The already fragile environment within the main hosting areas [in Chad],
however, has been weakened by the prolonged presence of thousands of additional
guests. The availability of wood, pasture and water has become increasingly scarce
for both resident and refugee groups." (Humanitarian Appeal 2004 for Chad
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, August 27, 2004)

The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks also reports on growing
tensions, sometimes violent, between local Chad residents and refugees as they compete
for exceedingly scarce resources ("Chad-Sudan: grass, water and wood bring
locals to blows with refugees," September 20, 2004; at
http://allafrica.com/stories/200409200109.html).]

But where are the more than 1 million people not accounted for in these
figures? More than 250,000 have died (see above). Many are in "camps" that are known
but which are inaccessible for security reasons or because Khartoum denies
access. But still there are hundreds of thousands of people unaccounted for,
hiding and surviving in rural areas---without food and denied (by insecurity) the
opportunity to forage for food. Those who are presently surviving in the rural
areas will either flee to Chad, make their ways to camps or urban areas, or
continue to die at a rate that must be increasing rapidly.

Such massive death and displacement have brought agricultural production in
Darfur to a halt, and the Janjaweed have virtually completed the task of
destroying the agricultural economy of the African peoples of Darfur.

THE RESPONSE OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

How has the UN responded to the desperate plight of these people? How has the
UN addressed the essential issue of security, which most consequentially
defines the humanitarian crisis at this point, both within the camps and throughout
Darfur? Shamefully, the UN has again temporized, producing a resolution (No.
1564, September 18, 2004) that does nothing to threaten the Khartoum regime with
meaningful consequences if it continues to ignore the UN "demands" of a
previous Security Council resolution (No. 1556, July 30, 2004):

"[The UN Security Council] demands that the government of Sudan fulfill its
commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias [per the terms of the July 3, 2004
Joint Communiqué signed by the regime and Secretary-General Kofi Annan] and bring
to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates." (UN Security Council
resolution 1556, July 30, 2004; paragraph 6)

The time-line here---reaching back at least to the July 3, 2004 Joint
Communiqué---represents abject diplomatic failure. In the two and a half months since
Khartoum formally committed to disarm the Janjaweed, it has done nothing but
arrange for a series of preposterous show trials involving petty criminals fished
out of local jails. Nor has the Khartoum regime produced a promised list of
Janjaweed leaders (this failure was disclosed to the Security Council on
September 2, 2004). Indeed, Amnesty International recently reported that Khartoum has
not given any orders to its security forces in Darfur to disarm the Janjaweed:

"Sudanese security forces in Darfur claim they have no orders to disarm
pro-government militias blamed for atrocities in the region despite mounting
international pressure on Khartoum, the head of the rights group Amnesty International
said. 'The armed militia are still very much there,' Amnesty secretary general
Irene Khan said by telephone from Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, where she
and her team have spent three days investigating abuses against civilians."
(Agence France-Presse, September 17, 2004)

Rather than disarm the Janjaweed, Khartoum has begun to redeploy some parts of
this brutal militia force to other regions of Sudan. In a highly ominous
development, some of these deployments have been to various locations in southern
Sudan, including Abyei (already a potential flash point for renewed hostilities
in the south) and oil-rich Eastern Upper Nile. These redeployments have been
noted in a confidential report by the Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT), and
by extremely reliable regional sources. This development poses a grave risk to
the tenuous cessation of hostilities agreement in southern Sudan, and
constitutes a clear threat to completion of negotiations on a comprehensive cease-fire.

Despite this, one would hardly know from news accounts of UN Security Council
Resolution 1564 just how miserably the UN has failed the people of Darfur.
Though much notice is taken of language relating to possible sanctions against
Khartoum's "oil petroleum sector," this section of the resolution reflects the
opposite of meaningful determination to pressure Khartoum. For the Security
Council doesn't commit itself to sanctions in the event that Khartoum continues to
refuse (as it has for months) to respond to the various demands of the
international community. Indeed, these demands, including those embodied in UN Security
Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004), continue to be scorned by a regime
that senses there is no effort to secure meaningful consensus at the UN.

The resolution passed on September 18, 2004 doesn't threaten sanctions if
Khartoum continues its intransigence; it merely talks about "considering taking
additional measures"---at some future and unspecified date. Moreover, immediately
after the resolution passed, veto-wielding China (which abstained again in the
vote on the resolution) declared that this was the end of the road for UN
action:

"China, a permanent council member, said immediately after the vote that it
would veto any future resolution that sought to impose sanctions on Sudan."
(Associate Press, September 18, 2004)

It is clear that there will be no UN sanctions against Khartoum, and that any
future resolution that might contain a provision for sanctions will be vetoed by
China. And of course, Khartoum is certainly aware of the diplomatic
significance of China's statements, and will act with corresponding diplomatic
confidence---as it has at the Abuja (Nigeria) peace talks with the insurgents, where the
regime refuses to enter into meaningful negotiations on security issues.

Moreover, Khartoum is fully aware that present discussions of an "oil embargo"
by the US and the European Union are completely vacuous. There is no mechanism
for securing participation in such an embargo from China, or the other Asian
participants in Sudan's highly destructive oil production and development
projects (Malaysia and India). Crude oil that is not refined domestically in northern
Sudan is exported for refinement, overwhelmingly to the Far East (a variety of
Asian countries have been refining Sudanese crude since the regime began
petroleum exports in August of 1999), including India and China.

It is deeply counterproductive for Western nations to make what is
transparently an empty threat. For Khartoum sees the vacuity and draws the only reasonable
inference: there are no truly meaningful threats that can be issued. This
augurs poorly for deployment of an enhanced African Union force with a peacekeeping
mandate. For while the Security Council resolution "welcomes and supports the
intention of the African Union to enhance and augment its monitoring mission in
the Darfur region of Sudan, and encourages the undertaking of proactive
monitoring," nothing is done that brings pressure to bear on Khartoum to accept a true
peacekeeping mandate for the African Union force---the essential element of any
near-term increase in security for displaced civilians.

THE STATE OF THE AFRICAN UNION MONITORING TEAM

Indeed, a deeply troubling news dispatch concerning Khartoum's abusive
treatment of African Union monitors appeared today (September 20, 2004), based on
documents leaked to the press by the AU monitors themselves. The dispatch suggests
just how ineffectual Khartoum has rendered the AU force:

"African Union soldiers yesterday accused the Sudanese government of brazenly
breaching the ceasefire in the Darfur region and continuing to attack villages
with a contemptuous disregard for the presence of peace monitors. AU
peacekeepers claim the situation is 'falling apart' in Darfur, with the Sudanese not
complying with the ceasefire demands."

"AU soldiers in Darfur leaked the contents of classified reports sent to the
union's Addis Ababa headquarters, after their superiors refused to publish them.
They paint a damning picture of the Sudanese government's contempt for
peacekeeping." (The Scotsman, September 20, 2004; at
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1100922004)

Ghana's Colonel Anthony Amedoh, who is the AU mission chief, and who has
previously been outspoken on Khartoum's bad faith, declares:

"'They [the Khartoum government] are not acting in good faith,' says the AU's
mission chief, Ghana's Colonel Anthony Amedoh. 'Everything is falling apart.
There are so many clear violations by the Sudanese government. They're using
aircraft where they're not supposed to and they're moving their forces all the time.
They are not complying at all, but we can't stop them from violating the
ceasefire, we can just report it. They just deny it and don't stop what they are
doing.'" (The Scotsman, September 20, 2004)

This extraordinarily revealing account continues:

"The African commanders say the Sudan government is treating them like fools
while its army, acting in close alliance with the Janjaweed militias, continues
its ethnic cleansing of the Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit and other black African
tribes. [ ] The AU commanders decided to break silence and talk freely to visiting
South African reporters because of the futility of their task and the AU's
refusal to publish what is really happening in Darfur." (The Scotsman, September 20,
2004)

This is the context in which to assess the response of the UN Security Council,
and the growing international emphasis on an African Union solution to the
Darfur crisis. The current situation on the ground makes painfully clear how
inadequate the present force is even for monitoring purposes, let alone acting to
prevent ongoing civilian destruction. A Human Rights Watch response to the UN
resolution offers too telling a judgment:

"The U.N. Security Council's new resolution on Sudan fails to provide
protection for endangered civilians in the country's western Darfur region, Human Rights
Watch said today [September 18, 2004]. Human Rights Watch criticized the
resolution for failing to impose sanctions on the Sudanese government and for
insufficiently expanding the international presence in Darfur to ensure the
population's security."

"Most critically, the Security Council failed to name the Sudanese government
as clearly responsible for continuing atrocities in Darfur."
("Darfur Resolution a Historic Failure," Human Rights Watch press release,
September 18, 2004)

WHAT THE UN HAS DECIDED TO ACCEPT

What does current evidence suggest about the nature of existence within the
camps of Darfur? And what does this evidence suggest about the prospects for
human existence in these camps six months from now? How adequate are present and
future humanitarian resources, including food and essential non-food items,
transport capacity, and logistics? What are the chances that there will be a
near-term improvement in security within Darfur? The questions are deeply
interrelated, but the first two are best addressed seriatim.

CURRENT CONDITIONS

The extreme hardship of life in the camps for the displaced is difficult to
render. The most recent Darfur Humanitarian Profile from the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (August 1, 2004) gives some of the grim
statistics:

"As of August 1, it is estimate that 62% of the conflict-affected population
were provided with food, 53% of IDPs received NFI/shelter assistance, 36% of the
conflict affected population have clean water and 18% of IDPs are covered by
sanitation interventions." ("Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 5," UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, August 1, 2004;
http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:XC7DGRjajBgJ:www.unsudanig.org/Emergencies/Darfur/profile/data/August/H-Profile-August2004-Main.pdf+%22darfur+humanitarian+profile+no+5%22+UN+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8)

This means that among those in camps with humanitarian access (along with
hosting communities), 38% were not provided with food, 64% have no clean water, and
82% have no sanitation provisions. Though these numbers will show some
improvement in the next "Darfur Humanitarian Profile" from OCHA, increased
shortcomings will also be revealed. Of particular note is the impending UN World Food
Program goal of providing food assistance to 2 million people. This alone will
require the movement of 35,000 metric tons of food into and throughout Darfur, at
a time when the effects of the heaviest of the region's seasonal rains are
still wreaking havoc with logistics and transport. And the figure 2 million still
dramatically understates the global number of those in need of food throughout
Darfur and Chad.

Even with highly expensive aerial food delivery, and overland delivery from
Libya, it is difficult to see how the WFP can exceed by much its August delivery
of food to 940,000 out of a targeted population of 1.2 million. What is most
ominous is that this massive effort will need to be continued indefinitely: there
has been no significant agricultural production in Darfur for many months, and
there will be no fall harvest (October traditionally marks the end of the
"hunger gap" in Darfur).

Also of deep concern is that in the absence of a harvest, no seeds can be
culled for the next planting season. The strains of seeds that are best suited to
this region have adapted over countless generations of plantings, and are not
easily produced in bulk. Other seed stocks can be provided, but the consequences
of the Janjaweed so relentlessly burning not only foodstocks but also stocks of
seeds are now apparent: resumption of agricultural production will be extremely
difficult, even were security restored.

But insecurity continues to be extreme, including in the camps and the camp
environs, and this means that the secondary (fall) planting season, which is
normally underway at this time in parts of Darfur, is also likely to be missed. The
people of Darfur---in camps, in urban areas, and in rural areas---will be
food-dependent for the foreseeable future. And since this population could easily
grow to 3 million this fall, the demands on humanitarian relief efforts will be
huge and unrelenting. And it must be stressed that these people cannot
continue to experience shortfalls in food delivery of the sort that have been in
evidence for months in some areas. They will die from the cumulative effects of
malnutrition and greatly heightened susceptibility to disease.

The camps for the displaced are also sites of extreme danger and mounting rage,
as the camp residents face continual pressure from the Khartoum regime either
to return to rural areas where there is no food, and insecurity is extreme---or
stay and face conditions of imprisonment. Reuters reports recently:

"Sudanese villagers who fled their homes in their thousands feel virtual
prisoners in the Zalingei camp in Darfur, where they had hoped to find food and
shelter. Sudanese army bases on small hilltops surround the camp in West Darfur
state, but residents say they are there to keep them in, not to protect them from
attacks. 'They are here to control the camp rather than to protect them,' one
U.N. official agreed."

"Jason Azevedo, an International Rescue Committee official, said there were
just 24 police in total in the two main camps in Zalingei, with some 60,000
internally displaced people in the area. But there was plenty of 'security.' A
vanload of security men followed journalists around the camp, and aid workers said
people were often rounded up and questioned or intimidated for talking to
foreigners."

"One local tribal leader in the camp, who declined to give his name, said just
the previous night, a few of the leaders were taken in and told by security not
to talk to foreigners. 'They said, don't talk to all the people who come,' he
said. He added that armed men launched attacks in the camps. We don't know who
they are but they are armed, so they are not from the camps,' he said." (Reuters
[dateline: Zalingei, West Darfur], September 17, 2004)

We catch another glimpse of the systematic efforts of intimidation in the camps
as Associated Press reports on a visit to Mornei camp by Andrew Natsios,
Administrator of the US Agency for International Development:

"A U.S. aid chief got a firsthand look at the anger among Darfur's beleaguered
population Friday, when residents of a refugee camp beat up a government worker
who tried to stop them from complaining to the visiting diplomat. [ ] Natsios
said Friday's violence sprang from 'absolute rage' across the region among
displaced Darfurians, who blame the Sudanese government and an Arab militia for the
violence that forced them from their homes."

"[At Mornei, a camp of 80,000] an official from Sudan's Humanitarian Affairs
department tried to silence those who were telling Natsious that they cannot
return to their homes, as the government has recommended, because they feared more
attacks by the government and the Janjaweed, the pro-government militia accused
of atrocities against civilians. 'This is outrageous, they're trying to
intimidate them,' Natsios said." (Associated Press [dateline: Mornei, West Darfur],
September 17, 2004

And indeed growing anger festers in the camps, particularly among men who are
helpless to protect their wives and daughters from rape when they leave the
camps to collect firewood (the men themselves risk execution by the Janjaweed if
they leave the camps). Looking forward to months of such an existence, these
people are set to explode in violence, which will afford Khartoum all the pretext
it requires to execute huge numbers of camp inhabitants, particularly males,
and to force others out of the camps in the interest of "security." Of course
such involuntary expulsion is in the overwhelming number of cases a death
sentence.

More global assessments of the humanitarian situation in the camps come from a
host of UN and humanitarian sources:

"The insecurity in Darfur had led to what we call a 'collective stress' that is
felt by most of the people here. It feels like the whole system is coming down
and everyone in Darfur [ ] has been affected by this crisis in one way or
another." (Oxfam International press release on Kalma camp, September 20, 2004)

"The UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Manuel Aranda Da Silva,
[declared] 'we could see the amount of people needing help rise exponentially over the
next weeks and months.'" (UN News Centre, August 25, 2004)

"'Conditions [in the camps] are drastic. People are not getting enough water.
Teams must be put together to clean latrines as it is very ad hoc now and not
really managed by anyone,' International Organization for Migration spokeswoman
Niurka Pineiro told a news briefing." (Reuters August 13, 2004)

"The [humanitarian situation] is slipping out of control," Mark Zeitoun, water
engineer for Oxfam, on the ground in a refugee camp in Chad, August 15, 2004
(International Herald Tribune, August 14, 2004)

THE CAMPS OF DARFUR SIX MONTHS FROM NOW (MARCH 2005)

Though improvements will come with the end of the rainy season (October), there
is cause for immense concern stretching far into the future---certainly as far
as March/April of 2005, when the African agriculturalists should be in the
process of preparing for the spring planting season. An absence of appropriate
quantities and types of seeds could ensure another season of deeply inadequate
agricultural production. There also needs to be a re-stocking of the population
of donkeys, systematically killed by Khartoum and the Janjaweed, if agricultural
efforts are to move with anything like normal productivity. Agricultural
implements deliberately destroyed by the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular military
forces will need to be replaced. Wells and irrigation systems need repair; and
in many cases wells have been hopelessly compromised by corpses---animal and
human---thrown in by Khartoum's forces and the Janjaweed to poison essential water
supplies.

To list these various critical needs is to see how remote is the likelihood
that Darfur can resume anything like its traditional agricultural
self-sufficiency. Moreover, the deep racial/ethnic hatred that Khartoum has encouraged in the
Janjaweed makes reconciliation between African and Arab populations almost
impossible to imagine. Traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution and
mitigation have been destroyed, one of the greatest casualties of the conflict.

For all too many people in the camps, their present existence will continue
indefinitely. Many of the larger camps will take on an air of permanence, with
deep resentments continuing to smolder; smaller camp populations will be
displaced into larger camps, urban areas, and eastward. Many will become refugees,
adding to the regional Sudanese refugee population even as the UN had until
recently been planning repatriation in conjunction with the now endangered
north/south peace agreement.

Food shortages in these expanded camps will be chronic: the international
community, which has responded to Darfur so grudgingly in many quarters, is not
likely to sustain even present inadequate levels of commitment. If the camp
populations in Darfur and Chad should remain greater than 2 million people, a clear
possibility, this will require almost 40,000 metric tons of food per month, and
the transport and logistics to move it into and within Darfur. An attenuation
of relief efforts seems inevitable in light of the present lack of funding
response from key donors. Certainly there will be no continuation of the
extraordinary measures represented by the truck convoy from Libya to Darfur:

"Battling soaring temperatures, inhospitable terrain, frequent mechanical
breakdowns and persistent problems caused by wind and sand, the first convoy of
trucks carrying emergency food aid across the Sahara Desert from Libya has reached
its destination in eastern Chad after an arduous 23-day journey covering 2,800
kilometers. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced the caravan's arrival
today [20 trucks with 440 tons of wheat flour], adding it will help to feed
about 30,000 refugees from the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur for a month."
(UN News Service [New York], September 9, 2004)

All this Khartoum sees clearly, and realizes that its project of genocidal
destruction will be completed by maintaining the status quo. The regime is also
encouraged by comments like those coming from Jan Pronk, Kofi Annan's special
representative on Darfur. Commending Khartoum for its diplomatic performance in
the Abuja talks (where the regime adamantly refused to countenance an augmented
mandate for the African Union force in Darfur), Pronk dismissed any talk of
genocide as "premature" (Reuters, September 18, 2004).

This dismissal comes despite the virtually unanimous resolution of the
Parliament of the European Union, a State Department finding of genocide based on
extremely substantial research by the Coalition for International Justice, a finding
of genocide by the Committee on Conscience of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum,
a unanimous bipartisan, bicameral declaration by the US Congress, a declaration
of genocide by the German government (September 18, 2004), findings by
Physicians for Human Rights, the US Committee for Refugees, Africa Action, Justice
Africa, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and many others.

Pronk's comments, representing the political expediency of the office of the UN
Secretary-General, offer us the grimmest basis for envisioning the future of
the camps in Darfur. They will become the sites of ongoing
genocide-by-attrition, with only inadequate humanitarian efforts standing as the "international
response." Khartoum's goals of human destruction and the collapse of traditional
African agricultural societies has been largely accomplished. In the coming
months, a final solution seems assured.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu




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