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Monday, September 13, 2004

The UN Plan for "Safe Areas" in Darfur: 

Consolidating Khartoum's
campaign of ethnic/racial displacement and genocide

Eric Reeves
September 3, 2004

No voice, no individual has yet spoken more authoritatively of the terrible
connections between genocides in Rwanda and Darfur than Romeo Dallaire, the
heroically courageous Canadian lieutenant-general who headed the UN peacekeeping
operation during the Rwandan genocide (for which Kofi Annan, then head of UN
peacekeeping operations, bears significant responsibility). Dallaire has lashed out
at the international community, with a searing honesty, declaring that he is
"'just disgusted with the lame and obtuse responses coming from Canada and the
western world.'" ---

"'It makes me sick,' said retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire, 10 years
after he led the ill-fated UN peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan massacre.
'It burns inside and the sentiments or the feelings that I had of abandonment
in Rwanda are exactly the same that I feel today in regards to the Sudan.'"
(Canadian Press wire service, September 2, 2004)

Dallaire is right on more counts than can easily be rendered in light of the
dismal performance this week of Kofi Annan, Jan Pronk (Annan's special
representative to Sudan), and various members of the Security Council, including the US.
With peace talks in Abuja (Nigeria) predictably stalemated over security
issues, with Khartoum refusing to accept a larger contingent of African Union forces
backed by a peacekeeping mandate, with the gap between humanitarian need and
capacity growing steadily wider and more deadly, with Khartoum's regular and
Janjaweed militia allies continuing to attack civilians and civilian villages, one
might have thought that things could get no worse.

But in fact, UN leadership---specifically that of Pronk and Annan---has now
managed to put in place a scheme for creating so-called "safe areas" in Darfur
that works both to consolidate the effects of ethnic/racial clearances and
genocidal destruction, as well as to provide Khartoum an opportunity to press its
offensive military advantage in precisely these "safe areas" (see below). This is
a major development that has to date received far too little attention.

It is against this backdrop that the African tribal peoples of Darfur continue
their relentless descent into a terrible abyss of ever-greater suffering and
genocidal destruction. Moral weakness and errors of judgment continue to
compound themselves, with the people of Darfur paying the terrible price. Dallaire is
certainly right in his further assessment, which must include the UN
leadership:

'The Americans and the international community did absolutely nothing to stop
the genocide in 1994 and are certainly not proving themselves effective today,'
[Dallaire] said." (Canadian Press wire service, September 2, 2004)

THE RESPONSE OF THE U.S.

The response of the US this week has been helpful on a few counts, but is more
largely revealing of an absence of any real willingness to lead, either at the
UN or within the international community. Secretary of State Colin Powell,
"asked whether he thought the time had come to impose sanctions, [ ] said it was
too early to make such a decision and sanctions were not the only option. He
cited a UN proposal for more African troops in the region" (Reuters, September 2,
2004)

This is disingenuous on two counts. First, Powell knows that there is no
chance whatsoever that the UN Security Council will impose sanctions of any sort,
even highly targeted sanctions, against Khartoum. Indeed, the US was unable, as
co-sponsor of the flaccid July 30, 2004 Security Council Resolution 1556, to
find sufficient support to include even the word "sanctions" in the serially
weakened draft of the resolution. It is not a matter of Powell somehow deciding
that it is "too early to make such a decision": the UN Security Council clearly
would not follow US leadership in any event.

Second, while a good deal of international hope has come to rest by default on
the African Union and its military capacity, the truth remains as stark today
as it was a month ago: Khartoum is adamantly refusing to accept any AU troops
with a peacekeeping mandate. This refusal was reiterated yet again yesterday by
Elfitah Erwa, Khartoum's ambassador to the UN, who said Sudan didn't object to
additional troops so long as they had no peacekeeping mandate. "Security," all
members of the National Islamic Front regime have continuously and uniformly
insisted, is the exclusive province of the regime.

Moreover, the present contingent of 80 AU observers and 305 protection troops
has pitifully inadequate logistics, transport capacity, and communications gear.
Morale is reportedly declining, and Khartoum has made the securing of adequate
amounts of fuel a growing problem, further exacerbating the problem of
insufficient transport capacity. (See an excellent Associated Press dispatch at:
(http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=5072)

PRONK AND ANNAN: A TAG-TEAM OF DISINGENUOUSNESS

In New York, the only significant points made in the reports to the Security
Council by Pronk and Annan were that insecurity continues to be extremely acute
throughout Darfur, that Khartoum has not disarmed the Janjaweed militia, and
that the regime has done nothing by way of identifying Janjaweed leaders or
bringing them to justice. In short, the singular "demand" of Security Council
Resolution 1556 has gone completely unfulfilled. But despite this, both reports work
to suggest that there has been "progress," even as neither is honest enough to
note what Human Rights Watch has authoritatively established:

"The government of Sudan is permitting abusive Janjaweed militia to maintain at
least 16 camps in the western region of Darfur" and "five of the 16 camps,
according to witnesses, are camps the Janjaweed share with the Sudanese government
army." ("Sudan: Janjaweed Camps Still Active," Human Rights Watch [New York],
August 27, 2004; report available at:
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/08/27/darfur9268.htm)

Instead, Annan and Pronk disingenuously suggest that perhaps Khartoum needs
assistance in diminishing insecurity and the threat to civilians. They thereby
deliberately skirt entirely the essential point: Khartoum has no intention of
doing what is necessary to create a secure environment, preeminently to disarm the
Janjaweed. Indeed, as Human Rights Watch declared in a more recent press
release, it is "startling" that Kofi Annan's report:

"fails to acknowledge what several UN agencies and scores of independent
reports have documented: the government of Sudan is responsible for these attacks
against civilians, directly and through the Janjaweed militias it supports." ("UN
Darfur Deadline Expires: Security Council Must Act," September 3, 2004 [New
York])

"Startling," perhaps, though increasingly part of a pattern of accommodating
Khartoum in ways that betray weakness, lack of political resolve, and poor
judgment. For of course Khartoum well understands that it has been freed from
responsibility for its clearly deliberate attacks on civilians. This in turn will
only encourage the regime to believe that for all the bluster in New York, at the
end of the day nothing will be done, and there will be no price to pay for
continuing a policy of genocide by attrition.

What was truly "startling," indeed shocking, was Jan Pronk's refusal to
acknowledge very recent attacks, confirmed by the African Union observer mission, on
civilians in various villages in Darfur. But this was entirely in keeping with
a report that is consistently disingenuous, indeed in places characterized by
outright mendacity. In Section 2 of his "Oral Briefing to the UN Security
Council" (September 2, 2004), Pronk lists ten areas of supposed "improvement" on the
part of Khartoum in responding to the August 5, 2004 "Plan of Action" (which
essentially redefined Security Council Resolution 1556, July 30, 2004). Some of
these points of "progress" noted by Pronk are couched in language that suggests
the most minimal achievement or statement counts as favorable "evidence"; other
of Pronk's claims of "progress" are simply false.

In item [2] Pronk says the Khartoum regime has "ceased all offensive military
operations in these areas [where IDP populations are concentrated]." This is a
lie and Pronk knows as much. There is ample evidence, from multiple sources,
including the African Union observer team, that such offensive military
operations have continued to within the past month, indeed the past week. The attack
on Yassin (August 26, 2004) is a particular case in point (see analysis by the
writer, "The Dead of Yassin," August 31, 2004; available upon request).

In item [3] Pronk refers baldly to "deploy additional police" (this is all of
his language on this critical issue). But of course as Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International, and many humanitarian organizations working in Darfur have
made clear, these new additions are typically Janjaweed cynically incorporated
into the "police." More ominously, many "police" are in fact militarily trained
personnel being deployed not for civilian protection but for offensive military
purposes (see discussion of "safe areas" below).

In item [5] Pronk again declares baldly, "lift all access restrictions for
humanitarian relief." Without qualification, crediting the regime for this
"improvement" is again deeply disingenuous. Many new restrictions continue to appear
and have been chronicled regularly by this writer: since passage of Resolution
1556, they include grounding World Food Program planes for patently contrived
reasons (August 3 and 4, 2004); denying a UN transport plane entry because it is
more than 20 years old; refusal to release vehicles to aid organizations; the
gratuitous requirement that Khartoum's Humanitarian Aid Commission personnel
travel on all WFP passenger flights (often delaying flights by up to two hours);
the gratuitous and onerous requirement for 2-day advance notice of WFP flight
manifests.

A recent US Agency for International Development "fact sheet" also chronicles
clear "restrictions for humanitarian relief" of the sort Pronk evidently
dismisses:

"A non-governmental organization already working in Darfur reported that one of
its vehicles was denied customs clearance by the GOS Humanitarian Aid
Commission. Other nongovernmental organizations reported restrictions on the hiring of
national medical staff and additional delays in customs clearance for essential
equipment." (US AID, fact sheet #19, "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency, August
20, 2004)

In item [6] Pronk says in a particularly cynical bit of disingenuousness
simply: "[Khartoum should] announce a policy of voluntary returns only." As even
Pronk must have learned, Khartoum is willing to announce anything. But
"announcements" are meaningless; implementation is all that matters, and there continues
to be substantial evidence that forced returns remain Khartoum's official
policy, as previously announced by NIF Interior Minister Hussein. For Pronk to
credit Khartoum with "progress" on this score is a measure of how cynical his
report is.

PRONK'S OBSCENE ELISION

It is this cynicism that we must see animating Pronk's, "urging the Government
of Sudan, if it is unable to protect its civilians by itself, to seek, request,
and accept assistance from the international community" (Section 6 of the
report).

"If the Government of Sudan is unable to protect its civilians...": what can
this bizarre conditional statement imply but that Pronk thinks, or finds it
expedient to suggest, that Khartoum is somehow interested in doing so? This
assumption that Khartoum is interested in "protecting its civilians" is made despite
the fact that all evidence, from all quarters, including UN agencies, makes
fully clear that it is the "Government of Sudan" that is directly responsible for
attacks on "its civilians"---as recently as this past week (confirmed publicly
by the African Union monitoring team in Darfur).

What are we to believe Pronk makes of the countless reports, some extremely
recent, by civilians who have fled their villages after being attacked by
Khartoum's Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships? Does he think that these deadly
aerial assets have some independent authority? That they are being flown by the
Janjaweed? Does he think that these attacks are not ordered by the military
and political leaders in Khartoum?

These are innocent civilians, overwhelmingly of the African tribal groups of
Darfur, who have told they same story thousands and thousands of times to all who
will listen: "We were attacked from the air and then on the ground; the
Janjaweed were accompanied by regular army forces; our villages were burned, our men
and boys were killed; our women and girls were raped; our food and water were
destroyed, and our cattle taken."

The US ambassador to the UN, John Danforth, must at least be credited here with
taking to task Pronk's report for its obscene eliding of the fundamental
reality defining war in Darfur:

"U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said evidence provided by the African Union
showed that Khartoum carried out a recent helicopter attack on two villages, which
he said was confirmed by USAID officials on the ground in Darfur. 'The
government of Sudan was directly involved in the military operation against civilians
in Darfur within last week,' Danforth said after listening to Jan Pronk, the
U.N. special envoy for Sudan, who made the first 30-day assessment of the
situation in that region to the U.N. Security Council." (Deutsche Presse Agentur,
September 2, 2004)

Indeed, Danforth noted some of the findings of the State Department/US Agency
for International Development authoritative assessment of evidence of genocide
in Darfur, growing out of 1,200 randomized interviews with refugees along the
Chad/Darfur border, including the findings that:

"25 percent of the refugees survey recently by US officials in Chad reported
that they had been 'attacked exclusively' by the Sudanese military. Another 50
percent said the attacks came from the government working with the militia."
(Reuters, September 2, 2004)

As disturbing as Pronk's and Annan's refusal to speak honestly about the nature
of human destruction in Darfur may be in itself, it has led to other serious
miscalculations and efforts of appeasement; these work only to ensure that
Khartoum---safe from UN sanctions---feels no real pressure to respond beyond offering
more "commitments" and "announcement," as deemed necessary. The consequences
of this UN disingenuousness and expediency are most conspicuous in the so-called
"safe areas" Pronk negotiated on behalf of Annan on August 5, 2004.

THE PRONK/ANNAN PLAN FOR "SAFE AREAS" IN DARFUR

In a "Joint Communiqué"---signed by Kofi Annan for the UN and by the Khartoum
regime on July 3, 2004---the groundwork was laid for what has developed into an
extremely unfortunate plan to create so-called "safe areas" in Darfur. The
idea, broached in general terms in the Joint Communiqué, was formalized in the
August 5, 2004 "Plan of Action," signed again by the Khartoum regime and by Jan
Pronk, representing Kofi Annan. This is a matter of some geographic and military
complexity, so it is important to look at the precise language used (as well as
to emphasize how great the differences are from the April 8, 2004 cease-fire
agreement signed in N'Djamena [Chad] by Khartoum and representatives of the two
insurgency groups (the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement [SLA/M] and the Justice
and Equality Movement [JEM]).

The Joint Communiqué speaks of the Khartoum regime "committing itself" to
"deploy a strong, credible, and respected police force in all Internally Displaced
Persons areas as well as in areas susceptible to attacks" (Section 3, July 3,
2004 Joint Communiqué [Khartoum]). This "police" force was to "ensure that no
militias are present in all areas surrounding Internally Displaced Persons
camps."

In the exceedingly brief, but immensely destructive "Plan of Action for
Darfur," signed over a month later (and after the July 30, 2004 passage of Security
Council Resolution 1556), the language had changed. Under this "Plan,"

"the Government of Sudan would identify parts of Darfur that can be made secure
and safe within 30 days. This would include existing IDP camps, and areas
around certain towns and villages with a high concentration of local population.
The Government of Sudan would then provide secure routes to and between these
areas. These tasks should be carried out by Sudan police forces to maintain
confidence already created by redeployment of the Government of Sudan armed forces"
(text from "Plan of Action for Darfur," August 5, 2004 [Khartoum]).

And finally, as has become clear only with Secretary-general Annan's report to
the UN Security Council on Darfur, the "safe areas" in the "Plan of Action"
were conceived as entailing "the securing and protection of villages within a
20-kilometer radius around the major towns identified" ("Report of the
Secretary-General pursuant to [ ] Security Council Resolution 1556," August 30, 2004).

What does this evolving language mean on the ground in Darfur?

We should note first Khartoum's gross failure to "ensure that no militias are
present in all areas surrounding Internally Displaced Persons camps" (Joint
Communiqué). There are continuous reports, including from the UN, of an extremely
ominous Janjaweed militia presence around and even inside the camps. Indeed, a
confidential communication from a UN source to this writer indicates that there
are so many militia attacks on civilians in the camps, that the African Union
monitors are not reporting them all, fearing that UN workers might as a result
become targets of these brutal militias. Nor, we should note again, has there
been any effort to "immediately start to disarm the Janjaweed and other armed
outlaw groups" (Joint Communiqué and part of the only "demand" of Resolution
1556). On the contrary, the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular military are
quartered in a number of the same bases (see above).

But most ominously, the creation of "safe areas" not only threatens to
consolidate, indeed institutionalize the effects of Khartoum's campaign of ethnic
clearances and genocidal destruction, but it is being deliberately manipulated by
Khartoum for offensive military advantage. Human Rights Watch notes that, "These
safe areas could become a form of 'human shield.' This would allow the
government to secure zones around the major towns and confine a civilian population
that it considers to be supporting the rebels" ("Darfur: UN 'Safe Areas' offer no
Real Security," Human Rights Watch, September 1, 2004).

These "safe areas" are, as Human Rights Watch has also reported, "only a
slightly revised version of the Sudanese government proposal in early July [2004] to
create 18 'resettlement sites' for the more than 1.2 million displaced
Darfurian civilians" ("Darfur: UN 'Safe Areas' offer no Real Security," Human Rights
Watch, September 1, 2004). We should be especially suspicious of any such plan
emanating originally from the Khartoum regime. And we should be especially
concerned about the nature of the security that underlies "resettlement sites" or
"safe areas."

For in fact, the "police" that have been deployed to the "safe areas,"
nominally to replace redeployed regular military forces of the regime, are not the
"credible and respected police force" the Joint Communiqué stipulates: they are
soldiers and other militarily trained personnel in the uniforms of "police." And
given the geographic latitude provided by the 20-mile radius stipulated in the
Plan of Action, these "police"/paramilitary forces have been extremely active:
not in securing the areas and protecting civilians but in consolidating and
expanding areas under Khartoum's military control.

For the camps for the displaced and the towns contemplated under the Joint
Communiqué and the Plan of Action lie in and around insurgency-controlled areas
(especially those of the SLA). It is, then, no accident that recent fighting,
instigated by Khartoum, has been concentrated in villages within the radius of
"safe areas"; this is especially true of Nyala town and el-Fasher.

It is difficult to conceive of a more misguided plan to improve security for
the people of Darfur. Khartoum---which has yet to demonstrate its ability to
keep a single agreement related to security in Darfur---has been put in charge of
huge areas, and huge numbers of extremely vulnerable people. And those in
charge are "police" with military training, or Janjaweed, or others with military
backgrounds entirely unrelated to "law enforcement."

UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw has recently spoken of a "culture of impunity"
that Khartoum has fostered in Darfur. This now extends even to the "safe areas"
that are supposedly a measure of Khartoum's compliance with the demands of
Security Council Resolution 1556; in fact, these "safe areas" not only consolidate
the effects of ethnic/racial clearances and genocide, but leave people within
these areas vulnerable to violence from military confrontations (this was the
situation, for example, in Yassin near Nyala, the site of military atrocities
against civilians that African Union observers have now confirmed).

Reports from the ground, including those of the African Union, confirm that the
"police" were coordinating with Khartoum's regular military forces, including
Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships.

Civilians, already vulnerable to the ongoing predations of Janjaweed militia
forces, have now---by virtue of these various UN negotiations---been made even
more vulnerable to violence from those "policing" the "safe areas." It is a
ghastly error in judgment, deriving from a wholly unjustified willingness to
believe that by demanding a "credible and respected police force," Khartoum will
somehow feel obliged to provide one. The fact that they are little different from
what Khartoum originally called "resettlement sites" suggests that what
Khartoum is "enforcing" is a permanent displacement and destruction of the
agricultural way of life of these African tribal peoples.

Put another way, the "safe areas" and the camps which define so many of them
are in danger of becoming what UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan
Egeland recently referred to "as concentration-camp like areas" (UN Integrated
Regional Information Networks, September 1, 2004). In fact, we must see this
ghastly reality as already too fully realized. This assessment has been echoed by
Andrew Natsios, administrator of the US Agency for International Development,
who has declared: "The displaced people in Darfur told us repeatedly [ ] that
the cities and displaced camps have become prisons, concentration camps."

NO RELIEF IN SIGHT

The humanitarian situation in Darfur, which is finally inseparable from issues
of security, presents a relentlessly grimmer picture. Reuters reported
yesterday that:

"The United Nations and lead aid groups said on Thursday the world community
must act quickly in Sudan's Darfur region to stop food, water and medicines from
running out in the next few months. 'If there is not a major increase of food,
clean water and medicine, the October, November, and December look very dire
indeed,' said Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children." (Reuters,
September 2, 2004)

In fact, the implication here that food, medicine, and water are somehow
presently adequate to all those in need in Darfur and Chad is deeply misleading.
There continue to be enormous shortfalls in many key areas (food, water,
sanitation), as a number of humanitarian organizations continue to stress. Moreover,
there are also many hundreds of thousands of people who are beyond all
humanitarian access.

Of the present situation, Simon Pluess of the UN World Food Program offers this
recent assessment:

"'The humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to worsen, with ongoing
violations and the rainy season at its peak which is hampering and disrupting the
flow of international aid very often,' Simon Pluess, spokesman for the UN World
Food Program, told a news briefing in Geneva." (Reuters, August 31, 2004)

Still, there have been too few prospective views of the crisis in Darfur, and
too little willingness to speak about the duration of the present catastrophe.
Much more attention needs to be paid not to the next month but to the next six
to twelve months. For there is presently almost no agricultural production in
Darfur; huge grain- and other food-stocks have been destroyed by Khartoum and
its Janjaweed militia; countless thousands of cattle and other livestock have
been looted or destroyed or died for lack of water and food. How will the people
who have lost everything be fed and supported over this period of time?

If, as this write has argued, we must assume a war-affected population of 2.3
to 2.5 million presently in need (and this number could grow very rapidly in the
months ahead), calculations should be based on a global need of over 40,000
metric tons of food and non-food items per month (medical supplies, water
purification, shelter, cooking fuel). There is nothing like this capacity, in
sustainable form, presently in place or remotely in prospect, absent the humanitarian
intervention that the UN refuses even to discuss.

Moreover, the resumption of agricultural production is also nowhere in sight.
The African peoples of Darfur were largely self-sufficient in food before the
genocide began; now there is no indication of when they will be able to escape
Khartoum's remorseless effort at "deliberately inflicting on [the African tribal
groups of Sudan] conditions of life calculated to bring about [their] physical
destruction in whole of in part" (Genocide Convention, Article 2, clause [c]).

[It should be noted that the predictions of Save the Children's MacCormack for
October, November, and December of this year comport all too well with the
projections of the US Agency for International Development ("Projected Mortality
Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005"
(http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf).]

There are other very significant threats in the humanitarian theater. The
recent shooting of a humanitarian aid worker in Darfur has been little reported,
but in all likelihood represents what many aid workers, organizations, and
humanitarian specialists have long feared: that Khartoum would have the Janjaweed or
other military elements deliberately shoot humanitarian aid workers to force an
exodus of the now rapidly growing international presence in Darfur:

"A Catholic relief worker has been shot and wounded in the devastated Darfur
region of western Sudan, The Fides news service reports. The aid worker was in
stable conditions after being shot by a lone sniper on the road in Darfur. The
Caritas International volunteer had been delivering medical supplies to a
refugee camp. Humanitarian workers in the Darfur region have now been advised not
to ravel until their security is assured. Aid organizations have charged that
the Sudanese government is not protecting either relief workers or civilians in
the refugee camps. If aid is cut off, many thousands of displaced families
from Darfur will be in greater danger from famine and disease." (Fides/CWNews.com
[Khartoum], September 2, 2004)

While it is extremely unlikely that the perpetrator of this attack on a
humanitarian aid worker will ever be apprehended, we must ask who among the armed
parties in Darfur has a motive for such action. The answer is clearly,
unambiguously Khartoum and its Janjaweed militia; such an attack could in no way serve the
cause of the insurgents.

In another ominous development, close to 3,000 case of cholera have recently
been reported in western Chad. While there are no reports yet of cholera in
eastern Chad or Darfur, the explosively destructive possibility is clearly present.
The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks reports "more than 120 people
have died of cholera in western Chad and nearly 3,000 case of the water-borne
disease have been reported since an epidemic broke out at the start of the rainy
season in mid-June," and that a coordinator in the cholera unit expressed his
fear that "we are only in the middle of the epidemic, which might last until
October, when the rains stop" (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks,
September 2, 2004).

An outbreak of cholera in the larger camps in Chad and Darfur could claim many
tens of thousands of lives in a short period of time, given prevailing
conditions, especially the lack of clean water and sanitary facilities.

MORAL CLARITY

Despite the glaring failure of the international community and the United
Nations in particular, there are voices speaking truthfully about Darfur, and it is
important to acknowledge the importance of their work---if only so that history
will not record this as a moment of utter moral blindness in all quarters.
Romeo Dallaire's voice this week is of real significance. Human Rights Watch has
been especially distinguished with its many timely reports and assessments.
The voices of Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group have been
consistently forceful and insightful from the very beginning of the crisis.
And the distinguished Physicians for Human Rights has also become an extremely
important voice, and that importance has only increased with a recent press
release:

"The Government of Sudan has failed on virtually every count to comply with a
Security Council resolution demanding it disarm its militias and assure
humanitarian access to the over one million displaced Sudanese, says Physicians for
Human Rights (PHR). The medical organization which listed indicators of genocide
following a field investigation to the Chad/Sudan border in June/July, calls
upon the Secretary General and members of the Security Council to urgently
confront the continuing atrocities and humanitarian crisis in Darfur with a new
resolution. In the face of overwhelming evidence that Sudan has no intent of
complying fully with the current resolution, PHR strongly urges the Security Council
not to extend the already expired 30-day deadline, and instead impose sanctions
and invoke humanitarian intervention under UN Chapter VII in order to save
lives." ("Physicians for Human Rights Calls for New UN Resolution Demanding
Sanctions, Swift Intervention to Save Live and Investigation of Genocide and Crimes
Against Humanity," September 2, 2004; available at:
http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/release09012004.html)

Whatever the unlikelihood of such action, it is critically important that the
politically possible not dictate the meaning of the morally intelligible.

In the midst of so much abysmal moral failure, we must take note of those
organizations and groups that refuse to be drawn into this abyss, and that continue
to speak the truth amidst the shabby disingenuousness now passing as an
international political response to Darfur's catastrophe.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
ereeves@smith.edu

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