<$BlogRSDURL$>

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Quantifying Genocide in Darfur: A Summary and Update  

Eric Reeves
June 28, 2004

The grim task of quantifying what can be known at present of genocide in Darfur is important for a variety of reasons. Certainly the more the world community learns about the scale of Khartoum's engineered human destruction of the African tribal peoples of Darfur, the more likely there will be a response that supports humanitarian efforts financially and puts pressure on the organizations of the United Nations to plan more cogently for the growing catastrophe. European nations such as France and Germany, where skepticism is greatest about genocide in Darfur, are among those that have failed most strikingly in providing funds for UN relief efforts.

But some of the reasons that genocide must be quantified are dismaying in the extreme, especially the need to overcome the culpably ignorant belief that a finding of genocide somehow demands an appropriately large "body count," or the even more shamefully ignorant belief that there must be evidence of an intent to kill all members of the African tribal groups in Darfur if we are to speak of genocide. The first error ignores a key clause in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" (Article 2, clause [c] of the Convention). The second error ignores the twice-repeated insistence of the Convention that genocide entails specified acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole ***or in part***" [emphasis added] (Article 2 [introductory sentence] of the Convention).

These perverse errors often accompany one another, thus doubly obscuring the reality of genocide in Darfur. The effect is to exclude from consideration what are now extraordinary volumes of evidence of racially/ethnically-animated human destruction---destruction that has produced a war-affected population of over 2.2 million, according to the US, the European Union, and the UN. This is roughly half the African tribal population of Darfur---a very significant "part." Perhaps 30% of this population will die, according to mortality data from the US Agency for International Development. The best statistical data available suggests that the number of victims of genocide is already approaching (and has perhaps exceeded) 100,000 (see below).

Of course both statistical quantification and legal arguments concerning genocide (which are critical despite their abstraction) inevitably obscure the human face of suffering and death. But there are a growing number of personal narratives and photographs that allow us to catch a glimpse of what life has become for so many in Darfur, especially children. For a single image, one that suggests how tenuous is the line between life (life governed by "conditions calculated to bring about physical destruction") and death, readers are encourage to view the powerful photograph accompanying the Newsweek International headline story on Darfur at: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5305453/.
Such scenes, mainly far from photographers and medical assistance, will be repeated in unforgivably great numbers in the near future. Only humanitarian intervention can keep the number from growing to hundreds of thousands.

****************

Beyond its relevance in making the case for urgent humanitarian intervention in Darfur, an effort to "quantify genocide" on the basis of currently available data serves another purpose. Given the degree of inaccuracy in news media reporting on Darfur, the patent staleness of many of the figures being used, it is important to keep quantitative information (including statistically-based projections) as reflective of realities on the ground as possible. Further, news media reports have repeatedly failed to acknowledge that the figures presently used for Darfur (which sometimes change rapidly) may dramatically understate the desperate realities in this huge region, especially for the number of war-affected, internally displaced, and the current mortality total.

As UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell both travel to Khartoum and Darfur this week, it is clear that this is the defining moment in fashioning any meaningful international response to mitigate the rapidly accelerating human catastrophe. Dismayingly, Annan's skepticism about the number of nations willing to "send in the cavalry" is not misplaced (though this is a tonally disturbing phrase, perhaps concealing Annan's belief that humanitarian intervention doesn't warrant his investment of diplomatic capital). But with the human stakes so high, the international community faces an irreducibly simple and searingly clear moral choice: rapidly begin the planning and authorization for humanitarian intervention in Darfur, or acquiesce in the genocidal destruction of the hundreds of thousands who will die without such intervention.

This writer has previously distributed an analysis of the available data defining genocide in Darfur ("Quantifying Genocide in Darfur: Numbers/Statistics/Projections; What We Know and How We Know It," June 11, 2004; full 6000-word report available upon request). The data were analyzed in a number of categories, with as much relevant statistical information as was available.

Following is a summary of the statistical conclusions from this previous analysis, synopses of the primary sources, as well as an updating of figures on the basis of new or revised data from the past 17 days (during which time more than 10,000 people have died according to the US AID mortality data referred to above).

QUANTIFYING GENOCIDE, JUNE 28, 2004:

[1] Gross mortality figure in Darfur conflict/humanitarian crisis:

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: 80,000 dead

[Primary sources: Sudan Focal Point/Africa, January 2004 Sudan Briefing (for gross mortality figure as of early January 2003 [no credible rival figure is available] and the Briefing's implied mortality rate of 1,000 per week); US Agency for International Development "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, Sudan 2004-2005:
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf; assessments of malnutrition rates by humanitarian relief organizations such as Save the Children (UK), Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF); see for example; http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/pr/2004/05-20-2004.shtml).]

CURRENT FIGURE: over 90,000

The US Agency for International Development "Projected Mortality Rates" indicates that the current Crude Mortality Rate is 4 people/10,000 per day for an affected population of 2.2 million---or over 6,000 people per week. Since June 11, 2004, more than 12,000 have died according to these data.
Moreover, since the critical Global Acute Malnutrition Rate continues to increase more rapidly than originally predicted in the US AID "Projected Mortality Rates," it is reasonable to assume that the Crude Mortality Rate is rising more rapidly as well.

[2] Projected mortality figure for Darfur:

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: 350,000 to 1 million
[Primary sources: summary assessment by Amnesty International researcher Annette Weber, recently back from the Chad/Darfur border area:
"'There are 350,000 people who are most likely to die in this period [the rainy season].'" (The Guardian [UK], June 4, 2004);

Comments by Andrew Natsios, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development:

"'We estimate right now if we get relief in, we'll lose a third of a million people, and if we don't the death rates could be dramatically higher, approaching a million people,' said US Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Andrew Natsios after a high-level UN aid meeting [in Geneva]." (Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2004)
Natsios's comments are based on US AID's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, Sudan 2004-2005:
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf; again it is important to note that various current humanitarian assessments of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are rising faster than projected on the US AID's "Mortality Rates" graph, suggesting a commensurately more rapid increase in the Crude Mortality Rate (CMR).]

CURRENT FIGURE: unchanged (350,000 to 1 million)

But the general humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, pushing the probable mortality total steadily beyond the low-end approximate figure of 350,000. Khartoum continues to impede humanitarian relief efforts in highly consequential ways; the rains are spreading relentlessly northward, cutting more and more road arteries; a large number of Internally Displaced Persons camps will soon be largely or entirely inaccessible until October (see map of these camps at: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/darfur.html).

Humanitarian capacity (see below) remains dramatically inadequate to the human needs of the internally displaced, the refugees in Chad, and the larger population of war-affected. There is not nearly enough pre-positioned food, medicine, or shelter; there are not nearly enough UN workers on the ground to make effective use of resources; the UN's World Food Program has consistently missed its monthly targets for food delivery and recently announced (June 25, 2004):

"[The U.N. World Food Programme said on Friday] at least 300,000 people driven from their homes could go without food this month because of insecurity and lack of funds." (Reuters, June 25, 2004)

We may certainly presume the accuracy of the general assessment of Ramiro Lopes da Silva, UN World Food Program Country Director for Sudan: "the situation in Darfur is becoming more critical every day; the worst is still to come" (Agence France-Presse, June 7, 2004).

[3] The number of persons displaced, within Darfur and into Chad.

[a] Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Darfur

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: 1.1 million IDPs
[Primary sources: UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had reached a figure of 1 million by April 21, 2004, even as reports of continued large displacement continued subsequently:
"The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan's western region of Darfur has risen to one million, the United Nations said on Tuesday." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi], April 21, 2004);
The number is also supported by research from the UN World Health Organization, the International Rescue Committee, and other humanitarian and human rights organizations.

Many had continued to report large increases in internal displacement through June 11, 2004. For example, US AID reported that according to its workers in Darfur, "large numbers of IDPs have recently fled violence east of Geneina, West Darfur" (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency, June 4, 2004 fact sheet).]

CURRENT FIGURE: 1.15 million IDPs

Reports of internal displacement because of military violence on the part of Khartoum's Janjaweed militia continue to stream in. For example, the UN World Food Program (WFP) very recently reported that:

"Jingaweit attacks occur regularly against the villages that surround Guildu and Gulu towns in the far north of South Sudan. WFP has been distributing food to these areas and reports that six villages have been destroyed in the past two weeks. As a result, IDP's have been steadily moving to Gulu where the population near the towns faces critical shortages of health services and water." (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 25, 2004 fact sheet)
Given the rate of internal displacement over the past 50 weeks, and the level of continued violence, insecurity in rural areas, and increasing desperation for food, it is statistically likely that another 50,000 have been displaced since June 11, 2004

[b] Refugees in Chad

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: approximately 200,000

[Primary sources: in late May 2004, Refugees International released a report of its research on refugees in Chad fleeing from Darfur:

"'After completing a two-week assessment mission to eastern Chad, Refugees International has concluded that the real number of Darfur refugees there is around 200,000, not the 110,000 planning figure that has been used by the United Nations and aid agencies,' said Refugees International. Donors would also need to respond with urgency to the appeal, [the organization] added." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] May 21, 2004)

This figure was indirectly confirmed by the World Food Program:
"Laura Melo, a spokeswoman for the World Food Programme (WFP), said the organisation was 'currently revising its appeal and its working figures' to address the increasing needs in Chad. 'The budget revision that is prepared targets a number close to the one [200,000 refugees] referred to by Refugees International,' she said, adding that the document was not finalised yet." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] May 21, 2004)]

CURRENT FIGURE: approximately 200,000

The UN High Commission for Refugees is now using a figure in excess of 180,000 for the population of Darfurian refugees inside Chad. This brings UNHCR much closer to the figure generated in May 2004 by Refugees International. It remains the case that an accurate census of refugees, given the remoteness of this region, is impossible. This is especially true of the northern border sector (from Koublous to Tine and north to Bahay). The number of refugees crossing the border has slowed dramatically in recent weeks, but there are still large pockets of people unaccounted for or simply unseen. The UNHCR figure is still likely well short of the total number of refugees.

Approximately 110,000 refugees have been moved to camps further inside Chad, but this leaves approximately 90,000 to be relocated or integrated into host villages with clan relations in the border area. The border area remains militarily highly volatile, and dire conditions in camps are described by Jean-Charles Dei, deputy director of the UN World Food Programme in Chad:
"[Dei] said the rains would also bring inevitable outbreaks of disease, including cholera and measles. 'There will be a tragedy if nothing happens. [ ] I don't think any of the children under the age of five will make it, and the pregnant women too. For those who are under five there is no chance. They will die from starvation.'" (The Scotsman [dateline: Chad/Darfur border], June 10, 2004)

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has declared of these Chad refugee camps that:

"malnutrition inside the refugee camps is actually worse than outside because they are so overcrowded. Sanitation facilities in most of the camps were also 'totally inadequate,' said the agency last week. In one camp there was one latrine per 400 refugees. 'This is 20 times greater than the international standard of a maximum of 20 people per latrine. It's absolutely unacceptable.' (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] May 21, 2004)

[4] Total number of "war-affected" persons:

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: 2.2 million

[Primary sources: joint communiqué by UN, European Union, and US in Geneva, June 3, 2004:

"Describing the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Sudan's Darfur region as being 'of extraordinary gravity, magnitude and urgency,' the United Nations, donor countries and aid agencies today wrapped up a meeting by appealing for at least $236 million to help an estimated 2.2 million victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement." (UN News Centre, June 3, 2004)
"War-affected" people were defined as those in need of humanitarian assistance because of the level of civilian and agricultural destruction defining the conflict in Darfur.]

CURRENT FIGURE: 2.3 MILLION

As foodstocks continue to be depleted, without corresponding increases in humanitarian food assistance, more and more of the populations in Darfur, even those not displaced, are at risk of malnutrition, severe malnutrition, and malnutrition-related diseases. The rainy season will bring about a huge increase in water-borne diseases (especially cholera and dysentery), as well as an exploding epidemic of malaria. Measles are proving a significant problem among child populations, and the ominous specter of a polio epidemic in the fall now shadows Darfur as well.

As general levels of health and nutrition continue to decline throughout the region, more and more civilians are directly affected by the war and in need of medical and food assistance. Given the rate at which this population has increased in recent months, a reasonable statistical inference is that there has been an increase of 100,000 war-affected persons in Darfur since June 11, 2004. Since there is virtually no food production in Darfur, the famine will begin to affect Arab tribal groups as well.

[5] Camp populations in Darfur

JUNE 11, 2004 FIGURE: 600,000 to 700,000 for all of Darfur
[Primary sources: confidential conversations with humanitarian workers, and government aid officials.]

CURRENT FIGURE: 700,000 to 800,000

The pressures on displaced persons to enter camps only grow more intense. Though the camps typically are without water, food, or sanitary facilities, they offer at least the feeble hope of physical security. There is no consensus figure on the populations in the camps, largely because there is no clear or decisive means of determining what constitutes a "camp." The Washington Post reports that "there are 129 such camps across Darfur, 31 of which are inaccessible" (Washington Post, June 27, 2004). These numbers comport with those being used by the UN, but are particularly suspect. When does a collection of displaced persons become a "camp"? When does a village contain so many displaced persons seeking out relatives or kinfolk as to become a "camp"? Such numbers, as reported, suggest a clarity and definitiveness that are not currently possible.

There are indeed many very large concentrations of people, such as the camp at Mornei (in West Darfur, with over 80,000 people) and the camp at Kutum (North Darfur, with over 100,000); but there are also temporary encampments, overcrowded villages, and at hoc assemblages. It makes no sense to say that there are only 31 camp locations to which there is no access, even as it makes no sense to speak so precisely of 129 camps. To be displaced (again, the number of Internally Displaced Persons now reaches to over 1.1 million) is not, ipso facto, to be in a camp of clear definition and thereby included in this list of 129.

Moreover, to imply that there is humanitarian access to 98 camps (129 minus 31) is also misleading. Access can be merely notional, especially given UN and nongovernmental failures to respond with adequate resources. At other times, access is precipitously denied or curtailed by Khartoum's forces or the Janjaweed. Many of the ad hoc camps that don't figure in the total of 129 are without access. And the rains have already or soon will make many camps either totally inaccessible, or inaccessible for days at a time (see map of these camps at: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/darfur.html).

Highly informed aid officials admit that in any event, fewer than 50% of those in need are receiving humanitarian assistance, and the percentage is trending downward despite belated efforts to ramp up capacity.

[6] Humanitarian requirements/humanitarian capacity:

SUMMARY OF JUNE 11, 2004 FINDINGS, APPLIED TO CURRENT FIGURES:
A survey of humanitarian logisticians indicates that food requirements for the war-affected populations of Darfur are approximately 16,000 metric tons per month per million people (some estimates were in the range of 15,000 metric tons, one estimate was 17,500). The total food requirement for 2.3 million people (see above) is thus approximately 37,000 metric tons per month. During the three-plus remaining months of the rainy season, assuming (unreasonably) that the war-affected population does not increase, the food required will be approximately 120,000 tons. Such quantities of food, and the transport capacity to move them, are simply not in evidence (the plan announced by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice [June 27, 2004] to use trucks from Libya seems both incongruous and highly unlikely to change the transport capacity problem in any fundamental way). Moreover, the WFP continues to miss its projected deliveries by significant amounts---indeed, it has missed on every single delivery projection for Darfur. Again, Reuters:

"[The U.N. World Food Programme said on Friday] at least 300,000 people driven from their homes could go without food this month because of insecurity and lack of funds." (Reuters, June 27, 2004)

But this is disingenuous, both in refusing to acknowledge inadequate planning and urgency on WFP's part, and in refusing to acknowledge that WFP has not pre-positioned nearly enough food for delivery during the coming difficult months.

To be sure, some of this is not directly the responsibility of the WFP or UN agencies (though they have failed badly in holding Khartoum accountable for its deliberate obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts):

"The primary constraints to full food distributions continue to be transportation and access. At present, the Government of Sudan has not allowed the UN World Food Program to tender contracts from foreign trucking companies, insisting that WFP use local transporters that often have limited capacity [ ]. Additionally, WFP reports that 30% of distribution locations remain inaccessible." (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004 fact sheet)

But the World Food Program is in many ways a bureaucracy, with many of the characteristics of inefficiency, confusion, and listlessness that define bureaucracies. Excerpts from recent US Agency for Development "fact sheets" for the Darfur crisis give a sense of how important it is to see the difference between plans, projections, promises, on the one hand, and actual food deliveries on the other:

"According to the US AID/DART, WFP does not appear to have sufficient capacity at present to pre-position three months'-worth of rations in West Darfur. Monthly food requirements in West Darfur are approximately 4,500 metric tons. To date, WFP has only 500 metric tons of food stockpiled in Geneina, and while WFP continues to urge truckers to move quickly, security incidents on the key roads been Ed Da'ein and Nyala will likely affect truckers' willingness to travel unescorted, or without security guarantees from the UN."
"Transporting sufficient quantities of food to Nyala, and then on to West Darfur, has been a significant challenge for WFP. Food monitors for SC-US waited in Foro Burunga, West Darfur, for two weeks for WFP to deliver the May rations, which were to be distributed on June 4 and 6, but the quantities were not sufficient and some commodities were missing."

(US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004 fact sheet)

But beyond these particular logistical shortcomings is the vast problem of sheer incapacity: the overall humanitarian resources and transport capacity required to address the Darfur crisis are simply not present. Nor will they be without humanitarian intervention, almost certainly requiring the internationalizing of the Port Sudan-Khartoum-Nyala rail line and clearly obliging provision of military protection for the internally displaced populations now at such acute risk in concentrations camps. Without such military protection, we will continue to see the Janjaweed rape, beat, torture and execute those in the camps, as well as pillage humanitarian food deliveries (the Janjaweed also need food more urgently, as do the insurgency forces).

The problem of sheer incapacity is highlighted by the World Food Program's nominal "plan" to move "approximately 52,000 metric tons of commodities to Darfur to meet the needs of approximately 1 million beneficiaries from June to August" (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 4, 2004 fact sheet). But 52,000 metric tons, even if delivered as planned, represents only half what is required during this time for the 2.2 million people now described by the UN, the US, and the European Union as "victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement" (UN News Centre, June 3, 2004; this number, as suggested above, has grown to 2.3 million).

**************

The solution to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is not to redefine "war-affected" in such a way that the food needs of half of these people are not required to be met (let alone their medical and shelter needs). The solution is to recognize why such vast numbers among the African tribal groups of Darfur are without food, without shelter or homes, without emergency medical care, without the ability to resume agricultural production. The reason is Khartoum's "deliberately inflicting on these groups conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part."

The reason is genocide.

Those who are contracting parties to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide have a solemn obligation to prevent genocide, per Article 1 of the Convention. The UN Security Council, whose members are all contracting parties to the Convention, are poised to do nothing of significance (Pakistan, Algeria, and permanent member China are particular obstacles). It will soon be clear that only a humanitarian intervention without UN authorization can mitigate the scale of genocidal destruction. Here, too, the international community seems poised to do nothing of significance.

The grim task of quantifying genocide will remain, then, for many, many shameful months to come; and we will be able to measure with hideous clarity the increments in our moral failure.

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



Saturday, June 26, 2004

Dithering as Others Die 

From the New York Times --
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/26/opinion/26KRIS.html

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

ALONG THE SUDAN-CHAD BORDER The ongoing genocide in Darfur is finally,
fortunately, making us uncomfortable. At this rate, with only 250,000 more
deaths it will achieve the gravitas of the Laci Peterson case.

Hats off to Colin Powell and Kofi Annan, who are both traveling in the
next few days to Darfur. But the world has dithered for months already.
Unless those trips signal a new resolve, many of the Darfur children I've
been writing about over the last few months will have survived the
Janjaweed militia only to die now of hunger or diarrhea.

I've had e-mail from readers who are horrified by the slaughter, but who
also feel that Africa is always a mess and that there's not much we can
do. So let me address the cynics.

Look, I'm sure it's terrible in Darfur. But lots of places are horrific,
and we can't help everyone. Why obsess about Sudan?

The U.N. describes Darfur as the No. 1 humanitarian crisis in the world
today. The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that at
best 320,000 more people will still die of hunger and disease this year
or significantly more if we continue to do nothing.

Moreover, apart from our obligation to act under the Genocide Convention,
acquiescence only encourages more genocide hence the question attributed
to Hitler, "Who today remembers the Armenian extermination?"

Haven't we invaded enough Muslim countries?

The U.S. is not going to invade Sudan. That's not a plausible option.

But we can pass a tough U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing
troops, as well as more support for African peacekeepers. If Germany,
France and Spain don't want to send troops to Iraq, then let them deploy
in Darfur. And we must publicly condemn the genocide.

What good is a speech in the U.N.? Why would Sudan listen?

Governments tend to be embarrassed about exterminating minorities. In
Sudan, a bit of publicity about Darfur coupled with a written statement
from President Bush led Sudan to agree to a cease-fire in April and to
improve access for aid agencies. More publicity prompted it to promise to
disband the Janjaweed raiders.

Sudan lies and wriggles out of its promises, but its genocide is still
calibrated to the international reaction. Likewise, it is still denying
visas and blocking supplies for emergency relief, but pressure has led it
to improve access.

So, Mr. Bush, if a single written statement will do so much good, why
won't you let the word "Darfur" pass your lips? Why the passivity in the
face of evil? You could save tens of thousands of lives by making a
forceful speech about Darfur. Conversely, your refusal to do so is costing
tens of thousands of lives.

If the Sudanese were notorious pirates of American videotapes, if they
were sheltering Mullah Omar, you'd be all over them. So why not stand up
just as forcefully to genocide?

Mr. Bush seems proud of his "moral clarity," his willingness to recognize
evil and bluntly describe it as such. Well, Darfur reeks of evil, and we
are allowing it to continue.

What can ordinary Americans do?

Yell! Mr. Bush and John Kerry have been passive about Darfur because
voters are. If citizens contact the White House or their elected
representatives and demand action, our leaders will be happy to follow.

Readers can also contribute to one of the many aid agencies saving lives
in Darfur. (I've listed some at www.nytimes.com/kristofresponds, Posting
489.)

Be realistic. We don't have our national interest at stake in Darfur.

But we do. Sudan's chaos is destabilizing surrounding countries,
especially Chad, which is an increasing source of oil for us. Moreover,
when states collapse into chaos, they become staging grounds for terrorism
and for diseases like ebola and polio (both have broken out recently in
Sudan).

In any case, America is a nation that has values as well as interests. We
betrayed those values when we ignored past genocides, and we are betraying
them again now.

In my last three columns, I wrote about Magboula Muhammad Khattar, a
24-year-old woman struggling to keep her children alive since her parents
and husband were killed by the Janjaweed. Each time I visited the tree she
lives under, she shared with me the only things she had to offer: a smile
and a bowl of brackish water.

Is a cold shoulder all we have to offer in return?

Friday, June 25, 2004

Khartoum's Gamble: Genocide Continues Because the National Islamic Front 

Does Not Believe the World Will Intervene in Darfur

Eric Reeves
June 25, 2004

With so much conspicuous and compelling evidence of genocide in Darfur, with
impending visits to the region by US Secretary of State Colin Powell (scheduled
for June 29, 2004) and by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, with a powerful and
growing chorus of voices declaring that the vast human destruction in Darfur is
in fact genocide, why does the National Islamic Front regime continue to impede
humanitarian access? Why does the regime refuse to rein in the Janjaweed
militias that have been allies in so much genocidal destruction? Why does the
regime continue with its preposterous claims and denials? (A small sampling of the
regime's recent brazen remarks and actions:

"Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir has accused unnamed 'foreigners' of trying
to take advantage of the crisis in the western region of Darfur to intervene in
Sudan's affairs, an Egyptian daily reported Thursday. 'Foreign circles,
conscious that a new phase has begun concerning the problem of south (Sudan) in a
healthy way, are trying to find a substitute gate in Darfur to intervene in
Sudanese affairs.'" (Agence France-Presse, June 24, 2004)

"The United Nations has confirmed that humanitarian conditions in the Darfur
states have improved and that difficulties encountered in delivering aid have
been reduced," declares the regime-controlled Al Sahafa [Khartoum] newspaper. (UN
Daily Press Review, May 30, 2004)

"The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Ibrahim Mahmood Hamid described the
report by the United Nations Human Rights Envoy [Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions] Asma Jahangir as inaccurate and based on
information she received without ascertaining its validity.
(UN Daily Press Review, June 15, 2004, Sudan Vision [Khartoum])

"[NIF First Vice President] Taha accused the international media of
deliberately magnifying the scale of the humanitarian problem in the region. He also
claimed that the conflict was fabricated by the West." (Agence France-Presse
[Cairo], June 16, 2004)]

"[NIF President Omer Beshir] directed relevant ministries to distribute seeds
to Internally Displaced persons to make 'a success [of] the current agricultural
season.'"
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [IRIN], June 24, 2004)

But of course the planting season has already been missed for Darfur, and
Beshir's Janjaweed militia allies are responsible for burning and destroying nearly
all seed stocks.

Whence this shameless mendacity on the part of Khartoum? How can it remain for
US Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios to declare
yesterday of humanitarian access in Darfur:

"Despite frequent Sudanese government announcements about 'all the things
they've done to improve things,' virtually nothing has changed on the ground.
'They've got to stop stonewalling the relief effort,' Natsios said of the
government." (Associated Press, June 24, 2004)

But this of course raises the essential question: why has the regime "got to"
stop stonewalling humanitarian efforts? This "stonewalling" has been going on
for months without consequence or punitive actions. Indeed, Tom Eric Vraalsen,
the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs for Sudan
made the point with emphasis over half a year ago in December 2003, at a time when
forceful and determined international demands for humanitarian access could
have saved hundreds of thousands of lives now destined to be lost:

"Delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need is hampered mostly
by *systematically denied access* [latter phrase emphasized in text]. While
[Khartoum's] authorities claim unimpeded access, they greatly restrict access to
the areas under their control, while imposing blanket denial to all rebel-held
areas."
(Tom Vraalsen, Note to the Emergency Relief Coordinator; "Sudan: Humanitarian
Crisis in Darfur," December 8, 2003)

More than half a year later the situation is fundamentally unchanged. Indeed,
despite a ramping up of humanitarian relief efforts, the situation is in many
ways worse. Reserve foodstocks have been depleted in the intervening months,
even as the international community has failed to pre-position remotely adequate
foodstocks in anticipation of the current rainy season. Huge populations of
Internally Displaced Persons have been forced into concentration camps with no
humanitarian access, and are utterly at the mercy of the Janjaweed. The rains
have now begun even in North Darfur state, and roads are becoming impassable.
Not only is there not nearly enough pre-positioned food or medical supplies, but
humanitarian access reaches fewer than 50% of those in need---and this
percentage appears set to decline with the rains. These are the factors that will
produce casualties in the hundreds of thousands; this is how Khartoum's engineered
genocide will accomplish itself.

Indeed, the US Agency for International Development has recently released an
extraordinarily important map that is in effect a guide to the path of genocidal
destruction (available at:
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/darfur.html; discussed
below). The map, representing cartographically the data presented yesterday by
Andrew Natsios to Kofi Annan, shows both villages destroyed as well as the
relative accessibility of known camps for the internally displaced during the
current rainy season. A terrifyingly large number of the camps are designated as:
"Internally Displaced Persons camp not accessible during the rainy season, June
to September." The vulnerability of these people is total. For not only is
there no overland access, the areas are in many cases too insecure for a
humanitarian presence.

Khartoum remorselessly calculates that these people will die invisibly, and
that the bodies will be scattered or obscured by weather, remoteness, and
desperate flight For we must understand that not only is no one coming to help these
people, they have nowhere to go: their villages have been destroyed. Eltigani
Ateem, former governor of Darfur, estimates that of the roughly three thousand
villages ["it is difficult to give an accurate count"] in all of Darfur: "To my
knowledge villages which have not been torched so far are a handful to the
North East of Zalingi [West Darfur] and some villages around Nyala [South Darfur];
otherwise virtually all Fur villages have been torched. In North Darfur all the
villages of the indigenous populations have been torched" (assessment received
by e-mail, June 25, 2004).

Another assessment, from a Darfurian who works in a professional international
human rights capacity, reported the following details of current levels of
destruction:

"There are at least a couple of thousand villages in Western Darfur (an area I
am fully familiar with). This area has only four urban centers, Geniena, Kass,
Zalingie and Garsila. It is densely populated compared to Northern Darfur. [ ]
All the villages between Morni and Zalingie (more than 60) have been wiped out
during the last six months. Likewise, over one hundred villages between Garsila
and Zalingie no longer exist.

"The far western part of the region is known as Dar-Masalit (Homeland of the
Masalit). Most of the inhabitants of this part have long been forced to flee to
Chad (even before the advent of the SLA and JEM).

"[In South Darfur] almost all the Fur villages have been razed to the ground,
including some big one such as Shataya, Um-Labbasa and Mokjar.

"In Northern Darfur there are also over a thousand villages. [ ] In this region
over 300 villages have been torched this last year alone. These are the Fur and
Zaghawa villages." (received by e-mail June 25, 2004)

This is the context in which to understand the much-reported data on village
destruction released yesterday by US Agency for International Development
Administrator Natsios:

"US AID released updated figures Thursday saying satellite photos of 578
villages in the Darfur region found that 301 were destroyed, 76 damaged and 199
intact. Two were determined to be old ruins. The U.S. agency also obtained
photographs of 87 villages in neighboring Chad, in the area bordering Darfur, and
reported that eight were destroyed, 24 damaged and 55 not damaged. More than 100,000
refugees from western Sudan have fled across the border into Chad."

"Satellite photos show that about 56,000 houses have been destroyed in nearly
400 villages in fighting in the Darfur region of western Sudan and the
destruction has spread into neighboring Chad."

"[Natsios] blamed the devastation on Arab militias known as the Janjaweed which
have killed and routed local Africans and are linked to the Sudanese
government. U.S. experts estimate that about 400,000 people once lived in the 56,000 mud
brick houses with conical-shaped roofs known as tukels that were destroyed in
Darfur, he said. Thousands more lived in 32 villages across the border in Chad
that have been destroyed or damaged."

As important as these data are, they are clearly only partial; they by no means
represent complete census or assessment of the villages destroyed. Moreover,
we must also understand the significance of the villages that have not been
destroyed. In an inset to the US AID map, one of the findings of a UN assessment
team is reported:

"The 23 villages in the Shattaya Administrative Unit have been completely
depopulated, looted and burnt to the ground (the team observed several such sites
driving through the area for days. Meanwhile, dotted alongside these charred
locations are unharmed, populated and functioning 'Arab' settlements. In some
locations, the distance between a destroyed Fur village and an 'Arab' village is
less than 500 meters." (United Nations Interagency Fact Finding and Rapid
Assessment Mission, UN Resident Coordinator, April 25, 2004)

This is further confirmation of the evidence of genocide, the systematic and
deliberate destruction of the African tribal groups, their villages, and their
means of living. It comports precisely with what was reported by the
International Crisis Group in December, and by many others subsequently.

"Government-supported militias deliberately target civilians from the Fur,
Zaghawa, and Massalit groups, who are viewed as 'Africans' in Darfur and form the
bulk of the Sudan Liberation Army and Justice and Equality ethnic base. [ ] The
latest attacks [by the government-supported Arab militias] occurred deep inside
the Fur tribal domain, against unprotected villages with *no apparent link to
the rebels other than their ethnic profile* [emphasis added]." (International
Crisis Group, "Sudan: towards an Incomplete Peace," December 11, 2003; available
at http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=2416)

****************

Until very recently, the world has refused to hear the voices that have carried
the message of genocide. The simple declaration of an African tribal leader
last December (2003), saying so much, went largely unheeded:

"'I believe this is an elimination of the black race,' one [African] tribal
leader told IRIN" (UN IRIN, Junaynah [Darfur], December 11, 2003)

But there have been many other voices, and many reports recording these
testimonies of genocide. Amnesty International heard many of these voices in its
January 2003 research---numerous testimonies giving terrible authority to the
conviction of genocide (the report was published on February 3, 2004; available at
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR540082004):

"A refugee farmer from the village of Kishkish reported * the words used by the
militia: 'You are Black and you are opponents. You are our slaves, the Darfur
region is in our hands and you are our herders.'"(Amnesty International Report,
page 28)

"A civilian from Jafal confirmed [he was] told by the Janjawid: 'You are
opponents to the regime, we must crush you. As you are Black, you are like slaves.
Then all the Darfur region will be in our hands. The government is on our side.
The government plane is on our side to give us ammunition and food.'" (Amnesty
International Report, page 28)

"A local chief in the Abu Gamra area, between Tina and Kornoy, painted the
extent of the destruction in his village. [ ] The Arabs burnt all our houses, took
all the goods from the market. A bulldozer destroyed houses. [The Arabs] said
the wanted to conquer the whole territory and that the Blacks did not have a
right to remain in the region." (Amnesty International Report, page 20)

More recently (March 25, 2004) a "Briefing Paper on the Darfur Crisis" was
prepared by a group of concerned humanitarian workers in Darfur who requested that
the UN Humanitarian Coordinator bring their findings to the attention of the
international community. Among these findings:

"In spite of attempts made to negotiate, [the Janjaweed] make it clear that the
Government of Sudan has now given them a mandate to make these areas 'Zurga
free' (Zurga is a derogatory term for Black) and that they represent the
Government of Sudan in the area. Violence is systematically reported, people killed
(especially males), goods including cattle looted, and houses burned. If people do
not move immediately, a second more deadly attack is launched, and civilians
are left with no option but to move away to the nearest 'safe haven,' which is
usually also attacked within the next few days." (March 25, 2004; full report in
original format available upon request)

Must not the idea of "Zurga free" areas remind us, with relentless historical
force, of the Nazi notion of a "Judenfrei Europe"? But indecision remains on
the part of the Bush administration, as testimony yesterday by Pierre-Richard
Prosper, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, indicates:

"The United States sees 'indicators of genocide' in Darfur, Sudan, but Darfur
must be 'opened up' to the international community before that can be confirmed,
Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, told the
U.S. Congress June 23, 2004." (US State Department document, at
http://allafrica.com/stories/200406250141.html)

But what could be more perversely foolish than expecting that the Khartoum
regime, knowing of its own genocidal actions and knowing that the US State
Department has "indicators of genocide," will "open up" Darfur? On the contrary,
Khartoum is doing all it can to obstruct investigations into war crimes, crimes
against humanity, and genocide. As Ambassador Prosper well knows, Khartoum has
continuously deployed substantial military assets, including aerial assets, to
remove evidence at various sites of atrocities, has removed bodies, has obscured
mass graves (the rains will help immensely in this effort), has re-located
various of the more notorious Janjaweed commanders to elsewhere in Sudan, and has
increasingly incorporated the Janjaweed into the regular army forces. And
certainly Ambassador Prosper must be aware of Khartoum's continued obstruction of a UN
human rights investigating team in April 2004. Khartoum's "opening up" Darfur
for a genocide investigation? This is beyond foolishness; this is moral
betrayal.

Not everyone requires more than the massive evidence that has already come in
the form of countless reports from within Darfur and the Chad/Darfur border
area. In the words of the distinguished Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief
Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and
Rwanda, having reviewed the findings of a June 23, 2004 assessment report from
Physicians for Human Rights:

"After all that we know and have learned from the last decade's genocides and
mass atrocities, it is unconscionable for the world to witness these crimes [in
Darfur] and fail to take steps to protect and save the lives of tens of
thousands of innocent men, women, and children. We owe it to the victims of Darfur and
potential victims to do everything we can to prevent and account for what the
PHR report establishes is genocide and reverse the intolerable acts of forcing
entire populations from their land, destroying their livelihood and making it
virtually impossible to return.'"
("Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Intervention to Save Lives in Sudan:
Field Team Compiles Indicators of Genocide," June 23, 2004; at
http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/)

The Physicians for Human Rights report declares:

"Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has gathered compelling information that a
genocidal process is unfolding in Darfur, Sudan. The terms of the Genocide
Convention commit parties to the Convention to act to prevent when there are
indicators that there is intent to destroy, physically or mentally, in whole or in
part, a group on the basis of ethnicity, language, religion, or race [PHR here
references the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide]."
("Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Intervention to Save Lives in Sudan:
Field Team Compiles Indicators of Genocide," June 23, 2004)

The US Committee for Refugees declared on June 14, 2004:

"Khartoum continues its genocide in Darfur. The U.S. Committee for Refugees
again urges President Bush to exercise decisive political will to stop the
genocide and save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

"[USCR Executive Director Lavinia Limon declared]: 'The failure of President
Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead the world to stop the genocide
is shameful and indefensible. It is not too late for the President to act to
save hundreds of thousands of lives, but time is running out.'" (US Committee for
Refugees Press Release, June 14, 2004)

At yesterday's extraordinary event in the Hall of Witness at the US Holocaust
Memorial Museum ("Bearing Witness for Darfur: Can We Prevent Genocide in
Sudan?"), Jerry Fowler, Staff Director for the Museum's Committee on Conscience,
noted:

"It's extraordinary that we're bringing to a halt the normal activities of the
Holocaust Museum to stress the danger of genocide today."

Fowler, who recently returned from an assessment trip to the Chad/Darfur
border, concluded by saying:

"The time to act in Darfur is now. It's now. The obligation to prevent genocide
is a legal one and a moral one. Too often in the past, as this Museum starkly
illustrates, warnings have been received and ignored and the result has been
death and suffering on a massive scale. It's time for us to stop saying 'never
again,' and start saying, 'not this time.' Not this time."
(transcript of remarks by Jerry Fowler, Staff Director, Committee on
Conscience, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, June 24, 2004)

Representing the International Crisis Group (Brussels) in testimony before the
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (June 15, 2004), John Prendergast spoke
of unfolding "evidence of conditions of genocide," and then declared that "in
the International Crisis Group's judgment, the situation in Darfur more than
satisfies the Genocide Convention's conditions for multilateral preventive action"
(testimony at: http://allafrica.com/stories/200406160578.html).

Africa Action launched a petition drive concerning genocide in Darfur by
declaring that, "the term 'genocide' [ ] captures the fundamental characteristics of
the Khartoum government's intent and actions in western Sudan" (Africa Action
Press Release, June 15, 2004). The petition (accessible at
www.africaaction.org/) now has over 15,000 signatures.

In speaking on June 18, 2004 to the question of whether Khartoum's conduct of
war in Darfur constitutes genocide, the highly authoritative researchers of
Justice Africa declared unambiguously, explicitly referencing the 1948 UN Genocide
Convention, "there is no doubt that the answer is yes" ("Sudan: Justice Africa
Analysis," http://allafrica.com/stories/200406180714.html).

In March 2004, then UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan Mukesh Kapila
declared:

"'The only difference between Rwanda and Darfur now is the numbers involved'
[said Kapila]. '[The slaughter in Darfur] is more than just a conflict, it is an
organised attempt to do away with a group of people.'" (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks, March 22, 2004)

"'I was present in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, and I've seen many other
situations around the world and I am totally shocked at what is going on in
Darfur." (BBC, March 19, 2004)

[Of the ethnic slaughter Kapila declared:] "'Under those circumstances one can
only conclude that it is state-sanctioned,'" and that "war crimes tribunals
must be held to try those responsible for raping, looting and killing in African
villages in Sudan's western Darfur region. [ ] 'The individuals who are doing
this are known. We have their names. The individuals who are involved occupy
senior positions.'" (Reuters [Khartoum], March 26, 2004)

What more can Ambassador Prosper and the Bush administration State Department
require in making a determination of genocide, or---more to the point---deciding
on a course of action governed by Prosper's declaration that "we see indicators
of genocide, and there is evidence that points in that direction [of genocide]"
(fuller quote from the Washington Post, June 25, 2004)? Even finding
"indicators of genocide," and "evidence that points in that direction"---with so many
hundreds of thousands of lives clearly at risk---obliges US preventative action
as a contracting party to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide (Article 1).

Such action must not consist of another UN resolution that fails to include
clear means for securing full and immediate humanitarian access:

"U.S. officials disclosed that the Bush administration was drafting a U.N.
Security Council resolution that would sharply criticize Sudan for failing to halt
the violence and demand that it grant broader access for humanitarian relief
workers." (Washington Post, June 25, 2004)

The last months have proved definitively that Khartoum will not respond merely
to criticism, and that any promises the regime might make about improving
humanitarian access are both meaningless and now woefully belated and inadequate.
The brazenness of the regime's comments on Darfur (see above) have been fully
matched by its obduracy in impeding humanitarian access. As violence continues
throughout Darfur, as huge populations remain trapped in camps to which there is
diminishing (or no) access and within which there is exploding morbidity, as
mass executions and gang-rapes continue, as foodstocks become ever more depleted,
humanitarian intervention is urgently required.

Such intervention must both stop current violence against civilians by bringing
the camps under full military control, and reverse the effects of months of
genocidal efforts ("deliberately inflicting on the African groups of Darfur
conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction").
Ultimately the international community must oversee the disarming of the Janjaweed or
security will never return to the rural areas, and agricultural production will
not resume.

The US should, with as many allies as possible but alone if necessary,
introduce a UN Security Council resolution authorizing immediate humanitarian
intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. If this resolution fails, or is
stalled, the US should seek to create as broad a coalition as possible to mount a
humanitarian intervention without UN authorization, invoking its contractual
obligations under the Genocide Convention. A final State Department determination
concerning genocide need not be made; a finding of "indicators of genocide" and
"evidence that points in that direction [of genocide]" is sufficient under the
Genocide Convention (Article 1) to obligate the US to "prevent genocide."

The time-frame should be days, not weeks. The past months of delay,
acquiescence, confusion, and moral weakness must be brought precipitously to an end. The
current mortality data indicate that 5,000 human beings are dying every week,
and that number is set to rise precipitously. We must act with an urgency
commensurate with the crisis. Virtually all the deaths to date (pushing rapidly
toward 100,000) are the direct result of a genocide that could have been prevented;
these alone should be enough to justify the most urgent action.

But to our shame---again---we are already too late to save additional hundreds
of thousands doomed to perish from famine and disease no matter what action is
taken. It is our grim obligation to accept that even in the face of such vast
failure, we must act rapidly or additional hundreds of thousands of lives will
be lost to genocide.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Annan seeks to evade Sudan blame," BBC Headline, June 22, 2004 

Eric Reeves
June 23, 2004

At least efforts at self-exculpation for the Rwandan genocide waited
until the terrible events were completed. In Darfur---"Rwanda in
slow-motion," in the all-too apt phrase of International Crisis Group's
John Prendergast---the unseemly efforts of avoiding blame for the
impending deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have
already begun. Perhaps this is understandable in the context of
self-interest: failures of responsibility and leadership already abound,
even as the real season of death has barely begun. But this disgraceful
diversion of energies from the essential humanitarian tasks at hand, and
the essential militarily support for such tasks, says all too much about
why Darfur continues its relentless slide into deeper catastrophe.

Of course, while Darfur may be Rwanda in "slow motion," it is also an
accelerated version of what has been transpiring in southern Sudan over
the past two decades. Here more than 2 million have already died, and
more than 4.5 million have been displaced internally or into neighboring
countries. In the south, too, we have seen the deliberate destruction of
African tribal groups (especially in the Nuba Mountains and more
recently in the vast oil regions of Upper Nile). Indeed, precisely
because the African populations of Darfur are entirely Muslim, and the
Muslim population of southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, and Southern
Blue Nile is relatively small, it is clear that being African is the
salient fact in Khartoum's determination of those human populations that
will be targeted.

Moreover, the strategies of human destruction are remarkably similar:
the massive killing or starving of civilians as a means of fighting a
counter-insurgency war; the use of paramilitary and militia forces for
much of the civilian destruction; the use of Antonov bombers to drop
huge loads of anti-personnel bombs on civilian and humanitarian targets;
the manipulation of food and humanitarian aid as a weapon of war;
destruction or poisoning of water sources; de facto concentration camps
(called "peace camps"), populated by desperately hungry displaced
persons who become utterly food-dependent on Khartoum's military forces;
"scorched-earth" tactics (again, especially in the oil regions; see the
definitive "Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights," Human Rights Watch, November
2003 www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/).

The full effects of Khartoum's genocidal assault on the African tribal
groups of Darfur, so long clearly in prospect, are beginning in earnest.
Having for many month relentlessly and "deliberately inflicted on the
[African tribal groups of Darfur] conditions of life calculated to bring
about [their] physical destruction in whole or in part" (UN Genocide
Convention), Khartoum now need only watch as the genocide accomplishes
itself. The obstruction of humanitarian access continues, but is hardly
necessary given the extreme insecurity throughout the vast rural areas,
created and sustained by Khartoum's Janjaweed militia allies. (See an
extremely compelling new report on "indicators of genocide," based on a
recent assessment mission to the Chad/Darfur border region, from
Physicians for Human Rights at: http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/;
discussed below.)

The rains have begun in earnest, with torrential downpours flattening
many makeshift shelters (BBC, June 23, 2004) and severing many more road
corridors; humanitarian capacity and access is woefully inadequate, and
fewer than 50% of those in need are receiving assistance (and this
percentage is trending lower); the more than 1.3 million people who have
been driven from their homes, and the 2.2 million people described by
the UN, the US, and the European Union as "war-affected" are dying at a
rate of over 5,000 per week according to data from the US Agency for
International Development (see:
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf);
global acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition rates are
soaring according to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
and other humanitarian organizations; deaths from water-borne diseases
are now rapidly accelerating, and malaria will soon take a huge toll as
well; the World Health Organization yesterday (June 22, 2004) issued an
alarming report on an outbreak of polio in western and central Africa
that could see a huge number of victims this fall in Darfur (the polio
"high season") without an increasingly unlikely "massive immunization
response"; some of the camps with humanitarian access are already
experiencing "catastrophic mortality rates," and the concentration camps
without international access are in effect extermination sites.

These are the instruments of Khartoum's war by genocide.

The racial animus in this vast maelstrom of human destruction remains
unambiguously clear. Khartoum continues to stoke racial and ethnic
hatred among the Janjaweed militia, and reports of the consequences
continue to stream in. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof,
recently back from his second assessment trip to the Darfur/Chad border,
has been emphatic in his description of Darfur as the site of genocide.
He reports today on the entirely characteristic and endlessly replicated
horror suffered by men, children, and women in Darfur:

"Hatum Atraman Bashir, a 35-year-old woman who is pregnant with the
baby of one of the 20 Janjaweed raiders who murdered her husband and
then gang-raped her. Ms. Bashir said that when the Janjaweed attacked
her village, Kornei, she fled with her seven children. But when she and
a few other mothers crept out to find food, the Janjaweed captured them
and tied them on the ground, spread-eagled, then gang-raped them.

"'They said, "You are black women, and you are our slaves," and they
also said other bad things that I cannot repeat,' she said, crying
softly. 'One of the women cried, and they killed her. Then they told me,
"If you cry, we will kill you, too."' Other women from Kornei confirm
her story and say that another woman who was gang-raped at that time had
her ears partly cut off as an added humiliation." (New York Times, June
23, 2004)

This is the context in which Kofi Annan is devoting energies to blaming
UN member nations for a catastrophe that will now, inevitably, claim
hundreds of thousands of lives---perhaps as many as 1 million. Such
efforts are all the more disgraceful because of his strong words on the
grim tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide (marked on April 7,
2004---over two and a half months ago). At the time, Annan explicitly
invoked Darfur in the ominous context of the Rwandan genocide, which
occurred while Annan was head of UN peacekeeping. For Darfur, he
promised a response that could include the use of military force if
needed. Now, having reneged on this clear promise of all necessary
action, Annan is seeking to avoid blame rather than articulating plans
for the necessary humanitarian intervention. Perhaps by way of further
self-exculpation, he claims that he has seen nothing that justifies a
finding of either genocide or "ethnic cleansing."

This claim is made despite the repeated and emphatic finding of "ethnic
cleansing" by UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, by
former UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, by the US
State Department and the US Agency for International Development, by
Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and many more (see
analysis of UN, US, human rights, and other findings of genocide and
"ethnic cleansing" in Darfur by this writer; June 18, 2004, available
upon request).

**************************

Despite Annan's profession of ignorance, the overwhelming evidence of
genocide in Darfur has compelled more and more knowledgeable observers
to declare this reality publicly and to make increasingly forceful
comparison to the Rwandan genocide. The highly authoritative Africa
Confidential explicitly referred to "continued genocide in Darfur"
(Africa Confidential, June 11, 2004; Volume 45, Number 1). In speaking
on June 18, 2004 to the question of whether Khartoum's conduct of war in
Darfur constitutes genocide, the also highly authoritative researchers
of Justice Africa declared unambiguously, explicitly referencing the
1948 UN Genocide Convention, "there is no doubt that the answer is yes"
("Sudan: Justice Africa Analysis,"
http://allafrica.com/stories/200406180714.html).

Representing the International Crisis Group in testimony before the US
Senate Foreign Relations Committee (June 15, 2004), John Prendergast
spoke of unfolding "evidence of conditions of genocide," and then
declared that "in the International Crisis Group's judgment, the
situation in Darfur more than satisfies the Genocide Convention's
conditions for multilateral preventive action" (testimony at:
http://allafrica.com/stories/200406160578.html).

The distinguished Physicians for Human Rights, which recently completed
an assessment mission along the Chad/Darfur border, today issued a
superbly authoritative and well-documented report, analyzing in detail
"indicators of genocide" in Darfur and calling for humanitarian
intervention:

"Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has gathered compelling information
that a genocidal process is unfolding in Darfur, Sudan. The terms of the
Genocide Convention commit parties to the Convention to act to prevent
when there are indicators that there is intent to destroy, physically or
mentally, in whole or in part, a group on the basis of ethnicity,
language, religion, or race [PHR here references the 1948 UN Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide]."

"In the case of Darfur, PHR has concluded that there is ample
indication that an organized campaign on the part of the Government of
Sudan is underway, targeting several million non-Arab Darfurian
inhabitants for removal from this region of the country, either by death
(most commonly through immediate violence or slow starvation) or forced
migration. Government of Sudan forces, allied with the Janjaweed
militia, have caused intense disruption and destruction of non-Arab
Darfurian land holdings, communities, families, and all means of
livelihood and necessities. By destroying, stealing, or preventing
access to food, water, and medicine, the Government of Sudan and
Janjaweed are creating conditions destined to destroy the non-Arab
Darfurians."
("Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Intervention to Save Lives in
Sudan: Field Team Compiles Indicators of Genocide," June 23, 2004; at
http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/)

The introductory summary concludes with these extraordinary words:

"Having reviewed PHR's findings, Justice Richard Goldstone, former
Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda and a PHR board member said, 'After all that we
know and have learned from the last decade's genocides and mass
atrocities, it is unconscionable for the world to witness these crimes
and fail to take steps to protect and save the lives of tens of
thousands of innocent men, women, and children. We owe it to the victims
of Darfur and potential victims to do everything we can to prevent and
account for what the PHR report establishes is genocide and reverse the
intolerable acts of forcing entire populations from their land,
destroying their livelihood and making it virtually impossible to
return.'"
("Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Intervention to Save Lives in
Sudan: Field Team Compiles Indicators of Genocide," June 23, 2004; at
http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/)

Susan Rice (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the
Clinton administration) and Gayle Smith (senior Africa advisor at the
National Security Council in the Clinton administration), humbled by the
memory of Rwanda, declared in a Washington Post op/ed of May 30, 2004:

"[Bush administrations efforts to bring peace between Khartoum and
southern Sudan] will have been wasted if we allow the Sudanese
government to continue committing crimes against humanity. Not only will
the international community have blood on its hands for failure to halt
another genocide, but we will have demonstrated to Khartoum that it can
continue to act with impunity against its own people. In that case, any
hard-won peace agreement will not be worth the paper it's signed on."
(Washington Post, May 30, 2004)

Justice Africa (Washington) launched a petition drive on June 15, 2004,
declaring:

"Africa Action today [June 15, 2004] states, 'the term "genocide" not
only captures the fundamental characteristics of the Khartoum
government's intent and actions in western Sudan, it also invokes
clear international obligations.' Africa Action notes that all permanent
members of the United Nations Security Council---including the US---are
parties to the 1948 Convention on Genocide, and are bound to prevent and
punish this crime under international law. Genocide is described as the
commission of acts with 'intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnic, racial or religious group.'"
[To sign the petition, visit Africa Action's website:
www.africaaction.org/]

*********************

Meanwhile, the Bush administration dithers in its own determination of
whether realities in Darfur rise to the level of genocide, and even
whether the evidence rises to a level obligating action to "prevent
genocide" under Article 1 of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention
and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This is so despite
overwhelming evidence from the ground, the very substantial results of
aerial and satellite reconnaissance, and a huge refugee population from
Darfur in Chad, with accounts that are terrifyingly similar.

At the same time, the John Kerry presidential campaign refuses to
answer the difficult political questions about humanitarian
intervention, and thus refuses to demonstrate what kind of leadership he
would show in a humanitarian crisis if elected President.

Despite all this, there are some signs of moral and political resolve
in Washington. Tragically, this is unlikely to translate into timely
action, as the countries of the European Union and Canada refuse to show
any comparable resolve.

A press conference was held today (June 23, 2004) by Africa Action,
members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and House Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi in Washington to urge the Bush administration to take more
action in halting genocide in Darfur. At 5pm today, all members of the
Congressional Black Caucus will sign the Africa Action petition, calling
on the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council to uphold their
obligations under the Genocide Convention.

As early as tomorrow, a bipartisan Congressional resolution will be
introduced, declaring that the atrocities of Darfur must be called
genocide; urging the Bush administration to call the atrocities being
committed in Darfur "by their rightful name: genocide"; reminding the
international community, including the United States government, of
obligations under the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide; calling on the
administration to do more to prevent genocide in Darfur, including (if
necessary) mounting a humanitarian intervention without UN
authorization; and demanding that the Bush administration target
sanctions against the members of the Khartoum regime responsible for
atrocities and genocide in Darfur.

Further, an extraordinary event will be held tomorrow in the Hall of
Witness at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: "Bearing Witness for
Darfur: Can We Prevent Genocide in Sudan?" (10:30am, June 24, 2004,
Washington, DC). The Committee on Conscience of the Holocaust Memorial
Museum has urgently reiterated its "genocide warning" for Sudan, with
particular emphasis on Darfur.

Two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Mike DeWine of
Ohio, today co-authored an op/ed in the Washington Post that declared:

"Imagine that we could rerun the events that occurred in Rwanda 10
years ago. With the certain knowledge of horrific events to come, would
the world's great nations again stand idle as 800,000 human beings faced
slaughter? If the recent expressions of grief and regret from world
leaders are any indication, the answer is no---this time things would be
very different. Yet, in 2004, just as in 1994, the international
community is on the verge of making a tragic mistake. Mass human
destruction is unfolding today in [Darfur,] Sudan, with the potential to
bring a death toll even higher than that in Rwanda." [ ]

"A survivor of the Rwandan genocide named Dancilla told her story to a
British humanitarian group. She said: 'If people forget what happened
when the U.N. left us, they will not learn. It might then happen again
-- maybe to someone else.'

All Americans should realize one terrible fact: It is happening again."
(Washington Post, June 23, 2004)

But without leadership and urgency from senior members of the Bush
administration, without an immediate move toward robust international
action---foregoing UN authorization if necessary---genocide will
"continue to happen...again."

The imperative of humanitarian intervention could not be clearer, even
as most of the world seems increasingly to have resolved upon the easy
course of uttering sanctimonious words, and a perverse determination not
to make any consequential finding concerning genocide in Darfur. Let us
be clear, then, on this most critical issue; for such determination
could not have greater consequence or urgency. A finding of genocide,
along with international acceptance of obligations under the Genocide
Convention, is likely all that offers Darfur even a glimmer of hope
within the darkness of unfathomable destruction and suffering.

This is the simple truth. It shields no one from blame.

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


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

In response to the question, 'Is the Darfur conflict genocide?' 

"In response to the question, 'Is the Darfur conflict genocide?' [,]
if we strictly apply the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, there is no
doubt that the answer is yes." (Justice Africa [UK], June 18, 2004]

Eric Reeves
June 21, 2004

Justice Africa (UK) has produced regular analyses of the "Prospects for Peace
in Sudan" for a number of years. Though occasionally misguided in assessing US
Sudan policy and politics, the organization has some of the world's strongest
Sudan research capacity, especially on northern Sudan. In speaking on June 18,
2004 to the question of whether Khartoum's conduct of war in Darfur constitutes
genocide, Justice Africa declared unambiguously, explicitly referencing the
1948 UN Genocide Convention;

"there is no doubt that the answer is yes"
("Sudan: Justice Africa Analysis,"
http://allafrica.com/stories/200406180714.html).

Contrary to the claims of some nongovernmental organizations, a few weakly
informed newspaper editorials, and the most recent press release from the John
Kerry presidential campaign, a determination concerning genocide in Darfur is of
very considerable significance---morally, politically, and legally (particularly
given the obligations of the various contracting parties to the 1948 UN
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including the
US).

For it is clear that effective UN Security Council action concerning the crisis
in Darfur---in particular the authorization of humanitarian intervention to
save hundreds of thousands of lives acutely at risk---is already far overdue, and
is daily less likely. Since the only alternative is multilateral humanitarian
intervention without UN auspices, such intervention must have some clearly
established basis in international law and treaty.

Certainly the question here can't be about the urgent necessity of such
humanitarian intervention, which must provide immediate protection to over 1.3 million
displaced civilian persons in Darfur and the Chad border area, especially those
in concentrations camps. Intervention must also secure adequate transport
capacity and corridors for urgently needed food, in massive quantities, as well as
medical supplies. The number of war-affected persons is 2.2 million and
growing. Shelter materials, water purification, and other humanitarian materials are
also in desperately short supply. This will be a large and difficult
undertaking, and will require a substantial commitment of military protection forces.

Given the political realities that have followed in the wake of the US war in
Iraq, and the shameful moral inertia of the UN Security Council, it is simply
wrong to suggest that a finding on the question of genocide is inconsequential or
inappropriately timed. On the contrary, it is distinctly the most credible and
urgent basis for the humanitarian intervention that has heretofore been only
implicitly recognized in calls for UN authorization under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter (this is the basis for forceful UN military intervention). To ignore
such conspicuous political realities reflects either a deep misunderstanding of
the nature of the Darfur crisis or internal institutional and organizational
politics---or sheer moral diffidence.

Certainly Kofi Annan's declaration of June 17, 2004 that he had seen no report
that suggested to him that the realities in Darfur reflect either genocide or
"ethnic cleansing" is a perfect illustration. Annan is either ignorant or
capitulating before UN Security Council politics or expediently maneuvering to avoid
blame. Here it should be said that UN responsibility must be shared, not only
by Annan and a Security Council that refuses to act in meaningful fashion, but
by those in the international organization that have perversely underestimated
the extent of the crisis (the UN High Commission for Refugees in Chad comes
immediately to mind), as well as other UN political figures in New York
headquarters. Kieran Prendergast, United Nations Under-secretary for Political Affairs and
Kofi Annan's political first-in-command, has been witheringly destructive of
possible UN action behind the scenes in New York.

This professional pessimist, like his UK partner in acquiesce Alan Goulty,
refuses to countenance even discussion of humanitarian intervention. Prendergast
claims the world isn't ready for such intervention, even as such pronouncements
of course make appropriate action less likely. Goulty (UK special Sudan envoy)
has callously declared: "[Humanitarian intervention in Darfur] would be very
expensive, fraught with difficulties and hard to set up in a hurry" (The
Telegraph [UK], May 31, 2004)---as if the difficulty of intervention trumped the moral
obligations to prevent genocide.

Moreover, various UN Security Council members are behaving with primary
interests in Sudan that are clearly not the people of Darfur. As yet another superbly
detailed and informed Washington Post editorial suggests ("As Genocide
Unfolds," June 20, 2004):

"China and France both have oil investments in Sudan and do not wish to
alienate the government; Russia and some non-permanent members of the Security Council
such as Pakistan view a [robust UN] resolution as an infringement of
sovereignty. In ordinary times, the United States might be able to prod these countries
in the right direction. But the Bush administration is devoting its very
limited diplomatic capital to Iraq, and there is little left for Darfur. That is
why the UN resolution may take weeks." (Washington Post, June 20, 2004)

But Darfur doesn't have weeks, not with the full rainy season beginning,
overland transport capacity already severely curtailed, and Khartoum continuing to
impede humanitarian access. Hundreds of civilians are now dying daily, as the
effects of acute malnutrition, especially among children, begin to bite deeper
into the displaced populations of displaced (see below). At least 80,000 have
already died, and conditions by all accounts continue to deteriorate rapidly,
with grossly inadequate pre-positioned food and medical supplies. Water-borne
diseases are now beginning to explode in the camps, which will soon be awash in
human excrement.

This is a moment that requires strong international leadership. US Secretary
of State Colin Powell declared on June 11, 2004 that the US is already engaged
in a legal determination of whether what is now officially described as "ethnic
cleansing" rises to the level of genocide (New York Times, June 12, 2004). But
ten days later there has been no further announcement other than that the legal
determination is continuing. Given the extreme urgency of the situation, and
the rising daily mortality rate, this is already too long. The legal issues
have been vetted before, and the factual evidence is all too comprehensive. A
determination of genocide cannot be withheld for political reasons---to ascertain,
for example, where UN political chips may fall. This, of all legal
determinations, must be made strictly on its merits---and in the very near term.

But this is also a moment for the campaign of Senator John Kerry to demonstrate
leadership, and to give American voters and the world as a whole a sense of how
the senator would respond as president to an urgent international crisis.
Yesterday's press release (June 20, 2004) continues a Kerry policy on Darfur of
excessive caution, even disingenuousness. The release declared: "Now is not the
time to debate whether to call this catastrophe a genocide. Now is the time for
swift and strong action."

But again, given the political context for any decision concerning humanitarian
intervention, and given the overwhelming evidence at hand, now is precisely the
time to make a determination about genocide. The Kerry campaign must know how
unlikely UN action is: would Senator Kerry as President be prepared to act
without UN authorization? At the very least Senator Kerry must declare whether he
would be prepared to act under the obligations of Article 1 of the Genocide
Convention to "prevent genocide," which of course would not require a
determination that genocide is actually occurring, but only that it is clearly threatened.
Nothing has been articulated that confronts the real difficulties of US
leadership in this difficult international political situation.

The Kerry campaign does speak of the need to "be ready to take additional
measures to pressure the Sudanese government," but without specifying what these
"additional measures" are. The Khartoum regime is thoroughly familiar with such
vague and typically empty threats. This does nothing to help the people of
Darfur, however well it may politically position candidate Kerry on this issue.

Darfur is not, of course, an exclusively American or UN responsibility. The
countries of the European Union and Canada have so far been largely worthless in
moving toward decisive action to save hundreds of thousands of lives; indeed,
Great Britain has done a great deal to retard such movement.

*********

How does such political failure play out in the context of current military
developments in Darfur? The answer could hardly be more grim. For while some may
be encouraged by yesterday's widely reported announcement from National Islamic
Front president Omer Beshir, declaring in Khartoum that the regime's army will
now engage in a campaign to disarm the Janjaweed militias, closer consideration
gives reason for deep concern:

"President Omar el-Bashir said in a statement Saturday said he was ordering a
'complete mobilization' of all Sudanese army and security forces to disarm all
Darfur's warring parties, including the janjaweed---nomadic Arab militia that
the government has been accused of supporting." (Associated Press, June 20, 2004)

But for months the Janjaweed have been increasingly incorporated into or moved
within the ambit of Khartoum's regular forces in Darfur (this has been reported
by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the US State Department, the
International Crisis Group, and many others). The Janjaweed have been armed by
Khartoum, protected by Khartoum, given uniforms and provisions by Khartoum, and
taken orders from Khartoum. For its part, the Janjaweed have been the primary
instrument of human destruction. Are we to believe that this will change with a
simple pronouncement, under duress, by Beshir?

Let us recall that it was Beshir who in early February 2004 shamelessly lied
about Darfur, brazenly declaring that the military situation was "fully under
control." Months of intervening military violence, directed primarily against
civilians, proves how profound Beshir's lie was.

As a further measure of the integrity of pronouncements from Khartoum on the
military state of affairs in Darfur, we should recall recent pronouncements from
NIF Vice President Ali Osman Taha:

"Taha accused the international media of deliberately magnifying the scale of
the humanitarian problem in the region. He also claimed that the conflict was
fabricated by the West." (Agence France-Presse [Cairo], June 16, 2004)]

This regime lies repeatedly, shamelessly, egregiously---and without
consequence. Why, then, should it not lie now and simply say what the international
community wishes to hear---and thereby be relieved from any responsibility to act
meaningfully? But more than simply a lie, Beshir's statement is almost certainly
an effort to conceal a major new offensive in Darfur. This would be a
full-scale response to realities reflected in a much less widely reported statement
yesterday from one of the two main insurgency movements in Darfur, the Sudan
Liberation Movement/Army (unrelated to the southern SPLM/A):

"One of the two main rebel groups in Sudan's western region of Darfur said on
Sunday it had extended its control to areas abandoned by government forces since
a cease-fire agreement signed in April. The official of the rebel Sudan
Liberation Movement (SLM), who asked not to be named because he is based in the
Sudanese capital Khartoum, said the movement had armed and trained new supporters in
areas previously outside its control.

"'There are areas in which there is no government presence but in which we have
supporters, so we have moved in to provide protection for these supporters,' he
told Reuters. 'The areas include Geraida and Labadu towns in South Darfur state
and Kurma and Shingul Tubay in North Darfur.'

"The government says the April 8 cease-fire banned moving forces into new areas
and that the aim of a government campaign to disarm the rebels is to restore
the April status quo. The SLM official, denying it was violating the truce, said
the group was partly responding to government forces activities.

"'We are not moving forces. People are joining up because of what the
government is doing to them. We are only arming and training them and they are
establishing garrisons in their villages and towns.' He said about 300 villagers joined
up his group after government forces bombed Tabit in Northern Darfur state,
enabling the SLM to take control of Shingul Tubay." (Reuters, June 20, 2004)

Since Khartoum's continued use of its aerial military assets after the April 8
cease-fire has been repeatedly confirmed, and since bombing efforts are so
often associated with continuing Janjaweed attacks on villages, it is hardly
surprising that the insurgency campaign is strengthening in isolated and threatened
rural areas. These consolidations of military resistance, not the Janjaweed,
will be the real targets of Beshir's "complete mobilization of all Sudanese army
and security forces." Indeed, this offensive will certainly make full and
brutal use of the Janjaweed militia allies. As the authoritative Justice Africa
noted in its recent analysis, the campaign in Darfur is distinguished by the
"ruthlessness with which the security elite at the heart of the Government of Sudan
have operated, and their readiness to turn Darfur into an ethics-free zone"
("Sudan: Justice Africa Analysis,"
http://allafrica.com/stories/200406180714.html).

Since the only force presently monitoring the merely notional April 8, 2004
cease-fire (long since in tatters) is a very small group of African Union
monitors, there is nothing to prevent Khartoum from following such a strategy in the
vast majority of Darfur (an area the size of France) that remains inaccessible to
international humanitarian workers, news reporters, and the monitoring force
itself. Inexcusably, the international community seems content with this
absurdly small force, which will grow to only 120, and this only by the end of July.
It is completely inadequate to the task at hand, a mere fig-leaf for absence of
meaningful monitoring. (Today's EU announcement that it may send 6-9 observers
[Reuters, June 21, 2004] does nothing to change this picture of absurd
inadequacy.)

Unsurprisingly, the most recent fact sheet from the US Agency for International
Development "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency" (June 18, 2004) chronicles the
military violence that has been continuing even before Beshir's announcement:

"In north Darfur, during the week of June 14, the UN reported clashes involving
the Jingaweit militias and the SLM/A, in particular west of El Fasher [capital
of North Darfur]. Ongoing attacks and harassment of civilians have also been
reported in Debatuga, Senahaye, and El Halif. Clashes between the Jingaweit and
the SLM/A were also reported south of El Fasher along the road to Nyala
[capital of South Darfur]."

"According to UN reports, increasing fighting in South Darfur from June 10 to
16 has resulted in higher numbers of Internally Displaced Persons. Jingaweit
militia attacks were reported in at least 18 villages between 8 and 45 kilometers
northwest of Nyala, and near Mallam."
(Fact Sheet #10 from the US Agency for International Development
"Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 18, 2004)

These are obviously extremely limited views of the ongoing violence in Darfur,
into which Khartoum has now justified the intrusion of large-scale activities
by its regular military forces, which had been at least partially constrained
previously by the April 8 cease-fire. All that can halt this continuing
violence, and allow for civilians to feel some measure of security, is humanitarian
intervention that includes a large and robust military force.

*************

In ways that have been predicted now for months, the humanitarian situation
continues to deteriorate rapidly. This is largely because of Khartoum's past and
ongoing deliberate impeding of humanitarian access. Humanitarian and other
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continue to be confronted by delays and a
determined policy of obstructionism on Khartoum's part:

"NGOs continue to face delays in obtaining visas for their international
technical staff. Some NGO staff members have been waiting for more than eight weeks
for visas without any progress. [The US Agency for International Development]
is concerned that this problem continues to undermine NGO capacity and hamper
the international community's ability to meet the needs of Internally Displaced
Persons throughout Darfur."
(Fact Sheet #10 from the US Agency for International Development
"Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 18, 2004)

The failure of the international humanitarian community to surmount Khartoum's
obstructionism is noted with deep frustration in a press release today (June
21, 2004) from Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),
Paris/Khartoum:

"[Darfur's] displaced have been entirely dependent on external aid for several
months, but the assistance necessary for them to survive has not materialized.
Already, 200 people die in Mornay every month, and there is nothing to indicate
that assistance will arrive in time or in sufficient quantities to avoid a
massive human catastrophe."

A present mortality rate of 200 per month in the Mornay camp alone---and this
is a camp with "humanitarian access." There are now scores of camps, most
without humanitarian access; the latter have become de facto concentration camps,
defined by imprisonment and extermination through starvation and lack of water
and sanitary facilities. The aggregate daily mortality rate for all of Darfur is
now almost certainly in excess of 500 human beings, highly disproportionately
children. Moreover, as MSF reports, even in camps for the displaced where there
is "access," the risks to civilians remain inordinate:

"The same militias who carried out the initial attacks now control the camp's
periphery, virtually imprisoning people who live in constant fear. Men risk
being killed if they leave, and women have been beaten and raped looking for food
and other essential items outside the camp. In the past nine weeks, MSF medical
teams have treated 132 victims of such violence."
(Press release from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),
June 21, 2004 [Paris/Khartoum])

This is a glimpse from a camp with humanitarian "access"; for an understanding
of how much worse conditions are in camps without "access," see analysis of the
Kailek concentration camp by this writer ("African Auschwitz: The Concentration
Camps of Darfur," May 12, 2004; available upon request).

Nutritional surveys completed by other humanitarian organizations with some
access in Darfur continue to report shockingly high and growing Global Acute
Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rates. For example in the
Abu Shouk camp for Internally Displaced Persons in North Darfur, the GAM is 39%
and the SAM is 10% (a GAM rate of 15% is considered the "emergency threshold";
approximately a third of all those in the SAM category will die).
(Fact Sheet #10 from the US Agency for International Development
"Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 18, 2004)

*************

With remorseless logic, Darfur's genocide continues to accomplish
itself---hidden by euphemism, diffidence, callous "Realpolitik," and unforgivable ignorance.
The mortality rate will soon reach to 1,000 innocent human beings per day, and
will continue to soar, reaching in excess of 4,000 per day by December. The
robust humanitarian intervention that can mitigate this massive human destruction
is nowhere in sight, and indeed seems only to recede as a politically and
logistically viable enterprise.

Eventually those who now say that a genocide determination does not matter will
be right. The dying will at long last end, with perhaps a million or more dead
from famine, disease, and violence. For the dead and the bereft, calling it
genocide or an "accident of history" will not matter---not in the slightest. At
this future moment, such a "determination" will matter only as a means for
history to remind us how badly we failed, again, in refusing to confront genocide
honestly.

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

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?