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Thursday, June 09, 2005

3.5 Million Darfuris Need Food According to the UN World Food Program; 

They cannot be fed with investigations by the International Criminal Court

Eric Reeves
June 8, 2005

The mismatch between humanitarian capacity and human need grows more deadly by
the day in Darfur. The most recent warnings of this mismatch come in a June 2,
2005 announcement from the UN's World Food Program (WFP): "the number of people
in Sudan's Darfur region who need food has jumped to 3.5 million---more than
half the population---as rural families join refugees in the hunger line, the UN
said on Thursday [June 2, 2005]" (Reuters, June 2, 2005). Holdbrook Arthur,
regional director for WFP in East and Central Africa, bluntly declared: "We are
talking about 3.5 million, including the local population who have lost or are
dramatically losing their livelihood because of insecurity." Jamie Wickens,
WFP's associate director of operations, declared: "The rural population is
becoming more and more food insecure. The are in the same situation as internally
displaced persons" (Reuters, June 2, 2005).

The figure of 3.5 million represents a huge and unanticipated increase from the
WFP projected estimate of 2.8 million people made at the beginning of the
current year. Indeed, the UN's Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 (the most recent,
representing assessments as of May 1, 2005) speaks of "WFP plans to scale up
operations targeting 3.25 million (worst-case scenario) by August 2005" (page 9).
But even in December/January there was no evidence of the tonnage capacity
required for such a vast population: 2.8 million people require almost 50,000
metric tons of food per month (humanitarian logisticians estimate 17,000 metric tons
of food per month per million of population in need). Capacity in Darfur has
been in the range of 30,000-35,000 metric tons per month over the past half
year.

3.5 million people represent a requirement of almost 60,000 metric tons of food
per month. And this does not include critical non-food items (medical
supplies, shelter, water purification equipment, blankets, cooking fuel). Nor does
this figure of 3.5 million include the approximately 200,000 refugees in eastern
Chad. Some people in this huge population are not completely without food
resources, but food scarcity is increasing rapidly after two failed harvests (Darfur
Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14] speaks of "a near total crop failure" in
2004). Moreover, inflation in food prices puts food beyond the financial reach
of more and more non-displaced persons, even as rural populations are unable to
re-engage in agricultural production because of extreme insecurity.

Malnutrition rates are rising alarmingly in some locations, and the traditional
"food gap" has only just begun. DHP 14 notes that:

"Several nutrition surveys conducted in various parts of the region in January
and February resulted in Global Acute Malnutrition rates between 4.9% and 10%.
In March and April these rates increased to 14% to 25%."

Even assuming a "conflict-affected" population of 2.7 million (the figure cited
in this most recent UN Profile), 45% of the population is without access to
clean water, a rapidly growing health crisis in itself; and almost one third of
the camp populations are without adequate sanitary facilities, a hugely
threatening issue in the rainy season.

In short, there is an enormous deficit in humanitarian delivery capacity, as
well as a disgraceful shortfall in international funding, and an impending
logistical nightmare with the early onset of seasonal rains. Human mortality among
this population, clearly at acute risk, will be staggering in the coming months.

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT AND SECURITY IN DARFUR

Much has been made of the June 6, 2005 announcement by the International
Criminal Court that investigation of Darfur atrocities has commenced (the UN Security
Council has referred violations of international law occurring in Darfur to the
ICC). But as important as this may be as a matter of principle and
international law---and as a long-term deterrent to war crimes, crimes against humanity,
and genocide---the announcement does nothing to change the situation on the
ground in Darfur.

Indeed, as a number of humanitarian organizations have reported, the ICC
referral has only heightened security concerns in the theater of operations.
Moreover, there has been a recent and significant increase in Khartoum's harassment of
humanitarian workers and operations, including last week's arrest of two senior
officials of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the
organization with the largest and most important presence in Darfur.

All this comes at a time when the first heavy rains of the season have been
reported in West Darfur, with evidence strongly suggesting a generally early
arrival of the seasonal rains. Logistical difficulties will only increase over the
next four months of increasingly disabling rainfall. The modest
pre-positioning of food and non-food items throughout Darfur, and recent improvements in
sanitary facilities and disease control, will be overwhelmed by transport
difficulties, deterioration of sanitary conditions within the camps, and the continuing
influx of rural populations drawn to the camps by hunger and the desperate need
for security.

There were no major outbreaks of cholera or dysentery last rainy season (2004),
with less than half the current camp population. It is unlikely that the
displaced people of Darfur will be so fortunate this season. Moreover, much of the
population is more distressed than last year, with those most recently arriving
in the camps often the weakest and most malnourished. Malaria, measles,
meningitis, and a stubborn presence of Hepatitis E are only some of the health
threats that loom ever closer.

Extreme insecurity remains the fundamental issue constraining humanitarian
capacity, and though the causes of this insecurity are now more diffuse, and
increasingly the responsibility of the insurgency movements, it remains the case that
the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum has done nothing to improve
security, either in the camps or in rural areas. US Deputy Secretary of State
Robert Zoellick has expediently declared his agnosticism about Khartoum's role
in directing the Janjaweed militia forces it has so clearly supported for over
two years: "[Zoellick] said it was hard to say whether the pro-government
militia [the Janjaweed] were still receiving instruction from Khartoum" (Associated
Press [dateline: al-Fasher], June 3, 2005). This flies in the face of all
evidence, and an assessment offered less than a month ago by a senior UN official:

"Pro-government Arab fighters are still targeting civilians in Sudan's Darfur
region and rape, kidnapping and banditry actually increased in April, [Hedi
Annabi, UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping] told the Security Council
on Thursday [May 12, 2005]." (Reuters, May 12, 2005)

Khartoum's "instructions" to attack the non-Arab or African tribal populations
of Darfur are in fact standing orders, and have been for two years. There is
no need to reiterate the "instructions" contained in a document leaked by
African Union personnel to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times in February of this
year (Kristof had the document vetted by a number of Sudan experts, all of whom
found it authentic):

"The [AU] archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a
janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August
[2004], the document calls for the 'execution of all directives from the president
of the republic' and is directed to regional commanders and security officials.
'Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes,' the
document urges. It encourages 'killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing
people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from
Darfur.'" (New York Times, February 23, 2005)

If we are in any doubt about who these "regional commanders" are or how clearly
they define the activities of the Janjaweed, we need only recall another
extraordinary set of documents, secured by Human Rights Watch last July:

"Human Rights Watch said it had obtained confidential documents from the
civilian administration in Darfur that implicate high-ranking government officials in
a policy of militia support. 'It's absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese
government forces and the militias---they are one,' said Peter Takirambudde,
executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. 'These documents show
that militia activity has not just been condoned, it's been specifically
supported by Sudan government officials.'"

"Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and government-backed
militias are responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and 'ethnic
cleansing' involving aerial and ground attacks on civilians of the same ethnicity
as members of two rebel groups in Darfur." (Human Rights Watch, July 20, 2004)

The burden of proof is clearly on those who would argue that Khartoum has made
any effort to disarm or control the Janjaweed, as "demanded" by the UN Security
Council:

"[The UN Security Council] demands that the government of Sudan fulfill its
commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice
Janjaweed leaders and their associates who have incited and carried out human
rights and international law violations and other atrocities." (UN Security
Council Resolution 1556, July 30, 2005)

Certainly Janjaweed attacks continue in Darfur, as the Sudan Organization
Against Torture reports today (June 8, 2005):

"On 26 May 2005, armed militias on camels, reportedly the Janjaweed militias
wearing military uniform, attacked Um Dom village in Ishmael area, Nyala
province, South Darfur state, wounding at least two men. The militias looted
approximately 185 livestock." (SOAT, Human Rights Alert: June 8, 2005)

What is represented by Zoellick's agnosticism about the ongoing relation
between Khartoum and the Janjaweed is impotence---the refusal to acknowledge that the
US and its European allies are finally unwilling to force Khartoum to comply
with the singular UN Security Council "demand" of note. Khartoum for its part,
having openly flouted the UN "demand" for months, is now convinced that are no
consequences for its intransigence. Zoellick, despite his professed
agnosticism, may find it politically useful to declare that:

"'we [the US] are sending a very strong message to the government of Sudan
that we want them to stop the militias. They have a responsibility...and we also
want them to move to disarm the militias,' Zoellick told reporters in
el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state." (Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2005)

But Khartoum hears this only as more words, of precisely the sort the regime
has ignored without consequence for almost a year.

HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS

Khartoum's refusal to disarm or control the Janjaweed---coupled with increasing
fragmentation among the insurgency groups and a dramatic increase in
opportunistic banditry (the product of a general climate of impunity that the Janjaweed
has left in its broad and violent wake)---ensures that insecurity remains the
major obstacle to humanitarian relief operations and efforts to expand capacity.
One response has been the increased use of very expensive air transport for
food and other items that could be trucked into and within Darfur if there were
not such danger attending overland routes. Thus the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) recently announced a massive increase in the use of air
transport:

"The [ICRC] said Saturday it had begun airlifting food supplies to refugees in
the violence-wracked Darfur region, saying a rising number of attacks on aid
convoys made it too risky to move the food by road."

"[The ICRC said] the airlift had been prompted by dwindling food supplies and
the growing number of people dependent on food aid. 'This situation is
underscored by increasing insecurity on the roads from Khartoum to Darfur where attacks
on aid convoys are on the increase.'" (AP, June 4, 2005)

And in an ominous moment of honesty, the ICRC spoke for international aid
efforts in Darfur generally, at least with currently prevailing insecurity:

"'We cannot do more, we are reaching our limit logistically,' [Dominik
Stillhart, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan for the past two years,] said."
(Reuters, June 2, 2005)

Other signs of the need to rely on air transport---generally about five times
more expensive than overland trucking---come from the UN's World Food Program
(WFP), which is already flying 5,000 metric tons of food per month from Libya
into Darfur. Reuters reports on WFP's appeal for additional funds for Darfur food
aid:

"Its massive aid operation, hit by a chronic lack of trucks and attacks on its
land convoys, will also start flying mobile teams to remote areas to distribute
rations, [WFP regional director for East and Central Africa Holdbrook] Arthur
said." (Reuters, June 2, 2005)

This is clearly in anticipation of the need to deliver much more food by
airdrop in the coming months, which will be necessary given the unrelenting
insecurity on the ground. A UN "sit rep" of June 2, 2005 suggests the role of Khartoum
and the Janjaweed in debilitating attacks on trucking:

"North Darfur: on 1 June [2005], three WFP-contracted trucks were stopped 10
kilometers south of Malha by three armed men in uniform. The occupants of the
trucks were robbed of their personal belongings and allowed to continue."

The most recent UN Joint Logistics Committee Darfur Bulletin (#62, June 7,
2005) reports that the obstruction of major overland transport routes in South
Darfur (the transport hub for Darfur) continues:

"[UN security personnel] continue to assess the three main truck routes for UN
movement. The routes Nyala-Manawashi-Fasher;
Nyala-Kass-Nertitie-Zallingi-Geneina; and Nyala-Labado-Muhajaria-Ed Daen routes remain "NO GO."

Khartoum has also stepped up its obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of
humanitarian workers and operations. Even after signaling that MSF personnel
would not be prosecuted, Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail was unapologetic for the
arrests of the two senior MSF workers in Darfur, and clearly suggested that
other organizations would be held "accountable":

"Striking an unapologetic note after the arrest of two foreign aid workers,
Sudan's foreign minister Wednesday warned international organizations not to
meddle in the country's affairs or tarnish its image. 'Organizations operating in
Sudan should observe the country's national security in their dealings and they
should not be seen to tarnish Sudan's image through issuance of false
information,' Ismail said [alluding to the charges against MSF because of their
clinically authoritative report on rape in Darfur]."

"'We would like to see this episode [the arrest of MSF workers] ending with a
confirmation of Sudan's sovereignty and independence, and an end to all attempts
seeking to smear or tarnish the image of Sudan by some organizations,' Ismail
said" (AP, June 1, 2005)

Khartoum's brazen contempt for humanitarian efforts is also reflected in
outrageous new charges for air transport of relief supplies:

"The Sudan Civil Aviation Authority has started imposing landing, navigation,
parking and security charges in the amount of approximately [$1,710 USD] per
flight for an IL-76, with varying rates for other aircraft. These charges were
imposed without advance notice in the Darfurs on aircraft chartered by [the US
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance] to deliver humanitarian supplies, and on UN
World Food Program aircraft flying in from Chad." (UN Joint Logistics Committee
Darfur Bulletin, #62, June 7, 2005)

Khartoum also continues to obstruct the free passage of humanitarian supplies
through Port Sudan (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14], page 10).
And most significantly, Khartoum is clearly behind and (multiple intelligence
sources indicate) responsible for a sharp uptick in attacks against humanitarian
workers and convoys. DHP 14 notes that "the specific targeting [of humanitarian
convoys that] is unprecedented and a development of utmost concern" (page 4).

It is important to bear in mind that as much as violence and insecurity affect
humanitarian operations, and thus threaten the greatest number of lives,
violence and official harassment directed against individual Darfuris continues on a
terrifying scale as well. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reports
recently from Kalma camp (South Darfur):

"Refugees fleeing to Kalma from a village called Saleya described how nine boys
were seized by the janjaweed, stripped naked and tied up, their noses and ears
cut off and their eyes gouged out. They were then shot dead and left near a
public well. Nearby villagers got the message and fled."

"Aid workers report that in another village, the janjaweed recently castrated a
10-year-old boy, apparently to terrorize local people and drive them away."
(New York Times [dateline: Kalma camp, South Darfur], June 7, 2005)

Other means are more subtle, but no less deadly. Kristof was able to file an
earlier dispatch from the Kalma area, noting the representative difficulties
facing a woman from one of Darfur's African tribal groups, "Magboula." She had
earlier been gang-raped by eight Janjaweed before making it to Kalma camp. But as
Kristof discovered,

"the Sudanese government is blocking new arrivals like her from getting
registered, which means they can't get food and tents. So Magboula is getting no
rations and is living with her children under a straw mat on a few sticks. [A] few
days ago, Abdul Hani, Magboula's baby, died." (New York Times, May 31, 2005)

There are countless "Magboula's" struggling against the genocidal ambitions of
Khartoum and its murderous Janjaweed allies. DHP 14 speaks of "systematic
sexual assaults [that] continue unabated in and around Internally Displaced Persons
gatherings, suggesting that continued international pressure and Government of
Sudan pledges to end impunity and violations have had only a very limited
effect" (page 4).

Large numbers of displaced Darfuris continue to be victims of Khartoum's policy
of forced expulsions and deportment from camps, a policy reported by many
humanitarian organizations, though typically not for attribution for fear of
retaliation by regime officials. Those forced to leave the relative security of the
camps for their former villages or other sites, without food or security, are at
extreme risk of starvation and Janjaweed attack. Despite vigorous protests
from the international community, Khartoum continues with this savagely callous
policy.

KHARTOUM'S RESPONSE TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Though a great deal of hope has been expressed in the wake of the June 6, 2005
announcement that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has begun its
investigation of violations of international law in Darfur, the Khartoum
regime---several of whose senior members are on the list of 51 names referred to the
ICC---has been consistently and adamantly contemptuous, indeed threatening. In the
domestic press the comments have been particularly strenuous:

"Sudan stressed on Monday [June 6, 2005] that a probe by the ICC into alleged
war crimes in Darfur could torpedo efforts to achieve peace in the country. 'It
is surprising that the ICC declaration was made while a government delegation
is preparing to head to Abuja for talks with rebels on Friday to seek a
political settlement,' said Najeeb el-Kheir Abdu-el-Wahab, minister of state of the
Foreign Ministry. He said such a move by the ICC could poison the atmosphere for
the talks and send a wrong signal to rebels." (al-Sahafa Paper, UN Daily Press
Review, June 7, 2005)

The message is clear: any aggressive move toward prosecution by the ICC will
lead Khartoum to stall on the diplomatic front, even as it is clear to all that
only a negotiated settlement provides a long-term solution to Darfur's
catastrophe.

Officially, and for the international community, the regime is just as adamant:

"Also Wednesday [June 8, 2005], the government gave its first Cabinet-level
response to this week's decision by the ICC to begin investigating war crimes in
Darfur, as the UN Security Council had mandated it to do. 'Our decision not to
hand any Sudanese national for trial outside the country remains valid and has
not changed,' Justice Minister Ali Karti was quoted as saying by the official
Sudan Media Center." (AP, June 8, 2005)

None of this is new of course: senior members of the NIF regime have for weeks
been saying as much. What the ICC announcement has done is make clearer
Khartoum's determination, as well as the ways in which the regime might undermine ICC
efforts:

"'There are a number of things [the Khartoum regime] can do,' one lawyer at the
court here said. 'Khartoum officials cannot stop the process, but they can
stall and buy time.'" (New York Times [dateline: The Hague], June 7, 2005)

The New York Times dispatch concludes:

"Prosecutors can act only after a government shows itself unwilling or unable
to conduct credible trials in its own courts. If Sudan goes through with its
own trials, international prosecutors would be forced to take time to show that
those trials were not credible. Proceedings would be delayed further if they
have to prove a government cover-up or that officials were shielding crucial
suspects."

We catch a glimpse of Khartoum's strategy in forestalling the workings of the
Court in a Reuters dispatch:

"'If [the ICC investigators] want to observe what is going on from the ICC and
others, they are welcome (but) if they want to start trials of the Sudanese
this is not acceptable,' Majzoub al-Khalifa, the head of the government's Darfur
talks team, said. 'The investigation is part of the trial system.'" (Reuters,
June 6, 2005)

In other words, if the "investigation is part of the trial system", and ICC
trials of Sudanese are "unacceptable," the investigations will ultimately be
regarded as "unacceptable," and impeded and frustrated by Khartoum in all the ways
it has perfected not just in Darfur but in other crisis areas of Sudan.

THE REFUSAL TO INTERNATIONALIZE THE DARFUR CRISIS

Khartoum's opposition to ICC investigation and prosecution derives in large
measure from the fact that senior regime officials are among those under sealed
"indictment" in The Hague. Given the regime's chains of command and the lines of
authority and reporting, as authoritatively detailed by the UN Commission of
Inquiry, we may be sure that those indicted include First Vice President Ali
Osman Taha (with primary responsibility for Darfur policy), NIF head of Security
and Intelligence, Saleh 'Gosh' (the genocidaire recently flown to Washington, DC
by the CIA for discussions of international terrorism), and Interior Minister
Abdel Rahmin Mohamed Hussein (architect of the policy of forcible returns and
expulsions in Darfur).

But beyond the regime's powerful and ruthless instincts for self-preservation
lies a calculated policy of minimizing the international presence in Darfur.
This policy is animated by the belief that if such presence can be attenuated,
and eventually eliminated, there will be a corresponding diminishment of
international attention and pressure on the regime. Thus the conspicuous effort to
keep journalists and human rights reporters out of Darfur, the harassment and
sanctioned attacks on humanitarian convoys and workers, and the adamant refusal to
countenance troops or personnel not part of the African Union.

The AU for its part, along with the Arab League, has done all too much to
assist Khartoum in resisting the necessary international response. The AU waited an
unconscionably long time before admitting it did not have the resources to
deploy sufficient troops, police, and other personnel to Darfur---and still refuses
to recognize that it cannot provide sufficient numbers. Moreover, the 7,500
figure, planned for deployment by September, is still woefully inadequate to the
critical security needs of the region. As the International Crisis Group has
recently argued:

"The AU may have the best will in the world, but with the kind of support now
on offer it is simply not able to do what is necessary, with the requisite
urgency, to prevent tens of thousands more lives from being lost. Thus far, in an
understandable effort to maintain the mission's African face, the AU and its
international partners have been very clear about not wanting to put Western
troops on the ground. Yet if all other military protection options fail, as it looks
like they will, a multinational intervention force may be needed to fill the
gap until the AU can take up the entire task." (Gareth Evans, President of the
International Crisis Group, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005)

As the ICG's Evans also notes, the AU still has not secured an adequate mandate
for its operations in Darfur. It has been unwilling or unable to demand of
Khartoum a mandate for civilian protection, and thus officially remains a
"monitoring" presence in Darfur. Compounding the difficulty of securing a robust
international response, guided by an appropriate mandate, are key members of the
African Union---notably Nigeria, Egypt, and Libya---that have insisted Darfur is
an "Africa only" problem.

Egypt and Libya are also part of the Arab League, which is even more vicious in
its expedient effort to reject international efforts to halt genocide. Amr
Mussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and now head of the Arab League, offers a
chilling example of a refusal to recognize the ethnic character of human
destruction in Darfur, despite overwhelming evidence on this issue from scores of
human rights reports and other analyses and dispatches from the ground:

"'I cannot see any justification for concentration on differences between the
Arab and African tribes in Darfur,' [Mussa] commented. 'We reject plans for
driving a wedge between these two groups of tribes who are now mingling and
intermarrying with each other,' Mussa added." (Agence France-Presse, June 4, 2005)

If we carefully parse the meaning of this deeply and cruelly disingenuous
description of the Darfur conflict, we must see that what Mussa and the Arab League
(and thus Egypt) are saying is that "ethnic conflict in Darfur is a contrivance
of Western nations"; in fact, Mussa suggests, there is nothing but ethnic
harmony ("mingling" and "intermarrying"), and if there is presently some unpleasant
violence and deprivation, this does not require international intervention,
which would be the equivalent of "driving a wedge" between happily "mingling" and
"intermarrying" tribal groups. In short, Mussa is warning that any
internationalizing of the Darfur crisis will be viewed by the Arab League and Egypt as an
infringement on their hegemonic interests in Sudan.

Clearly Mussa doesn't care about the truth, or reports like those from human
rights organizations such as Amnesty International. More than a year ago
Amnesty was only one of several important organizations chronicling ethnic hatred
gone mad in Darfur:

"A refugee farmer from the village of Kishkish reported...the words used by the
[Janjawid] 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, "Darfur: Too many people killed for no reason," February 3, 2004, 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.'" (page 28)

THE ABANDONMENT OF DARFUR AND SOUTHERN SUDAN

Khartoum has in too many ways already prevailed in its genocidal endeavors,
both by human destruction deliberately orchestrated in concert with the Janjaweed
and by means of the obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of relief
efforts. Extreme insecurity ensures that overall humanitarian capacity will be
seriously insufficient throughout the current rainy season and "hunger gap." Human
mortality, already at roughly 400,000 (see April 30, 2005 mortality assessment
by this writer at
http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=51&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0),
will increase by obscene monthly increments. The collapse of agricultural
production throughout Darfur, and the destruction of the means for resuming such
production, ensure that the catastrophe will deepen for the foreseeable future.

Despite the clear culpability of Khartoum, the UN Security Council resolutely
refuses to take any meaningful action---either to secure compliance with
previous demands or even to impose sanctions already voted. Human Rights Watch
recently reported:

"On March 29, [2005] the UN Security Council authorized sanctions on
individuals responsible for violating international law in Darfur; the penalties include
asset freezes and travel restrictions. Under Resolution 1591, the UN
secretary-general must appoint a panel of experts in consultation with a committee made
up of all the members of the Security Council, all within 30 days from the date
the resolution was passed. Two months after the resolution, the matter remains
pending in the Security Council committee, and no one has been appointed to the
panel of experts." (Human Rights Watch press release, June 2, 2005)

In southern Sudan, increasingly overlooked by the international community
despite its desperate emergency transitional needs in the wake of the January 9,
2005 peace agreement, the regime characteristically ignores its most basic
responsibilities, even as famine has begun to bite deeply in Bahr el-Ghazal.

"Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN advance mission in Sudan, has said
there is famine in some regions in southern Sudan. At a media conference today
[June 8, 2005] she said the UN would work hard to meet the requirements of the
regions suffering from food shortage in the coming period.
Donors promised $4.5 billion to bolster the [north/south] peace deal at a
conference in Oslo in April, but warehouses at the Kenyan border town of Lokichoggio
used as a staging post for aid dropped by UN cargo planes are almost empty."
(Sudan Tribune, June 8, 2005)

Elsewhere Deutsche Presse Agentur reports further international failure to
support southern Sudan and the peacekeeping mission there:

"The German government fears a UN peacekeeping mission in war-torn Sudan is
being jeopardized by Khartoum's interference and by foot-dragging by countries
that have pledged to send troops to the war-town nation, according to a published
report Saturday. [ ] The vanguard of the German contingent received visas for
only a four-week stay in Sudan, despite the fact that the peacekeeping mission
is scheduled for six years, [Der Spiegel] magazine quoted Defence Ministry
sources as saying."

"In addition, other countries have reneged on their troop commitments to the
extent that, of the originally planned 10,000 troops, only about 1,500 are now
actually expected to be on the ground in Sudan." (dpa, June 4, 2005)

How seriously does the international community regard the crisis in Darfur?
the challenges of sustaining peace in southern Sudan? These callous attitudes
and grim facts speak all too incisively.

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

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