It gets worse in Darfur
I’ve blogged about the atrocities taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan before here and here. A few days ago, the Los Angeles Times‘ Robyn Dixon reported on the growing humanitarian crisis in Sudan: Barefoot and half-naked, Hamesa Adam carried two sons on her back for six days across the searing Sudanese desert. Two ...
I've blogged about the atrocities taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan before here and here. A few days ago, the Los Angeles Times' Robyn Dixon reported on the growing humanitarian crisis in Sudan:
I’ve blogged about the atrocities taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan before here and here. A few days ago, the Los Angeles Times‘ Robyn Dixon reported on the growing humanitarian crisis in Sudan:
Barefoot and half-naked, Hamesa Adam carried two sons on her back for six days across the searing Sudanese desert. Two other children, missing their dead father, walked barefoot, and two more rode a donkey. But 6-year-old Mohammed, one of the children on the donkey, got weaker and weaker. He cried constantly, clutching at his side. There was not enough food. On the fourth day, Mohammed struggled off the donkey and fell onto the sand. They buried him nearby, about 2 feet down, placing branches on the grave to keep animals from digging up his body. This is the story of the Adam family, Sudanese farmers chased from their homes by Arab militias on horses and camels who swept down on their village, Selti, about three months ago with a kind of ruthless, medieval wrath: killing, raping, looting, burning. Some attacked in Land Cruisers mounted with automatic weapons. From the air, two helicopters strafed the village. About 100,000 farmers in the Darfur region of western Sudan have made the same epic journey as the Adam family these past weeks and months, fleeing west into Chad…. Some refugees say that Khartoum government forces have taken part in the scorched-earth attacks, swooping down on villages with helicopters and Antonov planes. Human Rights Watch, based in New York, reported that government forces, allied with the Arab militias, carried out widespread ethnic killings and dispossession. The Arab militias, mainly herdsmen, are terrorizing black African farmers from the Zaghawa, Fur and Massalit tribes and grabbing the spoils: land, stock, money and anything else they can steal. The Arab-dominated government in Khartoum denies it controls the militias, but observers point out that it serves the government’s interests to repress areas where it is fighting rebels.
Be sure to read the whole thing. This was probably not the best week for the Bush administration to take steps towards lifting the arms embargo on the Sudanese government. This is the kind of goof that someone responsible for public diplomacy — like an Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, let’s say — could have caught. Oh, wait…. UPDATE: It should be noted that despite the PR screwup I alluded to earlier in this post, Human Rights Watch — not exactly the most Bush-friendly organization — has praised U.S. behavior on this front:
The U.S. government has taken the strongest public stance on Darfur of any individual government, with repeated statements condemning the human rights abuses and calling on the government of Sudan to address the situation. On April 7, U.S. President George Bush condemned “atrocities” in Sudan and called for unrestricted humanitarian access. The U.S. House of Representatives held hearings on Darfur, or in which Darfur was prominently mentioned. U.S. aid officials have frequently drawn attention to the enormous humanitarian needs in the region, with repeated visits to Darfur and statements. U.S. AID’s chief executive Andrew Natsios held a press conference to denounce the Sudanese government’s stalling on visas for twenty-eight U.S. emergency relief workers.
Contrast that with the EU’s latest pronouncement on Darfur — pretty weak beer. Click here for HRW’s list of policy recommendations.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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