There is no excuse for ignoring Sudan's tragedy

Share
Related Topics

The unfolding catastrophe in Darfur has shown the international community in the most unflattering light. Russia, China, Algeria and Pakistan diluted beyond recognition the UN resolution calling on Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militia within 30 days. Threats against the regime have disappeared. Three months from the election, George Bush clearly has a limited interest in sending overstretched troops to a region without US strategic interests.

The unfolding catastrophe in Darfur has shown the international community in the most unflattering light. Russia, China, Algeria and Pakistan diluted beyond recognition the UN resolution calling on Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militia within 30 days. Threats against the regime have disappeared. Three months from the election, George Bush clearly has a limited interest in sending overstretched troops to a region without US strategic interests.

Three weeks ago, newspaper leaks suggested that the British Government was on the cusp of deploying 500 troops. As John Bercow points out in these pages, since the Prime Minister left for Barbados, there has been silence.

Yet the situation on the ground has got worse. Aerial "barrel bomb" attacks continue; international observers are being imprisoned and aid workers are obstructed at every turn by the Sudanese authorities. Rains are making roads impassable and the country is facing a swarm of locusts. Aid agencies estimate that more than 1,000 people are dying a day and more than a million remain homeless. These villagers will continue to flee, leaving crops to rot in the fields, as long as they are not offered protection against Janjaweed raids.

Sudan is threatened by nothing more severe than unspecified "measures" and the prospect of Kofi Annan "reporting back" to the UN Security Council if it fails to comply. Countries such as Britain that want to intervene, but are hamstrung by the current toothless resolution, have an alternative. The almost certain breaching of the Genocide Convention places an obligation on UN member states for immediate action. And stopping the killing need not mean large-scale deployments of Western troops. If no-fly zones could be established to protect the Kurds against Saddam's wrath in northern Iraq, then it should be simple to prevent the low-tech attacks by ageing aircraft in Sudan. On the ground, the 3,000 troops offered by the African Union could, if supported by Western equipment, safeguard the refugee camps and protect the distribution of aid.

Ten years ago this summer, the Rwandan genocide went unpunished by Western governments - and largely unremarked by Western newsdesks - as the world's gaze fixed on the handover to democracy in South Africa. It would be a shaming and grotesque corruption of Olympic ideals if the Games in Athens and the holiday plans of world leaders were further to distract the world from another African tragedy.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine