Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Sudan on Friday its leaders could be held responsible for atrocities in Darfur if international troops were not allowed to help the population.
Sudan’s government has refused to allow a U.N. force into the lawless western region, where 2.5 million people have been evicted from their homes in a campaign of murder, rape and plunder. Khartoum has also discouraged continued deployment by the underfinanced African Union, which may pull out its 7,000 soldiers next month.
Annan told reporters that if the African Union withdrew and Sudan officials continued to reject U.N. troops, “they are placing themselves in a situation where the leadership may be held collectively and individually responsible for what happens to the population in Darfur.” “The message I have tried to get to the Sudanese government is that the international community is not coming in as an invading force, but basically to help them protect the people,” Annan said.
The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 when non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government. In response, the government mobilized Arab militias known as Janjaweed, who have burned down villages, killing and raping civilians. In the past few months, various rebel groups and bandits have committed similar atrocities.
Fighting, disease and hunger have killed some 200,000 people and driven some 2.5 million into squalid camps. The Security Council intends to hold a debate on Sudan on Monday with Sudanese officials and their supporters from the Arab League invited to attend. So far, there is no confirmation any high-level officials will come.
“If the government had been able to do it itself, I don’t think we would be having this debate,” Annan said, calling the situation in Darfur “serious” and “desperate. Sudan has said it would send some 10,000 troops to Darfur to fight rebel groups that had not signed a peace agreement with the government in May.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the Sudanese military of indiscriminate bombing in Darfur this week.
There is not doubt it is time to “call out Sudan” on their willingness to play with the lives of their people for their own political and economic purposes, as we should call out China ( the great human right violoator) and Russia for doingthe same thing.
It does not excuse the rest of the world.