Kelly Hearn for National Geographic News September 14, 2006
United States government death toll estimates for the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan in Africa underestimate the count by hundreds of thousands of lost lives, according to a new study. Some experts estimate that the conflict between government-sponsored militias and rebel groups, which began in February 2003, has killed as many as 500,000 people so far
Clooney begs UN to act on Darfur
He told council members genocide was taking place “on your watch”, and how they responded would be their legacy. Mr Clooney was speaking at a special informal session hosted by the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Sudan has rejected a UN resolution authorising a 20,000-strong force for Darfur as an attack on its sovereignty. But the UN says violence and displacement have increased in Darfur, despite a May peace deal. Some 200,000 people have been killed and more than two million driven from their homes in three years of fighting
n South Darfur, the area around Buram remains inaccessible to humanitarian workers because of continued fighting, UN spokesman Yves Sorokobi told reporters at the daily press briefing in New York. There have also been continuing clashes between Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups in West Darfur and North Darfur, according to UNMIS, although the number of casualties in either state is unconfirmed.
The clashes and banditry were reported one day after Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that Darfur is headed for a catastrophe unless the Sudanese Government changes its mind and allows UN peacekeepers to take over from the existing AU operation.
Mr. Annan told a press conference at UN Headquarters that the world faced a “big challenge” to ensure there was not a repeat of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
The blood of the Sudanese people is in the hands of it’s leaders.
We must to all we can to provoke these leaders into action. In playing the political game we have not done enough, but ultimatley it is in the hands of the government of Sudan; it is the governement of the Sudan who will be held accountable.
With time running out on the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Darfur, the United Nations may find out if the international community has the ability to stop renewed genocide.
A decade after the world looked on as hundreds of thousands of people died in Rwanda and Bosnia, Sudan’s region of Darfur is emerging as a test of whether the world can do better this time. Key governments are pressing Sudanese authorities in Khartoum to accept an extension of the African Union force’s mandate that runs out at the end of the month.
Such a move, international leaders hope, would give time for a more sizable UN force, already approved by the Security Council, to prepare and deploy.
But Khartoum so far shows no signs of giving in to international pressure, instead lambasting foreign intervention as neocolonialism, and commencing an offensive to take on rebel forces in the region.