U.S Policy on Darfur: “No Urgency” vs Reality

In a recent New York Times article on August 4th titled, “Violence Said to Be Rising in Sudan’s Darfur Region,” reporter Neil McFarquhar writes regarding the Obama administration’s view of the genocide in Darfur, “They deny a rift, but one senior State Department official said that Washington was still struggling to define a policy. ‘There is no sense of urgency that this is a crucial moment and we have to craft it,” said the official, speaking anonymously because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly on the matter.’”

Despite the U.S. government’s unwillingness to recognize the urgency that exists in Darfur, the fact remains, people are still dying, with killings this year already rivaling the, “832 violent deaths recorded for all of 2009.” Here are just a few articles from among many alarming reports, which describe the true urgency of the situation in Darfur: moms_and_babies_clinic_oc.jpg

“Sudanese authorities have denied the U.N.’s humanitarian arm access to a Darfur refugee camp after an outbreak of violence. At least five people have died and thousands have fled the camp since demonstrations protesting peace talks turned deadly.”

“Sudan denies aid agencies access to Darfur camp,” Associated Press, August 6, 2010

“UNAMID said in a statement sporadic gunfire has continued and heavy rainfall also threatens the safety of the camp residents. Thousands fled to nearby villages during the violence, and a government aid official told Reuters aid groups had access to those villages. Peacekeepers and foreign aid workers have faced increased hostility in Darfur since last year, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes. The United Nations says the seven-year conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million.  Sudan’s government says around 10,000 people have died.”

“Tensions Rise Between Sudan, Peacekeepers,” Voice of America News, August 6, 2010

“Violent clashes among displaced Sudanese erupted in Kalma camp in the southern Darfur region . . . leaving about 10 people dead.”

“Sudan: Violent Clashes Erupt Over Peach Talks for Darfur,” New York Times, July 30, 2010

girl_standing_at_wall.jpg“The head of the U.N. – AU Mission in Darfur . . . said . . . that there has been steady progress in talks between the Sudanese government and a major opposition group, but that the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated. The security situation in Darfur has not improved since last month when he described it as “dire.” Gamabari said he has grave concerns over a spike in criminal acts and attacks against U.N. and humanitarian personnel.”

“UN Security Situation in Darfur Worsens as Peace Talks Progress,” Voice of America News, July 27, 2010

Posted by Amanda Carl

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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