WASHINGTON - July 19 - In the aftermath of the
pledging conference on Darfur, held yesterday in Brussels, Africa Action
today released the following short statement and an updated version of
its "Talking Points on How to Stop Genocide in Darfur, Sudan" (below).
"As the situation in Darfur worsens by the day, this week's pledging
conference in Brussels revealed a broad international consensus on the
need for a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force to protect civilians
and humanitarian operations on the ground. But the international
community's failure to overcome Khartoum's objections to such a UN
force, and to take new action to initiate such a force, leaves the
Sudanese government to dictate the pace and the extent of the response
to this crisis. The most immediate priority for the people of Darfur is
protection, and yet world powers are failing to offer this protection or
to articulate a plan to achieve this on an urgent basis.
"The additional pledges of money in Brussels to support the African
Union (AU) operation in Darfur amount to only a portion of what the AU
needs to sustain even its current mission, which is clearly inadequate
to the protection needs on the ground. A UN peacekeeping force is needed
to reinforce the AU operation and to stop the violence and protect
civilians and humanitarian efforts in Darfur.
"Africa Action calls on the U.S. and other powers to move beyond pledges
and stop-gap measures and to do everything necessary to overcome the
Sudanese government's objections, and authorize and deploy a UN force
for Darfur immediately."
The organization's new escalation strategy in its Campaign to Stop
Genocide in Darfur is available at:
Africa Action Talking Points on How to Stop Genocide in Darfur, Sudan
Last Updated July 2006
Nothing short of international intervention will stop the genocide in
Darfur. Africa Action believes that the U.S. must do everything
necessary to secure a United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution
authorizing a multinational intervention force, under Chapter 7 of the
UN Charter, to stop the genocide and protect civilians and humanitarian
efforts in Darfur.
1. What is Genocide?
The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in
Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of Genocide. Article II describes the two elements that
constitute the crime of genocide:
(i) The mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in
part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such", and
(ii) The physical element, which includes five types of violence
described in sections [a] though [e] as follows: [a] Killing members of
the group; [b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
group; [c] Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
[d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [e]
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
2. What is happening in Darfur is Genocide
(i) Genocidal Intent: The intent of the Sudanese government to destroy,
in whole or in part, three African ethnic communities (the Fur, Zaghawa
and Massaleit), is clear from at least four categories of evidence: [a]
Documentary evidence; [b] Legal inference based upon the systematic
perpetration of culpable acts directed against specific targeted groups;
[c] Testimony of witnesses who are survivors of the genocide; and [d]
Government efforts to eliminate all traces of mass graves.
[a] Documentary evidence: Sudanese Government documents obtained and
released by Human Rights Watch make clear government intent through its
actions of arming, equipping and transporting Arab militias to destroy,
in part, targeted groups. In violation of UN Security Council
Resolutions, the government has withheld other documents requested by
the UN, such as flight logs for aircraft (planes and helicopter
gunships) used by the government in Darfur, as well as the minutes of
meetings of government security officials on Darfur. Such documents
would likely provide further documentary evidence of genocidal intent.
According to The New York Times on February 23, 2005, African Union
observers have also uncovered a document that indicates a policy of
genocide on the part of the government.
[b] International legal precedent (from the International Criminal
Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia) holds that genocidal
intent can be inferred from the context of the perpetration of culpable
acts when they are systematically directed against a group. For more
than three years, the government of Sudan has established a pattern of
atrocities including mass killings, mass rapes, bombings, burning and
pillaging villages, and destruction of water wells and crops,
systematically directed against the targeted groups.
[c] The testimony of survivors of genocide in Darfur consistently
reports that the perpetrators of the atrocities frequently and clearly
stated their intent to destroy these groups as part of a broader
government-inspired effort. Attackers' statements, such as "we will kill
all the black," are documented in an International Criminal Court report
from June 2006.
[d] According to witnesses and documentary evidence, the government of
Sudan has sought to erase all trace of large mass graves of executed
civilians in Darfur. It has prevented researchers from obtaining
forensic evidence from such sites.
(ii) Genocidal Actions: In Darfur during the past three years, the
physical acts of violence that have been systematically directed against
the targeted groups have included all five categories of violence listed
in the Genocide Convention. These acts have resulted in the deaths of
more than 450,000 people*:
The following letters correspond to the five categories of genocidal
violence listed under the legal definition of genocide at the beginning
of this document:
[a] more than 200,000 people have been killed by government forces and
militias from 2003 to the present time, and the killing continues;
[b] bodily and mental harm has been inflicted upon thousands of women
and young girls raped by soldiers and militias.
[c] at least an additional 200,000 lives have been lost through the
deliberate destruction of homes, crops and water resources and the
physical displacement of more than two million people which have
resulted in conditions of famine and disease epidemics;
[d] the killing of pregnant women; and
[e] the use of rape as a weapon of genocide as many perpetrators have
stated that their intent is to change the ethnic identity of the child
conceived by rape.
3. The Humanitarian Crisis
Genocide in Darfur has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the
world: There are more than 2.5 million people in camps for Internally
Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur and roughly 250,000 people have been
displaced or re-displaced since the beginning of 2006. The UN estimates
that up to 4 million people in Darfur are reliant on humanitarian aid
for survival. A lack of funding compelled the World Food Program to
reduce food rations beginning in May. Only 50% of the $648 million
needed for humanitarian operations in 2006 has been either pledged or
It is estimated that almost 7,000 people are dying each month in
Darfur and that this figure could rise significantly if humanitarian
operations continue to be obstructed by violence. In July 2006, UN
Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland warned of growing
insecurity and a lack of funding, indicating that humanitarian
operations were on the brink of collapse. Such a collapse would
jeopardize hundreds of thousands of lives in Darfur.
The Khartoum government cannot be trusted to address the humanitarian
crisis: Across the region, government tactics such as import
restrictions on fuel and routine harassment of aid workers, stand in the
way of effective relief efforts. In a May 2006 report, UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan characterized the government's obstruction
of food aid as a "violation of international humanitarian law." The
government of Sudan is the author of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and
Khartoum cannot be trusted to provide security to humanitarian
Security is Essential for Humanitarian Efforts: Adequate humanitarian
assistance cannot be provided to vulnerable and displaced groups in
Darfur without military protection. This reality is particularly evident
as relief workers are increasingly targeted, forcing restrictions in aid
operations. A multinational intervention is necessary to provide
security and logistical support to urgent humanitarian efforts.
4. The African Union Cannot Respond Alone
The African Union (AU)-sponsored peace talks between the Sudanese
government and the rebel groups in Abuja, Nigeria, under intense
international pressure, culminated in the signing of a Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA) on May 5, 2006. However, only one faction of the main
rebel groups, and the Sudanese government, signed this deal. The
cease-fire has had no effect in deterring violence on the ground on all
sides, and attacks against civilians have increased. Violence is also
increasingly spilling across the border into neighboring Chad.
The AU has some 7,000 troops on the ground in Darfur - still short of
the 7,700 that the AU agreed in March 2005. Jan Egeland at the UN has
stressed that the force in Darfur "needs to be boosted to three times
the strength of the current" force. Moreover, the AU has no mandate to
protect civilians, and its mission's credibility among the Darfuri
population has plummeted.
The AU mission in Darfur clearly lacks the troop strength, and the
financial and logistical support necessary, to stop the ongoing
genocide. As the mission has struggled to perform with few resources, it
has been blamed both internationally and locally for its weaknesses. The
AU force has increasingly come under fire in Darfur.
The AU has agreed on the need for a transition from its current
operation to a larger UN peacekeeping force, but the Sudanese government
continues to oppose such a transition. The AU has recently pushed the
proposed transfer date to the end of this year, but a UN mission has yet
to be authorized, and this AU decision therefore creates no immediate
improvements in the situation on the ground.
Genocide is not an African problem, it is an international problem
and, as such, it requires an international response. The African Union
is a young organization (established in 2002) and it is not equipped to
respond to a crisis of this magnitude. Faced with such a grave
challenge, the international community cannot allow the AU to fail, but
rather must support, reinforce and expand upon its efforts in Darfur.
5. The U.S. Government Acknowledges Genocide, But Fails to Act
The U.S. is the only government to have publicly acknowledged that
what is happening in Darfur constitutes genocide. On September 9, 2004,
then-Secretary of State Colin Powell declared on behalf of the Bush
Administration that, "genocide has been committed in Darfur, and that
the government of Sudan and the Janjawid bear responsibility." The White
House issued a statement the same day confirming this determination.
At the same time as he acknowledged that genocide was being carried
out in Darfur, Powell also defied logic, stating, "no new action is
dictated by this determination."
President Bush has failed to prioritize the genocide in Darfur. His
stated concern and promises of limited logistical support for the AU
mission have not been matched by concrete actions to stop the genocide
and protect the people of Darfur. The Administration has declared
support for a UN mission in Darfur, but it has failed to use its
leverage with the Sudanese government to overcome its objections to such
U.S. policy towards Sudan is marked by three competing policy
priorities: (1) support for the newly formed government of national
unity as part of the North-South peace process, (2) intelligence-sharing
with the Sudanese government as part of the so-called 'war on terror',
and (3) ending the genocide in Darfur. The inability of the U.S. to
stand firm on a clear message of action against genocide has undermined
the international response on Darfur.
The U.S. has a clear moral and legal obligation to prevent and punish
genocide as a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention & Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide.
The U.S. has provided some transportation and logistical support to
the African Union troops on the ground in Darfur, and engaged in efforts
to support the peace process. But its actions still remain wholly
inadequate in response to an ongoing genocide.
6. The UN Acknowledges Crimes Against Humanity, But Fails to Act
The United Nations' International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur
delivered its report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in January 2005.
The report found that the Sudanese government has committed major crimes
under international law, including a pattern of mass killings, rape,
pillage and forced displacement and that these constitute war crimes and
crimes against humanity.
Although the report provided ample evidence of genocidal intent and
actions on the part of the Sudanese government, the commission concluded
that it did not find a government policy of genocide in Darfur. This
hearkens back to the time of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when the
international community dodged the term "genocide" to avoid the
obligations that such a serious charge would invoke.
The first conclusion of the report states that the people of Darfur
"have been living a nightmare of violence and abuse" and that "they need
protection," but the report fails to recommend any measures to provide
such protection. Subsequent monthly reports by the Secretary-General on
the crisis in Darfur emphasize the protection needs of the people of
Darfur and the growing violence they face.
The UN Security Council has hesitated on Darfur, largely because of
the economic and diplomatic interests of its permanent members
especially China and Russia, who don't wish to antagonize Khartoum.
China is the single largest investor in Sudan's oil sector, while Russia
is Khartoum's major arms supplier.
The UN has recently begun to take initial steps toward planning a
peacekeeping force for Darfur, building upon the realization of the DPA,
but these steps have yet to make a difference on the ground. A joint
AU-UN technical assessment mission to Darfur in June investigated the
necessary mandate, force size and cost of a future UN mission.
Without a strong international commitment to expedite the realization
of a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, the deployment of such a force
could still be months away. The UN Under-Secretary General for
Peacekeeping suggested in June 2006 that a UN deployment might not be
feasible before January 2007. Meanwhile, insecurity and humanitarian
decline continue to claim lives in Darfur.
7. What is needed is an Urgent International Intervention
As the genocide continues in Darfur and across the border in
neighboring Chad, stopping the genocide & protecting the people of
Darfur must be the first priority of the international community. There
is now an international consensus that a robust UN peacekeeping force is
needed in Darfur on an urgent basis.
An international intervention would serve four critical purposes: (1)
Stop the killings, rapes and pillaging in Darfur; (2) Provide security
to facilitate urgent humanitarian assistance programs; (3) Enforce the
African Union cease-fire established by the Darfur Peace Agreement
between the Khartoum government and one of the rebel groups, and (4)
facilitate the voluntary return of IDPs to their land and the
reconstruction of their homes by providing a secure environment.
In September 2005, member states of the UN recognized the fact that
there is an international "responsibility to protect" civilians from
genocide and crimes against humanity. The response to Darfur now tests
this principle. Unless the UN acts to protect the people of Darfur, the
African Union will continue to be left to bear the brunt of this growing
catastrophe, and it will likely be blamed for failing to act
sufficiently & in time to save hundreds of thousands of lives.
The most efficient way to realize a multinational force in Darfur
would be to immediately provide the African Union troops already on the
ground with a Chapter 7 mandate to protect civilians, turning them into
a "blue-helmeted" UN force. This would save time on deployment, since
these troops are already in Darfur, and would provide them with
international authority and backing. It would also furnish them with a
mandate to protect civilians and to enforce (not just observe) the
Once the AU operation has been "re-hatted" as a UN mission with a
mandate to protect civilians, the UN should immediately begin
reinforcing and expanding that mission with a UN peacekeeping force.
This multinational force should comprise at least 20,000 troops.
8. What the U.S. should do:
As the genocide continues in Darfur, the U.S. must use its leverage
and take every step necessary to overcome Khartoum's objections to a UN
At the UN Security Council, the U.S. must take immediate steps to
ensure the rapid authorization and deployment of a UN peacekeeping
mission to Darfur, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. The U.S. must
expend the necessary diplomatic capital to overcome any Chinese and
Russian objections to such a UN mission.
Just over a decade ago, the U.S. blocked UN action as genocide
unfolded in Rwanda. Many UN member states are also skeptical about U.S.
intentions given its un-sanctioned intervention in Iraq. But the U.S.
must convince the members of the UN Security Council that the genocide
in Darfur requires urgent international action.
The Bush Administration faces growing public pressure for action to
stop the genocide in Darfur. By taking all necessary steps to achieve a
UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, the U.S. government would demonstrate
its commitment to protecting the people of Darfur and fulfill those
calls for leadership in the face of the first genocide of the 21st century.
* Accurate estimates of the death toll in Darfur have been difficult to
ascertain because of obstruction on the part of the Sudanese government
and because of UN unwillingness to offer an official estimate. The best
regular estimates of mortality rates in Darfur have been provided by
Prof. Eric Reeves of Smith College (among others), who makes use of
extensive data and scientific formulae for projecting death rates in
comparable conditions. (http://www.sudanreeves.org/). The Coalition for
International Justice also released a report in April 2005, confirming
that the death toll in Darfur was then close to 400,000.
This resource is available in PDF format on Africa Action's website