WASHINGTON - January 9 - As violent attacks increase
across Darfur, and as the humanitarian crisis that forms part of the
genocide continues to escalate, Africa Action today condemned the lack
of progress by the international community in realizing the necessary
United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force to protect the people of Darfur.
Africa Action welcomed the stated commitment of new UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-Moon to prioritizing Darfur, and noted new diplomatic overtures
on the part of the U.S., aimed at advancing new action on this crisis.
However, the organization emphasized the urgency of the situation on the
ground and the ongoing deadlock between the Sudanese government and the
international community on the size and composition of a peacekeeping
force. Africa Action continues to call for the rapid deployment of a
robust UN peacekeeping force, with a Chapter VII mandate, to stop the
ongoing genocide in Darfur.
Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, "Despite
hopeful media reports, there has been no diplomatic breakthrough on
Darfur and the death toll is continuing to mount. The international
community has capitulated to Khartoum's opposition to a UN force, and
the people of Darfur have been abandoned to the growing violence on the
ground. The UN Security Council must stand up to the Sudanese government
NOW, and pursue the deployment of the robust UN peacekeeping force
authorized by Resolution 1706 last August."
As U.S. Special Envoy Andrew Natsios travels to China this week to
discuss the Darfur crisis, Africa Action's new report released last
month, entitled "Leveraging New International Action on Darfur", lays
out how the U.S. can and must engage China and other key international
actors in breaking the current deadlock and achieving the necessary UN
peacekeeping force for Darfur. The report is available here:
Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications at
Africa Action, said today, "New U.S. diplomatic initiatives on Darfur
must use all available leverage and political capital to advance the
goal of protecting civilians on the ground. As Natsios visits China this
week, he must use Washington's close economic and political ties with
Beijing to enlist Chinese engagement in challenging Khartoum's
obstructionism on Darfur. Until the U.S. makes Darfur a real priority in
its foreign relations, it cannot claim to be doing everything possible
to stop the genocide."
Africa Action notes that China has made clear that it supports a UN
peacekeeping force for Darfur, but that Khartoum's consent must be
achieved first. Now, the U.S. must work to actively engage the Chinese
government in gaining this consent and removing the final obstacles to
the necessary peacekeeping force for Darfur.
In addition, Africa Action urges the Bush Administration to quickly
nominate a strong candidate to succeed John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to
the UN, and calls on Congress to ensure that the confirmation process
affirms the centrality of the Darfur crisis to the U.S. agenda at the UN.
Africa Action is working with the Genocide Intervention Network to
encourage individuals and community groups across the U.S. to hold
Sprints for Darfur in the coming weeks, to raise awareness, resources
and political pressure to protect the people of Darfur and stop the
genocide. For more information on these innovative actions, see
For more information and analysis on the Darfur crisis, see