Blueprint for Obama Administration Provides Strategy for Stopping Arms to Sudan
NEW YORK - As the violence continues to escalate in Darfur, a leading human
rights group today released a detailed strategy for President-elect
Obama to lead an international effort to stem the flow of arms into the
region during the first year of his administration. The UN imposed an
arms embargo on Darfur in 2004 but the parties to the conflict there
appear to have unobstructed access to arms. Due to the unwillingness of
the international community to take steps to cease sales and to enforce
the arms embargo, easily accessible weapons continue to fuel the
The blueprint - "How to Stop Arms to Sudan"
- released by Human Rights First, sets out a three-stage strategy for
the incoming administration to lead an effort to ensure that
arms-supplying states halt their sales, as well as to use its voice and
vote at the U.N. Security Council to enforce and strengthen the U.N.
imposed Darfur arms embargo.
"Over the past several months we have seen an alarming increase in
attacks against civilians, aid workers, and peacekeepers in Darfur. Yet
the international community has largely bypassed the opportunity,
created by the U.N. arms embargo on Darfur, to reign in the unlawful
movement of arms in the region while at the same time unblocking the
stalled peace process," stated Julia Fromholz, a senior official at
Human Rights First.
Human Rights First's three-stage plan -"How to Stop Arms to Sudan"
- includes unilateral and multilateral steps the new administration
should take to help stem the flow of weapons into the Darfur region,
- Leading a diplomatic effort to halt arms exports to Sudan and the surrounding areas;
sanctions against aviation and fuel companies found to violate the
embargo, and requiring approval for operations by legitimate companies;
countries providing arms to the Government of Sudan to stop doing so on
the basis that the government has flouted the embargo; and naming those
countries that have continued to supply arms despite the embargo;
a unilateral arms embargo on Chad and northern parts of the Central
African Republic, which are the back door for moving weapons into
- Introducing a
resolution at the U.N. Security Council to expand the Darfur arms
embargo to cover all of Sudan, Chad, and northern parts of the Central
African Republic; and
- Securing new
sanctions on individuals found to have impeded the peace process,
committed violations of international human humanitarian or human
rights law, violated the arms embargo, or borne responsibility for
offensive military flights over Darfur.
Human Rights First has found that over 30 countries have either
exported arms directly to Sudan or manufactured arms that entered Sudan
since the U.N. arms embargo took effect. A recent Human Rights First
fact-finding mission to Chad investigated the links between the
conflicts in Darfur and eastern Chad.
"Nearly four years ago, the U.N. Security Council imposed a complete
arms embargo on Darfur, yet the parties to the conflict appear to have
unobstructed access to arms," observed Fromholz. "President-elect Obama
has committed to take immediate action to end the conflict in Darfur,
in part by increasing pressure on the Sudanese government. The new
administration should use the untapped leverage of the arms embargo to
halt the flow of arms to Darfur and the region. Doing so would address
both military and political problems in Darfur."
How to Stop Arms to Sudan
is the sixth in a series of strategy papers released by Human Rights
First to guide the next administration in restoring American leadership
in human rights in critical spheres. The first paper in the series, How to Close Guantanamo, was released this August, the second, How to End Torture and Cruel Treatment, was released in October, the third, How to End Impunity for Private Security and Other Contractors, was released in November, the fourth, How to Repair the U.S. Asylum System, and the fifth, How to Promote Human Rights in Russia, were released earlier this month.