Sunday, January 09, 2005


Update on Sudan

Sudan's Vice President Ali Osman Taha and the country's main rebel leader John Garang signed a peace accord here Sunday ending Africa's longest-running conflict.

Taha and Garang inked the deal ending 21 years of civil war in their country at Kenya's Nyayo National Stadium with a host of African heads of state and others looking on. (source AFP vis ReliefWeb)

Yet this agreement really is not as comprehensive as some would like us to think, and does little or nothing to resolve the situation in Darfur. The International Rescue Committee notes:

Despite this peace agreement, insufficient attention has been given to the underlying causes of Sudan's conflict, contributing to continued fighting in Darfur and tensions in the Beja area in the east.

"In Darfur nearly two million people have been driven from their homes, continued abuses and unrelenting attacks are a tragic blight on the peace process.

A peace settlement that does not seriously address the causes of conflict in Darfur and other areas cannot be comprehensive, nor can it be sustained without community involvement. The crisis of governance, the lack of respect for human rights and the marginalisation of ordinary citizens that contributed to the war have also fostered new crises." said Gaigals

From the UN News Service
The senior United Nations envoy for Sudan today voiced concern that local authorities in the country's war-torn region of Darfur are increasingly harassing staff working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, told a meeting of the Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM), the body set up last year by the UN and Khartoum to deal with the crisis in Darfur, that Sudanese nationals working for NGOs were particularly likely to be harassed.

As Sudan: The Passion of the Present notes

Note, Khartoum has so much breathing space now, it seems unreal. No wonder Sudan's President is so excited, acting so magnanimously and offering to now "consider" power sharing with Darfur. Khartoum must think they did right all these years. They stole power through a gun barrel and now the peace deal legitimises them. They don't even have to completely withdraw their troops from southern Sudan for another 2.5 years.

Khartoum gives the impression of welcoming peace but what they are really welcoming is the heat being taken off them. It seems as though Darfur is back to square one. The past 22 months of hell -- costing around 400,000 lives and displacing millions of people -- and two U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening possible sanctions along with a bill signed by President Bush last month -- it's like none of it ever happened

Peace treaties come, treaties go, but the Darfur situation is really about a group that the government favors attacking a group without power. How this plays out requires more monitoring - and not taking off the pressure. More eyes are needed - watch with us!

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