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Vol 45 No 9

Published 30th April 2004


Sudan

Mass murder

Ten years after Rwanda's genocide, the NIF regime kills and displaces tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur – with impunity

Civilians in Darfur continue to die as a result of the National Islamic Front regime's ethnic cleansing and in the absence of serious diplomatic pressure. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned that international military intervention might be required to stop the slaughter in Darfur, while senior UN officials refer to the NIF regime's scorched earth policy as 'genocide' or 'ethnic cleansing'. Yet last week the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Geneva again refused to recommend strong action against Khartoum and suppressed its own highly critical investigation, which found that government agents had killed, raped and tortured civilians. On 23 April, the NIF exploited anti-Americanism to defeat a call from the United States and European Union to reinstate a Special Rapporteur (SR) on Human Rights. At 2003's annual session, Khartoum had successfully lobbied for the removal as SR of the German lawyer and former Interior Minister Gerhard Baum, an obvious candidate for enquiries in Darfur. The OHCHR has lost much of its remaining credibility. African members voted as a bloc; South Africa persuaded Khartoum's Eritrean foe to vote against an SR; Uganda alone broke ranks by abstaining (AC Vol 45 No 5); some African diplomats confided that they were unhappy.

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