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Darfur, Sudan: American Avarice, Arab Folly

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The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey, who directs the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, said during a USINFO Web chat on November 17: "The ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan — a 'gross violation' of human rights — is among the top international issues of concern to the United States."

Whenever U.S. officials refer to the situation in Darfur, they call it genocide. Is their assessment of the situation correct, or do they have ulterior motive in painting a grim picture of the situation?

Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell used the term “genocide” for the first time while speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He said, "We concluded — I concluded — that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility — and genocide may still be occurring."

However, When Powell visited Darfur in June 2004, he resisted questions about whether the abuses amounted to genocide, saying, "what we are seeing is a disaster, a catastrophe, and we can find the right label for it later."

There are no reliable estimates of civilian casualties from the fighting in Darfur due to the limited international access to the area. U.K.-based Dr. Jan Coebergh, who once worked in Darfur, has examined a range of aid agency health surveys. He puts the figures at about 300,000, but he admits it is little more than a stab in the dark. "The reality is that we just don't know the scale of the problem," Dr. Coebergh told BBC News.

The Bush administration keeps on insisting that genocide has been going on in Darfur since 2003, despite the fact that a five-man panel U.N. mission led by Italian Judge Antonio Cassese reported in 2004 that genocide had not been committed in Darfur. The commission concluded that grave human rights abuses were committed. They called for war crime trials.

Critics say that main motivation behind the heightened interest of the U.S. government in Sudan is oil, not human rights. They say that United Nations troops were present in the region when the massacre occurred in Rawanda. The self-appointed champions of humanity remained silent spectators during the crisis. Rebel forces slaughtered 800,000 Tutsis in 100 days. It is not the first time that the International community remained indifferent to genocide. In 1971, the U.S. ignored the genocide in Bangladesh despite frantic calls from diplomatic staff of the American consulate in Dacca.

Darfur is a sparsely populated and parched area. It has an ancient history of separate existence as a kingdom lapping into Chad, separate from the area known today as Sudan. Darfur's population is proportionately more Muslim and less Christian than southern Sudan's, but is mostly black African, and identifies itself by tribe, such as the Fur. (Darfur, in fact, means "land of the Fur."). It is of great strategic importance, as it straddles Libya, Egypt, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

Darfur is home to some 80 tribes and ethnic groups divided between nomads and sedentary communities. The unrest appears to have been identified within two or three communities such as the Fur and the Zaghawa tribes. Darfur has faced many years of tension over land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs, and farmers from the Fur, Massaleet, and Zagawa communities.

Sudan discovered an oil field in 2005 in Darfur region. It was announced that this field will produce 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil. This new development transformed the traditional competition for water at the fringes into quite a different struggle.

The conflict began in the arid and impoverished region early in 2003 after a rebel group began attacking government targets. The rebels say that government is oppressing black Africans.

It is well documented that the U.S., through its closest African allies, helped train the S.L.A. and J.E.M. Darfuri rebels that initiated Khartoum's violent reaction. Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjawid militias — nomadic, Arab fighters — in a scorched earth policy directed at villages that supported the rebellion.

The real driving force behind the U.S. intervention in Sudan is oil. In 1974, Chevron got large oil concessions from Ja’afar Nimeiri’s government. The man behind this deal was then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. (later U.S. President) George H. Bush, who told the government of Sudan about the satellite imaging maps that indicated the presence of oil in Sudan.

Chevron discovered oil in South Sudan in 1978. However, It was forced to leave Sudan after the second civil war broke out in the South in 1983. A southern separatist rebel force, Anyanya II, attacked a Chevron facility and killed three expatriate workers in February 1984. This led Chevron to suspend operations in the South. It sold out its rights to the entire Sudanese concession in 1992. The rebels wanted a share in the country's new mineral wealth, much of which was on lands they had long occupied.

Sudan is believed to hold Africa's greatest unexploited oil resources, even greater than those of the Gulf of Guinea. U.S. oil companies are barred from operating in Sudan and other Western companies are chased from the country by the Washington administration. At present, Asian oil companies dominate the field in Sudan. China's state-owned oil company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) owns a 40 percent share of the local Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), which controls two of the most important oil fields in the Western Upper Nile Province.

What can be judged from the activities of the Western countries, namely the U.S., U.K., Norway, and Italy? They want access to the Sudanese oil. Theses Western powers are looking for an opportunity to intervene militarily and provoke a change of the unpopular Islamist regime in Khartoum.

In short, the Islamist Arab regime has manipulated ethnic, racial, and economic tensions, all as part of a strategic drive to commandeer the country's oil wealth.

Racism figures heavily in all this. Arabs refer to darker Africans as "abeed," a word that means something close to "slave." It is shocking to know that Islam has not been able to change the tribal mentality of Arabs. Their behavior towards their fellow African Muslims is morally unpleasant and contrary to the teachings of Islam and to humanity.  Rebels have also chosen the wrong way to get their rights. Rebels must realize that their rash adventurism is bringing miseries.

Khartoom should accept the legitimate demands of the African Muslims and give them due share in the new wealth. Otherwise, conflict will keep the region in perpetual crisis.

America has a wonderful chance to lead the world after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, the greed of her leaders has entangled the country in quagmire of problems. They have diverted all their energies to full the coffers of their campaign donors instead of working for the welfare and benefits of the American people.

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About munaeem

  • Sisyphus

    “[Critics] say that United Nations troops were present in the region when the massacre occurred in Rawanda. The self-appointed champions of humanity remained silent spectators during the crisis.”

    Perhaps unintentional, but you make it sound as if it was the decision of UN troops to remain silent during the massacre. The UN troops were withdrawn because the UN Security Council (including the US) resisted further UN military assistance to Rwanda. UN commanders on the ground were begging for more assistance, yet the peacekeeping force was reduced to only 250 or so men as the massacre intensified. Despite this, the tiny, remaining contingency of UN forces in Rwanda by some accounts managed to save the lives of some 20,000 Rwandans. Shame on the UN, but credit is due to the UN troops who bravely did all they could do, given their very limited resources.

  • Munaeem

    In 1971, I witnessed a genocide in Commilla Bangladesh. My father and uncle were pushed into a squash court along with 500 bengalis , and Pakistani army fired on these helpless civilians. My father was the only survivor. My uncle was killed.

  • RedTard

    Wow, another blame America first conspiracy theory. That’s some lame shit. Have you always blamed all your problems on the US or is it something recent?

    As long as the third world continues to duck responsibility and blame everything on the great satan they’ll continue to wallow in poverty and conflict. Last time I checked, it’s not US oil executives raping and killing Sudanese, it’s their own people.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    What can be judged from the activities of the Western countries, namely the U.S., U.K., Norway, and Italy? They want access to the Sudanese oil. Theses Western powers are looking for an opportunity to intervene militarily and provoke a change of the unpopular Islamist regime in Khartoum.

    This would be demonstrated by the US and these other countries literally falling over themselves not to be involved in Darfur in any way, I suppose? After all, the best way to gain control of oil is to completely ignore it and/or run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

    Dave

  • Acin

    Doesn’t matter what the motivation, any time an individual is killed by the members of one ethnic/racial group in order to either intimidate another group to leave their home area or to wipe them out, I consider that to be genocide. That this is happening in Darfur is undisputed. I don’t think that Mr. Jamal has proven that the U.S. is currently involved in supporting rebels against the Khartoum government. He is just reporting hearsay. What does the U.S. stand to gain when the oil concessions have gone to others such as the Chinese. Is the U.S. trying to steal the concessions from the Chinese? The reality is the U.S. may have discovered the oil but that is as far as it goes. The reality is that the muslim Khartoum government has been fighting non-muslim groups for longer than the time of discovery of oil. This is a religious/racial matter that is now complicated by the economics of oil. I resent the U.S. being blamed for the world’s ills such as in Darfur. I also resent when the rest of the world, muslim and non-muslim, expects the U.S. to fix the problems and then criticizes how its being done. Let someone else take on the burdens and the crap that goes with it.

  • Munaeem

    RedTard
    “Wow, another blame America first conspiracy theory”

    There is conclusive evidence that America is involved. Why does America poke its nose everywhere?

    Why did America invade Afghanistan? Talibans did not attack America. Osama was the blue-eyed boy of Americans during the Afghan war.

    Iraq did not invade you.

  • Munaeem

    ReTard
    What is the justification of NATO forces in Afghanistan ? Afghans do not have inter-continental ballistic missiles.

    Why don’t you people ask your US administration to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan?

    Why is US Administration wasting hard-earned money of American tax payers in these places. Us this money on poor Americans.

    French, Italians, British have murky past. They were colonial masters. They killed millions of people in Africa and Asia.

    Now they are trying to get their old territories back. This time they are using a different pretext.

    English entered south asia in the guise of traders and conquered the sub-continent. They ruled their with iron hand for centuries.

    French killed millions in Africa. Italians did the same.

  • Munaeem

    U.S. troops carrying the UN flag invaded Korea in 1950 in a war that resulted in more than 4 million deaths. Still flying that flag, they have occupied and divided the Korean peninsula for over 50 years.

    At the urging of the U.S., UN troops in 1961 were deployed to the Congo, where they played a role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister.

  • Munaeem

    Acin

    “I don’t think that Mr. Jamal has proven that the U.S. is currently involved in supporting rebels against the Khartoum government. He is just reporting hearsay.”

    Chad, which is directly west of Darfur, last year participated in a U.S.-organized international military exer cise that, according to the U.S. Defense Department, was the largest in Africa since World War II. Chad is a former French colony, and both French and U.S. forces are heavily involved in funding, training and equipping the army of its military ruler, Idriss Deby, who has supported rebel groups in Darfur.

  • Franco

    #6 Munaeem

    There is conclusive evidence that America is involved. Why does America poke its nose everywhere?

    There s conclusive evidence that Islamic Imperialism is involved. Why does Islamic Imperialism poke its nose everywhere?

  • Munaeem

    #10 Franco

    “There s conclusive evidence that Islamic Imperialism is involved. Why does Islamic Imperialism poke its nose everywhere? ”

    Give me an example. These Islamic radicals have been trained and financed by Americans , Saudis, and Pakistani men.

    The Present Saudi Ambassador in US Mr. Turki , who was then intelligence chief can tell you all the details.

  • Franco

    #7 — Munaeem

    What is the justification of NATO forces in Afghanistan ? Afghans do not have inter-continental ballistic missiles.

    Harbored terrorist training camps and terrorests and supported their transportation, communications and networking. The Taliban was given opportunity to shut down terrorist camps and turn over tourists, but they refused to do so and this was caused by their honorary and hate society and blaming everyone and everything on others all in an attempt to save themselves from humiliation. It is a regional Arab weakness in the thinking of the people as history as proved over and over and still does to this day. You’re included in that description Munaeem.

    Why don’t you people ask your US administration to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan?

    Because we will not surrender to terrorests you out of touch with reality nit wit.

    Why is US Administration wasting hard-earned money of American taxpayers in these places. Us this money on poor Americans.

    If you want a say in how the US tax dollars are spent then become a US citizen, pay taxes and vote. Otherwise shut up.

    French, Italians, British have murky past. They were colonial masters. They killed millions of people in Africa and Asia.

    The difference is that France, Italy and Britain have changed that ugly past an d do not operate that way anymore. So the question is why dose the Middle East still operate in these old past ugly barbaric ways and can not find the same means to change as these western countries? But I am sure you will not take responsibility for it. It has to be someone elses fault.

    Now they are trying to get their old territories back. This time they are using a different pretext.

    Munaeem is a man who lacks all touch with reality and the world around him.

    English entered south asia in the guise of traders and conquered the sub-continent. They ruled their with iron hand for centuries.

    This matter has been covered above.

    French killed millions in Africa. Italians did the same.

    So has this.

    Munaeem, You topic was Sudan and yet you have become like an historical woman and started ranting and raving about everything that disturbs you. Be a man and try you’re best (I know this is hard for Middle Easterners), to stay on topic and discuss the topic logically. Otherwise you are going to loose in this knife fight.

  • Franco

    #11 — Munaeem

    Give me an example.

    Well there are hundreds of examples. But Sudan is a perfect example and would be worth discussing if you can logically stay on topic.

  • Munaeem

    Imperialism means

    A policy if acquiring dependent territories or act of extending a country’s influence through trade , diplomacy , etc.

    Franco
    Where does Sudan fit in this definition ?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I can answer that one for you. Not at all. Should be damned obvious. The US isn’t into territorial acquisition for the most part, at least not since Hawaii.

    Dave

  • Franco

    #14 — Munaeem

    Imperialism means

    A policy if acquiring dependent territories or act of extending a country’s influence through trade , diplomacy , etc.

    Islamic Imperialism means acquiring dependent territories or act of extending a country’s influence through terror, rape butchery, starvation, throat cutting, beheadings, and on and on it goes.

    You ask……. Where does Sudan fit in this definition ?

    If you have to ask you are only part of the problem and we will see you on the battlefield.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Munaeem,

    I’m sorry I’m late to the party.

    I see you’re being jumped on by Americans who do not like their policies (or lack of them) rubbed in their noses..

    The problem with your article is not the ideas you express. You make fine points, and I agree with them. Your problem is the focus. No, let’s be more honest. Your problem is not being able to hammer home a point in English in a way that native English speakers would have a hard time answering you.

    Your bottom line issue is that the US will back off calling genocide for what it is if its leaders think there is a dollar to be made. That is the point you need to drive home with a sledgehammer.

    Had you done this in your article, you would have people telling you that you are “preaching to the choir,” a Christian expression indicating that everybody agrees with your point of view, and you are only telling them what they already know.

    Instead you are dealing with silly debates over terms like “Islamic imperialism,” and being told to become an American citizen so you can influence American policy.

    Yeah. Really… If you go to Harvard, Yale or Columgia University, get involved with banking, and get invited to be part of the CFR, you will have an influence on American foreign policy. Otherwise, welcome to the club of the powerless.

    Munaeem, if American citizens truly had influence over foreign (or any other kind of policy in the United States), it would still be the beacon of hope to the world it was 160 years ago.

  • Franco

    #17 — Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Ruvy,

    I have read many of your posts on BC which concern the Middle East and its terrorests network and the Arab mindset and I have always thought you had a good handle on what was going on.

    This post was the most off the mark I have ever seen you put up. I’m shocked and demayed and wonder now what you ture agenda is.

    If you think that Islamic Imperialism is for silly debaters you are out to lunch and it will soon be having you for lunch. It is coming, its on the rise, and it is hungry and very vicious and illogical. It can not fit into the world of the coming century. It either must learn to be politically mature and responsible which requires compromise or it must parish. There is no middle ground. As of up until today history has proved that Islamic Imperialism is incapable of compromise. Hence the killing will go on and on and on.

    What ever name you want to argue to put on the killings and displacments in Sudan is fine with me. But the fact remains that it is Islamic Imperialism at work here carring out these barbaric acts. And people are starving and being butchard at there hands every day while you enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    And about American citizens conection with power. If it had none then the US and World politicians and Media and yes even Islmamic Imperialism would not be trying to influence it all the time. Why do they continue to do this, because we can still influence elections and vote anyone into or out of power Ruvy.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Franco,

    Islamic imperialism is just like Islamo-fascism – another confusing name to rant and rave against. These bastards have an address and the address is the place to aim the nukes – Riyadh. The menace is not “Islamic imperialism”, it is the Wahhabi influence in Islam turning it into a religion of murder and blood.

    I never lose focus over who my enemies in the Arab world are, Franco.

    As to American politics, foreigners and power. The foreigners don’t give a shit for Joe six-pack. The real propaganda is aimed at governing élites in the United States. That’s what all those ads in the NYT are all about – trying to influence governing élites in the States.

    Americans still get to vote for dog-catchers and sewage commissioners. But the sewage commissioners have their jobs taken care of by engineers who make sure that the shit flows down-hill.

  • Les Slater

    Ruvy #17

    I agree with most of what you say.

    One major difference between you and me is that you are a hopeless pessimist. You do not believe humanity can solve problems. Is that why you have nothing to offer except God has a plan?

    Les

  • Acin

    Ruvy #19

    Its not just the Wahhabi influence thats a problem in Islam. The actions of the Shia in Iran and Lebanon do not speak well to the supposedly peaceful nature of Islam. They are just as imperialistic minded as any civilization has ever been. All in the name of the “true” religion. God spare us from fanatics who use religion as an excuse to do evil. For all of the faults of the West, and there are many, the barbarity of these Islamic fanatics is more of an affront to God than anything the West is doing.

  • Franco

    #19 — Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The menace is not “Islamic imperialism”, it is the Wahhabi influence in Islam turning it into a religion of murder and blood.

    Iran maintains Islamic beliefs that are not supportive and not the same as the Islamic Wahhavbi, in fact Iran hates them. Yet Iran too wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and do so by the same means as the Wahhavbi Hamas wing.

    There is Islamic Imperialist in many Muslim sects and they all use the same means of delivering their message of faith. Blood shed. It’s all one big Islamic nut house no matter where the fires of hate are fanned and by what sect.

    You go ahead and call it what you want, I choose to call it what it is. Islamic Imperialism not fascism. Make not mistake, there is a distinct difference.

    I am Joe six-pac Ruvy and I know what power the American people hold. I am insulated that you think people like me can not see through the political bullshit antics of the NYT and the like. Americans will never give up their guns nor there rights without a fight. The élites know this about Joe six-pac and that is why the want their guns. They can’t have them Ruvy.

  • Clavos

    Franco writes:

    I am Joe six-pac Ruvy and I know what power the American people hold. I am insulated that you think people like me can not see through the political bullshit antics of the NYT and the like. Americans will never give up their guns nor there rights without a fight. The élites know this about Joe six-pac and that is why the want their guns. They can’t have them Ruvy.

    ¡Bravo!

  • Les Slater

    Franco #22

    “Americans will never give up their guns nor there rights without a fight. The élites know this about Joe six-pac and that is why the want their guns. They can’t have them Ruvy.”

    Guns are important only when you know which way to point them.

    Les

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I feel like I’m, wasting my time, but here’s a response to Munaeem:

    What is the justification of NATO forces in Afghanistan ? Afghans do not have inter-continental ballistic missiles.

    No, but they did support the Al Qaeda attack on the WTC back on 9/11, which makes them a legitimate concern.

    Why don’t you people ask your US administration to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan?

    As you mentioned, it’s not the US, it’s NATO. We make up only 1/5 of the force there. Talk to them. They seem to think keeping Afghanistan from being dangerous to other nations is a good thing.

    Why is US Administration wasting hard-earned money of American tax payers in these places. Us this money on poor Americans.

    Based on the standards of most of the world there really aren’t any poor Americans.

    French, Italians, British have murky past. They were colonial masters. They killed millions of people in Africa and Asia.

    Now they are trying to get their old territories back. This time they are using a different pretext.

    This is pure, undiluted paranoia. There’s no indication that the European nations are trying to seize or hold territory anywhere outside of their existing boundaries. Give me ONE example of a new imperial acquisition for any of these countries in the last 30 years.

    English entered south asia in the guise of traders and conquered the sub-continent. They ruled their with iron hand for centuries.

    The English came in as the Ottoman Empire began to collapse – someone had to take responsibility. And their ‘rule’ there, which was quite mild and mostly done through local governments, lasted substantially less than a century.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I’m going to make this short – I have an editing project to finish…

    You are all correct about the Iranian Shia and their messianic visions of wiping out Israel and installing a Mahdi. The only reason I didn’t bring them into the picture in my comments was that I was discussing Sudan and Darfur and NOT Israel. The minute you bring this litle neighborhood into the picture, the Shia suddenly come rushing into the vision scope with the speed of a katyusha.

    But it is not all one “Islamic nut-house” – at least not yet. There are real differences between the streams of Islam, and you are seeing one in this article’s author that does not call for your death or destruction. The Sufi are similar in their outlook to this writer.

    So, the other address for the danger of Islam to the west is Teheran. No argument here. But again, this is not Islamic imperialism or Islamic fascism, this is the Shia attempting to implement their messianic vision – AND Iran trying to resurrect the Persian Empire – Persian imperialism. To that aim, the Iranians will work with the Wahhabi to the degree that it suits them – and stab them in the back when the time is right for them.

    There are a number of different agendae all at work and they compete with each other for final power. But they all seem to agree that we Jews must go. But that doesn’t make them all alike.

    And Franco – if you are indeed Joe six-pack, put down the beer can and trace the history and influence of the CFR in America. They and the budsinessmen they represent have virtually hijacked your democracy. You have remaining for you its shreds and that is all.

  • Munaeem
  • Munaeem

    Another achievement of American Foreign Policy soon emerge in the form of Shia State in Lebanon.

    Shias are in majority in Lebanon now, because of mass migration of Christians and Sunni Muslim, and high birth rate.

    Last census was conducted in 1932. If you new census is carried. It will put the shias in power.

    It is time American have to accept the follies , they have made and correct their policies.

  • Munaeem

    Each year America gives millions of dollars in aid to many Muslim countries. All these money goes into the pockets of sycophants.

    I wrote letters to American senators. I requested them not to give aid to these double agents. Because the aid is used to finance and train anti-American elements.

    The aid should be diverted to the people.

  • Acin

    Munaeem, I can fully agree with your comment in #29. The problem seems to be that the aid does not get to the people who need it. Aid, whether its through private charities or governments, is often hijacked by corrupt officials or prevented from getting through to individuals. There have been many examples of charitable workers injured and killed, be it in Darfur, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Its a shame that the people who need the aid or other peoples of similar faith and heritage do not protest against that. But too often they will protest against those same governments when they feel their pride or honor has been insulted.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I wrote a whole article about what Munaeem brings up in #29 a while back. The problem is particularly acute in Africa. The catch-22 is that the only way to get the aid to the actual people is to overthrow the oppressive governments, and so far that hasn’t been a terribly popular approach.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    This came into my inbox today…There was no URL.

    PRESS RELEASE November 28, 2006
    UN Human Rights Council Goes Soft on Sudan

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Geneva, November 28, 2006 — The UN Human Rights Council, meeting yesterday and today in its resumed second regular session, adopted three country resolutions, according to UN Watch, a non-governmental organization in Geneva that closely monitors the Council’s proceedings.

    Two of the resolutions were against Israel, harshly condemning the Jewish state for alleged human rights violations in the Golan Heights and in settlement activities. The Council, in its five months of existence, has now passed six condemnatory resolutions against Israel—the only country that the Council had addressed in its resolutions until today.

    The third resolution of the session concerned the situation in Darfur, Sudan, but the text, according to UN Watch, is disappointingly soft. It merely “notes with concern” the serious situation in Darfur—which it attributes to “all parties”—and it even “welcomes” the Sudanese government’s “cooperation” and urges the international community to give it financial support. All of this is a far cry from accusing Sudan of violations. The tone is vastly different from the harsh texts, sponsored by the Arab and Islamic groups, that the Council has passed against Israel, and even from the last resolution on Darfur from the Council’s discredited predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.

    “Even the faint resolution on Sudan adopted by the 2005 Commission—where the Darfur situation was officially classified as a matter of ‘technical cooperation’—was stronger,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. “At least that text made an attempt to describe the reality of ‘continued, widespread and systematic’ human rights and humanitarian law violations, and called on the Sudanese government to ‘stop and investigate violations of human rights’ and ‘end impunity.’ All of these basic elements from 2005 have now been eviscerated by today’s text.”

    A Canadian and European Union attempt to slightly strengthen the African group’s text—by adding a reference to the “primary obligation of the Government of Sudan to protect all individuals against violations” and asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Council on Darfur at its next session—was defeated in a close vote of 20 in favor, 22 against, and 4 abstentions. But even with these amendments, the text would still have been weaker than the 2005 Commission resolution, according to Neuer. The original African group text passed in a vote of 25 in favor, 11 against, 10 abstaining.

    “That the Council’s long awaited action on Darfur took such a kid gloves approach is deeply disappointing—especially in light of the Sudanese President’s latest rejection, just yesterday, of the UN Security Council-mandated peacekeeping force for Darfur,” continued Neuer. In Neuer’s view, the right Council action on Darfur is to call an urgent special session to put a spotlight on, and hopefully help to halt, the ongoing atrocities. (Since its inauguration in June, the Council has held three special sessions, all on Israel.)

    Neuer also expressed concern over another Council resolution, adopted yesterday, that seeks to rein in the Council’s independent human rights experts. These experts, assigned to investigate human rights violations around the world, often anger repressive governments when they issue critical reports. The resolution, which calls for a “code of conduct” for the experts based on input from governments, was sponsored by the African group and supported by such abuser states as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. It passed over the objections of most of the Council’s free democracies. “New or old, every mechanism designed to hold countries to account for their human rights record is under attack,” said Neuer.