Darfur conflict is in its sixth year. The UN and aid agencies estimate that over 2 million people are living in camps after fleeing fighting in the region. They also estimate that around 200,000 people have died in the conflict since 2003.
In July 2007, the United Nations members approved the 26,000-strong force for the Darfur peacekeeping mission.
But the Sudanese government is not the only problem. The international community is having trouble finding equipment for the mission.
For almost a year now, the UN and African Union representatives are asking the world powers to provide the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) with 6 attack helicopters and 18 transport helicopters so they can start protecting civilians in Darfur.
Helicopters are essential for any success of the mission in the region which is the size of France and twice the size of the United Kingdom.
But to this day, no country has supplied even one helicopter.
Recently, Ethiopia and Russia promised to provide some helicopters for the Darfur mission.
Western countries that like to promote “human rights” and “democracy” around the world have not promised any equipment for Darfur. The United States government recently urged the UN to “stop procrastinating on logistical issues like helicopters for troop transports.”
As one humanitarian worker in Darfur said, “Darfur is on the radar, people are talking about it, but they [Western leaders] are just not acting. This gives a message to Khartoum that Darfur still isn’t a priority to the West.”
This is not the first time that the world community simply does not care about large-scale suffering of human beings.
When in the midst of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 UN members finally agreed to send 5,500 additional troops consisting of mainly African soldiers to try and stop the killings, the UN asked the American government to supply armored personnel carriers for the mission. The Clinton administration agreed, but instead of lending military equipment to the UN (to whom the United States owed hundreds of millions of dollars in membership fees at the time), the US government decided to lease it for $15 million.