The United States is circulating a proposed resolution to the United Nations Security Council on the violence in Sudan’s western region of Darfur. The resolution would impose sanctions on the Sudanese government if it does not stop the murderous attacks by Arab militias against black Africans in Darfur. The proposed resolution also includes an embargo on arms shipments to the militias, called the Janjaweed.
Backed by the Sudanese government, the Arab militias have killed as many as thirty-thousand people in Darfur. More than a million others have been driven from their homes by Janjaweed attacks that include massacres, systematic rape, and the destruction of hundreds of villages. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are now at risk of death by starvation or disease. And the violence continues.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan both traveled to Darfur in June. Sudanese government officials promised at that time to end the violence and make it less difficult for humanitarian workers to get aid to people in refugee camps. There has been “some marginal improvement” regarding aid deliveries, says Mr. Powell, but the U.S. and other countries “remain completely dissatisfied with the security situation”:
“Not enough is being done to break the hold of the Janjaweed. Rapes are still occurring. People do not feel safe leaving the camps to go out and forage for food. The situation remains very, very serious.”
After a July 22nd meeting with Mr. Annan at the U-N, Secretary of State Powell said the burden for providing security in Darfur “rests fully with the Sudanese government”:
“They have been supporting and sustaining some of these Janjaweed elements. This has to end. We have made this clear to the Sudanese leadership. We still know that there are bombings that take place, there are helicopter gunships in Darfur region. . . . They should be removed in order to help remove the specter of fear, of danger from the skies, that affects the people in Darfur.”
By supporting the Arab militias, Sudanese officials turned on the violence. The U.S. and other countries, says Secretary of State Powell, “are making it clear to them that there will be consequences if [the violence] is not turned off.”