Friday, May 20, 2005

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Save Darfur CoalitionWeekly News Summary

Darfur Summit Rejects non-African Intervention
May 17, 2005 -
In a statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting, leaders of Egypt, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Gabon and Eritrea decided to "reject any foreign intervention in the Darfur problem and dealing with it should be through its African framework."

African Union calls on NATO for fast Darfur help
May 17, 2005 - Reuters AlertNet
The African Union asked NATO to support its forces in Sudan's Darfur region with transport, communications and other facilities on Tuesday, but stressed there was no role for the military alliance on the ground.

In Divided Darfur, a Shared Will to Fight
May 17, 2005 - Washington Post Cover Story
Now, there are growing fears that Darfur's struggle may join the list of long, intractable conflicts on the African continent, including northern Uganda's 19-year war and Burundi's 12-year civil war, in which sporadic fighting has continued despite several peace plans.

The Mournful Math of Darfur
May 18, 2005 - The New York Times
Is the death toll between 60,000 and 160,000, as Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick told reporters during a recent trip to the region? Or is it closer to the roughly 400,000 dead reported recently by the Coalition for International Justice, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization that was hired by the United States Agency for International Development to try to determine whether the killing amounts to genocide.Whatever the actual figure, it is undoubtedly a moving target. People are still dying from sickness, starvation and exposure at rates that experts say are higher than the already elevated rates at which they died before the conflict began in early 2003. And although Darfur has long been known for its lawlessness, violent deaths are regarded as far higher than normal, as well.

Broken region of Darfur facing 'inevitable' famine
May 17, 2005 - USA Today Cover Story
The rains should come any day now, but this year Ibrahim, 35, has no fields to plant. She, her husband and their six children languish in a refugee camp whose 20,000 residents survive almost entirely on international food aid - aid that will be difficult to deliver once the seasonal rains turn West Darfur's dirt roads into quagmires.

Connecticut State Senate Passes Resolution Condemning Atrocities in Darfur May 11, 2005
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the resolution calls upon "Connecticut's Congressional delegation and other federal authorities to act to cause the government of Sudan to halt all violence in the region, restore stolen lands, reconstruct destroyed villages and return displaced persons to their communities."

Illinois General Assembly Passes Legislation to Suspend State Investment in Sudan, May 18, 2005
Senate Bill 23 prohibits the State Treasurer from depositing funds or contracting with any financial institution doing business in the Sudan. The bill also prohibits State retirement systems and pension funds from loaning or investing in any company that invests in or does business with the African nation. Presently, two of the state's five pension systems have approximately $1 billion invested in 32 companies doing business in Sudan.

mtvU Darfur Activism Awards Announced May 11, 2005
Student groups at Georgetown University and the University of Florida won $50,000 in grant money from the Darfur Activism Awards sponsored by mtvU and the Reebok Human Rights Foundation. The groups were chosen from an impressive field of college advocacy organizations that MTVu describes as demonstrating "the strength of coordinated student activism and the power of caffeine."

Opinion pieces

A Time for Action in Darfur May 16, 2005 - Magic City Morning Star
US Representative Michael Michaud writes "This foot-dragging must stop. The entire Congress and the President have all recognized that this is a case of genocide. This is truly a matter of life and death for hundreds of thousands of people. The Congress should pass the Darfur Accountability Act immediately, not only for its substance, but also to send a message that the United States is truly engaged in ending this crisis."

Africa Can't be a World Apart May 19, 2005 - Christian Science Monitor Editorial
"A tsunami of hunger is washing over sub-Saharan Africa this year, caused by drought, conflict, and inept government. More than 20 countries are in need of food aid, especially 2.6 million refugees from Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur province.Donor nations shouldn't just give more when a crisis plays well on TV. African needs may not be all that visual, but they are huge."

Once Again May 15, 2005 - Washington Post Guest Editorial
Political science professor Paul F. Diehl writes "It's been 15 months since a top U.N. official called Sudan 'the killing fields of our generation' and labeled the situation in Darfur 'ethnic cleansing.' It's been 10 months since the U.S. Congress passed a resolution branding Darfur a genocide. Yet by the time the African Union increases the number of its troops in Darfur to 12,300 next spring, nearly three years will have passed since violence broke out. [...] Given all the obstacles, talk of an international humanitarian intervention force may be nothing more than an academic exercise. But for the people destined to be the victims of the next genocide, the question of how to assure intervention is anything but academic."

Beyond Darfur May 15, 2005 - Washington Post Editorial
"It will take a common effort from the United States, Europe, Russia and (most awkwardly) China to pressure the Sudanese regime into changing its ways. But the diplomatic effort is worthwhile: The stakes are bigger even than the awful genocide in Darfur."

There's just no way I can walk away May 17, 2005 - Guest Editorial
Professor Julia Scott writes "In July 2004, Congress led the world in unanimously declaring the violence in Darfur a genocide, as the Bush administration also subsequently did. And Congress is considering the Darfur Accountability Act, which would take strong steps against the Khartoum regime and provide support for the meager African Union monitoring force that is now in Darfur.But recent media reports suggest the Bush administration may be backing off its earlier genocide determination, and even trying to neuter the Darfur Accountability Act."