On the occasion of a summit being held on 28 April, 2007 in Libya, between representatives of Libya, the United States, Britain, Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, the African Union and European Union, with the aim of ending the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, CIHRS calls on the representatives of these states and interstate organizations, to agree to a series of concrete measures that will provide immediate protection for civilians in Darfur and eastern Chad, and will revitalize the now defunct peace process between Darfur rebel groups and the government of Sudan.
This summit comes at an important time of opportunity. On 15 April, after almost six months of delay, the government of Sudan agreed to the second phase, known as the heavy support package, of a three stage plan to create an African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur. In response, the United States and European Union have postponed enacting targeted sanctions on Sudan’s government. Furthermore, according to the U.N.’s special envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliason, the governments of Sudan and Darfur rebel leaders have recently indicated that they do not believe a military solution to the conflict in Darfur is possible, and have expressed a desire to revitalize the political process. Consultations held by CIHRS between rebel groups and with the government of Sudan have demonstrated that such a process is possible 1. These confidence building measures must be quickly followed up on. The government of Sudan has consistently employed delay-strategies to prevent the international community from providing the protection for Darfur civilians that the Khartoum government has been unable or unwilling to provide. Rhetorical exercises expressing a desire for peace and human rights protection for the people of Darfur is not enough; the focus of this summit must be on immediate, practical and concrete steps.
In this regard, the United States, Britain and the European Union, with the support of the African Union, should clearly express to Sudanese representatives that the current delay of targeted sanctions is conditional on the Sudanese government immediately initiating measures to carry out the commitments it has made to (1) allow the UN to provide the phase two, heavy support package to the African Union mission in Darfur, in preparation for the third phase of UN deployment, and (2) facilitate the speedy and unhindered access of humanitarian organizations to the internally displaced populations in the region. Furthermore, the United States, Britain and European Union should formally commit themselves to employing any potential targeted sanctions in a manner that will not cause harm to the civilians of Sudan or hinder the peace process; and to ensure these conditions are met through consultations with the United Nations and African Union. The United Nations has given several conditions that must be met in order for the deployment of the 3000 peacekeepers of the heavy support package to Darfur to commence, including disarming of the Janjaweed and a cessation of hostilities between the government and rebel groups. All participants at this summit must pressure the government of Sudan and offer their assistance to begin the process of disarming the Janjaweed, and convening a meeting between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups with the purpose of creating a ceasefire agreement. Moreover, all participants at the summit in Libya should formally agree that the future peace and stability of the entire region is largely dependent on solving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Since 2003, fighting in Darfur between rebel and government forces has caused the death of at least 200,000 people and forced another 2.5 million from their homes, some into neighboring Chad. The humanitarian crisis continues unabated. Violence committed by armed groups and government forces against each other and unarmed civilians in Darfur, including against humanitarian aid workers, has become progressively more erratic since the beginning of 2007, as both pro-government armed groups and rebel movements increasingly become more fractured. Moreover, the Sudanese government still continues to carry out illegal, indiscriminate aerial bombardments on civilian areas in Darfur, and has failed to provide sufficient protection for the internally displaced population in the region.
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(1) A summary of this initiative is available at in Arabic at: https://cihrs.org/prog_Activity_details_ar.aspx?act_id=94&prog_name=%C7%E1%D5%D1%C7%DA%C7%CA%20%E6%20%CD%DE%E6%DE%20%C7%E1%C5%E4%D3%C7%E4
and in English at: https://cihrs.org/prog_Activity_details_en.aspx?act_id=94&prog_name=Conflicts%20and%20Human%20Rights
This post is also available in: العربية
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