Khartoum Continues to Undermine Peace Efforts

By Elizabeth Palmberg 6-20-2008

In the past week, the blood-stained regime ruling Sudan has once again engaged in "open and transparent effort to overthrow a neighboring government," Chad, where for the past week Sudanese-backed rebels have been attacking towns. The attacks put at risk half a million Sudanese and Chadian refugees in the region.

Khartoum seems determined to give new meaning to the phrase "repeat offender." The proxy militias it arms, in concert with the Sudanese military, continue to destroy villages and bomb schools in Darfur. Ahmad Harun--who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for recruiting and ordering Janjaweed to commit mass rape, murder, and looting, and who should be on trial in The Hague--instead continues to be the Sudanese government minister in charge of supervising (and impeding and expelling) humanitarian workers in Darfur.

Instead of enabling Khartoum's behavior by our inaction, the international community should be putting concerted economic and legal pressure on Khartoum, and on specific officials such as Harun, to get the promised U.N. humanitarian protection force on the ground in Darfur, and to get a real peace process started like the one that won an agreement stopping Sudan's previous civil war (which was north-south, rather than east-west). Instead of replicating that success, though, we've been letting Khartoum undermine it: Last month the Sudanese Armed Forces "burned the strategic town of Abyei to the ground, leaving the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) at extreme risk, " as John Prendergast of the Enough Project pointed out to the U.N. Security Council in a briefing on Tuesday.

Read Prendergast's Tuesday Security Council briefing and Enough's new report on how to get humanitarian protection and a long-term solution in Darfur. The world has stood idly by too long.

Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners.

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