New York, Jan 25 2008 4:00PM
An independent United Nations expert today called for international action to help women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who have been victimized by violence, including sexual abuse and rape, perpetrated by both militia and Government troops and fostered by a culture of impunity.
Yakin ErtÃ¼rk, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, described the gruesome atrocities she witnessed when visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last year. "I have seen little girls, women whose hands were chopped off, who were abducted, sexually enslaved, forced to eat the flesh of dead relatives, etcetera, etcetera. Things are quite dire."
Eastern Congo in particular has received greater attention because of the presence there of foreign groups which she said were the "main perpetrators of violence against women as well as the civilian population in general."
But she cautioned that the problems are not limited to eastern Congo; in Equator Province "the army and national police are among the main perpetrators." Ms. ErtÃ¼rk cited a mass rape by soldiers in April, which led to seven soldiers being sentenced to life imprisonment before they later "escaped or walked out of the military prison."
She decried the fact that in the peace process, efforts to demobilize the militia do not include a justice component. "These militants are demobilized and reintegrated either into civilian life or into the army and they continue the kinds of violent acts they were responsible for during the armed conflict, as civilians or as soldiers in the national army."
The focus on disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants in the peace process "does not take into consideration the sufferings of women or the needs of women,"she said. "Those are missing links in the peace process."
The expert, who serves in an unpaid, independent capacity, urged international help for women who have been victimized. "Many of these women who have survived are today human rights defenders who are working diligently on the ground to respond to the gap created by the State in terms of providing medical as well as other care services to women who are continually being raped,"she said.
"There is an urgent need to mobilize support for these women who are working both under security threats as well as severe resourceâ" problems, she added. "We must support these grass-roots initiatives because that"how the country is going to be rebuilt."
Countless victims are in inaccessible areas with little or no form of redress. "The justice system, the penitentiary system, is in deplorable conditions," she said. Often victims must pay for access to the courts in what she called a "major obstacle to justice."
She called for "urgent measures to address security and justice simultaneously and stressed that women need more than compensation and they need empowerment."
Ms. ErtÃ¼'s report will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March.
Student group sets up hotline so citizens can phone Harper's office. Read the TheStar.com article.
Article by Harry Stirling
Toronto Star, Friday, March 9, 2007, p. A17
By Peter Hall
A recent analysis finds that approximately 380,000 human beings have died as a result of the conflict that erupted in February 2003, and that the current conflict-related mortality rate in the larger humanitarian theater is approximately 15,000 deaths per month.
One estimate speculates that the final toll from genocide in Darfur will exceed the 800,000 who died in Rwanda's genocide of 1994.
The January 2005 Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur failed to identify genocide taking place in the conflict. But the report gives "the most complete and compelling picture of massive criminality in the Darfur conflict, and establishes beyond any reasonable doubt the vastly disproportional culpability of Khartoum's regular military forces and its
Janjaweed militia allies."
Some weeks ago I heard, on BBC 24 hour TV, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Juan Méndez, say he was not in a position to say whether what has already happened in Darfur is or is not genocide.
John Bolton has been nominated as US ambassador to the United Nations. A resolution that would refer the conflict in Sudan to the International Criminal Court has already been stalled for months by the resistance of the Bolton faction in the State Department.
There is general agreement that a Security Council referral to the ICC is the one sanction actually feared by the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias it has employed
i) Either genocide is taking place in Darfur or crimes against humanity on a massive scale
ii) The world community is not interested in sending in troops to such a huge and out of the
way part of the world to try to stop the conflict going on
iii) The Sudanese government does find referral to the ICC something they fear
There is only one way to stop the conflict in Darfur - force the US to agree/abstain from voting for referral by the SC.
Persuade human rights organisations to collaborate/cooperate over a campaign to change public opinion in the US so as to force the USG to agree/abstain from voting for referral by the SC.
The motivation to collaborate/cooperate is twofold - to stop the genocide in Darfur and to end the US driving a horse and cart over every international treaty.
The human rights community can sit back and let the conflict continue
The Arab militias that have so terrorized the residents of the Darfur region of Sudan are reported to be massing in large numbers. Source.
by Baris Sanli
by Hrant Dink
(translated by F.M. Gocek)
By Howard Eissenstat
The Daily Star Lebanon
by Meera Selva, Africa Correspondent
by Dr. Gregory Stanton, President, Genocide Watch
by Stephen M. Marks and Lauren A.E. Schuker
Crimson Staff Writers
The Harvard Crimson Online
by Warren Hoge
New York Times
by Ben Kiernan
reporter: Nick Grimm
by Jack Goldsmith
A major human tragedy is unfolding in Sudan, one that has reportedly claimed at least 30,000 lives, and could claim hundreds of thousands more unless the world community works together, starting immediately, to end it.
But despite the growing catastrophe, the U.S. State Department has yet to publicly condemn these actions, or even to formally recognize that the atrocities in Sudan constitute genocide. Such recognition would make a huge difference, catalyzing the world community to help stop the bloodshed.
Please make a call to Secretary of State Colin Powell today at:
* Secretary of State Colin Powell
* 202-647-4000 or 202-647-6607
Urge him to:
* Immediately declare the atrocities in Sudan to be "Genocide"; and
* Publicly condemn them.
Please also call your Senators and Representative:
* Senator Mark Dayton
Washington, DC: 202-224-3244
* Senator Norm Coleman
Washington, DC: 202-224-5641
* Congressman Martin Olav Sabo
Washington, DC: 202-225-4755
Urge them to demand that the United States recognize the genocide and condemn it.
Sudan's government is orchestrating a genocide  against people living in the country's Darfur region, who have challenged the government's authoritarian rule. In addition to tens of thousands of killings, there is widespread rape, and poisoning of water systems. Up to one million people have reportedly been displaced from their homes.
More than 130 countries are obligated by the 1948 Genocide Convention to prevent and punish such crimes against humanity. So even if the United States sends no troops to Sudan, formally recognizing the genocide would enable the U.N. security council to authorize other countries, like Germany, France, and Spain, which don't have troops to Iraq, to help stop the killing in Sudan.
We could also take another simple step, and publicly condemn the genocide. This would send a powerful signal that the world is watching, not looking the other way. "Genocide is still calibrated to the international reaction," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.
Whenever genocide has occurred before, the world community has vowed, "never again." Yet today, it is happening again.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written a moving series of columns from Sudan, many of them focusing on the personal experiences of a young woman there named Magboula. You can read them at:
Newspapers everywhere are calling for action:
* The Washington Post: "As Genocide Unfolds"
* The New York Times: Time for Action on Sudan (Archived and available for purchase)
* Calls for action from newspapers throughout the country have been compiled by the Center for American Progress
* Contradictory Declaration by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the Armenian Question (PDF)
It's time to stop begging the dictatorship for access and start planning the rescue, implementing sanctions, and hold accountable the thugs who committed these crimes in courts of law. Congressional passage of this resolution is a crucial step in stopping the genocide in Sudan.
You can take action on this alert either via email (please see directions below) or via the web.
We encourage you to take action by August 20, 2004.
Tell Congress: Genocide by any other name is still GENOCIDE
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB:
If you have access to a web browser, you can take action on this alert.
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA EMAIL:
Just choose the "reply to sender" option on your email program.
Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
Representative Dennis Hastert
Representative Tom DeLay
Senator Bill Frist
Call for UN Emergency Force to quell genocides
Robert C. Johansen's call for a United Nations Emergency Service is quite close to one of the four goals of the International Campaign to End Genocide since 1999, which is:
"The establishment of a powerful United Nations rapid response force in accordance with Articles 43 - 47 of the U.N. charter, as well as regional rapid response forces, and international police ready to be sent to areas where genocide threatens or has begun."
The European Union's creation of a rapid response force and its first deployments, including one to the Eastern Congo, have been positive steps toward this goal, as has the African Union's declaration of its intent to create an AU rapid response force. SHIRBRIG, the Standing High Readiness Brigade, pioneered by Canada, Denmark, and other countries has also been a step in this direction.
A full-scale UN volunteer rapid deployment force is vigorously opposed by the Bush administration, and the Congressional appropriation for the State Department and International Organizations specifically forbids any use of U.S. funds for such a force. Interestingly, General Dallaire, an adviser to the Genocide Watch, Aegis, and the ICEG and one of the most respected experts on this subject, also thinks it would currently be a mistake to give the U.N. such a standing armed force, perhaps because of his experience with U.N. irresolution in Rwanda. The proposal will undoubtedly be opposed by nations like China and many of the G-77-states that hold national sovereignty above all other values, and believe it includes what Leo Kuper called "the sovereign right to commit genocide." Nevertheless, the proposal seems well worth pursuing as a long-range goal. It would be even more useful in the context of a U.N. Security Council Perm-5 agreement not to use the veto when there has been a finding of immanent or actual genocide by a majority of the members of the Security Council, as the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty recommends.
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
Our U.S. promise to act against genocide could become futile
A Congressional bill calling for targeted sanctions (including economic sanctions) against the worst criminal in Sudan, as well as $200 million for further humanitarian aid for Darfur and the refugees
in neighboring Chad, has lost the support of Congress and the President and is in danger of not becoming law.
Act now and let key leadership in both the House and Senate know that the people of the United States will not allow this legislation to die:
* Senate Leadership: Senators Frist, Daschle, and Reid
* House Leadership: Representatives DeLay and Hastert
* Key Members of the House and Senate Foreign/International Relations Committees: Senators Lugar and Brownback, Representatives Hyde, Payne and Lantos
* Chairmen of key Subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee: Representatives Kolbe and Wolf
* U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
During November the situation in Darfur, Sudan has become more volatile and insecure with Government forces encircling camps set up for those internally displaced by the conflict and denying access to UN aid agencies and other humanitarian groups.
The Sudanese government appears determined to force those displaced by the conflict back to villages that remain uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the U.S. Government, instead of condemning such action, is backing down from pressuring Sudan to stop the killing and reign in its militias.
Before the Presidential elections, the U.S. administration and Congress spoke strongly against the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan. The United States was the only country to declare the situation genocide. Post-elections, the policy has changed.
The United States can and must ensure that the world does not once again turn away in the face of genocide.
A little more than ten years ago, American officials argued that what was then happening in Rwanda was not worthy of their time or attention. Their actions not only were grossly irresponsible, but also represented one of the most shameful episodes in the history of American foreign policy.
There is no need for history to repeat itself. We can ensure that future generations of Americans will not be ashamed of America's response to Darfur.
Act now and let key leadership in both the House and Senate know that the people of the United States will not allow this legislation to die.
Support this legislation today, calling for action to end the crisis in Darfur.
Requires Real Player. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on: Listen to The Current: Part 2
by Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
by the Internet Desk
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
by Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer