Evidence and Testimony

Image: Flickr, Enough Project
Image: Flickr, Enough Project

Since February 2003, when the humanitarian crisis in Darfur escalated to its current phase, the Sudanese government has only reluctantly and belatedly allowed foreign diplomatic observers, journalists and relief organisations into the trouble region.

Accurate assessments of military activity and its impact on the civilian population have been difficult to acquire. The following are excerpts from a range of conclusions based on evidence and testimonies gathered from within Darfur and in the refugee camps in neighbouring Chad

US Secretary of State Colin Powell (August 5, 2004): ‘To date, the government of Sudan has removed many obstacles to humanitarian access, cooperated with the African Union cease-fire monitors, and agreed to participate in political talks. It has not, however, taken decisive steps to end the violence.’

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (Report to Security Council, August 30): ‘The most critical commitment that has yet to be implemented relates to the armed militias which continue to pose a serious threat to the civilian population. The government has stated repeatedly that it has no control or influence over the militias accused of attacking civilians and committing other atrocities in Darfur.’

Amnesty International (October 2004): ‘The government Human Rights Advisory Council said that it had registered only 50 cases of rape. Amnesty International is concerned that this is a gross underestimate of the scale of sexual violence and rape that has occurred over the past 18 months in Darfur.’

Human Rights Watch (September 27): ‘If donor governments are serious about putting an end to the violence in Darfur, they have to address the atrocities fueling the crisis as well as the humanitarian consequences. Without greater international support for the African Union intervention, the violence in Darfur will continue.’

International Crisis Group (October 5): ‘The international community should act on a number of fronts to achieve a comprehensive solution to Sudan’s multiple and interconnected problems, one that deals equally with the [north-south] peace process and Darfur. Ultimately, the regime must understand that meaningful penalties can only be avoided or removed if it acts quickly and constructively on both the [peace] agreement and Darfur.’

25 Apr 2008