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Searching for Solutions in Darfur?

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Searching for Solutions in Darfur?

Posted by John Prendergast on August 21, 2009

This post was written in response to a cross post we ran this morning from Campus Progress.

Well-meaning people can disagree about the way to characterize the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Given the evidentiary requirement to prove intent in the Genocide Convention, it would be difficult at this stage to prove that it is or is not a genocide. That is why the International Criminal Court judges split on the question, and left the case open for further evidence. It is a fair debate.

An even more important debate is the question of what to do about the crisis in Darfur. To be clear, whether one calls what is happening genocide or not would have no bearing on my or the Enough Project’s advocacy. If people are experiencing major human rights abuses, if conflict is tearing the fabric of an entire society to pieces, we have a moral and strategic obligation to respond and determine the best way to bring about a solution as quickly as possible.

In the case of Darfur, the activist community is for the most part united around a clear policy platform. We present it in fairly simple terms — though some of us have years of experience in negotiating with the parties to Sudan’s various conflicts. We back these shorter proposals up with longer reports. What we are proposing is a Door One/Door Two scenario.

  • Behind Door One: If the government or rebels support the peace process, respect human rights, cooperate with justice initiatives, and facilitate humanitarian aid, then improved relations, aid and trade with that group are possible.
  • Behind Door Two: If the government or rebels obstruct the peace process, attack civilians, undermine justice, and block humanitarian aid, then an escalating set of consequences should result.

The answer in Sudan is comprehensive peace, rooted in justice, and supported by democracy. Those are the fundamental reforms that are necessary for an end to the suffering, whatever you want to call it.