“Deeply disappointing” decision maintains impunity for trafficking connected to violence and instability
February 10, 2016 — In the UN Security Council today, Russia blocked U.S. and U.K. efforts to address conflict-affected gold in Darfur. Russia’s blocking action came despite findings from the Sudan Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts that link illegal exploitation and trafficking of gold and other minerals to violence and instability in Darfur.
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “It is deeply disappointing that Russia, China, and other elected members of the Security Council refuse to recognize the findings of the Panel of Experts that clearly link the illicit gold trade to continued violence and instability in Darfur. By doing so, these Security Council members undermine important efforts to bring peace and stability to Darfur and allow those profiting from this illicit trade to continue doing so with impunity.”
Omer Ismail, Senior Advisor to the Enough Project, said: “Russia’s refusal to acknowledge the connection between the illicit gold trade and conflict in Darfur is highly irresponsible and unreflective of the conditions in Darfur. The link between the illicit gold trade, including smuggling and imposed taxes, and continued conflict in Darfur is well established and incredibly harmful to Darfur civilians.”
In its new report, which has not yet been made public, the UN Panel of Experts recommended sanctions designations for individuals and entities that impose illegal taxes on artisanal miners in Darfur, as well as on individuals and entities engaged in the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources, including gold.
Omer Ismail added: “The impact of conflict-affected gold is perhaps most evident near Jebel Amer, where former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal controls a significant mining operation outside of the control of the Government of Sudan. Despite his sanctions designation, Hilal and his armed group makes millions from Sudanese gold at the expense of the local population. The refusal of some Security Council members to accept these well-known facts or to act on them ensures that conflict will continue and Hilal will remain unaccountable.”
As penholder on the sanctions resolution, the U.S. attempted to add language reflecting the Panel’s final report that demonstrated a clear link between the illicit gold trade and continued violence. The U.S., U.K., and other Council members supported this recommendation, but Russia, China, and others did not. Russia proved most unreceptive to the Panel’s report, rejecting proposed compromise language that would have only “expressed concern” over the Panel’s finding that armed groups control artisanal gold mines in Darfur.
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About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org