The current situation on the ground in Darfur is worse than it was 13 months ago, when the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed. The two major rebel factions that did not sign the agreement have fractured into many; Sudan's ruling National Congress Party continues to pursue a military solution in Darfur; and violence and displacement are on the rise.
Meanwhile, efforts by the international community continue to be one-dimensional, often focusing on the military track — including details of the heavy support package and the acceptance by Khartoum of the unconditional deployment of the African Union/United Nations hybrid force in Darfur — at the expense of the political track to ensure a durable peace agreement for Darfur. In June, President Al-Bashir again accepted — and shortly thereafter rejected — the unconditional deployment of the hybrid force.
Current diplomatic efforts to negotiate a durable peace agreement have been uncoordinated, allowing Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party and the rebel groups to “forum shop” (i.e. be selective about where the negotiations should take place and who should mediate them rather than being forced to go along with the one and only peace forum out there). This lack of coordination has also done little to encourage the rebel movements to reach the degree of political unity needed for a successful negotiated settlement to the crisis. In the absence of a new peace deal, violence and atrocities will continue unabated.
Meanwhile, the NCP has continued to employ policies in Darfur that exacerbate the humanitarian situation and divide the opposition. It has stalled the international community's response with confrontation and false promises, while pursuing its own policies in Darfur. Protesting that it is acting in the interest of peace, the NCP has been installing people loyal to its mission and buying off weak and isolated rebel commanders.
As the recent experience of the Heavy Support Package shows (see ENOUGH's May/June 2007 update), only concerted multilateral pressure will force the NCP to recalculate its position. Therefore, the newly imposed U.S. sanctions are little more than symbolic as long as they remain unilateral. For Khartoum to change its calculations, the sanctions need to be supported by other members of the international community, by the United Kingdom and France, at the U.N. Security Council, and within the European Union.
More broadly, the link between the situation in Darfur and the situation in south Sudan regarding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement needs to be made clear. The success of the CPA has fundamental significance for peace in Darfur. Peace in Darfur can only succeed if the CPA is implemented, and the CPA provides the legal and constitutional bedrock on which a Darfur peace agreement will be built. On July 9, the Sudanese government missed an important deadline under the CPA by failing to redeploy the northern Sudanese Armed Forces to north Darfur; only two-thirds of the SAF forces have left the south, and their presence is likely to cause tension when the South resumes control of its own security this month. Very active reengagement on the CPA is thus needed to ensure that key requirements of the CPA are fulfilled.
ENOUGH Field Update for Darfur
Efforts are still underway to bring together the rebel leaders in order to form a joint political platform ahead of new political negotiations. Particular focus has now been given to the SPLM effort in Juba, which has the backing of the African Union and the United Nations.
However, SPLM efforts suffered a setback when the SPLM-appointed Ambassador to the United States, John Ukec Lueth Uken, called the Darfur rebels "terrorists" at a recent press conference. JEM has since said it would boycott the SPLM organized talks, but said it is willing to engage in talks with the Sudanese government hosted by the African Union and United Nations. There is also resistance from other rebel groups — some have refused to come to Juba for the SPLM talks — and Eritrea has recently brought a number of key SLA commanders to Asmara to restart their own initiative.
Most significantly, the recent SLA unification conference in North Darfur failed to lead to the emergence of a clear, common platform. The rebels remain divided. Khartoum repeatedly bombed the meeting site, as it has done since attempts to hold such a conference began last November.
The United Nations recently reported that 140,000 people had been identified as being newly displaced since the beginning of 2007. Ten thousand people have been on the move in May, fleeing new violence. The continuing displacement is creating an another layer to the crisis as IDP camps are swelling so much that many are no longer able to accept new arrivals. Aid workers are also becoming the target of attacks with increased frequency.
The NCP continues to adopt obstructive policies to impede the work of the humanitarian agencies still operating in the region. The number of agencies operating has dropped and approximately 1 million people in need of relief are now thought to be out of reach of aid agencies. Oxfam recently announced its plans to permanently withdraw from Gereida, a town in south Darfur where a makeshift refugee camp has formed, citing the fact that no action had been taken to punish the perpetrators of rebel attacks on three aid workers. Like other aid organizations, Oxfam is concerned that there is no assurance from the government that attacks on aid workers will not happen again. Some figures now suggest that as many as 100,000 people are dying annually in Darfur as a result of the conflict.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report stating that Sudanese security forces killed more than 100 people in indiscriminate attacks on villages in south Darfur between January and March 2007. As detailed in the report, "In all instances, witnesses described hundreds of heavily armed attackers, many of whom were identified as Border Intelligence personnel." The Border Intelligence guards are part of a paramilitary unit that has integrated a large number of Janjaweed militiamen. The eight raids documented were between the Northern Rizeigat — backed by Border Intelligence guards — and members of the rival Targam tribe. Tensions between these two Arab tribes have escalated in recent months, as fighting has sprung up in North and south Darfur. Janjaweed fighters have expanded their targets under orders from Khartoum. In previous years attacks have been aimed at non-Arab tribes such as the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaliet, but Khartoum is now diversifying its targets to include Arab tribes. This is not difficult to enforce, as the NCP-backed Janjaweed militias are attacking both Arab and non-Arab tribes in a quest to claim the land they believe is their reward for fighting the NCP's war in Darfur. This policy of divide and rule has long been used in Darfur and is continuing to be used by the NCP with success. Meanwhile the Sudanese government continues to claim that the humanitarian situation in Darfur is improving.
Thousands continue to be haunted by the fear of being killed, raped, arbitrarily arrested, or being enslaved. In most cases, these attacks go unpunished, and to compound the trauma of rape, many women are ostracized from their communities after the attacks take place. As a result, many women fear speaking out about their experiences and consequently many rapes go unreported. Only eight offenders were tried and sentenced for rape crimes in Darfur by Sudanese courts in 2006. In Kalma camp alone, estimates suggest that over 100 women are raped each month. The frequency of sexual attacks mainly depends on whether the Janjaweed are present in the area. One woman described how while she was out collecting firewood with her younger sister, they were surrounded by eight Janjaweed militia. She said she created a diversion so that her sister could escape, and was then gang-raped by the eight men.
Recently, 1,500 women and children from a town called Dafak in southern Darfur made a 125-mile journey to neighboring Central African Republic. The journey took 10 days. The refugees said that their town was attacked repeatedly by Janjaweed militia between May 12 and May 18. There were further air attacks as they were fleeing. However, the suffering of these people does not end on arrival. There are further concerns about the city of Sam-Ouandija, where many Dafak refugees have fled. The city has been attacked twice by rebels in the last four months. Rebels are believed to have crossed from bases in Darfur, highlighting the spreading nature of this conflict. Increasingly, places where people thought they could run for safety are not safe anymore.
Children continue to face unspeakable acts of violence—from rape, abduction, and torture to being recruited as fighters. A report suggests that some Sudanese girls are trafficked within and out of Sudan to serve as commercial sexual workers, while others are trafficked to work as domestic servants. The Sudanese government stands accused of suppressing information and preventing agencies from collecting details on attacks against children. Children are also forced to bear witness to continuing acts of violence against members of their families and communities.
Policy Challenges And Opportunities
The main challenge hampering progress in Darfur has been the international community’s tunnel-vision focus on a beefed-up peacekeeping force in the region, at the expense of promoting a durable peace. While ensuring the unconditional acceptance of the A.U./U.N. hybrid force is vital to bringing an end to the atrocities in Darfur, a lasting peace can only be achieved if the rebels are unified and a solid framework for a peace process is designed and implemented.
Deploying the Hybrid Force
Though Sudan agreed months ago to the first phase of former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s three-part plan, the second phase — a light support package to beef up the A.U. force, including U.N. police advisors, civilian staff, and additional resources and technical support — is still not fully deployed. The impediment in this instance is the United Nations, which is still seeking personnel from member states.
After five months of stalling, Bashir gave the go-ahead for the heavy support package (the third phase) in mid-April, which included 3,000 U.N. troops, police and civilian personnel along with aircraft and other equipment. Because of delays and complications, however, it is unlikely that the forces will be on the ground before the end of the year.
Reviving the Political Process
In early June, U.N. Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson unveiled the new U.N./A.U. roadmap for peace negotiations in Darfur. The roadmap, though vague, focuses on three main points:
- To unify all negotiation initiatives behind the A.U./U.N. initiative
- To conduct a "pre-negotiation" phase, where the mediators will consult with the parties on key issues for the future talks
- To begin negotiations, which Eliasson hopes can begin in August. However, failure to unify the rebel movements, and signs of a continued NCP commitment to divide-and-rule policies in Darfur (and ultimately a military solution), make the new round of negotiations this summer extremely challenging.
In late May, President Bush placed unilateral targeted sanctions on three individuals: two members of the government of Sudan and one rebel leader. He also placed additional sanctions on 30 Sudanese companies owned by or directly connected to NCP leadership. The European Union and some key member states such as the United Kingdom and France have suggested that they are open to consider new sanctions against Khartoum, but recent discussions over the hybrid have convinced many that diplomacy should be given yet another chance. In order for economic sanctions to be effective, however, they will need to be multilateral. President Bush is also seeking support for strengthening the arms embargo and putting a no-fly zone in place (see ENOUGH Strategy Briefing #4, "Khartoum Bombs and the World Debates: How to Confront Aerial Attacks in Darfur").
In early June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on China stating that "China should act consistently with the Olympic standard of preserving human dignity in Darfur, Sudan and around the world," and saying that China has stood in the way of halting the bloodshed. It left the door open, however, on calling for a boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing made by some politicians, activists, and celebrities including New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson. In early May, China appointed a special envoy, career Africanist Liu Guijin, to spearhead Chinese diplomacy with Sudan, in response to international criticism of the enabling role it has played in Sudan in terms of its position as Sudan's largest bilateral trading partner and for its obstruction of meaningful action at the UNSC (although it has never actually vetoed a UNSC resolution on Darfur). China does not typically appoint special envoys, and the decision to do so also indicates that Beijing is feeling pressured to play a more constructive role in dealing with Khartoum and ultimately resolving the crisis.
As described in the ENOUGH strategy paper "An Axis of Peace for Darfur: The United States, France, and China," recent U.S. statements have also highlighted Beijing's more "constructive" attitude regarding Darfur. There is now an opportunity for countries such as the United States and France — where the new government has identified Darfur as a top priority and expressed a willingness to pursue the trans-Atlantic cooperation that their predecessors often avoided — to work more closely with China on a coordinated diplomatic approach on Darfur, which could be useful because of the immense leverage China has with the Khartoum government. China is one of the countries that was invited by France to the ministerial meeting in Paris on June 25. Its envoys attended along with those of 17 other nations and international and regional organizations working for a negotiated settlement in Darfur. This is a positive development — if China were to remain on the outside of peace-building efforts, Beijing would be much more likely to play the role of spoiler.
ENOUGH Policy Recommendations
Peacemaking: To create the missing and essential point of coordinated leverage on the parties involved in peace efforts, the United States, France, the UK and China should form a quartet in support of the African Union and United Nations-led peace process. These key countries should send diplomats to the region and should assist in the development of benchmarks and a clear end state vision as needed by the AU/UN team.
The international community needs to help build the pillars for peace by devoting sufficient diplomatic and financial resources to support the SPLM-led efforts to unify the Darfur rebels. The A.U./U.N. mediation team should establish a clear division of labor to put their proposed roadmap for the peace process into effect and should make sure that the right personnel are in place to move the various elements forward with appropriate urgency. They should work with the government of south Sudan and other regional and international actors such as Chad, Eritrea, and Libya to exert coordinated pressure on the Darfur rebels to form a more cohesive political body to prepare for negotiations and to generate support for the new peace talks. The United States, France, and also preferably China should play a major coordinated role in putting these strategies together and implementing them.
A new agreement must provide:
- an effective mechanism to verify the government's dismantling of the Janjaweed;
- increased individual compensation for victims of the conflict;
- a process for safe and voluntary return of displaced people; and
- greater power sharing for the people of Darfur.
The negotiation process itself should be strengthened, reflecting the model that led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 by the government of Sudan and the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Army. These talks had a small, well-run mediation team with selective international involvement at critical junctures during the talks from a high-level U.S. envoy, the secretary of state, and President Bush himself. A similar strategy is needed now. In addition, the success of the CPA has fundamental significance for peace in Darfur, as peace can only succeed if the CPA is fully implemented. Therefore, very active reengagement on the CPA is needed.
The new negotiations should also be more inclusive than past efforts. For a durable peace agreement, future talks should include representatives from key Darfuri constituencies left out of earlier rounds. This can be accomplished by putting in place a mechanism at the talks through which representatives of displaced persons, women, Darfur's Arab tribes, and civil society in general can have their voices heard by the negotiating parties.
For a detailed analysis of how to build a durable peace process for Darfur, see Crisis Group's April 2007 report "Darfur: Revitalizing the Peace Process."
Protection: The United States should work with the United Nations and African Union to ensure that civilian protection is the central objective of the hybrid force. The mission will require robust financial support for civilian and political capabilities, including support for human rights monitoring, local dispute resolution, community outreach, and the dissemination of news and information to the public. The need for a dexterous mission able to protect civilians and humanitarian operations also requires that the international community immediately establish systems and mechanisms to share intelligence with the force command on the ground.
Further pressure must be placed on Khartoum to accept the A.U./U.N. hybrid force. Until then, donor countries must continue to fund the A.U. mission at full capacity. The United Nations should continue to push for the deployment of peacekeepers to protect civilians and humanitarian operations in eastern Chad. After meeting with French Foreign Minister Kouchner, Chadian President Idriss Deby has now agreed "in principle" to a U.N. presence, but the composition, mandate, and many other details of the arrangement have yet to be hashed out. France and the United States must also independently continue to put pressure on Deby to accept these forces if details of a plan are not announced or agreed to, in conjunction with genuine political dialogue between the government and internal opposition groups.
The international community — in particular, the United States and France working within NATO—must also accelerate its planning and increase its preparedness for military action, even in the absence of Khartoum's consent. If the situation continues to deteriorate in Darfur, the Security Council should have plans in place to deploy ground forces to the region with a mandate to stop the killing. Although the international community's appetite for this type of military action is small, the Sudanese government must understand that all options remain on the table. A credible planning process will in itself be a point of leverage in pressing primary objectives forward.
Punishment: In order to build leverage for peace and protection, it is crucial that any party who undermines efforts to promote peace and protect civilians face repercussions. Specifically, the U.S., France and the UK should be prepared to lead efforts in the United Nations Security Council to impose immediate and specific measures against any government, militia or rebel official who obstructs the deployment of the hybrid force, undermines the forward movement of the peace process or is responsible for attacks against civilian populations. Additional assistance should also be given to the International Criminal Court to execute indictments, support the prosecution of those indicted, and help accelerate the Court's preparation of additional cases against senior Sudanese officials.
The following initiatives could be implemented immediately at little cost, but would require a strong diplomatic effort to rally multilateral support and increases in staffing and resources to ensure assertive implementation:
Target Sudanese Officials Multilaterally: Impose targeted U.N. Security Council sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, against persons responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Target Sudanese Companies Multilaterally: Impose UNSC sanctions against the Sudanese companies already targeted unilaterally by the United States, and establish a U.N. Panel of Experts to further investigate which companies are conducting the business necessary to underwrite Sudan's war machine.
Press International Banks to Stop Doing Business With Sudan: The United States should engage with a number of international banking institutions to strongly encourage them to stop supporting oil transactions with Sudan. The implication should be that if such business continues all transactions by those banks with U.S. commercial entities (and those of other countries willing to work with us) would eventually be banned.
Reinforce Divestment Efforts: President Bush should sign an executive order putting into law all of the legally possible elements of existing congressional bills in support of divestment: the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007 (HR.180) and the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S.831).
Support the ICC Indictment Process: Provide information and declassified intelligence to the International Criminal Court to help accelerate the process of building indictments against senior officials in the regime for their role in orchestrating mass atrocities in Darfur.
For details on these punitive measures and an overall strategy to get negotiations back on track and the hybrid force deployed. See ENOUGH Strategy Paper #2, "A Plan B With Teeth for Darfur."
ENOUGH Activist Agenda
LEAD YOUR LEADERS
Call your Senators and member of Congress and tell them to:
- Thanks to your efforts, the House of Representatives passed the House version of the bill 418 to 1 this summer. Now, the Senate must take action to pass the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (S.2271)! S.2271 will protect states that divest from the worst offending companies in Sudan and prohibit U.S. government contracts with foreign companies fueling genocide. This bill does not affect American companies and contains a provision that will take the legislation off the books when the genocide has ended. SADA is also needed to increase economic pressure on the government of Sudan to ensure the deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force. Tell your Senators to support the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (S.2271);
- co-sponsor or support Senator Richard Durbin's legislation on foreign corporations and divestment from Sudan: the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S.831);
- urge President Bush to impose targeted UN Security Council sanctions against persons responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur and Sudanese companies already sanctioned.
Call the White House at 1-800-GENOCIDE or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell President Bush to:
- sign an Executive Order in support of divestment;
- impose targeted UN Security Council sanctions against persons responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur and Sudanese companies already sanctioned unilaterally by the U.S.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Fidelity Out of Sudan
Sudan’s oil revenue continues to fuel the genocide in Darfur by providing funds that support the perpetrators of atrocities. Through its mutual funds, Fidelity has been a major investor in oil companies that operate in Sudan, and it continues to increase its holdings. Join Fidelity Out of Sudan in calling for Fidelity to stop investing funds in companies that are fueling the genocide in Darfur. For more information, go to fidelityoutofsudan.net.
Join activists in pressuring China to stop under-writing the genocide in Darfur. Find out about the Olympic Dream for Darfur Campaign’s three-part strategy—a symbolic Olympic Torch Relay from Darfur to Beijing, a grassroots mobilization campaign, and a letter writing initiative -— at dreamfordarfur.org. China must know that it cannot legitimately host the Olympics while being complicit in genocide.
Notes from our August
30, 2007, activist call,
which included a Q&A with Enough Field Manager Lisa Rogoff
Notes and audio from our May
31, 2007 activist call
- Our Strategy Paper: A Plan B With Teeth For Darfur
- The ENOUGH Budget Standard and the FY 2008 Budget
- Our Strategy Paper: The Answer to Darfur: How to Resolve the World's Hottest War
Read recent opinion pieces and articles by Crisis Group staff:
- Gareth Evans and Andrew Stroehlein, "A Responsibility to Protect: The World's View," Open Democracy, April 5, 2007.
- Nadim Hasbani, "About the Arab Stance Vis-à-vis Darfur," Al-Hayat, March 21, 2007.
- Nick Grono and Donald Steinberg, "Future of the World Court in Balance," YaleGlobal Online, March 8, 2007.
- Nick Grono, "Darfur Needs More Than Words," European Voice, March 1, 2007
- Omer Ismail and Colin Thomas-Jensen, "Nations Must Enforce Darfur Peace Agreements," The Boston Globe, February 10, 2007.
- Colin Thomas-Jensen, "How Joe Q Citizen Can Affect Darfur," Fort Worth Star Telegram, January 9, 2007.
- John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen, "Blowing the Horn," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007.
For more information, go to:
- Related articles from the Center for American Progress
- The International Crisis Group's Crisis in Darfur page
Learn more about Global Public Opinion and the Responsibility to Protect, from a meeting held at the Brookings Institution discussing international support for the Responsibility to Protect.
See how the Sudan Divestment Taskforce is spearheading a nationwide movement to divest money from a targeted list of companies underwriting mass atrocities in Darfur.
Learn whether your congressional representative has done enough to end the crisis in Darfur by reading his or her score card at www.DarfurScores.org.
Read about China's role in underwriting the ongoing genocide, and join the effort led by Professor Eric Reeves to stop the "Genocide Olympics" at www.sudanreeves.org.