The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Urgent Action Needed to Protect Civilians in Darfur

Posted by thelamp on November 30, 2006

A United Nations report released this week revealed that more people have fled their homes in Sudan’s Darfur region in recent months than at any time since the conflict started almost four years ago. Nearly 2 million men, women and children have become refugees, and the humanitarian crisis grows worse everyday. That’s why the African Union’s Peace and Security Council should unanimously support international protection from a force with the capacity to protect civilians.

“When the Darfur crisis first came to the world’s attention years ago, the reaction was one of shock and dismay,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, whose ministries have contributed humanitarian aid to the victims of violence in Darfur. “Now more than ever, the situation calls for immediate action.”

The African Union’s slogan is “Africa Must Unite,” and that is exactly what A.U. members need to do when they meet to discuss Darfur this week. Darfur is a critical test for the A.U.’s Peace and Security Council, and its members must unite behind the people of Darfur and eastern Chad rather than abusive governments.

The conflict started in February 2003 when ethnic minority rebels demanded a greater share of the country’s resources and took up arms. Since then, at least 200,000 people have died from the combined effect of civil war and famine.

At a Nov. 16 meeting in Addis Ababa, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed a three-stage hybrid force. Next, the A.U. Peace and Security Council will meet to discuss the current situation in Darfur and the Sudanese government’s reaction to the proposed hybrid A.U.-U.N. force.

It’s time for the discussions to lead to action. A current proposal includes an additional 10,000 troops under U.N. command along with U.N. technical expertise to reinforce the struggling 7,000-member African Union force in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has consistently refused to allow a U.N. force to deploy in Darfur, even though the U.N. Security Council authorized such a force. It is a shame that the U.N. has allowed the Sudanese government’s refusal to accept these troops. The world needs to put more pressure on the United Nations.

If Africans are serious about protecting Darfur’s people, they must stop accepting denials and excuses. The A.U. absolutely must ensure that any international force in Darfur has the mandate and capacity to effectively protect civilians. The escalation of the conflict is fueling fears that the fighting in Darfur is beginning to spill over the border and promote instability in neighboring countries.

It is time for the world to rise up and demand an end to the madness in Sudan. The genocide cannot be looked at as a Sudanese problem any longer because it threatens to escalate into an African crisis if the blood bath continues.

Source:  www.centerformoralclarity.net

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