U.S. Can Do More to Pressure Sudan to Allow U.N. Protective Force in Darfur
Interview with Nii Akuetteh, executive director of Africa Action, conducted by Scott Harris
Despite the presence of a small African Union peacekeeping force numbering about 7,000, fighting continues in the Darfur region of western Sudan where rebel groups seeking autonomy are battling government-backed Arab Janjaweed militias. Now, the war has spilled over into the neighboring country of Chad, where The United Nations reports that more than 70 villages have been attacked, burned or emptied since early November, causing a growing refugee problem there.
With civilians often the target, the deadly conflict in Darfur has cost the lives of more than 200,000 and displaced over 2 million people. U.S. officials have characterized the attacks there as genocide. Recently Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir said he accepts a U.N. package to help end escalating violence in Darfur, and is ready to discuss a ceasefire. But the Sudanese head of state has rejected a Security Council resolution adopted in August that called for more than 20,000 U.N. peacekeepers to replace the African Union force. Hope remains that Sudan may be willing to accept a so-called hybrid protective force made up of both AU and UN troops.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nii Akuetteh, executive director of Africa Action, who describes the urgent need for the international community and the Bush administration to exert pressure on the government of Sudan to allow the deployment of a UN protective force in Darfur.
To obtain a copy of Africa Action's report, "Leveraging New International Action on Darfur," call (202) 546-7961 or visit their website at www.africaaction.org
Help Save Darfur at www.SaveDarfur.org
Amnesty International at www.amnesty.org
Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org
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