Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sudan News Round-Up

Since its been about a month since I did my last round-up on Sudan, I figured it would be a good time for another news round-up and see if I should share Nicholas Kristof's pessimism of the situation.

The International Criminal Court is going to begin an investigation into the war crimes committed in the Darfur region. They hope to complete their investigation in a few months, which could lead to war criminals to be indicted and then extradited to The Hague.

In his latest column in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof continues to paint a bleak picture of the situation in Sudan. Kristof claims that Sudan is engaging in a "policy of systematic rape" by failing to protect woman from gang rape and then placing some of these rape victims in prison for adultery.

US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick visited the Darfur region on Friday and urged the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed. Zoellick's comments came on the heals of President Bush's comments on Wednesday, calling the killings in Sudan genocide.

The African Union (AU), which has 2,700 troops currently in Sudan to maintain the ceasefire between the Sudan government and Darfur's ethnic minority rebels, is seeking $460 million for military equipment and logistical support to increase their troop level to 7,700 by September. So far counties have pledged close to $300 million with $50 million coming from the U.S. Along with maintaining the cease-fire, Zoellick wants AU troops to be deployed to the refugee camps in order to prevent the number of rapes and attacks that have occurred against the residents of the camp.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is providing food to the millions of people displaced by the conflict will begin to airlifting food supplies to the refugees as increasing attacks on the aid convoys has made it too risky to use the roads to deliver aid.

Sudan released two aid workers who were arrested after they released a report that they had treated 500 women were raped.

The situation in Sudan certainly does not look good right now, but the situation could improve significantly if the countries follow through on their pledges to fund an increase in AU manpower, which would allow the AU to be better able to protect the refugee camps.