One year ago today, the governments of the world through the United Nations pledged [PDF] to
take collective action... [if] national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Since that pledge was made, more than 100,000 people have been killed by the Sudanese government's campaign of genocide in Darfur. The total death-toll of the three-year war has been estimated at up to 400,000. In addition, two million people have been displaced, and 3.5 million are dependent on humanitarian aid and face starvation if it is disrupted.
Hence the Global Day for Darfur: an attempt by the citizens of the world to demand their governments live up to their pledge and protect the citizens of Darfur from their own government which is trying to murder them.
The practicalities of the situation are daunting; military intervention probably cannot be logistically supported without the cooperation of the Sudanese government. And so the goals of the Day for Darfur are limited. We want to see the international community
- Strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force now. We must offer extra help to the African peacekeepers already on the ground.
- Transition peacekeeping responsibilities to a stronger UN force as soon as possible. The UN must deploy peacekeepers with a strong mandate to protect civilians.
- Increase aid levels and ensure access for aid delivery. Shortfalls in aid continue to mean that people are at risk of starvation. Humanitarian organizations must have unfettered access to all who need help.
- Implement the Darfur Peace Agreement. For the violence to end, all parties to the agreement, in particular the Sudanese Government, must live up to their responsibilities.
This doesn't sound like much, but it will help, and be a remarkable improvement on what is going on at the moment.
Events and demonstrations are taking place all over the world on this, from Addis Ababa to Ulaanbaatar. Unfortunately, there aren't any in New Zealand, so I've added my name to the Day Against Darfur's petition (at the bottom of any of the pages linked above). And I'd encourage everyone who wants to see an end to genocide to do the same.