Sudan's Ties to the Jangaweed

The Christian Science Monitor asks whether we have a duty to intervene in Sudan. What's going on there? Here's the latest: Human Rights Watch has released a new report with documents showing that the Sudanese Government has been assisting the Jangaweed.

The documents, which Human Rights Watch said it had obtained from the civilian administration in Darfur and are dated February and March this year, call for "provisions and ammunition" to be delivered to known Janjaweed militia leaders, camps and "loyalist tribes."

One document orders all security units in the area to tolerate the activities of Musa Hilal, the alleged Janjaweed leader in north Darfur. Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division, said: "These documents show that militia activity has not just been condoned, it's been specifically supported by Sudan government officials."

Over at Human Rights Watch's website, Mr. Takirambudde says:

"Sudan has launched a major public-relations campaign aimed at buying more time for diplomatic initiatives to work. But at this point and with our new evidence, Khartoum has zero credibility. To date, the government of Sudan has only used more time to consolidate the ethnic cleansing in Darfur"....“It’s absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the militias—they are one.”

Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and government-backed militias are responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” involving aerial and ground attacks on civilians of the same ethnicity as members of two rebel groups in Darfur. Thousands of civilians have been killed, hundreds of women and girls have been raped and more than one million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes and farms in Darfur.

Amnesty International has also released a report on the atrocities in Sudan. The Guardian reports:

Arab militias terrorising the Darfur region of the Sudan routinely rape women and girls, some as young as eight years old, as a part of a campaign to destroy black African communities, rights group Amnesty International said today. The Amnesty report, entitled Rape as a Weapon of War, said Janjaweed militiamen sometimes torture women and break their limbs to prevent them from escaping rape, abduction and sexual slavery. One woman told how the militias would sing as they raped women.

"Women and girls are being attacked, not only to dehumanise the women themselves but also to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear and displace women and to persecute the community to which they belong," the London-based rights group added. "In many cases, the Janjaweed have raped women in public, in the open air, in front of their husbands, relatives or the wider community. "The suffering and abuse endured by these women goes far beyond the actual rape ... survivors now face a lifetime of stigma and marginalisation from their own families and communities," the report said.

And back to the first article we cited in this post:

While African women in Darfur were being raped by the Janjaweed militiamen, Arab women stood nearby and sang for joy, according to an Amnesty International report published on Monday. The songs of the Hakama, or the "Janjaweed women" as the refugees call them, encouraged the atrocities which the militiamen committed. The women singers stirred up racial hatred against black civilians during attacks on villages in Darfur and celebrated the humiliation of their enemies, the human-rights group said.

Passion of the Present, the blog devoted to events in Sudan, sets forth ways the blogosphere can raise awareneness of the problem.

In a poll, the Christian Science Monitor presents the dilemma this way:

Should the US intervene militarily in Sudan?
* Yes. It is the moral obligation of the US to stop what may be a genocide.
* No. The US cannot police the world; it is for the international community to respond.

Go over and vote, and let us know here how you feel about it.

Finally, here's Amnesty International's action page on Sudan. Go over and see how you can help.

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