It really doesn’t feel like a year to me. And I’m living in the UK.
I bet that the people of Darfur are really struggling to believe that it was a year – a whole year, since the UN Security Council agreed to deploy the world’s largest peacekeeping force to that region in west Sudan to stem the tide of the ever-raging conflict.
But a year it is and the UN is due to renew this mandate. Despite this resolution and the grand promises attached to it last year, in reality, very little has changed.
This time last year, 9,000 green-helmeted AU peacekeeping troops patrolled the region the size of France.
Today, 9,000 UNAMID blue-helmeted peacekeeping troops patrol the region the size of France.
In 2007 hundreds of thousands of men women and children had to flee their homes for fear of attacks.
In 2008, hundreds of thousands of people are still fleeing their homes for fear of attacks.
Last year, the AU troops were under-resourced.
Today, as pointed out in a report by a group of NGOs, the AU-UN hybrid force – UNAMID – is under-resourced and in desperate need of essential basic equipment such as military helicopters.
What is wrong with this picture? For more than five years the people of Darfur have been suffering: hundreds of thousands have died, countless women and girls have been raped, and millions are displaced. Yet despite international attention – and now even a petition for an international arrest warrant for the Sudanese president for grievous crimes in Darfur – there seems to be a real lack of determination to protect these people.
What more needs to be done for the world to stand up, take real action and to agree that the people in Darfur should not have to suffer any longer?
On 31 July 2007, the UN agreed to commit 26,000 peacekeeping troops to the region of Darfur to adequately protect the civilians from any more violations.
On 31 July 2008, the people of Darfur are still waiting for the UN to live up to its promise…
Let’s hope that by 31 July 2009, we won’t be writing the same thing.
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