Ending the Tragedy of Darfur

All parties to the conflict in Darfur must understand that civilians should no longer fall victim to their political disputes. And, because Darfur is emblematic of wider difficulties in the world, the international community must look beyond the immediate circumstances of the conflict and increase efforts to deal with the threats that have played a role in the disaster, such as climate change and environmental degradation.

The critical conditions that continue to prevail in Darfur are causing immense suffering to its people. Both sides of the conflict – the government of Sudan and its allied forces, as well as all the opposition groups in Darfur – must understand that civilians should no longer fall victim to their political disputes.

The Sudanese government’s consent to the deployment of the hybrid United Nations/African Union mission, which aims to keep peace in the region, is of course a welcome development. But the mandate of this mission must be strong enough to allow for full protection of the civilian population. Moreover, the force must have sufficient manpower, capacity, and funding to put this vital objective into practice efficiently. The countries and institutions that have committed additional funds in order to help secure the success of this mission – notably France, Spain, and the European Commission – should all be applauded.

It is important for international actors to assure Sudan’s government that the UN/AU mission will not strive for regime change in the country or otherwise exceed its peacekeeping mandate. At the same time, the Sudanese government must be fully aware that only by adhering to past commitments and by cooperating in helping to prepare, deploy, and maintain the mission will the international community be encouraged to continue its support.

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