The EU Must Act in Darfur

The international community remains at an impasse over the slaughter in Darfur, with the Sudanese government failing to disarm its proxy Janjaweed militias and delaying the arrival of UN peacekeepers. But international options are not exhausted, and the EU should lead the way with targeted sanctions aimed at the regime and the petroleum sector.

For four years, violence and terror have ruled in Darfur. After many futile efforts, the EU must get tough with the perpetrators.

Darfur is a humanitarian catastrophe: more than 200,000 dead, thousands raped and tortured, and 2.6 million people displaced, owing to the Sudanese government’s war against its own people. Originally an anti-insurgency effort, the campaign quickly mutated into a killing and expulsion operation. Sudan’s government has been recruiting and paying the local “Janjaweed” militiamen, who have attacked hundreds of defenseless villages and towns, often in close co-ordination with the Sudanese air force.

The consequences are devastating. Roughly a third of Darfur’s population has been forced from their homes and are now in displaced persons camps inside Sudan, where they remain subject to the Janjaweed terror, or in equally vulnerable refugee settlements in Chad. International humanitarian efforts to help those in Sudan are hampered by Sudanese government harassment and pointless bureaucratic hassles. Even if the aid arrives, the point, to quote one senior UN official, seems to be “keeping people alive with our humanitarian assistance until they are massacredampquot;.

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