UN Envoy Estimates Sharp Rise in Deaths in Darfur

April 28, 2008 09:51 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Troop delays and a lack of a viable political solution threaten to reverse recent gains in the war-torn region.

30-Second Summary

Pushing the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan back into the spotlight, the United Nations’ John Holmes addressed concerns that, despite improvements made in the past four years, the situation is now rapidly deteriorating.

Holmes cited a delay in the deployment of a wider peace keeping force and little prospect of a government solution for the lack of real progress.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government has downplayed Holmes’ remarks, saying that the total number of those killed amounts to little more than 10,000—a number Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed, said includes only those killed in battle because, “in Darfur there is no epidemics, no starvations.”

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur began in 2003 as rebel groups in the region began to clash with government forces over the allocation of natural resources. Local populations felt the government favored the country’s Arab population.

In the five years since, rebel groups have fought against the national army and the Janjaweed, an Arab militia that has reportedly targeted civilians and that many accuse of being funded by the government.

The ensuing violence has resulted in the 300,000 deaths estimated by Holmes and more than 2 million civilians displaced, many now living in refuges camps with dwindling food and water supplies.

Also drawing renewed attention to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur as of late has been the financial and diplomatic relationship Sudan has with China, location of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Headline Links: A worsening situation

Background: A long history of strife

Reactions: Strident denial, sharp attack

Opinion & Analysis: Outside help?

Related Topics: Sudan, China, and the Olympics

Reference: Africa’s Largest and Most Diverse Country


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