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Sudan: Promises and Plans

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Apr 27, 2005 (050427)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"Time is running out for the people of Sudan. We need pledges immediately converted into cash and more protection forces in Darfur to prevent yet more death and suffering. If we fail in Sudan, the consequences of our actions will haunt us for years to come." - United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

The latest debate in Washington on Sudan is about estimates of the number dead in Darfur, with the Washington Post in an April 24 editorial criticizing Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick for citing a report of 60,000 to 160,000 dead in the last two years, in contrast to higher estimates ranging up to 400,000 from human rights groups and other analysts. But this debate, like the earlier and continuing international debate over whether to call the atrocities in western Sudan genocide, is largely a surrogate for a more fundamental debate over the international political will to act.

Even the lower numbers being cited, or the January report from an international commission that found evidence of "crimes against humanity" while declining to rule on whether these crimes were genocide, are more than sufficient grounds for action. There is wide agreement in principle on some measures, such as providing more humanitarian aid and increasing the numbers of Africa Union troops on the ground in Darfur. The International Crisis Group has just released a new report with a comprehensive set of specific actions needed to provide greater security and prevent new deaths. In theory stronger language or higher estimates of the death toll might lead to greater pressure for action. The danger is that debates about words or numbers will instead substitute for action.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains an op-ed by Secretary General Annan from The New York Times of April 13, a press release from the World Food Program on the precarious state of food supplies for Darfur, and a press release and excerpts with specific action proposals from the New Sudan Action Plan released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on April 26. More details of the ICG plan are available on the group's website

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins and additional links on Sudan, visit

For current news, including recent articles on funding for humanitarian operations in both Darfur and southern Sudan, see and For the most detailed coverage of the issue of numbers of deaths in Darfur, see

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Billions of Promises to Keep

By Kofi A. Annan

The New York Times

April 13, 2005

This is a make-or-break year for Sudan, Africa's biggest country. In Oslo this week, donor countries pledged $4.5 billion in aid to Sudan, but while I applaud the donors' generosity, promises alone are not enough.

Time is running out for the people of Sudan. We need pledges immediately converted into cash and more protection forces in Darfur to prevent yet more death and suffering. If we fail in Sudan, the consequences of our actions will haunt us for years to come.

After more than two million dead, four million uprooted, and 21 years of warfare, southern Sudan is at last on the threshold of peace. It is, of course, a volatile, fragile peace. Violence, disease and displacement are still daily realities in this desperately impoverished region, where one in four children die before the age of 5, nearly half of all children are malnourished, and only 5 out of 100 girls attend primary school.

Peace will not be easily consolidated in such an environment. Nor will it come on the cheap. Indeed, roughly half all countries that emerge from civil war lapse back into violence within five years. International support is urgently needed to help Sudan weather the rocky transition from war to peace.

The needs are many - and immediate. More than three million civilians, displaced by violence, can now return to southern Sudan and rebuild their lives. Two million of them need food aid. If people are not fed, if former soldiers are not reintegrated or retrained, peace will quickly unravel.

The billions pledged this week can help. But hungry people cannot eat pledges. Through long and bitter experience we've learned that donor pledges often remain unfulfilled. In Cambodia, Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere, a large percentage of promised funds failed to materialize, and many lives were lost as a result.

For example, in 1992, donors pledged $880 million for Cambodian war rehabilitation; three years later, only $460 million had been delivered. Nearly a year after donors promised $1 billion to deal with the devastation caused by the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, less than 20 percent of the money had been delivered.

Clearly, we must do better in Sudan. I urge donors to convert their generous pledges into cash without delay. And I urge the public to hold them accountable for their promises. This time, let us keep our commitments, and not turn a blind eye to a whole generation of Sudanese who have earned this peace and desperately need it.

In Darfur, rations at camps already have been cut - and soon Sudan's rainy season will begin, making aid more difficult and costly to deliver. In a matter of weeks we will run out of food for two million people.

No one really knows how many people have died in Darfur since the conflict began, but some analysts estimate it could be 300,000 or more. If the situation deteriorates further, up to four million people - two-thirds of Darfur's population - may need food aid by summer's end.

But more than food aid is needed - we also need to hold the perpetrators of violence in Sudan accountable. The International Commission of Inquiry, which I appointed at the request of the United Nations Security Council, has amply documented the murder, mass rapes, abductions and other atrocities committed in Darfur, as have many others. We know what is happening in Darfur. The question is, why are we not doing more to put an end to it?

Last summer, the Security Council, the United States and the European Union all said Darfur was their top priority. But it was only last month that the Security Council agreed to impose sanctions on people who commit violations of international law in Darfur and, in a historic first, to refer the situation in Darfur to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, thus taking a critical step toward ending the prevailing climate of impunity. Last week I handed the prosecutor the sealed list of those identified by the Commission of Inquiry.

While we are grateful to African leaders for their contributions thus far, we need thousands more - and not today or tomorrow but yesterday.

After all, giving aid without protection is like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound. Unarmed aid workers, while vitally necessary, cannot defend civilians from murder, rape or violent attack. Our collective failure to provide a much larger force is as pitiful and inexcusable as the consequences are grave for the tens of thousands of families who are left unprotected.

We saw this all too well in Bosnia a decade ago. Back then, Bosnian civilians watched the aid trucks continue to roll while their neighbors were gunned-down in full daylight. "We will die with our stomachs full," they used to say. Are we now going to stand by and watch a replay in Darfur?

I also urge all those with influence over the warring parties to persuade them to return quickly to the negotiating table and agree on a political settlement.

In this watershed year for Sudan, it is vital that the international community move speedily to provide the resources to consolidate a fragile peace in the south, and to protect civilians from recurring violence in Darfur. We know what we need: money to help win the peace in the south, more African Union boots on the ground to help end the atrocities in Darfur, and political pressure to settle the conflict. It's that simple, and that essential.

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Quick U.S. response allows WFP to cancel ration cut in Darfur but funding still critical

26 Apr 2005

Khartoum - The United Nations World Food Programme announced today that thanks to a rapid donor response, the agency will not be forced to carry out expected ration cuts in May for close to two million people living in Sudan's western region of Darfur. The reprieve follows WFP's warning three weeks ago of impending ration cuts due to a lack of funds which remains a concern.

As a last resort due to severe under-funding, WFP had planned to halve the non-cereals part of the daily ration for general distributions in Darfur in May. However, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Food for Peace has stepped in and redirected to Sudan around 14,000 metric tons of non-cereals already on the high seas.

"We are extremely appreciative of the urgent efforts made by the United States to prevent ration cuts at such a critical period," said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, WFP's Representative and Country Director in Sudan. Even before this new donation, the United States has contributed 60 percent of the food and 50 percent of cash towards WFP's emergency operation.

However, WFP warned that despite this stop-gap measure for the current non-cereals shortfall, the overall emergency operation in Darfur still remains severely under-funded. Of the US$467 million WFP needs for the Darfur operation, only US$281 million has been received, leaving a 40 percent shortfall.

Adding to the difficulties is the recently increased estimate of people requiring food aid. WFP contingency planning projects a worst-case scenario of 3.5 million people in need during the leanest months of July and August, of which WFP will target 3.25 million.

"The rainy season coincides with the peak of the hunger season," Lopes da Silva said. "With limited food supply, the situation is going to be dreadful for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese."

International Crisis Group

A New Sudan Action Plan

Press Release

Nairobi/Brussels, 26 April 2005: Despite recent UN Security Council resolutions and a peace agreement covering the south, parts of Sudan remain at war or threatened by war and the security situation in Darfur is deteriorating. Stronger measures are needed to restore security and prevent further mass deaths.

A New Sudan Action Plan, the latest briefing by the International Crisis Group, outlines a policy blueprint for the next steps required in Darfur, where as many as 10,000 civilians or more die each month, and elsewhere in the giant country.

"The UN, NATO and the EU need to get together urgently with the African Union (AU), decide who can do what best in Darfur and then do it without regard for institutional prerogatives or national prestige", says Suliman Baldo, Crisis Group's Africa Program Director. "How to maximise cooperation between these four organisations -- how to get the necessary additional troops on the ground quickly enough with equipment, structure and command organisation to be effective -- is probably the single most urgent and complex issue the international community faces with the entire Sudan portfolio".

The UN Security Council resolutions at the end of March 2005 were welcome, if long overdue, steps, raising the prospect that senior Khartoum officials will finally be held criminally accountable for their Darfur policy. But the situation remains very grave, and more action is needed to:

  1. protect civilians and relief agencies in Darfur by reinforcing AU peacekeepers with a stronger mandate and more troops -- up to at least 10,000 total -- that are properly resourced; enforcing the arms embargo and military flight ban over Darfur; neutralising government-controlled militias and enabling IDPs and refugees to return home;
  2. implement accountability by getting the proposed Sanctions Committee operational; by widening targeted sanctions; and aiding the International Criminal Court investigation;
  3. build a Darfur peace process by devising a blueprint for negotiations and appointing a lead senior mediator from the AU as well as U.S., EU, and UN envoys to lend support;
  4. implement the existing peace agreement for southern Sudan by deploying the proposed UN mission rapidly; effectively managing the oil sector; pressing for security sector reform; and ending the capacity of Khartoum hardliners to use the Ugandan insurgency, the Lord's Resistance Army, to sabotage stability in southern Sudan; and
  5. prevent new conflict in the east, before it becomes the next major civil war.

"In the absence of more assertive action, a resumption of war threatens the south, fighting could intensify in the east, and mortality rates will skyrocket in Darfur, where localised famine threatens", says John Prendergast, Special Advisor to the President of Crisis Group. "The future of the Sudanese state and its people are at stake, and their fate will be determined by the actions the international community now takes -- or fails to take -- to counter atrocity crimes and promote peace throughout the country".

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 485 555 946 Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1 202 785 1601

Objective One: Protect Civilians and Relief Supplies in Darfur

Action One: Give the AU force (AMIS) a stronger mandate.

The government of Sudan has failed in its responsibility to protect its citizens. Therefore, the AMIS mandate -- primarily a monitoring one at present, though with a narrow provision to "protect civilians whom it encounters under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity" -- must be strengthened to focus unequivocally on the protection of civilian life and humanitarian operations, and to leave AMIS commanders and troops in no doubt that they are expected to operate proactively. The Rwandan government has made it clear that it will pull its forces out of Darfur if the AU does not seek a more robust civilian protection mandate. The Security Council should lend its weight to support such an AU effort and should endorse the new stronger mandate.

Action Two: Send more troops, properly resourced.

AMIS was authorised in October 2004 to field 3,320 troops. Only just over 2,000 have thus far reached Darfur. Both figures are inadequate even to accomplish the current mandate of primarily ceasefire observation. A minimum of 10,000 are needed to carry out the stronger mandate that the situation requires. A number of questions must be addressed urgently:

* where the additional troops are to come from -- AU member states and/or other contributors;

* what additional equipment is required and whether this can be provided by the troop-contributing states or must be provided by others;

* how the additional troops and their equipment can be deployed quickly; and

* what command and control adjustments the larger force may require.

The young AU is the only body that has stepped up to the Darfur tragedy in a meaningful fashion. It is vitally important that it develop, as it desires, the capacities, institutions, practices and procedures to handle security crises on the African continent. However, the difficulty evidenced in deploying in six months only a little more than half the inadequate number of authorised troops shows it needs assistance to master this crisis. Three organisations are capable of helping: the UN, which already has a mandate under Security Council Resolution 1590 to deploy 10,000 troops in Sudan, not necessarily limited to the south; NATO, which has unrivalled trained manpower and logistical resources; and the EU, which has growing peacekeeping abilities and ambitions and the right to call on NATO resources.

How to maximise cooperation between these four organisations -- how to get the necessary additional troops on the ground quickly enough with equipment, structure and command organisation to be effective -- is probably the single most urgent and complex issue the international community faces with the entire Sudan portfolio. Crisis Group will analyse this more fully in a subsequent report. The immediate requirement, however, is for senior representatives of the four organisations and key governments to consult urgently and decide who now can best do what. Among the questions and options on their agenda should be:

* how many of the necessary additional troops the AU can provide and how quickly, and how and from where any shortfalls can be made good;

* whether NATO or the EU should be the primary provider of Western assistance to the efforts in Darfur and what lift, capacity training, and equipment can be provided; and

* whether part of the UN peacekeeping deployment authorised for Sudan under Resolution 1590 should be sent to, or earmarked as available in emergency for, Darfur, and if so what the relationship to the AMIS mission should be in terms of subordination or superiority and/or division of tasks or zones of responsibility.

These matters need to be settled quickly between the organisations on a basis of what can work and without regard for jurisdictional prerogatives or prestige. The results should be confirmed and formalised in a Security Council resolution.

Action Three: Enforce the Security Council's ban on offensive military flights over Darfur.

Although the Sudanese military's use of aerial assets has decreased in recent weeks, its helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers remain a threat to civilians. Resolution 1591 invites the AU's Ceasefire Commission to provide the Security Council with information about compliance with the ban and envisages application of targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for violations. More direct and immediate safeguards should be provided, including a new Security Council resolution requiring that an AMIS or UN observer be present on all military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters that fly over Darfur, with any violations to be reported immediately to the Security Council, which in turn should be prepared to authorise the international troops on the ground to seize the offending aircraft and also be prepared to call an especially serious breach to the attention of the ICC. Additionally AMIS and NATO/EU should consider the feasibility of and procedures for establishing AWACS radar coverage of Darfur's airspace.

Action Four: Neutralise the militias.

Despite innumerable commitments to do so, the Sudanese government has not yet made a serious effort to disarm or otherwise rein in the Janjaweed militias -- an essential step if civilians are to be secure and peace is to return to Darfur. The responsibility is Khartoum's. The Security Council should give the government one last opportunity to discharge that responsibility by ordering it to produce a plan for review by the Council and to implement it promptly. AMIS should report within 30 days on that implementation, and if progress is not sufficient, the Security Council should impose targeted sanctions against those deemed responsible, bring full details to the attention of the ICC and task the international troops on the ground to produce their own plan to improve the situation. That plan would need to involve proactive measures including use of force sufficient at least to make the militias realise that matters had fundamentally changed, and there would be high costs to further depredations.

Action Five: Enable IDP/refugee return.

Two years into the crisis, the UN has yet to articulate a comprehensive plan for persons displaced by the conflict to return to their homes and to assist them in rebuilding their villages. The Secretary General should urgently develop such a plan, with clear delineation of responsibilities and timelines, after which the Sudanese government will need to cooperate with it. The plan should include a Neutral Resettlement and Claims Commission composed of representatives of the government, the rebels and civil society known for their integrity, chaired by a UN representative, and with a mandate to:

* record criminal complaints against groups or individuals for injuries, wrongful deaths and material losses such as looted livestock and household and commercial goods;

* consult with women and local organisations in planning and implementing IDP and refugee returns;

* create mechanisms for restitution, compensation and investigation of charges by victims; as the entity responsible for the policies that have led to the devastation of Darfur, the Sudanese government should be expected to bear full responsibility for setting up a restitution/ compensation fund;

* collaborate with investigations by responsible third parties into violations of international humanitarian law; and

* establish land usage rights to resolve the inevitable disputes that will arise when displaced persons return to their villages.

Action Six: Monitor and enforce the arms embargo.

The Security Council needs to move quickly to put in place the institutions envisaged by Resolution 1591: a Council Committee to identify transgressors against whom member states are to apply targeted sanctions and a Panel of Experts to assist it. At least the former should be up and working by 28 April 2005 -- 30 days after passage of the resolution and the date envisaged by the resolution for entrance into force of the initial sanctions. The Security Council has not yet identified a member state to chair of the Committee, and the Secretary General has not named the Panel of Experts. Reports of the Panel of Experts and the Committee should be public, and the Council and member states should act expeditiously upon them. The same Committee and Panel of Experts are charged as well with responsibility for the targeted sanctions regime with respect to other aspects of Resolution 1591.

[For specific actions on objectives 2 through 5, see the full report on

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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