Tuesday 19 February 2019

Action on Sudan

Sir - Mark Dooley is a breath of fresh air amongst the stifling waffle that has been written and spoken about Darfur ('Darfur's dead should haunt our conscience', Sunday Independent August 1).

There is no great mystery about what has been taking place in Western Sudan for the past 18 months. Over 1m people, all of black African ethnic origin, have been turfed out of their homes and off their land by government-sponsored militias who use rape, murder and theft as instruments of terror.

They have been left to rot in the desert and crowded together in squalid, overcrowded camps without any means of supporting themselves. They are totally dependent on humanitarian aid to survive and yet the Sudanese government denied access to aid agencies for many months. This is genocide by proxy - herd people into large groups, deny them access to medicines, water or any way to feed themselves, and nature will do the rest. These people have survived government bombing and the Janjaweed attacks but they have little chance of survival if disease breaks out in the camps. Already the death toll is around 50,000 and is increasing by 1,000 a day.

It was appalling, therefore, to hear that the UN Security Council, the body charged with protecting mankind, decided last Friday to give Sudan another 30 days to call off the Janjaweed. How can they make the same mistake over and over again?

When will they ever learn that there is a time for diplomacy, but when people start dying the time for diplomacy has passed and the time for action has arrived?

The Security Council has once again proved itself to be out of touch and continues on its downward spiral into redundancy. Bush and Blair were prepared to commit troops to prevent persecution in Kosovo and Iraq and they must do the same again. They will find greater support from the international community. But they must take the first step now. John O'Shea, GOAL, PO Box 19, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

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