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July 31, 2004
Democide In Sudan
Dither, Delay, and Doublespeak
While People are Murdered Wholesale

R.J. Rummel

In 1989 Lt. General Omar Hassan Bashir and the Arab-led Sudanese People's Armed Forces overthrew the democratic government in power at that time and imposed strict Muslim law and faith on the whole country. Now, Sudan's population is about 34 million people, of which Muslims are about 70 percent, mainly in the North. Some 5 percent of the population, mostly southern Blacks, is Christian. The rest of the six million living in the South are animist who attribute conscious life to nature and natural objects. The South had a protected and special constitutional status under the democratic government, but with its overthrow and especially with the effort of the new regime to impose Muslim law throughout the country, the South revolted and a bloody civil war resulted.

To defeat the South and motivate its Arab tribal militia to fight, the North made slaves part of their compensation, along with whatever they could loot, and gave Arab soldiers carte blanc to commit rape. Of course, old people did not fit into this scheme, since they are good neither as slaves nor for rape, so they were beaten up, if not killed. Young men, however, were usually marched off to slavery, unless for some reason they were unworthy of this: then they also were killed. According to the Muslim faith, all non-Muslim southerners, whether man or woman, old or young, are infidels. They have no rights, even to life. They may be killed as a matter of course, enslaved, raped, and all deprived of their possessions.

In this civil war, bombing from the air killed many of those who lived in heavily populated areas of the South; even schools were bombed and children killed. Hospitals did not escape. There were many bombing attacks on the Samaritan's Purse, the largest hospital in southern Sudan. Bombers often attacked other medical facilities as well, sometimes with cluster bombs. Even more monstrous, the North bombed the wells that provided southerner's water, as well as sites with foreign relief supplies, including food for the starving southerners. All this, in addition to the regime's socialist economic policies, has contributed to a massive famine.

But because they live under a fundamentalist Muslim regime, even northern Sudanese far from the civil war enjoy few human rights. For example, the government harasses and monitors women for correct dress, forbidding even slacks. Women who dare to defy the law risk arrest, conviction by an Islamic court of immoral dressing, and flogging, as happened to nine women students. Women also cannot hold any public office that would give them authority over Muslim men, nor can they marry a non-Muslim.

Both men and women have no freedom of speech or religion--all must accept the Muslim faith. Also, police can arrest any commoner and imprison them for up to six months without trial. And while detained suspects can expect as a matter of course that officials will torture them. To further this religious rule, the government appoints only Muslims to the judiciary. Worst of all, a Muslim dare not convert to another religion, for the punishment for doing so is death.

By 1999, about 20,000 to 40,000 Sudanese were enslaved, and nearly 4,000,000 displaced from their homes and villages--the largest number for any country. Many more Sudanese simply gave up on the country. Moreover, 352,000 had fled, escaping the fate of some 1,500,000 to 2,000,000, who died from the war, famine, or disease, or were murdered in cold blood by Muslim forces or rebels.

The so-called international community, enshrined in that dictator's haven, the United Nations, mumbled about this, passed ineffective resolutions, made incompetent statements about the situation, and in effect did nothing.

Now we have Darfur, a new democidal crises. Again, the UN shows it incompetence and the power of its member dictators to prevent effective action. While perhaps over 150,000 people have been murdered outright or died as a result of the Muslim's dictator's war on those in Darfur alone, and possibly 2,000 people are dying or being murdered there every day, members of the "international community" dither, shake their head, pass mild and ineffective resolutions in the Security Council, and ask, "Is it genocide?"

It is as though a group of karate experts were walking down the street, and suddenly see across the street a man beating an old woman with a baseball bat. While the beating goes on they stop, and staring across the street, one asks, "Why is he doing that?"

Another asks, "Do you think it is a hate crime?"

"I don't know," says a third, shrugging his shoulders, "how do you define hate crime?"

Glancing across the street at the beating, another asks, "In any case, What should we do?"

"Well," says the first, "lets yell at him to stop, and if he doesn't in a few minutes, I think we might go over there and take his bat away."

Below I have included three articles on the Darfur democide, two of which have appeared on the H-Genocide list. Because in total they add many pages to this commentary, I have added links to the second and third, which are:

On Darfur

Democide Toll

From: H-NET List on the History and Theory of Genocide

From: "Eric Reeves" Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 21:08:28 -0400 Subject: Kofi Annan and Colin Powell in Darfur: Still No Appropriate Sense

Kofi Annan and Colin Powell in Darfur: Still No Appropriate Sense of Urgency, as Mortality Figures Rise Precipitously

For all the symbolic importance of trips by Kofi Annan and Colin Powell to Khartoum and Darfur over the past two days, there is only one way to measure the significance of these well-choreographed events: do they move the international community closer to the humanitarian intervention that alone can significantly mitigate massive genocidal destruction? Judging by the exceedingly weak resolution floated by the US in the United Nations Security Council, and by Kofi Annan's relentlessly nebulous comments on a UN response to the Darfur crisis, the answer must be no.


[The proposed resolution criticized below was passed on July 30, 2004, and does not differ significantly from that critically evaluated here. The resolution imposed an arms embargo on the Jinjaweit in the Darfur region and forbade all states to provide any military or weapons training to the militias. It called on the Government of Sudan to fulfill immediately all the commitments to allow humanitarian aid into the region, provide effective security for civilians, undertake human rights investigations, and resume political talks with dissident groups in the Darfur region. It asks the secretary-general to report to the council in 30 days and monthly thereafter on Khartoum's compliance with the terms of the resolution. It also endorses the deployment of African Union monitors and protection forces in Darfur. If Sudan does not comply, the Security Council "expressed its intention" to consider further action, including measures outlined in Article 41 of the U.N. Charter, which might include such sanctions as an economic embargo, travel ban, and the severance of diplomatic relations. Rummel]

The resolution proposed by the US would have the UN Security Council "impose an arms embargo and travel ban on Arab militias blamed for attacks on African villagers in Darfur" (Associated Press, July 1, 2004). The draft resolution requires that the Security Council "decide after 30 days whether the arms embargo and travel ban against the militias should be extended to others 'responsible for the commission of atrocities in Darfur'" (BBC, July 1, 2004).

It is difficult to imagine a more inconsequential resolution. The Janjaweed militia have already been extremely heavily armed by Khartoum, and as Human Rights Watch has insistently pointed out, have increasingly been coordinating with and incorporated into Khartoum's regular military forces. An "arms embargo" that does not include the Khartoum regime, that does not include those who supply arms to these brutal militia forces, is worse than useless. For this conveys a sense, through the authority of the Security Council, that something meaningful is being done when this is patently not true.

A travel ban on the Janjaweed militia leaders is even more pointless. Most of these men have no ambition to travel; many have already been moved within Sudan and if necessary can be given new identifications, and identity documents. These will be provided by the very security organs within the Khartoum regime that have overseen the Janjaweed's destruction and atrocities in Darfur.

Moreover, the expansive 30-day time-frame for deciding whether further action should be taken makes a mockery of the urgency defining the unfolding catastrophe in Darfur. Recent data from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres help to substantiate a gross mortality figure of over 100,000 for the past 16 months (see below). Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, reported recently that the "number of black Africans killed by Arab militias in the Darfur region of Sudan is 'bound to be staggering'":

"Ms. Jahangir said that during her visit, 'nearly every third or fourth family' she spoke to in the camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) within Darfur had lost a relative to the militias. 'It's very hard to say [accurately] how many people have been killed,' she said, but interviews with IDPs indicated it would be 'quite a large number. They are bound to be staggering.'" (UN News Centre, June 29, 2004)

It is indeed difficult to extrapolate from Jahangir's statistical generalization about bereft families in Darfur, but it strongly suggests a number in excess of 100,000.

Mortality figures and projections from the US Agency for International Development continue to be ignored by most wire services and news media reports on Darfur, despite the authoritative research that lies behind them (at: www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf). Assuming with the UN, the European Union, and the US a figure of 2.2 to 2.3 million "war-affected" persons in Darfur (see analysis by this writer, "Quantifying Genocide in Darfur," June 28, 2004; available upon request), and assuming the current US AID Gross Mortality Rate (GMR) of 4 people per day per population of ten thousand, then the weekly mortality total is approximately 7,000. This suggests that even if a Security Council resolution were to pass within the week, more than 30,000 will have died before the Security Council considers follow-up action. By that time, US AID data indicate that the Crude Mortality Rate will be 10 persons per day per population of 10,000, or more than 15,000 people dying every week.

[For an updated estimate of the toll, see below at: Democide Toll.]

This will be the height of the rainy season (which has almost fully arrived); transport difficulties will be at their greatest; humanitarian intervention will then be most difficult.


What accounts for US willingness to support such an exceedingly weak resolution? Much of the answer apparently lies in the US understanding that no stronger resolution would have a chance in the Security Council. Indeed, it is reliably reported that Permanent Member China (with veto power) is unhappy with any resolution that is specific to Darfur. Russia is similarly disposed, as are Algeria and Pakistan. No one following the internal deliberations at the Security Council feels that any form of humanitarian intervention will be agreed to by China---certainly not for the foreseeable future.

Colin Powell may believe, as the Associated Press reports, that a Security Council resolution will get the attention of Khartoum's leadership:

"As a stick, Powell warned that the United States might take the issue to the U.N. Security Council if Sudan ignored the problem. He believes that got [National Islamic Front President Omar] Bashir's attention because no government wants the stigma of Security Council sanctions." (Associated Press, July 1, 2004)

But this is merely wishful thinking. Khartoum has endured international opprobrium on many occasions, and has always outlasted all who have attempted to rebuke this evil. The regime, without international humanitarian intervention, will do what it has done for the past fifteen years of brutal tyranny, persisting in a ruthless and resourceful survivalism (the regime came to power by military coup exactly 15 years ago, June 30, 1989, deposing an elected government and aborting a promising peace process with southern Sudan).

In Darfur, Khartoum's efforts will likely entail marginally improving some features of humanitarian access, and promising much more. But we should recall what NIF Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail declared on the eve of Colin Powell's arrival: "'there is no famine, no malnutrition and no disease [in Darfur]'" (Associated Press, June 29, 2004). Such gross and shameless dishonesty tells us all we need know about the worth of Khartoum's promises. There may also be a few symbolic arrests of Janjaweed scapegoats or stage-managed "disarming" ceremonies. But again, we should recall that President Beshir promised on May 25, 2004 to rein in the Janjaweed; as numerous reports from the ground make clear this simply has not happened, and the massive violence that has claimed many tens of thousands of civilian lives . . . continues remorselessly. [See below]


With the UN Security Council so exceedingly unlikely to provide the Chapter VII authority for such intervention, the only authority for international action comes in the form of the obligations deriving from the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It is of particular consequence, then, that Colin Powell offered such a deeply misleading and confusing explanation concerning a determination of genocide in Darfur (interview with National Public Radio, June 30, 2004, from Sudan):

"[There are] some indicators [of genocide in Darfur] but there was certainly no full accounting of all indicators that lead to a legal definition of genocide, in accordance with the terms of the genocidal [sic] treaties." (NPR transcript, June 30, 2004)

This sentence is suspiciously opaque; listeners and readers may be forgiven for failing to understand what is meant by "full accounting of all indicators" or even "indicators." There is in any event only one "genocidal treaty" to which the US is party, and crucially it demands that the US undertake to "prevent genocide." It is not clear what other "genocidal treaties" Secretary Powell had in mind, but the language of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide includes "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." All available evidence, now voluminous, makes clear that this clause describes, with terrifying precision, Khartoum's intention and relentless actions in Darfur.

It is thus incumbent upon the Bush administration State Department to answer much more clearly a series of questions that have grown steadily more exigent since the announcement on June 11, 2004 that a genocide determination had begun:

[1] When did the effort at a determination begin? When is it expected to be made? Is there any relation between the timing of this determination and actions at the UN Security Council? (Of course there should not be, but there is more than a whiff of expediency in the air.)

[2] What evidence is missing? What evidentiary threshold(s) has not been met?

[3] Is there doubt about Khartoum's intent to "deliberately inflict on the African tribal groups of Darfur conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part"? What is any such skepticism based upon?

[4] Both the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and senior officials of the US Agency for International Development have described the human destruction in Darfur as "ethnic cleansing." What is the difference between "ethnic cleansing" and genocide? What does the latter term comprise that the former term does not? Is there any reason to believe that the phrase "ethnic cleansing" is anything other than a "euphemistic halfway house" between crimes against humanity and genocide (as Samantha Power has put the issue)?

[5] US Ambassador at large Pierre-Richard Prosper has declared in Congressional testimony that: "We see indicators of genocide, and there is evidence that points in the direction [of genocide]" (Congressional testimony before the House International Relations Committee, June 25, 2004; at http://allafrica.com/stories/200406250749.html).

Why are such "indicators" and "evidence" of genocide not enough to obligate us (per Article 1 of the Genocide Convention) to "prevent genocide" now, rather than waiting for a full legal determination? How far short of the threshold for "prevention" are we? What further evidence or indicators are required to reach this threshold?

[6] Secretary Powell also declares in his interview with National Public Radio that:

"To spend a great deal of time arguing about the definition of what the situation is isn't as important as identifying where the people are who are in need." (NPR transcript, June 30, 2004)

But the argument isn't over "definition" but whether the realities of Darfur match the definition offered in the Genocide Convention. And to suggest that such determination is unimportant or unrelated to the humanitarian task at hand is either ignorance or disingenuousness. Certainly Powell's comment forces another question: Is there some basis for international humanitarian intervention in Darfur other than a Security Council resolution or fulfillment of obligations under the Genocide Convention?


These questions require answers, and the urgency must be commensurate with the scale of human destruction---achieved and impending. That urgency is at least declared by Kofi Annan on the occasion of his own trip to Darfur: "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told Sudan's government that he wants to see progress within 48 hours resolving a bitter conflict in the Darfur region" (Associated Press, July 1, 2004). But what does this mean? What are the consequences if there is no "progress" within the next 48 hours? And what constitutes "progress"? What are the benchmarks by which we can measure it?

Annan seems now to have determined upon a course of saying the right things, making the requisite appearance in Darfur---and then leaving the real work to others. While invoking again the threat of military force to protect the civilians of Darfur, this threat was first sounded on April 7, 2004 (on the grim anniversary of the Rwandan genocide). It has a conspicuously hollow sound when issued again only after three long months of a deepening crisis have passed. Informed sources at the UN in New York indicate that Annan has done none of the urgent lobbying of Security Council members that is dictated by the crisis.

Indeed, Annan still cannot bring himself to use the terms genocide or "ethnic cleansing" to describe Darfur's realities, despite the emphatically repeated statements by Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland that Khartoum's orchestrated violence continues to be directed against civilians in a "scorched-earth" campaign of "ethnic cleansing":

"'These are totally defenceless people,' he said. 'Women and children for the most part, and those who kill them are grown men with Kalashnikov automatic rifles.'" (BBC June 4, 2004)

[Section on " MORTALITY FROM VIOLENT KILLINGS IN DARFUR" omitted, since Reeves most recent update is given below at Democide Toll]


Have the visits to Darfur by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary-general Colin Powell made any substantial headway in mitigating this genocidal destruction? The high profile of the visits ensures greater financial support for UN agencies and humanitarian organizations; it also increases the visibility of the Darfur catastrophe. But nothing has been done to address the gross mismatch between humanitarian need and current humanitarian capacity without military intervention. The UN's World Food Program, for example, fell short of feeding half a million people in June: it claims to have provided food to 700,000, but the organization admits that 1.2 million are in need of food assistance. Transport access is diminishing because of the rains, and the number of people in need of food aid will (according to WFP) rise to 2 million in three months. (See World Food Program press release [Rome], June 29, 2004; at http://allafrica.com/stories/200406290566.html).

Just as significantly, nothing has been done that will provide security for the hundreds of thousands in camps for the displaced to which there is no meaningful humanitarian access (at least half the displaced population). These are desperate and weakened people, without food and water, without latrines or sanitary facilities of any kind. They are without medical assistance even as diseases like cholera, dysentery, and mosquito-borne malaria are beginning to explode with the rains. They are completely at the mercy of the brutal and heavily armed Janjaweed.

In short, despite the opportunities of the moment, and the significance of these high-profile visits, nothing has been done to give this cataclysm of human destruction its proper name---or to begin the actions that can mitigate vast human destruction. The descent into the abyss---the abyss of human suffering and death, the abyss of moral failure---continues to gather pace.

Eric Reeves Smith College Northampton, MA 01063

413-585-3326 ereeves@smith.edu

From: Dr Peter Hall phall@gn.apc.org

Dear all

Many of you will know Alex.

He provides insights on Darfur that may be otherwise unavailable

He and Rakiya Omaar formed African Rights - the only human rights organisation that investigated in any depth the genocide in Rwanda as it was taking place, and wrote the report 'Death Despair and Defiance'.

As the article says, he is a "world authority on the country"

Peter Hall (phall@gn.apc.org)


Darfur's deep grievances defy all hopes for an easy solution The world is waking to the human disaster in Sudan. But, argues writer and world authority on the country, Alex de Waal, the crisis is far more complex than some claim - and cannot be resolved by a quick fix Alex de Waal Sunday July 25 2004 The Observer

Darfur, the war-torn province in western Sudan where a terrible humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, has yet more awful secrets to divulge.

In addition to 1.2 million displaced people living and dying in refugee camps in the region and across the border in neighbouring Chad, there are hundreds of thousands more struggling to survive in their homes in the vast areas held by the rebel movements fighting against the Khartoum government.

They are far from any TV cameras, and far from the comfort of aid agencies. They are surviving as their parents and grandparents did, through hardiness and skill.

They, not us, are the proven experts in surviving famine. Where a foreigner sees a wasteland of sand and mountain, a rural woman sees landscape replete with wild grasses, berries and roots.

The most ubiquitous of these is a berry known as mukheit, which grows on a small bush. It looks like a big pale pea, it's toxic and needs to be soaked in water for three days before it's edible, and even then it tastes sour. But it's nutritious, and it's in season now.

During the drought-famine of 1984-85, perhaps two million people survived on mukheit, often for months. It was a far bigger factor in survival than food aid, and it was common to see women foraging on the remotest hills, children strapped to their backs, gathering this unappetising but life-preserving crop. Then there's difra, a wild grass that grows across the desert-edge plateaux, which can be harvested in August, and up to 80 more species known to every grandmother.

Mukheit keeps adults alive, but it isn't enough for children. During the 1980s famine, infectious diseases and lack of weaning foods killed an estimated 75,000 children. As the world becomes aware of this as-yet-invisible disaster, aid agencies will demand access across the front lines. And those aid convoys will need an international protection force.

The Darfur war erupted early last year, when two armed movements - Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement - began a rebellion against a government in Khartoum that had neglected their region.

In response, the government mobilised, armed and directed a militia, known as Janjaweed ('rabble' or 'outlaws' in local dialect), using scorched earth, massacre and starvation as cheap counter-insurgency weapons. The UN has described Darfur as 'the world's worst humanitarian crisis'. On Friday, the US Congress described it as 'genocide'. The British government is considering sending in 5,000 troops.

Characterising the Darfur war as 'Arabs' versus 'Africans' obscures the reality. Darfur's Arabs are black, indigenous, African and Muslim - just like Darfur's non-Arabs, who hail from the Fur, Masalit, Zaghawa and a dozen smaller tribes.

Until recently, Darfurians used the term 'Arab' in its ancient sense of 'bedouin'. These Arabic-speaking nomads are distinct from the inheritors of the Arab culture of the Nile and the Fertile Crescent.

'Arabism' in Darfur is a political ideology, recently imported, after Colonel Gadaffi nurtured dreams of an 'Arab belt' across Africa, and recruited Chadian Arabs, Darfurians and west African Tuaregs to spearhead his invasion of Chad in the 1980s. He failed, but the legacy of arms, militia organisation and Arab supremacist ideology lives on.

Many Janjaweed hail from the Chadian Arab groups mobilised during those days. Most of Darfur's Arabs remain uninvolved in the conflict, but racist ideology appeals to many poor and frustrated young men.

Since 1987 there have been recurrent clashes between the Arab militias and village self-defence groups. Their roots were local conflicts over land and water, especially in the wake of droughts, made worse by the absence of an effective police force in the region for 20 years.

The last intertribal conference met in 1989, but its recommendations were never implemented. Year by year, law and order has broken down, and the government has done nothing but play a game of divide-and-rule, usually favouring the better-armed Arabs.

In response, the non-Arab groups (some of them bedouins too - there's a clan related to the Zaghawa that even has the name Bedeyaat) have mobilised, adopting the label 'African', which helps to gain solidarity with the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Army, and is a ticket to sympathy in the West.

The Darfur conflict erupted just as protracted peace negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLA on an end to the 20-year-old war in southern Sudan entered their final stage. Some observers have speculated that the rebellion was launched because the SPLA won its concessions by dint of armed struggle, thereby encouraging other discontented Sudanese regions to try the same.

There's an element of truth in that, and a danger that the Beja of eastern Sudan will also re-ignite their dormant insurrection. But Darfur has long-standing grievances. Even more than southern Sudan, the province has been neglected. It has the fewest schools and hospitals in the country. Promises of development came to nothing.

Darfurian radicals have long tried to start a liberation war. In 1991, the SPLA sent an armed force to Darfur to foment resistance: it failed, and an entire cadre of leftist leadership was arrested or neutralised as a result. The young SLA leaders have emerged from the shadow of this debacle.

Meanwhile, the Islamic government tried to neutralise complaints of neglect by playing the religion card. Darfur's Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes are well-known for their Muslim piety, and were attracted by the idea of being enfranchised through their Muslim faith. But this proved another hollow promise, and when the Sudanese Islamist movement split four years ago, most Darfurian Islamists went into opposition, some of them forming the JEM.

There is no quick fix in Darfur. But after the first round of mediation by the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a week ago, the elements of a settlement are coming into focus. The first of these is removing obstacles to relief operations. The second is enforcing the ceasefire, agreed by the parties in the Chadian capital of Ndjamena in April, but flouted - far more egregiously by the government and Janjaweed. For hungry villagers, the ceasefire is a survival issue, as their skill at harvesting wild foods has no value if they are confined to camps by fear of rape, mutilation or murder.

The African Union - headed by its energetic leader, the, former Malian President Alpha Konare - has put 24 ceasefire monitors on the ground so far to oversee the Ndjamena agreement. Three hundred African troops are also on their way, to ensure that the monitors can move in safety.

Providing security to civilians will need a far larger and more robust force. Even before the insurrection, Darfur was a province in arms. Every village or nomadic clan possessed automatic weapons - a necessity given that there has been no effective police force there for the past 20 years.

Last month, President Omer al-Bashir promised to disarm the Janjaweed. In doing so, he has put himself in a corner. There's overwhelming evidence, circumstantial and documentary, that Khartoum supplied the militia with arms, logistics and air support. But it doesn't follow that it can so easily rein them in. Darfur cannot be disarmed by force.

The principal Janjaweed camps can be identified and the militiamen cantonised there. This demands a tough surveillance regime, overseen by international forces. But the armed Bedouin cannot be encamped: they rely on their herds for livelihood and hence need to move, and they are too numerous and scattered to disarm. In fact, 'disarmament' is a misnomer. What will work is community-based regulation of armaments, gradually squeezing out bandits and criminals.

What to do with the Chadian Arabs will be one tricky issue. Another will be the fact that all Darfurians - Arab and non-Arab alike - profoundly distrust a government in Khartoum that has brought them nothing but trouble. Arms control can be made to work only when the scaffolding of a provincial administration and political settlement is in place.

Another issue is human rights: investigating claims of genocide and who's responsible. This issue is best parked with an international commission - perhaps a special investigator from the International Criminal Court.

A political solution can be framed as these immediate issues are tackled. At the moment the sides are far apart, their public language one of mutual recrimination.

In theory, a settlement of Darfur's provincial issues should not be too difficult. The rebels - who drop their simplistic 'African' versus 'Arab' terminology as soon as they get into details - have no desire to purge Darfur of its indigenous black Arabs.

They do not seek self-determination or separation. Their demands, for equitable development, land rights, schools and clinics, and local democracy are perfectly reasonable. Formulae for provincial autonomy are also negotiable.

The national issues are more difficult. Settling Darfur's grievances will mean revisiting many of the Naivasha formulae, which were drafted on a simplified north-south dichotomy. For example, senior government jobs have been divided between the ruling Congress Party and the SPLA: who is going to make concessions to allow Darfur its fair share?

Nonetheless, the Darfur process can be speeded up by implementing the Naivasha agreement and bringing SPLA leader John Garang to Khartoum as vice president. Garang aspires to represent a coalition of all Sudan's non-Arab peoples, including Darfurians, and it will be politically impossible for him to endorse a war in Darfur.

The African Union, with UN support, is applying lessons learned from the Naivasha negotiation. If this is to work, the US, Britain and the EU will need to use their leverage in support of the AU formula. The next meeting is scheduled for a month's time.

The immediate life and death needs of Darfur's people cannot wait for these negotiations to mature. A British brigade could make a formidable difference to the situation. It could escort aid supplies into rebel-held areas, and provide aerial surveillance, logistics and back-up to ceasefire monitoring, helping to give Darfurian villagers the confidence to return to their homes and pick up their lives.

Alex de Waal is director of Justice Africa (London). An updated version of his book, Famine that Kills: Darfur, Sudan, 1984-5, is published by Oxford University Press this autumn.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

From: H-NET List on the History and Theory of Genocide

From: "Eric Reeves" Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 17:52:45 -0400 Subject: DARFUR MORTALITY UPDATE: JULY 30, 2004

DARFUR MORTALITY UPDATE: JULY 30, 2004 Current data for total mortality from violence, malnutrition, and disease

There have been two recent estimates of total mortality in Darfur, both many times higher than the previous UN figure of 10,000. This latter figure was first offered, without accompanying explanation, in March 2004 and has remained unchanged for the past four months. Unfortunately both new figures also come with too little explanation of statistical methodology or of the data actually used in calculating mortality. Moreover, both estimates continue to understate the degree of human destruction in Darfur. For a collation of the most comprehensive data available from humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, as well as epidemiological data governing the mortality projections of the US Agency for International Development, suggests that current mortality exceeds 150,000 dead.

This figure is of course an estimate---a tenuous extrapolation from the very limited data available, and cannot be confirmed or made more precise until security in Darfur permits much more comprehensive statistical sampling. The margin of error is very wide. But the figure offered here does attempt to include populations within camps for the displaced as well as those outside the camps. It includes not only the 1.3 million that the UN estimates are internally displaced in Darfur, but the more than 200,000 who have fled to Chad. It also attempts to take some cognizance of the larger total population of African tribal groups in Darfur---a population that is very seldom referred to globally in any statistical context.

In other words, the large mortality number offered here implicitly presumes (as do US AID mortality projections) that our focus must be on the entire population at risk in Darfur, not simply those who have been counted as displaced or assessed as "war-affected" (many organizations on the ground, overwhelmed by the critical tasks at hand, have simply stopped counting or registering new displaced persons). For there is a good deal of evidence that the estimated figure of 1.3 million internally displaced persons in Darfur is far below the actual number; there is also a good deal of evidence that the number of "war-affected" persons has grown to well in excess of the 2.2 million announced by the UN, the US, and the European Union in Geneva almost two months ago (June 3, 2004).

The population of Darfur is roughly 6.5 million; over 4 million are from the "African"/"non-Arab" tribal groups that have been so relentlessly targeted by Khartoum and its Arab militia allies. These people make up the overwhelming majority of those killed, displaced, and at risk. Thus the unstated but highly troubling implication of a figure of 1.5 million displaced (internally and into Chad) is that more than 2.5 million have not been displaced---are somehow still living in their villages and smaller towns, as well as the larger towns of Darfur. Given the massive scale of destruction of African villages---now clearly evident from recent satellite photography and from numerous reports on the systematic nature of African village destruction in the rural areas of all three states in Darfur Province---a figure of 2.5 million "non-displaced" persons seems thoroughly untenable.

This is the context in which to assess the meaning of the June 3, 2004 estimate of 2.2 million "war-affected" persons. Given the global population numbers for the Darfur region, the number of "war-affected" persons must be accelerating quickly, and indeed must now far exceed 2.2 million. Any surviving foodstocks are rapidly disappearing or have already disappeared; host families for many of the displaced persons now find themselves without food; and the ability to forage for the foods normally eaten in times of severe food scarcity is meaningless given the continuing predations of Khartoum's proxy militia force, the Janjaweed. Insecurity has hopelessly compromised the superb coping skills of the rural African tribal populations of Darfur. Overall levels of morbidity and malnutrition within the growing "war-affected" population, likely well in excess of 2.5 million, are climbing extremely rapidly.


[1] UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland declared on July 23, 2004 that the mortality figure for Darfur "could be as high as 50,000" (Agence France-Presse, July 23, 2004). Dismayingly, there was no statistical explanation offered or differentiation within the overall figure between deaths from violence and deaths from malnutrition and disease. Moreover, Egeland's statistical preface to his estimate---"Among the one million people [who are displaced]" (Agence France-Presse, July 23, 2004)---is a dismayingly inaccurate characterization of the number of displaced persons in Darfur and Chad: the number is certainly at the very least 50% higher than the one Egeland offered as context for his estimate. As a consequence of this casual but highly significant understatement of a key figure in Darfur's crisis, it is difficult to see this mortality estimate as the result of a rigorous statistical analysis.

A much more likely explanation is that Egeland's figure is simply a minimal (i.e., institutionally acceptable within the UN) increase, serving Egeland's larger and more urgent purpose of making clear that things are continuing to deteriorate badly in Darfur:

"'There is a false impression now that things are improving in Darfur because we, the humanitarian community, are able to deploy much stronger than before,' Mr Egeland said. 'The outlook at the moment is actually bleak, the deaths are increasing,' he said." (Agence France-Presse, July 23, 2004)

[2] The US Agency for International Development yesterday (July 29, 2004) estimated that 80,000 have died in Darfur (Deutsche Presse Agentur [dpa], July 29, 2004). This estimate is a good deal more compelling, largely because it does differentiate between mortality from violence and mortality from disease and malnutrition.

Even the US AID figure is likely low, however, particularly in its estimate of deaths from violence (given as 30,000). At the same time, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the US AID estimate of deaths from disease and malnutrition (given as 50,000) is appropriate for the present; this may even be the figure Egeland had in mind when he offered his own estimate.

But the US AID figure for violent deaths seems to ignore the implications of the only publicly available study to date on this subject, conducted by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the epidemiological research center "Epicenter." The June 21, 2004 report ("Emergency in Darfur, Sudan: No Relief in Sight") studied violent deaths in West Darfur State, and arrived at a key finding:

"A recent survey conducted by MSF and the epidemiological research center Epicentre in the town of Mornay, West Darfur State, where nearly 80,000 people have sought refuge, found that one in 20 people were killed in scorched earth attacks on 111 villages from September 2003 until February 2004. Adult men were the primary victims, but women and children were also killed. Today, one in five children in the camp are severely malnourished while irregular and insufficient food distributions do not come close to meeting the basic needs of people weakened by violence, displacement, and deprivation." (Doctors Without Border/Medecins Sans Frontieres, "Emergency in Darfur, Sudan: No Relief in Sight," June 21, 2004; release at http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/pr/2004/06-21-2004.shtml).)

If we make the very conservative assumption that the Mornay region has been especially violent, and that the 1 in 20 figure overstates by 50% the global death rate for armed killings in Darfur, this still implies (for a crudely estimated total average displaced population of 1.2 million, including refugees in Chad) that over 40,000 people were violently killed between September 2003 and February 2004 (this represents a weekly casualty figure of approximately 1,500).

In the five months (22 weeks) since the end of February, violent killings have continued to be reported on a very wide-scale throughout Darfur, especially February to April, subsiding recently only because the destruction of African villages is now largely completed. Even so, an African Union fact-finding mission declared today there has been continued significant deterioration in the security situation in Darfur in recent weeks (Reuters [Accra], July 30, 2004), and accounts of highly destructive Janjaweed assaults also continue to be reported throughout Darfur. CBS News and Associated Press report today:

"'The [Janjaweed] attackers looted the market and killed civilians [in the village of Suleia, West Darfur], in some cases, by chaining them and burning them alive,' according to the [African Union monitoring team] report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday." (CBS News and Associated Press, July 30, 2004)

Many people were of course killed violently before September 2003 (the insurgency conflict broke out in February 2003; Janjaweed attacks on civilians accelerated dramatically in the late spring/early summer of 2003).

All of these data aggregated (including the implied weekly casualty rate) suggest a very approximate figure of 80,000 killed violently in the course of the war.


If we accept the US Agency for International Development figure of 50,000 dead from disease and malnutrition, and the implications of the MSF study of violent death, we arrive at a total of 130,000 dead. This writer estimated on July 15, 2004 that the total mortality in Darfur was 135,000. The difference here is well within the very wide margin of error for such statistical calculations. At the same time, US AID's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005" ( http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf) suggests a daily mortality rate that has now reached 10 persons per day per 10,000 of affected population. Assuming an affected population of over 2 million (people presently in urgent need of food and medical assistance), this suggests a daily death rate of 2,000 human beings (see July 15, 2004 analysis by this writer of the population figure appropriate to deploy in this statistical projection; available upon request). These data aggregated suggest that total mortality in Darfur as of July 30, 2004 is over 150,000.

Note: US AID's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005," which projects both mortality and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM), continues to be borne out in surveys of nutrition throughout Darfur. Indeed, malnutrition is tracking higher than US AID projections. Studies of particular note include: [1] an assessment by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in the Abu Shouk camp for the internally displaced [North Darfur], indicating Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates of 39 percent and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of 9.6 percent (July 2004); [2] Save the Children study (June 17, 2004) of malnutrition and food insecurity in Malha, North Darfur (assessment teams found an acute crisis in nutritional status with GAM rates of 33 percent and SAM rates of 5.4 percent); and [3] a nutritional study by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres during April and May 2004 ("On the Brink of Mass Starvation," May 20, 2004), conducted at Garsila, Mukjar, Bindissi, Deleij, and Um Kher (West Darfur). The study revealed that "global acute malnutrition affects 21.5% of the population while 3.2% suffer from severe acute malnutrition. The mortality rate for children under five years of age is 5.2 deaths per 10,000 people per day while the rate for those over five years of age is 3.6."

Global Acute Malnutrition and human mortality correlate extremely highly in famine conditions.]


There are many who are skeptical of the high mortality figure offered here. Where skepticism can be explained, assumptions reasonably questioned, statistical inferences challenged, data shown to be inaccurate, this writer welcomes responses and corrections. Many those skeptical are apparently in the UN, and their data would be especially welcome. But perhaps it is appropriate to point out that for over four months many within the UN have contented themselves with a figure of 10,000 dead for all of Darfur---for more than 17 months of extraordinary violent and destructive conflict, including mass executions, and involving huge numbers of displaced and endangered persons, living in highly traumatic circumstances. What accounts for this dramatic and consequential understatement of human loss of life?

It is sadly the case that we learn too much about the inadequacy of UN statistical and logistical comprehension of the Darfur crisis from a very recent comment by Dr. David Nabarro, head of UN World Health Organization (WHO) "Health Crises Operations":

"Dr. Nabarro says WHO did not think the situation in Darfur would become as desperate as it is. He says the agency underestimated the difficulty of getting enough water supplies and of improving sanitation facilities in the camps." (interview with Voice of America, July 18, 2004)

This is simply disgraceful incompetence. Indeed, it is clear that various of the UN organizations---including the UN World Health Organization, the UN World Food Program, the UN High Commission for Refugees, and the UN High Commission for Human Rights---have at times performed poorly in responding to Darfur, and at times extremely poorly. All who are working to mitigate the Darfur crisis must hope that this does not continue to translate into the promulgation of figures that are clearly untenable.

Eric Reeves Smith College Northampton, MA 01063

413-585-3326 ereeves@smith.edu

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