The Globe and Mail, Canada
April 2 2004

Bloodbath in the making

Ten years after Rwanda, the world must not abandon Sudan, says
GREGORY STANTON of Genocide Watch


Ten years ago, the world abandoned Rwanda's Tutsis to genocide. An
estimated 800,000 people were murdered by their Hutu neighbours.
Although a heroic Canadian general, Roméo Dallaire, requested
reinforcements for the 2,500 United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda
and a mandate to stop the genocide, the UN Security Council instead
voted to withdraw UN troops. We watched and washed our hands.

Today 800,000 Africans from Darfur, Sudan, have been driven from
their homes by Arab militias, supported by Sudanese government air
strikes, in the worst case of ethnic cleansing since Kosovo. About
700,000 are in camps inside Sudan that are closed to relief
organizations and the press. More than 100,000 have fled across the
desert border into Chad, where they are dying of hunger and thirst. A
thousand people die daily.

Armed by the Sudanese government, the Arab Janjaweed militias murder,
rape, and pillage African villages with impunity. Their leaders
credit the "Arab race" with "civilization," and consider black
Africans to be abd (male slaves) and kahdim (female slaves). In
Tweila, North Darfur, on Feb. 27, according to the UN Darfur Task
Force, the Janjaweed and Sudanese army murdered at least 200 people
and gang-raped more than 200 girls and women, many in front of their
fathers and husbands, who were then killed. The Janjaweed branded
those they raped on their hands to mark them permanently so they
would be shunned.

Genocidal massacres and mass rape are the tactics of ethnic
cleansing. Their intent is to terrorize Africans such as the Fur,
Massaleit, and Zaghawa into leaving Darfur, where an African kingdom
and sultanate ruled for 2,000 years.

Genocide is the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a
national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Ethnic cleansing is not
quite genocide, because its intent is the expulsion, rather than
physical destruction of a group. But genocidal massacres are a common
tactic. The Arab militias of Darfur want to drive out black Africans
because they want to confiscate their grazing lands, water resources
and cattle.

Farther south, the Sudanese government wants to confiscate rich oil
reserves under the lands of the Nuer, Dinka, Shilluk, Nuba and other
black African groups. A 20-year civil war has driven thousands of
Africans into refugee camps, which the Sudanese air force has
regularly bombed. The Khartoum government has repeatedly cut off food
aid. More than two million people have died.

A "peace process" mediated by the United States, Britain, Norway and
Italy is hammering out an agreement to end the civil war in the
south. Recently there was much exultation when the Sudanese
government and southern rebel leaders agreed to divide up the oil
revenues. But you can be sure no African peasants will ever see a
penny of the money. You can also be sure that in five years, when the
southerners are to decide on self-determination, the northern Arabs
won't let them.

Many governments and human-rights groups now call for another peace
process. They also call for another UN relief program for the
refugees and displaced persons. Both are needed. But neither will
solve the fundamental problem, which is the genocidal nature of the
government in Khartoum. Ethnic cleansings in Sudan will end only when
President Omar al-Bashir's government is overthrown.

Diplomats always prefer "peace processes." But in Arusha, Tanzania,
in 1993-94, the "peace process" was a sideshow that distracted
attention from preparations for genocide in Rwanda. In Sudan, as in
Rwanda, diplomats see their job as "conflict resolution." Genocide
isn't conflict; it's one-sided mass murder. Jews had no conflict with
Nazis. Armenians posed no threat to Turks. Tutsis did not advocate
mass murder of Rwandan Hutus. Conflict resolution isn't genocide

The Darfur ethnic cleansing has already spilled over the Chad border.
As a threat to international peace, it should be on the agenda of the
UN Security Council. But the UN will be paralyzed by Arab League and
Non-Aligned Movement solidarity, and Canada and the European Union
won't act without UN authorization. The U.S. and Britain have more
than they can handle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why, 10 years after Rwanda, has the world reacted so slowly to ethnic
cleansing in Darfur?

Racism is one reason. African lives still are not seen to equal the
value of the lives of Kosovars and other white people, who are inside
our circle of moral concern.

National sovereignty is another. The norm of international law is
still against intervention, even when a government has forfeited its
own claim to legitimacy by committing genocide or ethnic cleansing
against its own people.

Also, the world's leaders know they can kill with impunity. The
International Criminal Court does not have universal jurisdiction
unless a situation is referred to it by the UN Security Council. The
United States will prevent that. Sudan has not ratified the ICC
treaty, so is not subject to it.

Finally there is our indifference. We still don't care enough to
demand that our political leaders send our sons and daughters to
prevent and stop genocides.

Two years ago, Genocide Watch and the International Campaign to End
Genocide called for the appointment of a UN Secretary-General's
special adviser for genocide prevention, to warn the UN Security
Council of incipient genocide and ethnic cleansing. We hope Kofi
Annan will announce the creation of such a position on April 7, the
anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.

We need military forces that can intervene with heavy infantry to
prevent or stop genocides when they begin. Canada has led the way in
preparing its armed forces for international peacekeeping. We are
hopeful about the European Union's creation of a Rapid Response
Force, and the EU deployment to the Eastern Congo. The African
Union's announcement that it will create a similar force is a sign
that "never again" may become more than an empty slogan.

We need a world movement to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, an
effort as great as the anti-slavery movement. Ultimately, preventing
genocide and ethnic cleansing means creating the political will in
our leaders to lead. We must tell them that never again will we
believe their excuses that they didn't know. Never again will we
excuse their failure to act. Never again will we forget that we are
all members of the same race, the human race.

Gregory H. Stanton is president of Washington-based Genocide Watch.
He served in the U.S. State Department from 1992 to 1999, where he
wrote the UN resolutions that created the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda.