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Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Briefings

20 October 2006

In a significant development, The Aegis Trust on Tuesday arranged for interviews on BBC Newsnight and in The Times newspaper with a former janjaweed fighter.

His testimony added yet more credibility to the over-whelming evidence that the Sudanese government has been directing the genocidal campaign in Darfur and included admissions not only that the government has paid janjaweed fighters and bombed villages but also that high-ranking military leaders, including the Sudanese Interior Minister, have met with janjaweed commanders on the ground to plan attacks.

In an interview responding to these claims, UK Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn vacillated over whether a genocide was taking place in Darfur and reiterated claims that there was a ‘huge amount of violence from all sides’ without clarifying that this is overwhelmingly violence conducted by the Sudanese government and its proxies.

The International Crisis Group released a report calling for immediate collaboration between the US, UN, African Union and EU on a four-point plan to:

  1. apply targeted sanctions to the genocide's leaders
  2. begin economic sanctions to restrict finance to militias
  3. explore the possibility of sanctions on Sudan’s oil sector; and
  4. begin immediate planning for a no-fly zone over Darfur to prevent further government bombing. A call for a united move towards major sanctions was also issued by Human Rights Watch.

The Minority Rights Group issued a damning report detailing the ways in which international actors had ignored warnings about the potential for conflict in Darfur from it and other groups as far back as 1995. And on Friday, 120 survivors of the Cambodian, Rwandan and Bosnian genocides sent a letter to several newspapers demanding targeted sanctions, the strengthening of the AU force and the institution of a no-fly zone over Darfur.

Finally, in potentially positive moves, the Sudanese government announced plans to disarm the janjaweed (as it has done before without following through on its pledges) and rebel groups indicated a willingness to return to negotiations.