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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
How should the world respond to Darfur crisis?
Displaced women at the Zam Zam refugee camp in Darfur
The United Nations has said that Sudan's government and pro-government militias are still attacking Darfur people.

Refugees were also said to be coming under attack in the southern part of the region from the pro-government Janjaweed militia.

The lobby group Human Rights Watch has also accused Sudan of breaking pledges to control the militias and said that the international community had failed to prevent atrocities taking place.

More than one million people have fled their homes in 18 months of conflict.

Should the UN intervene in Darfur? Do you think the Darfur crisis is genocide? How should the international community respond to Darfur? Should the Sudanese government be left to resolve the crisis? Send us your views.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your e-mails. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

Just as Rwanda, as lives are getting lost, those supposed to act like the UN and the AU, play the diplomatic game only to make noise about remembering the days the massacre took place, in later years.
Gilbert Ammamoo, Accra, Ghana

I love this site. We have some people who say the US will not do anything because Sudan has no oil. Then we have others saying there are billions of gallons of oil there to be tapped and that's the only reason the US is interested. How much oil did the US get in Kuwait? In Iraq? In Somalia? Don't get me wrong I am all for a war over natural resources (I'm a greedy capitalist) but I have yet to see the US seize any. Where is all this oil we are going to war over? I am paying too much for gas.
Steve, Los Angeles, CA

The last thing America needs to do is to get involved in Darfur or any other country for that matter. I can't wait for the day when we elect leaders that will stay out of the Middle East, Africa etc. The United Nations should be moved to Europe and we should stay the hell out of other nation's problems but our own. We have enough to do here, we have too many of our own problems to deal with.
Greg Parker, US

Stop looking to the US to hold your hand and grow up!
Judy G, Illinois, USA

I am so sick of the world criticizing US actions, and then looking to us to solve the next world crisis. Where are the ANC, AU, and Islamic countries on this issue? It's about time Africa started to clean up its own messes. If anyone should be involved in sending troops, it should be the European countries that left the continent in such a bad state from which it has never recovered. I believe the UN should lead a humanitarian effort, but that the effort to negotiate peace and stop the killing should come from those countries with the greatest stake. Stop looking to the US to hold your hand and grow up!
Judy G, Illinois, USA

Having followed the news on international (western) media, I must say that westerners probably know very little about what's really going on in Sudan. To the point where they have a firmer grasp on an opinion than they do on the facts. Instead of supplying information - about the tribes involved, the background, the motives - the media simply present us with a collection of opinions gathered from various organisations and political bodies. I think we deserve the chance to form our own opinions, and those who suffer is Sudan deserve our real sympathy - not something that's conjured up in the editing rooms of news programmes.
Alon, Haifa, Israel

I am Ghanaian from West Africa, and am sure Kofi Annan is wondering why no African is blaming him of his lack authority as the Secretary General of UN in this crisis. Where is his command? Is he just a puppet and just merely enjoying his position and the benefits of Secretary General. I am appalled and shamed by the lack of ignorance and action on his part.
John Nana Egyir Jacobs, Harrisburg, PA, USA

When did the UN become the international debate club? Sanctions and economic "measures" are safe hypothesis. The people of Darfur need real help. When will one of these international organizations actually make a decision and lead?
Lisa, USA

he US is still not just the world's only military, economic, and cultural superpower; it is the only moral superpower as well
Mark, USA

This is the perfect opportunity for Jacques Chirac to show that after all of his bluster about a bipolar world where Europe challenges the US for leadership, a European rapid reaction force, and the Europeans owning the moral high ground, that when a real crisis occurs and a million lives are at stake, Europe will sit on its collective hands and do nothing just as it always does. The US is still not just the world's only military, economic, and cultural superpower; it is the only moral superpower as well. Let's hope for the sake of the victims in Sudan, it is not already so financially and militarily overextended and so politically overwhelmed that it can't hold out one more helping hand. In the end, that's the only real hope these people have.
Mark, USA

How can sanctions be imposed on just the militias and those supporting them? Surely sanctions can only be imposed on countries, usually containing a largely innocent population who are just trying to survive.
David R, Plymouth, UK

The option of a Muslim army with an agreement with Sudan's government can be used here instead of in Iraq. This will give strength to Sudan to suppress both rebels and militia.
Umar, USA

The urgent intervention of the USA, UK and the UN will be well justified, as the Africans have undoubtedly failed to solve the crisis.
Sabelo, Swaziland/Italy

One way to halt the horror in Africa would be to stop selling them arms. Also never ever give aid until the sale of arms stops. Any country in Africa that buys arms should be struck off the aid list.
Jim, York, England

Why doesn't the media explain the reasons for the genocide, instead of showing the plight of the refugees?
Andy Kinkaid, Sao Paulo

Why don't the world superpowers take military action against the government of Sudan? And why doesn't the media explain the reasons for the genocide, instead of showing the plight of the refugees? There might be more effect on world opinions if you could film the attacks on the people. Surely with all the technology, you could film from drone aircrafts like the military use. As for the aid, if the so called guards are militia do the aid agencies stand any chance of delivery? It is troops that are needed to defeat these animals.
Andy Kinkaid, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sanctions do more harm than good - the poor people suffer most. It should be the job of the Sudanese government and the AU to intervene but they seem unwilling or unable to. Therefore, the UN has no choice - assemble a peacekeeping force to save the many thousands of basically defenceless people. It's a humanitarian issue so cries of "it's not our business" don't stand up.
Julian Bradbrook, Hollesley, England

Isn't this situation exactly what the UN was set up to deal with?
Joe, London, UK

UN sanctioned military intervention in Darfur would be a grave mistake for western nations. Sudan is a Muslim nation and as such a Muslim problem, any intervention by non-Muslim nations will simply provide fuel for further anti-Islamic propagandists.
David, Saudi Arabia

I find it incomprehensible that the UN could take so long to come to a resolution, and then resolve to give Sudan 30 days to intervene or face some unspecified penalty. A lot of people can die in 30 days and the complete absence of an emphatic position is mind-boggling. While the UN's front line aid agencies are doing wonderful work in the face of incredible odds, the executive arm is a disastrous, corrupt, twisted mess.
Mike, London, UK

Sudan has been in civil war for at least five years. Thousands of people have died across the country with atrocities performed by all factions involved. However, the scale of violence has been and continues to be far lower than that in the Congo. Sudan is also sitting on billions of barrels of oil reserves, which are currently being developed by Chinese companies. Today oil prices hit $44 a barrel. Please read US/UK backed UN resolutions with these facts in mind.
Ralph Williams, Cambridge, UK

This clearly shows the UN as an incompetent force. The watered down resolution is a crying shame. It also shows the reluctance of the international community to go where there are no commercial benefits. The fact that Arab governments are involved may be a reason. The best solution would be for France and other countries to act unilaterally as US did in case of Iraq for if there was a situation requiring unilateral action than this is one before history condemns this generation of leaders more than it will already do.
Rahul R D, Saarbruecken, Germany

When Americans speak of humanitarianism the first thing I do is check out the strategic resources in the area that the Americans are feeling all humanitarian towards. In this case, the overwhelming altruistic impulse that Americans are feeling can be measured by the Sudan oil reserves, currently estimated at around 800 million recoverable barrels of humanitarianism.
Patrick Phillips, Weybridge, UK

Just for the record - as many people writing on this site seem to think otherwise - There is plenty of oil in Sudan. In fact some of the conflict relates to the distribution of oil wealth, and few European and US oil companies directly operate in Sudan due to public and official pressure. Meanwhile Chinese oil companies have moved in. China voted against the UN's proposal for sanctions against Sudan. I don't think it's wise to assume that interests are always acted out in the same way. I am sure the West is very interested in Sudan's oil. To get it they have committed themselves to first ending the conflict. I just hope Western military force won't be used!
Milla, UK

The Sudanese government should be helped to deal with the problem not threatened.
Anni Rahim, Nottingham, England

Darfur should be made a no-fly zone and the Janjaweed should be told to evacuate the camps and villages of Darfur and surrounding areas, immediately. It does not take more than days to do just that and if not Darfur rebels should be strengthened and international forces should begin mobilisation, towards independence for Darfur. The President of Sudan should be put on trial. Kofi Annan should not remain Secretary General of UN anymore. The UN and Kofi could not be more shameful. The French Veto also should be repealed. A new World body with moral values as its reason for existence should be announced, and the post WWII body should be dissolved. The Arab League should not be internationally recognised with a high profile because it is a purely racist organisation.

These actions or lack of by the government is just an indicator of their true selves, they are no more than warlords
Adil, United States

I'm Sudanese and I can tell you from experience that our nation is racist against the black community. These actions or lack of by the government is just an indicator of their true selves, they are no more than warlords, take as much money while they are in power and save it till they are kicked out.

The only solution I can think of is to make any leader who would allow such things to happen in his country a war criminal and make it illegal for any other nation to take him in as a refugee as the case with Charles Taylor. This will make some think twice before doing these atrocities or allowing them to happen. Economic measures will not harm anyone but the same people we are trying to save, and create more poverty and distress for the entire population. The warlord government will still get money and live comfortably sanctions or not. Diplomacy does not work either with those thugs because they lie and lie again and as much they have to get what they want.

And for those who say this is a tribal conflict, wake up and smell the coffee. If those people were exposed to education, a decent environment which offers reward for your work and knowledge they would not be in the poverty and distress they are in. I don't think you believe they enjoy living in those huts and have to wait for rain to get water and if doesn't rain then they starve. We are not in the middle ages any more and we need to help those people come out of them.
Adil, United States

Nigeria and South Africa should handle this one. Send in a stabilizing force and provide needed relief. Go for sanctions against the Sudanese government. Confiscate her funds and use same to resettle all the people the Janjaweeds have displaced. There must be action now.
Charles Massaquoi, USA

Given the vocal role taken by France and Germany in UN in the recent year, I suggest we look at them for the leadership in resolving this international conflict. Lets them organise the international community and if needed lead the multinational force to help those being murdered. So far I have not seen much activity on their part, except talking.
Yury Shmuylovich, NYC, USA

Since the Arabs always cry injustice against Muslims whenever the west puts pressure on them, I do believe that sending troops will render the situation more chaotic. The best solution I think will be to impose all kind of sanctions that will force the government to surrender and be honest with their promises by honouring them
Kapinga Ntumba, Harare, Zimbabwe

Where are all the African Nations and why are they so quiet?

P, Florida, USA
One item that has not been addressed in this forum - where are all the African Nations and why are they so quiet?
P, Florida, USA

Take 50% of our troops out of Iraq and put them now in Sudan. Keep those troops in Sudan until they have the Janjaweed under control and other troops can take our place until the people of Sudan no longer faces a starvation disaster.
Evelyn Freeman, Lakewood, USA

"In classic style this event has been allowed to develop over a period of many months without enough being done to prevent it. This is just like Rwanda all over again. British newspapers are reporting on banning violent computer games today when they should be reporting on the shame of the west for failing the developing world, as it has continued to do for the whole of history!" If only there were some oil fields there we could grab!
Jonathan Mccavish, Edinburgh Scotland

When sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, what do they expect to achieve with UN resolutions that do nothing to stop people from dying. The reverse, in fact, as the people in power in Sudan will not be affected by sanctions. A UN-peacekeeping force needs to go there now! The Sudanese who have run for their lives need to be protected, fed and given medical treatment. If only they had oil, then we'd all be there!
Dan Fischer-Pask, Alameda, CA, USA

United Nations would have been the best International Organization to stop Darfur Crisis. But it is highly unreliable based on its history in handling such problems. UN is good in holding discussions and making resolutions but very shy to implement the same resolutions. They already know the reality on the ground but are still discussing the crisis.
John Musema, Rwanda/USA

The Khartoum government should be banished from all relations with civilized nations
Blaise Davis , Washington, DC USA
The Khartoum government should be banished from all relations with civilized nations. Their actions have seriously diminished my compassion for the Arab world.
Blaise Davis , Washington, DC USA

Military intervention would be extremely difficult and foolish from a practical perspective. Darfur is a huge country. It is a logistical nightmare. Send 10,000 peacekeepers would be a waste of time. The fact is that very few countries have the ability to send [and supply] troops. The US and UK are fully committed elsewhere and would find it difficult to provide logistic support. Military intervention is a non-starter. To be effective you would have to fight the Janjaweed and partition Sudan a la Kosovo. Neither the will or the means is available.
woody, England

I wonder if in ten years time we will be watching a documentary about the Darfur conflict which claimed a million lives while the world just stood by and watched.
David, Minneapolis, USA

I am a Zimbabwe exile living in UK. I saw the heartrending pictures on TV and the appeals for aid. I realised I could not give money to any other cause than the restoration of the rule of law, or military intervention. In Africa our problems are self-inflicted and entirely matters of governance. In the longer term, maybe re-colonisation is the only answer? But who would accept that thankless and unrewarding task? In its rush to decolonise, the UK reneged on its moral responsibilities in Africa.
Charles Frizell, UK

The dictatorship of Sudan yet again shows its disregard for basic Islamic principles and contempt for its own people.
Mohammed, London

Sanctions and a military presence are the only actions that the regime of Bashir will understand
Aaron, Los Angeles, USA
Sanctions and a military presence are the only actions that the regime of Bashir will understand. If sanctions fail, peacekeepers should be imposed and if that failed, the U.S. and European countries should begin to make war plans. The Janjaweed are very pro-government so, of course, the Sudanese government would do very little at the most just to try to appease the international community. On the issue of genocide, I would call it that. The U.S. Congress has already called it that and I believe the U.N. is being very slow to give this situation its proper name.
Aaron, Los Angeles, USA

The US and UK can stop this genocide in Sudan, but who cares for poor and helpless black Africans? Christians must unite and send the Christian soldiers to put an end to this ethnic cleansing in Sudan. Raju Charles Takoma Park, USA
Raju Charles, Takoma Park, USA

Something needs to be done immediately. This is definitely genocide and should not be tolerated. Let this slide now and we are opening the door for future atrocities of this kind. Send troops and risk fighting with the Sudanese army, if that is what it takes to end this crisis.
Richard, African living in London

How many innocent people have to die this time before the world acts? We have seen it all before. 300,000 500,000 1M Plus. We should all be ashamed of the UN's constant inability to enforce international law. Why does the international community keep letting this happen?
Ryan, Leeds, UK

UN will not act unless it's proven that genocide is committed. The Arab League cares less for non-Arab lives. Sycophants lead the AU. For Pakistan, China, Russia, Algeria, Angola, the Philippines and Brazil the loss of hundred lives daily is not enough to push Sudan to act. The US and EU should take a tougher action (if necessary military action) against the Sudanese government.
Itshak, New Haven, US

This is a classic example where swift, decisive and powerful military intervention would work
Ben, Watford, England
This is a classic example where swift, decisive and powerful military intervention would work. Unlike the situation in Iraq, which has become a symbol battleground for the war on terror in Sudan the Janjaweed could be swiftly eradicated from the region and aid projects could then go ahead without fear of further disruption. If the government, as it claims, does not support the campaign of the Janjaweed then there should be no objections to restoring order by force.
Ben, Watford, England

It hurts to see the Sudanese government sit by while the Arab Janjaweed massacre Africans in Darfur, yet we have an organisation called African Union, pretending that the Darfur situation is not as serious as we can all see.
Emma Ujah, Abuja, Nigeria

I'm disgusted with the handling of this situation by every country in the world. This is not the first time we've wagged our fingers, shook our heads and done nothing while Africans suffer untold horrors and I doubt it will be the last. It poses no financial benefit to help these people so no one really seems to care if it is genocide or not. In a perfect world, we all would have been in Sudan putting an end to this travesty along time ago instead of chasing oil, money, and our own tails.
Syra, Maine, USA

I feel so sad when I see the pictures of women and children affected by the civil war in Darfur. I think there is an urgent need for a military support to curb the crisis. The government have promised to crackdown the Janjwaweed militia long time ago, but so far nothings have been achieved successfully. It's beyond their resources (military). The time is coming to ask for military support from AU, and elsewhere. Let us hope that the government and the international community will set-up a clear date to start with the military actions to end up Darfur crisis.
Aida, Windhoek, Namibia

The UN military forces are the best solution to control the situation. The Khartoum Government should be warned of the consequences of its negative response and support of the ongoing genocide. I do not agree with sanctions against the ailing economy of Sudan, that could add more sufferings to people already oppressed by the government.
M. M. Elgadi, Los Angeles, California, USA

The international community has the responsibility to hold the AU and the UN accountable for their inaction
John Francis, Lafayette, USA
It is impossible for the UN, or any other "Peace Keeping" force to counter the evil which is rampant in Darfur. There are deeper issues at stake than the sovereignty of the AU, UN, or Sudan. This is genocide! People's lives are hanging in the balance - literally - while we debate the merits of intervention. Are there any leaders of substance left in this world? Does anyone understand and know what mercy is? Justice? The international community has the responsibility to hold the AU and the UN accountable for their months of inaction.
John Francis, Lafayette, USA

Either the Sudanese government is unable or unwilling to disband the Janjaweed, either way action beyond the threat of sanctions is clearly needed.
Jen , Toronto, Canada

If the UN is as resolute in enforcing its upcoming resolution -which threatens sanctions against the Sudanese government, as it was with resolution 1441 against Iraq, I fear many innocent Sudanese people will perish.
David M. Condon, Colorado, USA

America should leave Iraq and go to Sudan
Afuda Cedric, Lagos, Nigeria



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