Tuesday 20 January 2004

Don't Breathe a Sigh of Relief for Sudan Just Yet

Worried the international community was turning its back on a humanitarian crisis and possibly genocide in Darfur, my then-colleague at Crisis Group, John Prendergast, and I published this in The Observer on 21 January 2004.


Imminent peace in Sudan is supposed to be one of the few positive stories in international affairs in recent months. Indeed, the strong multi-national effort supporting talks between the Sudanese government and the insurgent Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was one of last year's more noteworthy successes for the international community. The 20-year civil war between the government and the SPLA is now closer to its conclusion than ever before, having claimed over two million lives. The two parties have signed a series of protocols that will form the basis of a comprehensive peace agreement, expected soon. A few difficult issues remain, but progress has been remarkable.

But before everyone breathes a sigh of relief and turns away, let's not overlook the other war in Sudan: the ongoing conflict in the western region of Darfur, where an alarming deterioration in the humanitarian and human rights situation continues regardless of the ongoing peace process.