leaders have been invited to a special meeting at next month’s summit of the
world’s leading industrial countries in Hokkaido, Japan. With this in mind, an international
coalition of more than 40 non-governmental organizations from the G-8 countries
is calling on their leaders to act forcefully to end the crisis in Sudan’s
Darfur. Betsy Apple directs the Crimes
Against Humanity Program of the New York and Washington-based advocacy group
Human Rights First, which is leading the Darfur appeal. She says that
G-8 leaders, who represent Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the
UK, and the United States, must take very specific measures to end the arms
flow and promote peace and accountability for the atrocities that are being
committed in Sudan’s troubled western region.
think it’s really important for the G-8 summit to culminate in a very strong
public statement, in an outcome statement, about Darfur that has very specific
measures that the G-8 countries call for, indicating that these G-8 countries
are really interested in taking specific and concrete action on questions
relating to ceasefires, arms transfers, deployment of the peacekeeping force, a
reinvigorated peace process, and justice and accountability for atrocities
committed,” she said.
last week from eastern Chad accused Sudanese military forces of aiding Chadian
rebels in attacks on eastern towns in a bid to overthrow Chadian President
Idriss Deby. With indications that
Khartoum may be extending its reach even beyond the crisis in Darfur, Human
Rights First advocacy spokesperson Apple explains that only by holding
President Omar Hasan al-Bashir’s government responsible for meeting its legal
commitments can the world community make Sudan accountable for its actions.
international community, including G-8 countries, some of whom are important
members of the UN Security Council, really need to hold Khartoum accountable
for its legal obligations. Khartoum has
made promises. Khartoum has legal obligations to stop using violence, to stop
exporting violence, to comply with certain ceasefire and peace agreements, and
the problem is when Khartoum thumbs its nose at the G-8 and the rest of the
world by ignoring these obligations, there are no consequences,” she notes.
China is not the only country to cite for the continuing flow of arms into
Sudan to aid the government’s campaign of violence against Darfur citizenry,
Betsy Apple says Beijing is the major supplier of light weapons that inflict
much of the pain and suffering on Darfur victims.
know that China is the largest provider of small arms to the government of
Sudan, to the tune of 55 million dollars, in arms for the years during which
the Darfur violence was escalating. And
there are other countries that are providers of other kinds of weapons, but
China is by far the largest provider of small arms. And we think that it’s imperative for China to stop transferring
arms to the government of Sudan while the violence in Darfur is occurring. And we think that it’s imperative for G-8
countries and countries with strong relationships with China to press China to
do so because we believe that China is violating, if not in fact, then
certainly in spirit, the UN arms embargo, which says that countries should not
be supplying arms to Darfur,” she points out.
Short of endorsing an olympic boycott
of this year’s Beijing games, Human Rights First is advocating that participating
countries use the olympic setting to make it clear that Beijing’s breaking of
the arms embargo is intolerable. Other
concerns on the minds of the human rights, anti-genocide NGO agenda for G-8
attention include getting a recommitment to enforce Sudan’s 2005 North-South
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), winning the immediate deployment of an
international peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in Darfur, and holding Khartoum
accountable for turning over Sudanese government officials who have been
charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with committing atrocities
and crimes against humanity in Darfur.