I have written here before about the failure of the rich countries to take action to prevent the worsening suffering in Sudan (see here, here, here). Two million people are displaced – living in refugee camps – and three million people are dependent in international relief. The peace talks are grinding slowly, with no immediate hope of a conclusion. The AU force of 5,000 troops is insufficient to maintain peace in a region the size of France.
Rich countries accepted last year that they have a “responsibility to protect” people from genocide and crimes against humanity. Over the coming weeks our governments must live up to that responsiblity. They must adopt a meaningful mandate for the UN operation that will be taking over form the AU peacekeepers in a few months; they need to supply troops, equipment, logistics and other military support for the AU forces and for the UN peacekeepers; and they need to provide sufficient food, blankets, water and other essentials for the people of Darfur.
When I visited Darfur last May, I felt hopeful. Today I am pessimistic, unless a major new international effort is mustered in the coming weeks.