The third year of conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan is ending with an intensifying campaign of "horrendous" violence against civilians that demonstrates the world's failure to confront the crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday in a report
Annan said in the report to the Security Council that there has been "marked deterioration" since September, even with the presence of almost 5,000 African Union soldiers and a series of Security Council resolutions addressing the crisis.
The council this year imposed an arms embargo on the region, and froze the assets and barred the travel outside Sudan of anyone, including government officials, guilty of abuses.
British lawmakers have said as many as 300,000 people have died in Darfur, a region as large as France, since February 2003.
Developments in November included an influx of military deserters from Chad who engage in cross-border smuggling, cattle-rustling and banditry, Annan said.
Annan described the ongoing incidents as a "shocking indication of the government's continuing failure to protect its own population, and of the collective failure of the international community to prevent these horrendous crimes from occurring."
Omar Manis, Sudan's deputy ambassador to the UN, said he hadn't seen Annan's report and couldn't comment on its contents.
Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts who has testified before the U.S. Congress on Darfur, said the Security Council hasn't brought enough pressure to bear on the government in Khartoum, and cited opposition to stronger sanctions from Algeria, China and Russia.
"On the contrary, as the genocide enters its fourth year, the international community continues to defer to Khartoum, or even to suggest disingenuously that the regime has somehow reformed itself," Reeves says.
Greek Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, chairman of the Security Council committee formed to implement the sanctions, told the panel recently that no individual has been targeted. He said Sudan's government has impeded efforts of his panel to identify targets of the travel ban and asset freeze, that Sudanese troops have moved arms and equipment into Darfur, and that border controls are too lax for an effective embargo.
Reeves said another example of the appeasement of Sudan is that the Arab League and African Union will hold summits early next year in Khartoum.
"The African Union's decision to hold its January 2006 summit in Sudan provides the strongest evidence yet that the organization has no intention of ... halting the genocide," Reeves said. "Because tradition dictates that the next chair of the African Union be the head of the most recent summit's host country, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir is now poised to lead the very organization that claims to be seeking an end to the genocide he is orchestrating.