Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 14 October 2016

Chemical Weapons in Darfur: International action must be taken



October 14, 2016

To: President Barack Obama;

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon;

Prince Zied, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide (Mr. Adama Dieng) and Crimes Against Humanity (Dr. Jennifer Welsh) to the UN Secretary General, respectively;

Key UN Personnel Dealing with Human Rights Issues;

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and,

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR); U.S. Congressman McGovern (D-MA); and, U.S. House of Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY).

From: Scholars of Genocide Studies from Across the Globe, Human Rights Activists, Anti-genocide Activists, and People of the Cloth

Re., Actions That Must Be Taken Immediately in Regard to the Chemical Attacks on Darfur

As most of you are no doubt aware of, this past week Amnesty International issued a report in which it decried and spelled out in great detail how the Government of Sudan has recently carried out chemical attacks against civilians in Darfur. In part, the report asserts that “horrific evidence,” including satellite imagery and more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors, along with the analysis of dozens of images, suggest “at least 30 chemical attacks between January and September took place in the Jebel Marra region.” AI estimates that between 200 and 250 people were killed as a result of these attacks, “with many or most of them being children.” Whether you deem it a continuation of the genocidal actions against the Darfurians, a case of crimes against humanity, or war crimes, it is an outrage.

And the horror for the civilians of Darfur does not end there. Tellingly, AI cited satellite imagery that indicated that over 170 black villages had been damaged or destroyed between January and September, “the overwhelming majority” of which had no formal relationship with the rebel forces in the region.

What is it going to take to move the international community (the UN, the United States, the European Union, the African Union, etc.) to once and for all quell the violence in Darfur against the civilian population and then guarantee the million plus internal displaced persons and half a million (and rising) refugees are able to safely return to the land and villages from which they were forced off and out of as a result of the GoS’s scorched earth actions between 2003 and today? Can anyone say? Will anyone say?

As you know, on September 9, 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “The Government of Sudan had committed genocide, and was possibly still doing so.” As it was allowed to do under the UN Charter, the U.S. Government then referred the matter to the United Nations. The United Nations then chose to carry out its own commission of inquiry (UN Commission of Inquiry into Darfur). And while tens of thousands of innocent people (women, children, infants, the elderly) were shot and killed, sliced open and left to die where they dropped, not to mention burned to death, the UN took the rest of the month of September and all of October to complete the plans for its inquiry and then took all of November and part of December 2004 and January 2005 to carry it out. In late January, the UN issued a detailed and scathing report in which it declared that the GoS and its militia, the Janjaweed, had carried out crimes against humanity against the people of Darfur. The UN then referred the matter to the International Criminal Court (the ICC). The then ICC carried out its multi-year investigation into the mass destruction and death in Darfur at the hands of the GoS and Janjaweed.

An African Union peacekeeping mission was established in Darfur in 2004, followed by a hybrid AU/UN Mission in July 2007, when the AU found that it did not have the wherewithal to handle the crisis on its own. In light of the large number of civilians either forced from their homes between 2004 and today and/or killed, it is patently obvious that neither mission was effective as some had hoped they would be. And actually, if one could muster the will to place him/herself in the Darfuris’ shoes then one is likely to agree with them that both missions were complete and utter failures. That must change, and it must change now! The time for talk, talk and more talk is not when innocents are crying and dying. The time for handling President Omar al Bashir and his regime with kid gloves should have been over long ago. The time for dithering (or, like Nero, playing the fiddle), while parts of Darfur (like Rome) are being poisoned to death must end — and now.

All of the eloquent words and promises of “Never Again” ring hollow in the face of what the black Africans of Darfur have been subjected to by both the GoS, the Janjaweed, and, yes, the international community (with the exception of those who have provided humanitarian aid) over the past thirteen plus years (2003-2016). Indeed, all of the promises have yielded nothing but more pain for the Darfuris, more gain for the GoS, and more pathetic examples of hypocrisy by the collective members of the international community. Shame on all bystanders. Shame on all of us!

It is not enough for one official or another, let alone the UN Security Council, to simply, solely, and lamely decry and denounce the latest atrocities perpetrated by the Government of Sudan. Words only go so far. Words have a tendency to evaporate into thin air. What is needed now is action: concrete action that is efficient, effective and sustained.

One has to ask: Where is the impact of the Responsibility to Protect? Why didn’t the UN Special Advisors on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity to the Secretary General, speak up about the critical need for concrete and effective action to stanch the use of chemical weapons back in January? And when none was coming, why did the Special Advisors continue to not only allow, but to take part in, bureaucratic games? Are they truly serious about stanching crimes against humanity and genocide? People are dying, people! Nice sounding speeches and policy papers don’t do them one bit of good if they are not followed by solid action.

Where has President Obama’s Atrocity Prevention Board been while all of these atrocities have been unfolding? And now that it is surely aware of the chemical attacks against the Darfurians, what is it doing? Or is the APB, to use colloquial phrase, more show than go? That is, is it more cosmetic than anything else?

Where has the UN Security Council been in upholding the UN Charter in this regard? Silence in the face of cases such as this constitutes, in its own and inimitable (and inimical) way, complicity. If organizations, agencies and individuals are not actively involved in attempting to stanch such horrors, then they are bystanders watching it unfold before their very eyes, as if they have nary a worry in the world.

This is not the time for excuses by the international community, individual nations, and politicians — excuses such as we are over stretched, we are already dealing with a nightmare in Syria, we are dealing with hundreds of thousands of refugees on the front doorstep of Europe, we are dealing with ISIS, etc.! We know all of that! We also know that for all of the promises that have been made to the civilians of Darfur and all of the inept actions that have been carried out at the costs of hundreds of millions of dollars, the people of Dafur are no safer today than they were at the height of the killing back in 2004 and 2005.

The following is what we urge the UN Security Council and individual nation states, including the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, and New Zealand, etc., to do immediately, and without fail:

1. Pass a resolution at the UN Security Council, which thoroughly condemns — and in no uncertain words — the latest round of atrocities perpetrated by the Government of Sudan;

2. Significantly ratchet up the UN sanctions against Sudan, which Sudan has largely ignored and been breaching on a regular basis;

3. Significantly ratchet up targeted sanctions against individuals and other entities in Sudan contributing to the conflict in the Darfur region — to the point just before the sanctions begin to cripple the aforementioned groups; and,

4. Significantly increase the number of AU/UN military forces on the ground, and implement a rigorous evaluation policy to determine whether the individual forces are actually carrying out their duties efficiently, effectively, and consistently.

5. Provide the latest and best health care for those Darfurians who have been burned and sickened as a result of the chemicals dumped on them by the Government of Sudan.

6. Once and for all, establish a no-fly zone over Darfur. It need not consist of a constant presence in the sky but rather a presence that makes itself known to the Government of Sudan.

Further, we support the following recommendations/call for actions issued this past week by the Darfur Women Action Group:

• We urgently call on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the use of chemical weapons;

• We trust that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will also investigate and prosecute the latest crimes committed by the al-Bashir government and forces;

• We call on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to implement its existing resolutions condemning serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the government of Sudan, and to ensure that the Sudanese Government and its officials are held accountable and brought to justice immediately;

• We call on President Barack Obama and all world leaders of good conscience to condemn the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to lead the international community in calling for an immediate stop to all violence against civilians in Darfur and to impose more effective sanctions to prevent further atrocities by the Sudanese Government; and,

• The United States and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) must pressure the Sudanese Government to allow humanitarian aid organizations and the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to deliver much needed aid and support to all affected communities in Darfur.?We call on all governments and intergovernmental organizations alike to match their resolutions with meaningful action to hold the government of Sudan and its officials accountable and to demand that these cruel acts of horror are immediately stopped and punished.

As the sage Hillel asked, “If not now, when?” Clearly, it is an admonition to postpone no responsibility. If what the civilians of Darfur have been facing and continue to face is not a situation that calls for moral responsibility on the part of the international community then what is? Truly, what is?

We, scholars of genocide studies, human rights activists, anti-crimes against humanity and genocide activists, and religious figures, concerned citizens all from across the globe, beseech you to act and act now on the behalf of the Darfurian civilians.

We would not only appreciate an acknowledgement of this letter but a response in regard to the substantive issues raised. Please email it to samstertotten@gmail.com

Thank you for your attention to these matters.



Professor Emeritus

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Author of Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains of Sudan, and compiler/editor of An Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide

Baroness Caroline Cox

Cross Bench Member of the British House of Lords, and Founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

London, England

Professor Ben Kiernan,

A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History and

Founding Director (1994-2015), Genocide Studies Program,

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Author of Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur

Dr Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe


Dakar, Sénégal

Author of Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature

Dr. Israel Charny

Professor Emeritus, and Director of the Institute of Holocaust And Genocide Studies

Department of Psychology

Hebrew University

Jerusalem, Israel

Author of The Genocide Contagion

Dr. Michiel Leezenberg


Department of Philosophy

University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Author of “The Anfal Operations in Iraqi Kurdistan.” In S. Totten & W.S. Parsons (Eds.), Centuries of Genocide: Essays and Eyewitness Accounts.

Dr. Eric Reeves

Senior Fellow

François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Author of A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide

Dr. Helen Fein

Institute for the Study of Genocide

New York, NY

Author of Accounting for Genocide

Dr. Colin Tatz

Visiting Fellow, Political and International Relations

Australian National University

Canberra, Australia

Author of With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide

Dr. Herb Hirsch

Department of Political Science

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

Author of Genocide and the Politics of Memory: Studying Death to Preserve Life, and Co-editor of Genocide Studies International

Dr. Maureen S. Hiebert

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Military, Security & Strategic Studies

University of Calgary

Author of Constructing Genocide and Mass Violence: Society, Crisis, Identity (forthcoming)

Dr. Victoria Sanford

Professor & Chair, and Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies

Department of Anthropology

Lehman College

New York, New York

Author of Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala

Ms. Gillian Lusk

Writer on Sudan and South Sudan

London, UK

Dr. Rouben Adalian

Director, Armenian National Institute

Washington, DC

Editor of The Armenian Genocide in the U.S. Archives

Dr. Yair Auron


Open University

Ra’anana, Israel

Author of The Armenian Genocide: Forgotten and Denied

Dr. Henry C. Theriault

Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department

Worcester State University

Worcester, MA

Co-editor of Genocide Studies International

Dr. Elihu D. Richter, MD MPH

Director and Researcher

Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention and Hebrew-University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Jerusalem, Israel

Dr. Rubina Peroomian
Research Associate

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Taner Ackam

Professor of History?

Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies

Department of History?

Clark University?

Worcester, MA

Author of The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire

Dr. Kimberley Ducey

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology

University of Winnipeg

Winnipeg, MB

Dr. Peter Balakian

Rebar Professor of the Humanities

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York

Author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response

Dr. John H. Weiss

Professor, and Founder, Caceres-Neuffer Genocide Action Group

Department of History

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Dr. Rick Halperin

Professor, Director of the Embrey Human Rights Program, and past Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, US

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

Dr. Salim Mansur

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

Western University

London, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Paul Slovic

University of Oregon

Department of Psychology

Eugene, Oregon

Author of "If I Look at the Mass I Will Never Act: Psychic Numbing and Genocide.”

Professor Michael Bazyler ?

Professor of Law and The 1939 Society Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies

Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Chapman University

?Orange, CA

Dr. Linda M. Woolf


Psychology and International Human Rights

Webster University

St. Louis, MO

Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn


Corcoran Department of History

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA

Dr. Jan Colijn

Professor and Dean Emeritus

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Galloway Township, NJ

Author of Ruin’s Wheel: A Father on War, A Son on Genocide

Dr. Jason J. Campbell

Assistant Professor

Departments of Conflict Resolution and Philosophy

Nova Southeastern University

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Author of Planning a Catastrophe: On the Nature of Genocidal Intent.

Dr. Yael Stein MD

Co-founder, the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention, Jerusalem , Israel

Jerusalem, Israel

The Rev. Heidi McGinness

Presbyterian Clergy (PC-USA)

Denver, Colorado

(Twelve year witness of Khartoum’s genocide and enslavement of

Sudanese citizens.)

Dr Kevin Simpson

Professor of Psychology

John Brown University

Siloam Springs, AR

Author of Soccer under the Swastika: Stories of Survival and Resistance during the Holocaust

Dr. Robert Skloot

Professor Emeritus

Department of Theatre

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Sister Deirdre Byrne

The Little Workers of the Sacred Heart

Washington, DC

Alexander Ramadan Tarjan


End Nuba Genocide

Nuba Mountains, Sudan

Dr. Paul Mojzes

Professor emeritus

Rosemont College

Rosemont, PA

Author: Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century

Slater Armstrong


Joining Our Voices & co-leader of End Nuba Genocide

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

John Jefferson


End Nuba Genocide

United States

Dr. Michael Minch

Professor of Philosophy and Peace and Justice Studies

Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

Dr. C. Louis Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH

Vice President and Medical Director

Doctors to the World

Breckinridge, Colorado

Dr. Dick Bennett,

Professor Emeritus, and Founder, OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR

Compiler, Peace Movement Directory

Dr. Gagik Aroutiunian

Associate Professor,

Department of Art, Media & Design,

DePaul University,

Chicago, IL

Dr. John K. Roth

Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, California

Author of The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities

Dr. Edward Kissi

Associate Professor

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL

Author of “Obligation to Prevent (O2P): Proposal for Enhanced Community Approach to Genocide

Prevention in Africa,” African Security Review

Dr. Debórah Dwork

Rose Professor of Holocaust History and Founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Clark University

Worcester, MA

Author of Flight from the Reich

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Former Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Research Institute (1993–1997); currently, Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust

American Jewish University

Los Angeles, CA

Author of Witness to the Holocaust, and The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Dr. Khatchik Der Ghougassian


Universidad de San Andres

Victoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Genocide and Identity (Geo)Politics: Bridging State Reasoning and Diaspora Activism” in Genocide Studies International

Dr. Alejandro Baer?

Associate Professor and Stephen C. Feinstein Chair & Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Department of Sociology

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Deborah Mayersen


University of Wollongong

Wollongong NSW


Author of On the Path to Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Reexamined

Dr. Norman Naimark

Department of History

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Author of Stalin’s Genocides

Dr. Yehuda Bauer

Professor Emeritus of History and Holocaust Studies

The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry

Hebrew University

Jerusalem, Israel

Author of Rethinking the Holocaust

Dr. Kjell Anderson

University of Amsterdam/NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Author of A Criminology of Genocide: Killing Without Consequence (forthcoming)

Dr. Eric D. Weitz

Distinguished Professor of History

The City College of New York

New York, NY

Author of Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation

Dr. Alex Alvarez

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ

Author of Genocidal Crimes

Dr. Gregory Stanton

Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University

Arlington, VA

Ms. Rebecca Tinsley

Journalist and Human Rights Activist

London, England

Author of When the Stars Fell to Earth

Dr. Tetsushi Ogata, Ph.D.


Peace and Conflict Studies — International & Area Studies Academic Program

University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Ervin Staub

Professor Emeritus

Founding Director of the Doctoral program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Author of The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage, Altruism Born of Suffering, Active Bystandership and Heroism

Dr. Mukesh Kapila CBE

Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs

University of Manchester

Manchester, England
Author of Against a Tide of Evil: How One Man Became the Whistleblower of the Twenty-First Century

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  • 18 October 2016 21:46, by sudani ana

    UNAMID in its October statement said "in spite of the almost 20,000 UMAMID
    personnel on the ground in Darfur, none of them have seen any Darfuri with the impact of
    the use of chemical weapons as described by Amnesty International’s report.
    Not one displaced person meeting such description has shown up at any UNAMID Team Site
    clinics where they would have naturally gone for help.
    Amnesty Internatio

    repondre message

  • 18 October 2016 21:47, by sudani ana

    UNAMID in its October statement said "in spite of the almost 20,000 UMAMID
    personnel on the ground in Darfur, none of them have seen any Darfuri with the impact of
    the use of chemical weapons as described by Amnesty International’s report.
    Not one displaced person meeting such description has shown up at any UNAMID Team Site
    clinics where they would have naturally gone for help.
    Amnesty Internatio

    repondre message

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