Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Genocide_Studies Media File
April 25 - May 2, 2006

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to adam.jones@yale.edu. To receive the Genocide Studies Media File as a weekly digest, simply send an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Bosnia Urges ICJ to Rule on Genocide"
By Adin Sadic
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 28 April 2006
"The longest case in the history of the International Court of Justice this week began drawing to a close as Bosnia and Hercegovina presented final arguments in its genocide suit against Serbia and Montenegro. Lawyers for the Bosnian side said Serbia had failed to provide evidence either that genocide had not been committed, or that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- the precursor to the current state of Serbia and Montenegro -- was not responsible for events in Bosnia during the early Nineties. Bosnia first brought a suit against Belgrade in 1993, but it only came to court in late February this year. Since then, both sides have been presenting their arguments to a panel of judges in The Hague. Bosnia wants the court to find Belgrade responsible for complicity in, aiding and abetting, conspiring to commit and inciting the crime of genocide. Sakib Softic, the head of the Bosnian legal team, said that Serbia had failed to punish those who committed genocide and failed to transfer individuals accused of the crime to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He concluded by calling for Serbia and Montenegro to pay 'full compensation for the damages and losses caused.' Serbia will present its final response to Sarajevo's charges next month. [...]"


"Myanmar Troops Attack Rebel Villages, Thousands Flee"
Reuters dispatch, 26 April 2006
"Myanmar troops have attacked ethnic rebel villages near the Thai border in the biggest government offensive in years, burning homes and forcing thousands to flee, a rebel leader said on Wednesday. Government forces began raiding villages in Ton Oo and Yong Lay Phin townships earlier this month, displacing 2,000 civilians so far, Tummala Naw, vice president of the Karen National Union (KNU), told Reuters by telephone. It was the most serious fighting since the KNU, the biggest rebel group in the former Burma, and the military junta reached an informal ceasefire in 2003, he said. 'Myanmar is playing a two-faced game now. On one hand, they say they want peace talks with us. But on the other hand, they keep attacking us,' Tummala said. 'This attack obviously means Myanmar does not want peace.' The military, which has ruled the Southeast Asian nation in various guises since 1962, has previously denied launching major offensives in rebel-held areas. Aid workers say the latest clashes could be part of a junta effort to establish control over the region since it moved to a new jungle capital about 400 km (250 miles) north of Yangon. [...]"


"80,000 Native Canadians to Be Compensated for School Abuse"
By Clifford Krauss
The New York Times, 27 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"In a long delayed conclusion to a dark chapter of Canadian history, negotiators have reached an agreement to compensate 80,000 Native Canadians who attended a government-financed school system where many suffered physical and sexual abuse. The widespread incidence of alcoholism, family violence and incest in many Native Canadian communities has long been linked to the experiences of generations who attended the so-called residential schools, which were dedicated to forced assimilation and operated for more than a century, until the 1980's. Typically, government agents forced Inuit, Cree and other children to leave their parents and attend the schools, where they were harshly punished for speaking their own languages or practicing their religions. Negotiators representing the government, native peoples and several churches that administered the schools agreed that nearly $2 billion would be paid out in damages. Payments are set to begin next year, but will possibly be accelerated for the elderly and the sick. The accord, which negotiators called one of the largest damage settlements in Canada's history, needs cabinet and court approval, but that is considered a formality. ... There was no official apology, although the federal government had already admitted that sexual and physical abuse in the schools was widespread. ... The agreement allots payments of about $20,000 to the 80,000 former students. It will also provide about $120 million for a foundation that will promote traditional native healing therapies, as well as a 'truth and reconciliation' commission that will hear testimony from victims. Perpetrators also may come forward if they want to confess, but Kathleen Mahoney, one of the negotiators, said they would not be granted amnesty. [...]"
[n.b. A very positive step, but why no formal apology? What will it take? Incidentally, anyone interested in the residential-school issue should read Ward Churchill's devastating chapter for my edited volume, "Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History & Complicity" (Zed Books, 2004). It makes the case for these institutions as genocidal in a way that no other work of work has done.]


"German Courts Seek Nazi Fugitive Thought to Be in Chile"
By Lauren Amundsen
La Nación (in The Santiago Times), 28 April 2006
"German authorities are searching in Chile for one of the last remaining Nazi war criminals still alive. The world spotlight focused on Aribert Heim, known also as 'Dr. Death,' in late April when Germany's Baden Baden court ordered an international arrest for him. His last confirmed location was Paysandú, Uruguay, but undisclosed sources have informed the German government that he is now in Chile. The reward for his capture stands at $160,000 euros. The Baden Baden court asked Chilean authorities (especially those in Region V, where he is thought to be) to investigate Heim's possible aliases or properties, as well as any relatives that he may have in the area. Most people in Chile with the last name of Heim are concentrated in Regions V, IX, X, and Santiago. German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported last year that Heim's daughter Waltraud Heim lives in Chile, although her whereabouts remain unknown. Waltraud came to Chile in the early 1970s to attend university. The La Nación daily reports that it attempted to find Heim and his daughter Waltraud through the National Civil Registry and Interpol sources, but to no avail. Heim, a doctor, volunteered for military service with the SS (Nazi party), working in Finland, Norway, and the Mauthausen death camp. His last known location was discovered in 1980, when Israel's famed secret service Mossad located him in Paysandú. Heim was working there as a psychiatrist under the name of Heinrich von Heim, but allegedly had the protection of the local authorities and was therefore able to escape before he could be brought to justice. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Will Sherman for bringing this link to my attention.]


"A Lesson Unlearned in El Salvador"
By Derrick Z. Jackson
The Boston Globe (on CommonDreams.org), 26 April 2006
"[...] Rosa Chavez was in Cambridge last week to receive the Romero Truth Award from Centro Presente, a Latino immigrant advocacy organization. The award is named for Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was assassinated in 1980, presumably by a right-wing death squad. The assassination was part of a 1980-1992 civil war between leftist guerrillas and a US-backed right-wing government that resulted in at least 75,000 deaths and thousands more disappeared. Rosa Chavez said Iraq means that El Salvador is a lesson unlearned. The Reagan and first Bush administrations gave the Salvadoran government $6 billion in economic and military aid during the war. ... No amount of killings mattered to anti-communist hard-liners in Washington, not even the murders of four Maryknoll nuns from the United States and six Jesuit priests. One such hard-liner was then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Intelligence documents released in 1993 indicated that Cheney opposed attempts by members of Congress to withhold military aid to El Salvador during that government's slothful investigation of the murder of the priests. In a 1989 appearance on ABC's 'This Week with David Brinkley,' Cheney claimed there was 'no indication at all' that the Salvadoran government or the army were involved. Documents and soldier confessions in the mid- and late-1990s showed that the killings of the priests and nuns were directly tied to the military, and the Reagan administration suppressed and overlooked intelligence on state-sponsored terror links. As late as 1990, US military officers were training well-to-do Salvadorans linked to death squads. [...]"


"'Absurd' Ethiopia Charges Slammed"
BBC Online, 2 May 2006
"Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged the Ethiopian government to free the 111 people on trial for treason and genocide. The trial of the opposition leaders, journalists and human rights activists has been adjourned until next Monday. Amnesty said the genocide charges were 'absurd.' It relates to alleged attacks on ethnic Tigrayans during last year's protests over disputed elections. Amnesty said the trial was a test of the independence of Ethiopia's judges. Last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also called for the release on bail of the detainees. All but three accused have refused to participate in the trial, saying they do not believe it will be fair. Amnesty described them as 'prisoners of conscience who have not used or advocated violence.' 'This very worrying trial has major implications for human rights, media freedom and democratisation in Ethiopia,' said Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme, Kolawole Olaniyan. 'It will be a crucial test of the independence and impartiality of the Ethiopian judiciary.' [...]"


"'Militants' Kill Kashmir Hindus"
BBC News (on Truthout.org), 1 May 2006
"Suspected Islamic militants have killed at least 35 Hindus in two separate attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police say. Twenty-two people were shot dead after being taken from their homes in mountainous Doda district, police say. The death toll in an earlier attack in neighbouring Udhampur district has risen to 13, officials say. India says the attacks, the worst since it agreed a ceasefire with Pakistan, are aimed at derailing peace efforts. Indian foreign minister Anand Sharma told the BBC that militant groups based in Pakistan were responsible. 'It is cross border terrorism. It's not the first time we are saying it.' More than 60,000 people have been killed since an armed separatist insurgency began in Kashmir in 1989. News of Sunday's attack in Doda district emerged only on Monday. ... Police Inspector-General Sheesh Pal Vaid said the 'pre-planned attack' took place in the remote village of Thawa, about 170km (100 miles) from the city of Jammu. 'The militants forced their victims from three villages into the house of the village chieftain of Kalhand and then shot them dead from close-range,' he told the news agency AFP. [...]"


"Rights Group Backs Iranian World Cup Ban"
By Luke Harding
The Guardian, 28 April 2006
"The Simon Wiesenthal centre yesterday called on Germany to ban the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from attending the World Cup, describing his possible presence at the tournament as 'mind-boggling.' The Jewish human rights organisation said it had written to Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, football's ruling body, urging him to bar Mr Ahmadinejad from the tournament, which begins in June. Allowing him in would be tantamount to endorsing the 1936 Olympic games hosted by Hitler, the centre said. 'President Ahmadinejad has forfeited his right to attend the World Cup. He has endorsed genocide against Israel, vilified the Jewish people, and labelled the Nazi Holocaust and the murder of six million innocent men, women and children a myth,' Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, two rabbis at the centre based in New York and Jerusalem, said. Jewish leaders in Germany have already called for Mr Ahmadinejad to be banned following comments last year in which he called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map.' Under German law he could be arrested for Holocaust denial. [...]"

"Iran's Ahmadinejad Says Israel 'Cannot Survive'"
IranMania.com, 25 April 2006
"Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel 'cannot survive,' adding that migrants to the Jewish state should go back to where they came from, AFP reported. 'Logically, this fake regime cannot survive,' Ahmadinejad told a news conference in the latest of a string of verbal attacks against Israel. 'Why did you force them to take refuge in Palestine? Why do you think they are comfortable in Palestine? They left because of your anti-Semitism,' he said of European states, AFP stated. 'Open the doors of this big jail and let people decide for themselves. You will see they will return to their motherland,' he said, repeating his view that Jews who have settled in the former Palestine should go back to their countries of origin. 'Why should the Middle East pay 60 years on' from the end of World War II, he added. The president also appeared to dismiss comparisons in the West between himself and Adolf Hitler. 'You propagate that what's his name is like that criminal,' Ahmadinejad said. 'When we say let the Palestinian people decide, they say this person supports killing Jews.' But he added that Iran was the 'only country where religious minorities have equal rights.' Ahmadinejad also said Germany should stop being 'bribed by a bunch of Zionists,' referring to German reparations for the Holocaust. 'Today's generation of Germany, what have they done wrong that they have to be belittled? Why should they be born indebted politically, culturally and economically and bribed by a bunch of 'Zionists' in order to suppress Palestinians?' he said. [...]"


"Dozens of Security Force Recruits Are Killed by Iraqi Insurgents"
By Richard A. Oppel Jr.
The New York Times (on Truthout.org), 25 April 2006
"At least 40 Iraqi civilians and security force recruits were either killed or found dead on Monday, the Iraqi authorities said, as insurgents unleashed a wave of car bombs across Baghdad. Throughout the capital, seven car bombs struck, killing at least 10 people and wounding 76 others. Their targets were the back gate of Mustansiriya University, two Iraqi police patrols and a busy intersection at rush hour. All of the dead were civilians. At least 15 other Iraqis died across the country, the victims of by drive-by assassinations, bombs and mortar fire, according to an Associated Press tally from the police. The bullet-riddled bodies of 15 recruits for a special Interior Ministry unit trying to help calm the restive city of Ramadi were found in the backs of pickup trucks in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, a ministry official said. Later on Monday, Iraqi officials said they had reports that the bodies of 17 other security force recruits were found in a similar slaying 60 miles west of Ramadi. By some measure the scene here was reminiscent of a period about a year ago, when Sunni Arab insurgents carried out coordinated car bomb attacks across the capital and killed scores of Iraqis in an attempt to destabilize and intimidate the country's infant interim government. [...]"


"Holocaust Survivors Grow Poorer in Israel"
By Laurie Copans
Associated Press in The Guardian, 25 April 2006
"[...] At home, Israel is having trouble caring for aging Holocaust survivors, as their medical bills grow each year. An organization called the Holocaust Survivors' Welfare Fund distributes government aid for medical costs, but its budget in recent years has not grown in proportion to the need. Less than 10 percent of the fund's annual $35 million budget comes from the government. Eighty-five percent of the fund's money comes from a New-York based Claims Conference, which is funded, in turn, by Germany and Austria. The Israeli government has increased funding for the organization in recent years, from $435,000 two years ago to $3 million slated for this year. But most of the funds for 2006 have not yet come through. About 10,000 survivors who are eligible for medical aid are not receiving it, said the chairman of the fund, Zeev Factor, 80, and himself a Holocaust survivor. 'These people are barely surviving, but the crisis begins when a real sickness befalls them,' Factor said. 'The government of Israel has received money from the German government ... but I think the government didn't use enough for the survivors.' [...]"


"Setting the Record Straight: Hotel Rwanda"
By Amadou Deme
Counterpunch.com, 24 April 2006
"A small convoy of refugees is confronted by a murderous mob at a roadblock in the widely praised film Hotel Rwanda. The UN troops protecting the convoy, led by a bold white commander, brandish their weapons. After some scuffling, threats and a few shots being fired, the refugee trucks are turned around and the passengers safely returned to the Hotel Rwanda. The hero upon whom the film is based has now written a book, An Ordinary Man, in which he describes that terrible incident in much the same way as the film. But in fact the crisis did not happen as depicted in the film and book. And that troubles me because I was one of the UN soldiers with the convoy. Mr. Rusesabagina, as he acknowledges, was not there, though his wife and children were among the refugees. The convoy was saved through tense but patient dialogue with leaders of the unruly roadblock. There is no question in my mind, or in the minds of those who served with me, that many could have died if anyone had fired a shot or said the wrong thing. At one point I said to a Tunisian sergeant manning a 50mm machine gun, 'Don't start firing' and he answered 'Don't worry captain; we're not crazy.' The talking went on, the armed crowd calmed down, and the refugees were safely returned to the hotel from whence they had come. No fighting took place between army and militias to provide diversion as mentioned in Rusesabagina's book and the movie. I wonder why the story has been changed and the truth hidden. A possible answer occurs to me: The man who confronted the angry crowd and did the most to save all our lives is known to Mr. Rusesabigina. His name is Georges Rutaganda. He is an old friend of Paul Rusesabagina and is portrayed as a villain in the film Hotel Rwanda. Sometimes the truth can be very awkward. [...]"
[n.b. The author is "a Senegalese Army Officer who served in the intelligence team of the UN Mission for Rwanda from August 1993 to July 1994."]


"Impunity on Trial in Africa"
By Craig Timberg
The Washington Post (on MSNBC.com), 2 May 2006
"The arrest in March of former Liberian president Charles Taylor was the latest in a series of tentative steps toward holding political leaders in Africa accountable for alleged crimes including corruption, rape and genocide. After decades in which senior government officials were largely beyond the reach of national and international law, prosecutors recently have pursued Taylor for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, a U.N.-backed tribunal has tried former leaders in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and international investigators have been invited into four other African countries. National courts have also become increasingly aggressive. In Zambia, former president Frederick Chiluba is battling corruption allegations, as are several top officials in Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi. In South Africa, former deputy president Jacob Zuma, accused of raping a family friend half his age, is awaiting a court judgment. 'There is a very important shift in the way people conceive of power and want to do things on the continent,' said Claude Kabemba, who monitors governance issues across Africa for the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria, South Africa. 'Impunity in many instances is not allowed as it was a decade ago. [...]"

"Not in My Backyard"
The New York Times (Editorial), 28 April 2006
"Northern European countries, so quick to congratulate themselves on their generally good global citizenship, have been falling over one another lately to make sure that they don't get stuck with Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president turned indicted war criminal. That's a shocking disappointment, given the European commitment to making poverty history in Africa. The continent cannot progress without regional stability and justice for those hurt by Africa's worst warlords. Mr. Taylor laid waste not only to his home country, Liberia, but also to Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone during his 13-year reign of terror. He was finally handed over last month to the United Nations-backed Special Court, set up in Sierra Leone to try those bearing the most responsibility for the carnage, which included terrorizing civilians by chopping off their arms, legs, ears and lips. ... The European Union and the United States were the ones to press Ms. Johnson Sirleaf to ask Nigeria to turn over Charles Taylor to face justice, and there's a general consensus that America's role in the Special Court is already so great that any further involvement would be unadvisable. That leaves Europe. Promising to serve as Mr. Taylor's jailer over the long run would certainly be a burden, but it's one that any number of nations that profess to be friends of Africa could easily manage to sustain."


"'Unsung Hero' Reporter Remembered"
BBC Online, 2 May 2006
"A plaque has been unveiled at Aberystwyth University in memory of a murdered Welsh journalist dubbed an 'unsung hero' of Ukraine. Gareth Jones exposed a famine in the former Soviet Union in 1932 that killed millions, but was later shot by bandits in Inner Mongolia in 1935. During his brief career, Mr. Jones, from Barry in south Wales, also reported on the rise of Germany's Nazi Party. Ukraine's ambassador to the UK attended the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday. ... But perhaps his greatest achievement as a journalist was his expose of the famine in Ukraine, the Caucasus and Kazakhstan in 1932/3, which is estimated to have killed between seven and 10 million people. The story was reported around the world, but the journalist was later banned from ever returning to the Soviet Union. 'Gareth Jones, largely forgotten except by his family, is today being called by Ukrainians "The Unsung Hero of Ukraine,"' said his niece Margaret Siriol Colley. 'Seventy years ago Gareth returned from the Soviet Union after his third visit and on March 29 1933, in Berlin, he made his grim press report revealing the genocide-famine in Ukraine, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan and the Volga region, the result of Stalin's ruthless determination to carry out the five-year plan of collectivisation and industrialisation. The number of deaths has never been truly ascertained but estimated that it was between seven to 10 million.' At the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Kharchanko said Mr. Jones was an 'outstanding figure who should be noted.' [...]"


"Five Killed in Mine Blasts as Sri Lanka Edges Closer to War"
By Randeep Ramesh
The Guardian, 28 April 2006
"Five Sri Lankan military personnel were killed yesterday in mine blasts blamed on Tamil Tiger separatists, the latest incidents in a surge of violence this week that has threatened to tilt the Indian Ocean island back into civil war. Western diplomats warned last night that Sri Lanka was particularly close to a point of no return after a suicide bomb attack on a military complex in Colombo on Tuesday that killed nine and provoked government air strikes on Tamil targets in the north-west of the country. ... Tuesday's suicide bomb attack on Colombo, which targeted the army commander, prompted the government to launch air strikes on rebel territory. Rebels say the attacks killed 12 civilians and sent thousands fleeing, though yesterday the military said it would halt the strikes as long as rebels stopped their attacks. In a statement on their website, the Tigers called the government attacks 'attempted genocide.' The Sri Lankan monitoring mission, which oversees the peace process, told the Guardian it was "optimistic" about the chance of preserving peace, despite the most serious threat yet to a 2002 truce between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who are fighting for an autonomous homeland. [...]"

"Sri Lanka Fighting Kills 100, Displaces Thousands, UN Says"
By Bill Varner
Bloomberg.com (on Truthout.org), 26 April 2006
"Fighting in Sri Lanka during the past two days has killed at least 100 people and driven thousands from their homes, the United Nations said after the Indian Ocean nation's military bombed Tamil Tiger positions again today. Sri Lanka's air force and navy fired missiles at rebel-held areas in Muttur following a suicide attack yesterday in Colombo that wounded the army commander, and Tamil Tiger attacks on the navy. The rebels told international truce monitors to ask the government whether it has begun a 'full-scale war' on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, according to their Web site. 'The UN and other aid agencies are still able to cater to the needs of the people, but their activities are being disrupted by the insecurity,' Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the UN's emergency relief office, said. She said the 100 deaths included 60 civilians. ... Violence has escalated since the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels held their first meeting in three years in February and agreed to enforce their 2002 cease-fire. Talks scheduled for this month in Geneva have been postponed twice. Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that efforts were under way to try to end the violence and get both sides back to peace talks. The rebels say Tamils are discriminated against by Sri Lanka's mostly Buddhist Sinhalese majority. Tamils make up less than a fifth of the population of 20 million. The island's two-decade civil war killed more than 60,000 people. Sri Lanka's benchmark stock index today fell to a two-month low, and bond yields rose."


"Rally on Darfur Genocide Draws Thousands to D.C."
By Elizabeth White
Associated Press dispatch in The Buffalo News, 1 May 2006
"Thousands of people joined celebrities and lawmakers at a rally Sunday urging the Bush administration and Congress to help end genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. 'Not on our watch!' the crowd chanted as a parade of speakers lined up for their turn on a stage on the National Mall, with the Capitol serving as a backdrop. ... In an interview, refugee Hassan Cober said he was forced to leave his family and flee Sudan four years ago after many were raped and killed. He urged the United States and the United Nations to act quickly, saying he had no idea where his family was or whether they were OK. 'We need deeds, not words,' said Cober, now of Portland, Maine. 'They need to come to Darfur today, not tomorrow, because what is going on is a disaster.' The organizers' permit anticipated 10,000 to 15,000 people at the rally, one of several in U.S. cities this weekend against what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian disaster. 'It is the socially responsible, good-conscience thing to do,' said Ron Fisher, who came here on a bus from Cleveland with his 15-year-old daughter, Jordyn. 'It's an opportunity to show my daughter what people do when they care about something.' The event attracted high-profile speakers such as actor George Clooney, just back from Africa, where he interviewed families in Sudanese refugee camps; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California; Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel; Olympic speedskating champion Joey Cheek, who gave his bonus money to the cause; and Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington. [...]"

"Genocide by Famine: Darfur Aid Halved"
By David Blair
The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 2006
"The suffering of at least 2 million refugees in Sudan's Darfur region -- where a brutal ethnic and political conflict has raged since 2003 -- has worsened with the announcement that the United Nations will halve their food rations because of a severe lack of funding, especially from the wealthy nations of Europe and the Middle East. 'This is going to become genocide by famine,' said Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish Relief Services, which is a leader of efforts in the United States to increase aid to victims in Darfur. The UN's World Food Program announced on Friday it was being forced to cut the present rations in Darfur from 2100 calories a day to 1050 calories. The reduced portions equal about half the minimum daily calories necessary to maintain health in an adult. 'This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made,' said the program's director, James Morris. 'Haven't the people of Darfur suffered enough?' The World Food Program says the cut is necessary because it has received just a third of the $US746 million ($983 million) it had requested from donor nations for all of its operations in Sudan. The United States is the largest donor by far, giving $US188 million to the emergency food program. Norway, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium donated a total of $US5.5 million and Canada gave $US3.9 million. The only Muslim nation contributing to the emergency feeding program is Libya, with a donation of $US4.5 million. The rest of the money came from a special UN humanitarian fund and from individual and corporate donors. [...]"

"Darfur Peace Hopes Collapse as Rebels Reject Proposed Deal"
By Xan Rice and Ewan MacAskill
The Guardian, 1 May 2006
"Hopes for a breakthrough in peace talks on the Darfur conflict were dashed last night when two of the main rebel groups refused to sign a proposed agreement only hours before a deadline expired . The Sudanese government and the rebels had been under enormous pressure from the US, Europe and other African states to reach a deal over the conflict that has seen up to 3 million people displaced and tens of thousands killed. The African Union, the pan-continental organisation representing most African states, had set a deadline of midnight last night for agreement at the peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, which had been running for two years. ... With humanitarian conditions continuing to deteriorate in Darfur, the UN last week warned that a surge in fighting had led to a third of the 2.4 million displaced people being cut off from aid. The World Food Programme said a lack of funds had caused food rations to be halved, even though malnutrition rates were rising. Part of JEM's concern is over the arrangements for the disarmament of the government-backed militias known as the Janjaweed. Diplomats at the Abuja talks said the rebels were also upset that their demands for a regional government and a new national vice-president from Darfur had not been met. [...]"

"Clooney Urges Action against 'Genocide' in Darfur"
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), 28 April 2006
"Hollywood star George Clooney pleaded on Thursday for a more vigorous United States effort to end what he called 'the first genocide of the 21st century' in Sudan's war-devastated Darfur region. The Oscar-winning actor and director urged broad participation at demonstrations to be held on Sunday in Washington, San Francisco and several other US cities, saying that a louder public outcry would encourage the United States and other governments to do more in the western Sudan region, where about 300 000 people have died in an ongoing civil war. 'The president wants to put a stop to it, the Congress want to put a stop to it. What they need now is the American people and the world's populations to help them, to tell them that it matters that much to them,' said the actor, who returned earlier this week from a tour of Darfur. 'It is the first genocide of the 21st century,' Clooney said at a press conference in Washington. ... Clooney said, and some US officials agreed, that much more can be done by Washington. Joining Clooney at the press conference, Senator Barack Obama said US officials 'have not made it a high enough priority to actually deal with the problem.' [...]"

"UN Threatens to Suspend Aid in Darfur"
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), 28 April 2006
"The United Nations threatened on Friday to suspend relief operations in parts of Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region because of continued attacks against aid workers by rebel fighters. The UN blames the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the armed wing of the Sudan Liberation Movement, the main rebel group in the region, for a spate of attacks in north Darfur. 'Several reports indicate that many of these attacks have been waged by SLA factions. Armed robbery and hijackings have endangered humanitarian workers assisting over 450,000 vulnerable people living in the area,' it said in a statement. It added that the UN has 'credible information' that armed groups have also commandeered vehicles for military purposes, something it said is 'unacceptable and contrary to international humanitarian law.' 'Unless these attacks and harassment stop immediately, the UN and its partners will be obliged to suspend all relief assistance to this particular area till effective safety for humanitarian personnel and assets are guaranteed.' The organisation said it will hold armed groups and their leaders responsible 'for the failure to assist the extremely vulnerable populations under their control.' Up to 300,000 people have died and 2,4-million more been displaced in three years of fighting between rebels and Khartoum-backed militias in Darfur. [...]"

"Darfur Refugees Forced to Join the Fight"
By Katharine Houreld
The Christian Science Monitor, 28 April 2006
"[...] Although the exact number is unknown, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that around 4,700 refugees in Chadian camps were abducted last month. Most were taken in the span of three days in mid-March from the camps of Treguine and Bredjing, when unidentified rebels went from tent to tent looking for potential fighters, according to refugees and the UNHCR. Women who tried to cling to their men were beaten back mercilessly, say witnesses. Some men who resisted were tied up at knifepoint and carried off in vehicles. Many of those taken say they saw people tied up and left in the sun for days, or witnessed beatings. Some were killed. Among the dusty tents and straw shacks of the refugee camps, the clumps of frightened people do not even know who attacked them, although most of the refugees who escaped agree their kidnappers spoke with Sudanese accents. At least four rebel groups -- some Sudanese, some Chadian -- are now active along the chaotic border between the two countries. Chadian rebel groups aiming to oust President Idriss Deby before next week's elections have grown rapidly and mobilized in recent months. Two weeks ago, hundreds of Chadian rebels made it to Chad's capital, N'Djamena in an unsuccessful coup. Meanwhile, Sudanese rebel factions in Darfur continue to battle the government-backed Arabic-speaking janjaweed militias, as they have for more than three years. Both the Chadian and Sudanese rebels have abducted refugees to fight. But now humanitarian agencies are concerned that forced recruitment of refugees by the Sudanese rebels could be used as a pretext for the janjaweed to attack the camps in Chad. [...]"

"Darfur Malnutrition 'Rises Again'"
BBC Online, 27 April 2006
"Malnutrition is increasing again in Sudan's Darfur region, where increased violence and lack of funds are hampering aid efforts, the UN has said. Clinics have seen a 20% increase in severely malnourished children since January, a spokesman for the UN children's agency, Unicef, said. The surge in fighting has forced some 200,000 people to flee, bringing the total displaced to over two million. Mediators are trying to get the warring sides to reach a peace deal by Sunday. The African Union has set a 30 April deadline for the government and rebel groups to accept their draft peace agreement which addresses power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security. 'This is decision time. No more procrastination, no more antics, no more delaying tactics. The eyes of the world are on you,' said Ahmed Salim Ahmed, the chief AU mediator. [...]"

"UN Sanctions on Darfur Suspects"
BBC Online, 26 April 2006
"The UN Security Council has passed a resolution imposing sanctions against four Sudanese nationals accused of war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. The four include two rebel leaders, a former Sudanese air force chief, and the leader of a pro-government militia, accused of widespread atrocities. ... The UN resolution was sponsored by the US, which says a genocide is being committed against black Africans in Darfur. The war crimes suspects -- Adam Yacub Shant, Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, Gaffar Mohamed Elhassan and Sheikh Musa Hilal -- would be subject to a ban on foreign travel and have any assets held abroad frozen. The BBC's correspondent at the UN headquarters in New York, Laura Trevelyan, said it had taken weeks to get to this point and the sanctions could be difficult to enforce. Russia and China, both permanent members of the Security Council with the power to veto the resolution, had initially opposed this move, but chose to abstain because the African nations supported the sanctions. [...]"

"How to End Darfur Slaughter"
By Nicholas D. Kristof
The Toronto Star, 26 April 2006
"Those of us who want a more forceful response to genocide in Darfur should be sobered by Osama bin Laden's latest tape. In that tape, released on Sunday, Osama rails against the agreement that ended Sudan's civil war with its Christian and animist south and accuses the U.S. of plotting to dispatch 'Crusader troops' to occupy Darfur 'and steal its oil wealth under the pretext of peacekeeping.' He calls on good Muslims to go to Sudan and stockpile land mines and rocket-propelled grenades in preparation for 'a long-term war' against UN peacekeepers and other infidels. Osama's tape underscores that a tougher approach carries real risks. It's easy for us in the peanut gallery to call for a UN force, but what happens when jihadis start shooting down the UN helicopters? So with a major rally planned for Sunday to call for action to stop the slaughter in Darfur, let's look at what specific actions the U.S. should take. ... The first step to stop the killing is to dispatch a robust UN peacekeeping force of at least 20,000 well-equipped and mobile troops. But because of precisely the nationalistic sensitivities that Osama is trying to stir, it shouldn't have American ground troops. Instead, it should be made up mostly of Turks, Jordanians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and other Muslims, and smaller numbers of European and Asian troops. The U.S. can supply airlifts, and NATO can provide a short-term bridging force if necessary. Second, the U.S. and France should enforce a no-fly zone from the French air base in Abeche, Chad. American military planners say this is practicable, particularly if it simply involves destroying Sudanese aircraft on the ground after they have attacked civilians. ... If we apply enough pressure, Sudan's leaders will back down in Darfur -- just as they did when they signed a peace deal to end the war with southern Sudan. [...]"

"Divestment and Sudan"
By Sam Graham-Felsen
The Nation, 20 April 2006
"On the morning of October 25, 2004, Harvard roommates Manav Bhatnagar and Ben Collins woke up to some particularly disturbing news in the campus daily, the Harvard Crimson. 'Harvard has invested millions of dollars in a Chinese oil company whose financial dealings with the Sudanese government, human rights activists say, have funded that regime's ongoing slaughter of its own people,' the Crimson reported. The roommates sprang into action, sparking what would soon become the largest divestment movement since students helped to topple South Africa's apartheid regime in the 1980s. Within months, a campuswide coalition of African and African-American student groups, human rights activists and religious organizations had formed to pressure the university into divesting from PetroChina. By April 2005 the demands were met. Samantha Power, author of 'A Problem From Hell' and a professor at the Kennedy School of Government, said it was 'the first week anything tangible has been done that would cause the Sudanese government to think twice about their genocidal campaign.' After Harvard became the first university to divest, successful campaigns at Stanford, Yale, Brown, Amherst, Dartmouth, Brandeis and Samford (in Alabama) followed. In March the University of California system became the first public educational institution to divest. The national Sudan Divestment Task Force has taken the fight beyond university walls to public pension funds: Thus far, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon have passed divestment legislation; thirteen other states have legislation pending. On April 6 the movement scored its largest victory when the California State Teachers' Retirement System -- America's second-largest public pension fund, with $141 billion in assets -- voted to divest. [...]"


"European Inquiry Says CIA Flew 1,000 Flights in Secret"
By Dan Bilefsky
The New York Times (on Truthout.org), 27 April 2006
"Investigators for the European Parliament said Wednesday that data gathered from air safety regulators and others found that the Central Intelligence Agency had flown 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001. Sometimes the planes stopped to pick up terrorism suspects who had been kidnapped to take them to countries that use torture, the investigators added. The operation used the same American agents and the same planes over and over, they said, though they could not say how many flights involved the transport of suspects. The investigation, by a committee looking into C.I.A. counterterrorism activities in Europe, also concluded that European countries, including Italy, Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina, were aware of the abductions or transfers and therefore might have been complicit. 'The European Parliament deplores the fact that the C.I.A. has on several occasions clearly been responsible for kidnapping and illegally detaining alleged terrorists on the territory of member states, as well for extraordinary renditions' to third countries, wrote Giovanni Fava of Italy, a Socialist member of the European Parliament who led the committee. ... As for the question of secret C.I.A. detention centers in Europe, the new report offered no hard evidence. Its estimate of 1,000 undeclared flights exceeds the numbers previously discussed, including those in an analysis by The New York Times late last year that said the agency operated about 300 flights in Europe between November 2001 and the summer of 2005. The report's conclusions are likely to heighten trans-Atlantic tensions at a time when Europe and the United States are already at odds over how to balance civil liberties with the fight against terrorists. [...]"


"Persecuted by Nazis, U.S. Immigrant Helped Criminalize Genocide"
By Bernie Chabel
USInfo.state.gov, 1 May 2006
"Raphael Lemkin gave a name -- genocide -- to a crime the world did not recognize and lobbied the international community tirelessly for a pact to outlaw it. His unflagging efforts produced the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Even so, Lemkin's story remains largely unheralded. ... Even after the U.N. convention was in place, Lemkin continued to lobby for its ratification by individual nations until his sudden death on August 28, 1959. At the time, he was penniless and living in a one-room apartment in New York City. Seven people attended his funeral. Over time, however, the necessity of his work and significance of his achievement became apparent. Decades later, on the 50th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled Lemkin as 'one of the unsung heroes of the international human rights movement. He infused the battle against genocide with new insights and passion, almost single-handedly drafted an international multilateral treaty declaring genocide an international crime, and then turned to the United Nations in its earliest days and implored Member States to adopt it.' Annan's prepared remarks were read by his wife Nane Annan, a half-niece of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who personally saved thousands of Jews before disappearing in a Soviet gulag. [...]"


"Troubled Island" [Jamaica]
By Gary Younge
The Guardian, 27 April 2006
"[...] In the Amnesty report earlier that year an eyewitness described how a mob in an inner-city area blocked a road to beat a local gay man: 'The crowd stood around watching, chanting "Battyman, battyman, battyman" before gathering around him as he lay on the sidewalk,' he said. 'The crowd beat, punched and kicked him. They threw water from the gutter and garbage on him, all the while shouting "Battyman, battyman." Then they dragged him down the road for half a kilometre. They shouted "Battyman fi' dead." As I stood across the street I realised there was nothing I could do to help him. Some mothers were actually in tears at what they were witnessing but there was nothing that they could do either. The crowd was saying, "Give him to us! Let us kill him! He's a battyman!"' On April 4 a man was chased across the Mona campus at the University of West Indies and injured by a mob for allegedly propositioning a man in the toilets. Earlier this month the Sunday Herald ran a front page headline 'No homos!' in which opposition leader Bruce Golding vowed, according to the paper, that 'homosexuals would find no solace in any cabinet formed by him.' The statement was supported by several clergyman and a trade union leader. During the 2001 elections Golding's party used as its theme song Chi Chi man by T.O.K. Lyrics, which celebrates the burning and killing of gay men. Some of the country's most popular musicians have in effect provided a soundtrack for these attacks. [...]"

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