September 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? Bombing Darfur

Drumbeats from Amnesty International tell us that the Sudanese government used a Russian-made Antonov plane with the “UN” symbol on its wing to drop bombs on Darfur. This act shows that the Sudanese government does not intend to comply with the UN arms embargo. This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and a clear example of why the current UN arms embargo needs to be expanded to cover all of Sudan.

Amnesty International issued its new report Blood at the Crossroads with accounts of Russian and Chinese weapons used to violate human rights in Darfur. In one case, the report describes Russian-supplied Mi-24 attack helicopters being delivered to the Sudanese government in 2006. Since then, the Sudanese government has used these helicopters in indiscriminate aerial attacks in Darfur.

It is undeniably clear that the current UN arms embargo cannot effectively restrain the arms flow into Darfur. At the same time, Sudanese armed opposition groups in Darfur are allegedly receiving their weapons from Chad. The innocent people of Darfur are left in the middle of this conflict.

With our encouragement, our Senator and Representatives can help stem the flow of weapons to Sudan. Senate Resolution 660 and House Resolution 1462 1) condemn the ongoing flow of weapons into Darfur and 2) call for an expansion of the UN arms embargo to cover all of Sudan. Leadership from the United States is necessary to signal to the rest of the world that ongoing violence in Darfur will not be tolerated.

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