In a critical news break, the rebel group JEM warned of imminent attacks against key government positions, although it is not clear if they mean to attack Khartoum again like they did this summer or other government positions… So far there is no news of attack.
Several great reports and articles were released this week:
- Human Rights First released a report on how to stop weapons flow to Sudan
- The New York Times released a strong article highlighting the role of youths in the IDP camps in Darfur.
- The Darfur consortium released a report on slavery in Darfur as a result of forced abductions by the Janjweed and Sudanese army, which drew strong condemnation. UNICEF and the Sudanese Army signed an agreement about Child soldiers
Several great op-eds were written this week:
- Nicholas Kristof on the potential for peace in Darfur and the steps the new administration can take to get there.
- Madeleine Albright and William Cohen on preventing genocide and mass atrocities
- The San Fransisco Chronicle on 5 Steps to bring peace to Darfur
- Voice of America on pressing for peace in Darfur
In some good news for the holiday season, Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday ordered the setting up of a health centre in Darfur. Also, Pakistani troops including many doctors and engineers and Ethiopian troops arrived in Darfur to boost UNAMID’s numbers.
The UN General Assembly voted on Wednsday in favor of a resolution that called for the release of Burma’s over 2,100 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and condemend the countries human rights record. The vote was four to one, with Burma’s allies like China and Indonesia voting against the measure.
In a welcome change new Thailand’s new Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, promises a more proactive stance on international human rights, specificaly citing Burma.
Burmese officials are worried about stepped up Security Council pressure when memebers Indonesia and South Africa are replaced by Uganda and Japan in January.
The UN Security Council voted last week to renew MONUC’s peacekeeping mandate for another year. The new mandate gives priority to civilian protection in eastern Congo and calls for MONUC to cooperate with the Congolese army, instead of providing "support." UNSC also strengthen the existing sanctions regime targeting the illicit flow of weapons in DRC.
MONUC, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in DRC, announced Wednesday that it has asked the UN to initiate an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse and other bad conduct by peacekeepers in North Kivu province. MONUC personnel have been involved in several sexual abuse and smuggling scandals since the force was first deployed in 2001.
Actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow published an account of a recent visit to DRC’s North Kivu province and appealed for intervention from the international community.
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) soldiers, Ugandan rebels commanded by Joseph Kony, raided a Congolese village last week as they fled from a multinational offensive made up of troops from Uganda, DRC, and southern Sudan. MONUC condemned the attacks and has deployed additional peacekeepers to the area. A Congolese army spokesperson estimated on Saturday that a total of 35 Congolese civilians have been killed by the LRA in recent attacks.