The Arab League and Darfur

Writing in the Arab daily newspaper Al-Hayat, Nadim Hasbani, of the International Crisis Group, castigates the Arab League for its pathetic response to the genocide in Darfur, and its continuing protection of Sudan:

The Arab League has expressed concern over the violence in Sudan’s Darfur, but, like individual Arab member states, it has failed to support international action to protect the Sudanese citizens of Darfur. Their inaction in the face of mass killings edges closer and closer to complicity every day.

Despite heavy-handed censorship on Arab media covering Darfur, knowledge of the massacres started reaching the Arab public by the end of 2003. In 2004, an Arab League Commission of Inquiry into Darfur publicly condemned the attacks on civilians as “massive violations of human rights”.

Yet the statement was later suppressed and removed from the Arab League website, after a negative reaction from the Sudanese government. Since that moment, the Arab League has consistently counseled international patience in dealing with Khartoum, despite more than 200,000 civilian deaths in Darfur as a result of the Sudanese government’s military strategy of targeting of the civilian population.

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