MEPs urge action on Darfur, call crisis “genocide”

In a strongly-worded resolution, MEPs have
called for targeted sanctions against those responsible for
“genocide” in Sudan’s Darfur region.

In a resolution adopted by MEPs on 16 September,
the Parliament urged “Sudanese authorities to end impunity
and to bring to justice immediately the planners and
perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes and
human rights violations, which can be construed as
tantamount to genocide”. 

The Parliament, calling for UN sanctions
and an international arms embargo against Sudan, is the
first EU player to side with the US’s ‘genocide’
designation. To date, EU governments have refrained from
using this definition (see 
EURACTIV 26 July 2004

). 

On 13 September, EU foreign ministers
renewed a threat of sanctions against the Sudanese
government. However, the MEPs’ resolution went beyond the
foreign ministers’ cautious line by condemning Sudan for
crimes “tantamount to genocide”. 

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is
discussing a draft resolution on Darfur, which is expected
to call on Secretary General Kofi Annan to appoint an
international commission to determine whether acts of
‘genocide’ have been committed in Sudan. Annan has said
that irrespective of the actual definition of the crimes,
it is urgent to take action now. Annan’s words underlined
his support for the European and American stance on
adopting a strongly-worded resolution and taking firm
action. However, the resolution is still meeting with
opposition from China and numerous Arab states. 

According to the UN World Health
Organization, some 10,000 people are dying monthly from
disease and violence in the 129 camps in the Darfur region.
WHO has registered 50,000 deaths from violence, disease or
starvation in Darfur since the outbreak of the conflict 19
months ago. 

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