UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has described the situation in Darfur as "deteriorating" and has called on the UN Security Council to take action in the Sudan. "Ultimately, the Security Council must assume its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security," he was quoted by CNN as saying.
The conflict in Sudan started in early 2003 and the UN has called it "the world's worst current humanitarian crisis". According to a survey carried out in June, July and August, 10,000 people are dying per month with more than 70,000 dead so far although the number of dead is difficult to estimate as the UN has only been counting since April 2004. According to the UN's own website, 1.65 million people have been displaced from their homes and thousands have been raped and murdered by the Janjaweed and pro-Government Militias.
In response the Security Council has "enjoined all parties in the conflict...to abide by previous ceasefire accords under threat of an unspecified "full range of options" to enforce compliance.
Mr. Annan, to describe the situation as "deteriorating" implies that you don't really understand the situation. For close to two years now, machete wielding genocidal maniacs have been dragging people from their homes, raping the women and chopping the men up into pieces. 70,000 people are dead either as a direct result of being at the sharp end of cold steel or having starved to death because they have fled in terror. This is far beyond merely "deteriorating" - this is a disaster.
To express surprise that the Janjaweed and militias have ignored ceasefire accords shows how out of touch the UN is with reality whilst Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk reiterating "his strong condemnation of acts of violence targeting humanitarian workers," makes him sound like an idiot. Since when have men who hack babies to pieces with knives cared about ceasefires or humanitarian workers?
Earlier this year Mr. Annan expressed his sorrow that "the international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret". 800,000 people were killed whilst the UN Peacekeeping Force of which he was in charge stood by and did nothing. With at least 70,000 dead and the death toll at 10,000 per month and rising, the UN has clearly learned nothing from history - how many more will it take before it stops spending all of its time condemning Israel and goes to the defence of the victims of the Sudanese tragedy? If defending the helpless and preventing tens of thousands more deaths is not a job for the Peacekeepers then what are they they for? I fear that in another decade Annan will once again publicly beat his chest in regret - his empty words will be of no help to the dead.
Ultimately, Annan has the power to intervene to prevent further massacres. If he continues to stand idly by whilst more and more innocents are murdered, then their blood is on his hands. Once again the UN is being given a chance to show that it does have some relevancy - once again it appears to be failing miserably.