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Darfur ... and now more genocide in Sudan?

Evidence is piling up that genocide is taking place in the southern border region of Sudan, affecting tens of thousands of Nuba people. But the world is dillydallying, just as it did with Darfur, Rwanda, and Srebrenica.

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There are in South Kordofan too many harrowing echoes of not only Darfur, but Rwanda and Srebrenica. In all these cases there was a UN military presence; in each instance this presence was completely intimidated or rendered ineffective by génocidaires bent on their task; many world leaders refused to recognize the reality of genocide; and in each case unspeakable shame followed.

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Are these echoes not being heard in Washington, New York, European capitals, and African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa?

Despite Mr. Lyman’s skepticism, the urgency and scale of potential human destruction demand an immediate and robust international response – and not simply moralizing pronouncements, whether from UN officials or international actors of consequence, or in the predictable and formulaic prescriptions of human rights groups. At the very least Khartoum should be warned that if its military aircraft continue to be implicated in attacks on Nuba civilians or humanitarians, they will be destroyed on the ground by cruise missiles or other means. Impunity for such atrocity crimes cannot continue.

If the world refuses to see what is occurring in South Kordofan, and refuses to respond to evidence that the destruction of the Nuba people, as such, is a primary goal of present military and security actions by Sudan, then this moment will represent definitive failure of the “responsibility to protect.”

Eric Reeves is professor of English language and literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He has spent the past 12 years working full-time as a Sudan researcher and analyst, publishing extensively both in the US and internationally. He has testified several times before the Congress and is author of “A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.”


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