"For the first time in its history, the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today declared a 'genocide emergency,' saying that genocide is imminent or is actually happening in the Darfur region of Sudan.
'We began warning about the threat of genocide in Darfur at the beginning of this year,' said Committee on Conscience Chairman Tom A. Bernstein. 'That threat is now becoming reality.'
Estimates of the current death toll range from 50,000 to more than 100,000, with the likelihood that hundreds of thousands more will die in coming months because of direct violence and 'conditions of life' deliberately inflicted on targeted groups by the Sudanese government and its militia allies. The victims are largely members of the Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit ethnic groups, considered in Darfur to be 'Africans.'
Under the United Nations Genocide Convention, adopted in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, nations vow to 'undertake to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.' Genocide is defined as certain acts, when committed 'with intent to destroy' a targeted group, in whole or in part. The specified acts include killing members of a group, causing severe bodily and mental harm and deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part.
'We take a very conservative approach to the definition of genocide,' said Jerry Fowler, staff director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, who visited refugee camps in Chad in May and collected testimonies from refugees who had fled Darfur. 'We don’t use the term lightly. But the situation clearly has reached the point now where that term is appropriate. The U.S., the U.N. and other countries must now act to stop this genocide from going further. And then they need to punish those responsible.'
Fowler pointed to the Sudanese government’s responsibility for the large number of Darfurians now perishing and likely to die in the coming months.
'By hindering and slowing access for the international relief assistance that the displaced require for survival and failing to rein in their janjaweed allies,' he said, 'the Khartoum government and its proxies are directly responsible for the increasing deaths from malnutrition, lack of clean water and related diseases.'
The U.S. Agency for International Development predicted in April that 350,000 or more people would be dead by the end of the year. More recent assessments by independent aid groups suggest that this estimate may be conservative."
Source: Dan Gillmor
Another Genocide: What Can We Do? - Dan Gillmor
Sudan - Wikipedia
Sudan - Google News