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The Tragedy of Sudan

‘Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph’. Haile Selassie, United Nations General Assembly, 4 October 1963.[1]


The continuing suffering of the Sudanese people illustrates the futility of international policy-making in the absence of the political will necessary to enforce treaties. As worthy as conventions on human rights and genocide prevention are, without a robust enforcement architecture, the world’s dictators and war lords will continue to persecute and eliminate minority groups with impunity.

In Sudan, the blame does not rest on the international community or the legacy of colonialism alone. Faced with human rights abuses, the African Union prioritises state sovereignty and leaders’ immunity from prosecution, and the Islamic world shows little concern for the systematic elimination of Muslims in Darfur. In addition, Khartoum skilfully manipulates American security concerns post-9/11, rendering humanitarian initiatives toothless.

This article will draw on personal experience: interviewing survivors in Darfur in 2004, and founding Waging Peace, a charity supporting thousands of Sudanese refugees in the UK.

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