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August 13, 2010

Blockade of humanitarian aid in Darfur violates international law - another war crime committed by Bashir?

Source: Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) <http://www.gfbv.de/>
Date: 13 Aug 2010
Sudan: Officials close off camp with 82,000 Refugees from relief workers

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has accused the Sudanese government of breaking international law with its blockade of the Kalma Refugee Camp in southern Darfur, in which 82,000 people are currently living. "Humanitarian international law forbids the intentional starving of civilians by a government and further prohibits collective punishment of a civilian population," said Ulrich Delius, the consultant for Africa at the STP, on Friday in Göttingen. "Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir, currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for suspicion of genocide, is suspected of committing war crimes as well as crimes against humanity." The STP has appealed to the European Union (EU) to demand an immediate removal of the blockade.

After violent conflicts arose in the camp, as a result of which several people had died by the end of July, the Sudanese authorities, starting August 2nd, 2010, forbade any access to the camp by humanitarian aid organizations. The blockade will not be removed until the UNAMID peace-keeping troops surrender six spokesmen of the refugees who are suspected of inciting the conflict. The UNAMID has so far refused to deliver the six spokesmen, as they will be subject to unfair court proceedings.

"It is not only the Kalma camp that resembles a powder keg," noted Delius. Violent conflicts arose in other camps during July 2010 as well, as hopelessness and anger have spread throughout the camps. These displaced people feel abandoned by the international community because the future of these 2.7 million internally-displaced people remains unknown. Foreign countries provide relief supplies, but there remains no commitment to a strategy for these displaced people to return to their 4,500 destroyed villages. "It is absurd. The EU supports the ICC's warrant of arrest against Bashir, but, apart from emergency aid, there is no support for the surviving victims of his genocide."
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