Friday, August 1, 2008

It’s Been a Year: Where’s the Darfur Peacekeeping Force?

From Air America Email Newsletter

It’s Been a Year: Where’s the Darfur Peacekeeping Force?

Dear Air Americans,

As you may know, in March of this year Air America’s Thom Hartmann traveled to Darfur to see firsthand the plight of the people of Darfur.

Five months later the question remains...

How long must the people of Darfur wait?

One year ago today, the UN announced that a peacekeeping force would finally be sent into Darfur to protect civilians and aid workers.

While not solving the crisis, the move was hailed as a ray of hope for the people of Darfur. At 26,000 strong, this force was planned to be the largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

However, a full year after its creation, the force has only 9,000 troops and is struggling to do its job. The world has failed to provide the troops and equipment that were promised. And the violence in Darfur continues.

We are asking the Air America community to help bring relief to those caught in the middle of this conflict by taking action with our friends at Oxfam America.

Tell President Bush to do all he can to fully deploy the international peacekeeping force in Darfur.

The troops now on the ground come largely from an existing African Union force that was unable to provide protection on its own. It’s not a recipe for success.

Worse, the troops lack proper equipment—from much-needed helicopters down to basics such as food, boots, and helmets. Some troops have resorted to putting blue plastic bags over their old helmets in order to make the helmets regulation UN blue.

Not surprisingly, many Darfuris say the force is unable to make a difference in their lives. The UN-African Union Mission UNAMID alone cannot solve the Darfur crisis—the world must pressure the parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and return to negotiations. But a full force of 26,000 could significantly improve the situation in Darfur by providing real protection for civilians.

Call on President Bush to keep his promises and protect the people of Darfur.

The people of Darfur have waited too long for protection. Thank you for taking action on this urgent issue.


Tim Fullerton
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

No comments: