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Experts on the three-year conflict between Sudan’s Arab-led central government and the African-led resistance in Darfur have long held that hope for the region’s two-and-a-half million refugees depends upon the deployment of a large U.N. peacekeeping force. The peacekeepers - a promised 20,000-strong force intended to replace the 7,000 underfunded, under-resourced African Union peacekeepers currently in the region - are expected to uphold the promises made in a peace agreement signed in May by the central government and Darfur’s largest rebel group, including disarming the government-backed janjaweed militia that has been engaging in a reign of terror and violence in the region.

This week, however, the government in Khartoum has reiterated its long-held position that U.N. peacekeepers will not be granted permission to enter the country. In an escalation, Khartoum has insisted that the African Union force leave Darfur unless it agrees to accept a proposal blocking U.N. access to the region.

This is all very bad news for Darfur’s refugees. To date, more than 200,000 people have been killed, countless more raped, beaten and chased from their homes. Darfur has the dubious distinction of being on every top ten list of the world’s forgotten conflicts. Why forgotten? Because the Western world’s prioritization of conflicts in the Middle East usurps media attention. Never Again, seems an all too frequent repitition. 

Associated Press: Sudan Says African Force Must Leave Darfur


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