U.N. Mandates Troops to Protect Civilians in Darfur
Statement of Betsy Apple, Director of the Crimes Against Humanity program at the New York -based advocacy group Human Rights First, on the adoption of a resolution mandating the deployment of A.U.-U.N. hybrid peacekeeping operation for Darfur
"By adopting this resolution unanimously, the Security Council has sent a clear message to the Sudanese Government and the other parties to the conflict that the violence in Darfur must end immediately.
The resolution, importantly, enables troops to protect civilians and humanitarian workers against armed attacks by using force when necessary. However, the reality is that it will take over a year for the hybrid force to be fully deployed, which means that between now and the end of 2008, people in Darfur continue to be at serious risk. In West Darfur alone, an estimated 12,000 families have fled their homes in recent weeks.
This means that the resolution today is by no means the end of the story - the work must continue with renewed vigor. The Security Council and the international community must maintain intense pressure on all parties to cease hostilities immediately and seriously commit themselves to the peace process. The Security Council should stand ready to implement sanctions rapidly on any party that continues to obstruct the peace process or violates their obligations under international law."