For Immediate Release: July 9, 2008
NEW YORK—The G8 forfeited an important opportunity today to demonstrate leadership in stemming the flow of weapons into Darfur, said leading rights group Human Rights First.
In a statement on the crisis in Darfur issued today at the close of the G8 annual summit, the group’s leaders called for the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, a recommitment to the peace process, and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement but made no specific mention of continued violations to the UN Security Council arms embargo on Darfur.
“How can we effectively deploy peacekeepers when there is no peace to keep, when the prospects for peace are being undercut by violence fueled by the seemingly endless flow of weapons into Darfur?” asked Betsy Apple, director of Human Rights First’s Crimes against Humanity program.
“To stop the arms transfers into Darfur, the G8 will have to account for its own role in helping to perpetuate this conflict,” said Apple. “Some of the group’s members and friends are still transferring arms to Sudan, and what’s more, they all have failed to take tangible measures to strengthen the embargo and to create real consequences for those who violate it.”
To date, the international community has consistently failed to enforce the United Nations Security Council’s 2005 legally binding resolution establishing an arms embargo on Darfur. In fact, China and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council, are the largest suppliers of arms to the Government of Sudan.
“The approach of the Beijing Olympics presents a unique window of opportunity to make the arms embargo actually work,” said Apple. “Those Security Council members that support strengthening the arms embargo should force a resolution in the Council and make China and Russia show their cards as the world watches.”
Last week Human Rights First convened an international coalition of over 50 nongovernmental organizations from all eight countries represented by the G8 and from Sudan, to call on their nations’ leaders to forcefully advocate for concrete and immediate steps to end the crisis in Darfur, including enforcing the UN arms embargo.
“The international community must live up to their responsibility to enforce the Darfur arms embargo,” said Apple. “Stopping the flow of arms will help to ensure that the peacekeeping forces and humanitarian workers can both successfully carry out their operations and foster the conditions under which a sustainable peace is possible in Darfur.”