In a statement issued today Shadow International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell identifies Darfur as "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world" today. He is surely right but it has been said a thousand times before and nothing substantial has been done to stop the slaughter by the Khartoum-backed Jangaweed militia. Britain and America are bogged down in Iraq. NATO is struggling to meet its obligations in Afghanistan. The EU failed in its own Balkans backyard and is still failing today. Russian and Chinese vetoes mean that the UN is repeating the tragedy of Rwanda. The African Union lacks will and airpower. Click here to see Globe for Darfur's hard-hitting photo campaign in which celebrities including Matt Damon and Hugh Grant drop hourglasses filled with blood.
Andrew Mitchell's full statement:
“Darfur is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Yet shamefully, after four years of misery, the international community hasn't even begun to turn the screws on the bullies in Khartoum. The Government of Sudan believe they can string us along with promises that they break as soon as our backs are turned. No wonder they think they can paint planes full of weapons and ammunition in UN colours. No wonder they try to prevent World Food Programme shipments getting to those in need in the camps. The truth about bullies is that they are cowards. The international community must stand up to them. Tony Blair, in the last days of his premiership, should take the lead. We need to enforce targeted sanctions against the regime's leaders by freezing their bank accounts and applying travel bans to stop their shopping trips to Paris and London. And we should chip away at the network of businesses and charities that enrich the regime and its members.
“Our top priority now must be to press for an immediate end to the violence. All combatants should cease fighting and allow unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies. We need to see the rapid deployment of a larger, better equipped and better mandated international force to protect the people of Darfur. In the meantime, the world must offer full support to the African Union troops who are doing a brave job in very difficult circumstances. The ultimate solution to this crisis will be a political settlement that addresses the causes of the conflict, and of Sudan's wider struggles. Meaningful international pressure can help achieve this. The people of Darfur deserve more than another round of toothless diplomacy and bluffing and manoeuvring from the Sudanese Government.”