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ICC NOTE: The government of Sudan is doing it’s best to keep the world from seeing the truth of how they are deliberately trying to target and annihilate their own people in the West.

Khartoum Clamps Down Hard on News Access to Darfur , May 20, 2006

Posted by: ereeves on May 20, 2006 – 12:12 PM

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What do the regime’s genocidaires wish to obscure from international view?

Eric Reeves

May 20, 2006

The May 18, 2006 Reuters dispatch from Khartoum, by the superbly well-informed Opheera McDoom, offers a telling picture of newly imposed and severe restrictions on the ability of journalists to travel to and report from Darfur:

“ Sudan has tightened restrictions on foreign press traveling to Darfur and has not issued any travel permits to its violent western region since a peace deal was signed earlier this month. Experts who have watched Darfur since the conflict erupted in early 2003 say this is the most restrictive the government has been on access since the height of the conflict in 2004.”

(Reuters [dateline: Khartoum ], May 18, 2006)

If there were real meaning to the Abuja peace agreement of May 5, 2006—or to the cease-fire that nominally went into effect 72 hours later— Khartoum would be eager to display any changes that have been effected on the ground. In fact, a steady stream of reports from humanitarian officials, from the New York Times correspondent presently in Darfur, and from a series of confidential sources makes clear that violence continues apace, that the vast humanitarian crisis only grows more desperate, and that many hundreds of thousands of lives remain acutely at risk, even as mortality has already spiked sharply upwards.

A partial explanation of the need for journalists to have access to Darfur was highlighted by Jan Egeland, UN aid chief:

“‘It is vital for journalists to be given full access to Darfur …to cover the humanitarian work and explain the urgent need for additional international support,’ [Egeland] said.”

And yet Khartoum ’s deliberate obstruction of access is conspicuous:

“Since early May [ ] when a peace agreement was signed in Abuja, Nigeria, no travel permits have been issued, said an official at the External Affairs Council responsible for foreign press. He did not know why. Some foreign press have travelled to Darfur without permits on high-level delegations or with the African Union, who are monitoring a widely ignored truce in Darfur . But without permits their access is very limited and they risk being arrested. ‘I applied for a permit for myself and my photographer on May 3 and still to this day have not received them,’ said Lydia Polgreen of The New York Times, who is traveling in Darfur with the AU.”

“Dan Rice of the Guardian newspaper said he had no travel permit despite applying 11 days ago. Permissions for resident journalists, which are usually issued within a day, have not been given after 10 days. Some correspondents have been waiting months for visas to even enter Sudan .” (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum ], May 18, 2006)

The calculations by Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime are obvious: many UN and Western political officials, especially within the Bush administration, are visibly eager to declare a “victory” for diplomacy in Abuja; if this eagerness is coupled with growing invisibility of realities on the ground in Darfur and eastern Chad, Khartoum will be that much closer to having succeeded in evading responsibility for the genocide, even as genocidal destruction continues. The “Darfur Peace Agreement,” signed under acute duress in Abuja by only one faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, contemplates no meaningful guarantees for the merely paper “guarantees” that abound. And if the history of Sudan over the past seventeen years teaches anything, it is that “guarantees” without guarantors are utterly meaningless. Abuja was no diplomatic victory; it was a contrived ending to diplomacy that never had any chance for real success in the absence of concerted international pressure on Khartoum .