This week the already grave situation in the western region of the Sudan (known as Darfur) continued to grow even worse, as the United Nations called for a larger international monitoring force to quell attacks on civilians by members of the Arab militia in the country. In a report made to the U.N. Security Council this week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan remarked that such a monitoring force was necessary in order to help "decrease the level of violence and enhance the protection of the civilian population". The origins of the crisis date back to February 2003 when two African rebel factions brought arms in order to protest alleged discrimination by the largely Arab-dominated government located in the nation's capital at Khartoum. The tension has complex roots, but some of the problems are centered around disputes dealing with land and grazing rights between the nomadic Arabs in the region and farmers from the Fur, Massaleet and Zagawa ethnic groups. Since the conflict started last year, close to one million people have fled their homes and approximately 50,000 people have been killed.
The first link will take visitors to a news article from the Guardian that offers a report on the recent call from the United Nations to increase the international monitoring force in the Sudan. The second link leads to a news brief from the U.N. News Centre that talks about the precarious situation of those displaced residents of the Darfur region. The third link provided by the BBC answers a host of questions about the current situation in the Darfur region, including helpful background information about the various groups involved. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the Sudanese Media Centre, where visitors may find editorial pieces, browse through special reports, and read their various press releases. The fifth link leads to an informative report from June 2004 prepared for the House of Commons in the British Parliament on the conflict in Darfur. The final link will take visitors to the transcript of a recent interview conducted by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs with Al Zhawi Ibrahim, who serves as the Minister for Information and Communications for the Sudan. In the interview, he speaks about the postwar challenges that will face the country, and of course, the situation in Darfur.