The ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan has produced one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. By some estimates, genocidal acts have claimed as many as 400,000 lives. More than 2 million people are crowded into squalid camps where they are dependent on international aid to survive. Following attacks by rebels in 2003, the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia it supports have engaged in a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign and are now crossing into Chad. Talks between the government and the rebels have not produced results. The 7,000 African Union troops and police on the ground do not have the numbers or mandate to bring the situation under control, and a UN force could take up to a year to deploy.
To examine the deteriorating situation in Darfur, the spread of the disaster into neighboring Chad and current policy options for the region, Brookings will convene a discussion with opening remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick. Secretary Zoellick, who has been directly involved with this issue, will take questions after his comments. A group of leading experts will participate: Kenneth Bacon, president, Refugees International; Francis M. Deng, nonresident senior fellow, Brookings and former representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons; and William G. O’Neill, co-author of the report Protecting Two Million Internally Displaced: The Successes and Shortcomings of the African Union in Darfur. Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings and the former coordinator of the State Department Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization, will moderate the discussion.
A question and answer session will follow panelists’ remarks.