June 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the June 20, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Please note the urgent June 24 deadline to take action below! The action is to request the UN Security Council not to withdraw or reduce its peacekeeping troops form Darfur – they are the only remaining very thin line of protection for civilians, who are still caught in unspeakable swirls of violence!

Due to this urgent action, this June newsletter will have a second part, done later.

Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.




On June 24 the UN Security Council will be meeting to decide whether to reduce or even possibly withdraw UNAMID, the UN peacekeeping troops in Darfur.  Sudan has been pressing for an “exit” plan.  Earlier there had been serious talk at the UN about reducing their presence in Darfur.

This needs to be seen against the backdrop of this past 18 months, where Sudan began very concerted efforts to defeat the rebel forces. The techniques remain the same – using indiscriminate bombing runs and militia attacks in rebel areas, resulting in large civilian displacement and causalities.  In addition tribal rivalry and a lawless element have added to the unrest.  This newsletter has tracked all of this (see: Current Status  [UntilAll]). The UN Refugee Agency estimates that well over 2 million people are currently displaced [http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e483b76.html].

It would be unconscionable to pull UNAMID out.  While this newsletter has been clear that UNAMID has been largely impotent, the solution lies in addressing the core issues which one of the following resolutions attempts to list.  In addition, as ineffective as UNAMID has been, it remains the last line of recourse for the civilians, whose lives remain caught in various repugnant layers of violence.

Thus please consider signing both petitions below:

Petition To UN Security Council:
Renew UNAMID’s Mandate

Petition to President Obama:
Keep UN Peacekeepers in Darfur





June 20 is World Refugee Day.  There are almost 60 million who have fled their homes, resulting in over 20 million refugees.  This past year has seen a higher rate largely due to the conflict in Syria.

Our longitudinal study of Darfur gives us a sense of the reasons, the world politics that maintains that status quo, the despair as one month becomes one year becomes a decade, and so on.  But our study of Darfur should also keep us open to the ongoing struggles around the world.  For some of those stories see:

2 thoughts on “June 2015 Newsletter

  1. As usual I appreciated reading your latest edition. One always wonders if the awareness raising of petition action has the same impact today as it used to when it took real effort to write a letter rather than click a button. Yet there still has to be value in voicing concerns even with a push of a button so I guess I’ll continue to do that. M

    • Thanks for the reflection on the August newsletter! The newsletter didn’t give any details in this regard (simply the line about the self-interest of target and pressure groups aligning). The basic rule of thumb (and is very loose) is:

      1. Quick-click web petitions carry the lowest weight (those where one edits the content may have slightly higher weight if the recipient is actually filtering for that, not usually the case);
      2. Signed petitions;
      3. Signed form letters;
      4. Faxes;
      5. The hand-written letter, with postage stamp & via regular mail (again a very rough guess is that this get weighted about 100-fold more);

      That said, it depends on the recipient – a despot will have them all tossed out; a government official (in a democracy) may politely answer them or not and may ignore them in some cases (as any intern would indicate). For sure it is all political calculus, but that does mean it works sometimes.

      I’d say the initiative that surprised me the most was the effort by Enough to get conflict minerals certified (that is hugely more difficult than conflict diamonds). The US Dodd-Frank reform law – which requires firms to make efforts to audit their supply chains – was passed in 2010. I never thought it would even get into Congress let alone out (a court recently invalidated it so lots of back-and-forth to come). Anyway, one can never know what will get picked up, and so, yes, we need lots of people continuing pressure from various angles.

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