The long, bloody, and brutal struggle in Darfur is poised to enter a new phase. A disparate group of rebels are banding together with the expressed goal of overthrowing the regime in Khartoum. Ban Ki Moon, though, is none too pleased. “U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Monday he condemns the reported establishment of the Sudan Revolutionary Front or SRF. He called on all sides to ‘refrain from the use of force’ and for Sudan and South Sudan to ‘recommit’ to negotiating a settlement on the issues that remain tense between them.The SRF includes Darfur’s most powerful rebel group — the Justice and Equality Movement and the two branches of Sudan Liberation Army. It also includes the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a branch of the rebel group that fought for the South during Sudan’s long north-south civil war. The group says it will use “civil political action and armed struggle” to overthrow Mr. Bashir’s National Congress Party. In a communique, the SRF says the Bashir government is weakening and will soon implode like what it calls other corrupt regimes in Africa.” (VOA http://bit.ly/vNSE9P)
Gimme the (Climate Change Adaptation) Loot!
Representatives from about 30 countries most vulnerable to climate change are meeting in Bangladesh this week to form a united front on a long-discussed, but never implemented, funding scheme to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change. “Delegates at a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference that starts Nov. 28 in Durban, South Africa, are to consider ways to raise $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund created last December to help countries cope with global warming. [Ban Ki Moon] told the opening session of a climate meeting in Bangladesh’s capital that the world should make a concerted effort to finance the fund. ‘Governments must find ways — now — to mobilize resources up to the $100 billion per annum pledged,’ he said. ‘An empty shell is not sufficient.’” (USA Today http://usat.ly/tG9MRv)
Another Potential Step Backwards for LGBT Rights in Africa
It’s not quite like Uganda’s “Kill the gays” law, but a proposed law banning same-sex partnerships in Nigeria could have a chilling effect on free speech and even HIV prevention efforts. “Rights groups in Nigeria fear a same-sex marriage bill being discussed in parliament could boost already prevalent discrimination against homosexuals. The bill goes much further than banning same-sex marriage; it threatens to ban the formation of groups supporting homosexuality, with imprisonment for anyone who ‘witnesses, abet[s] or aids’ same-gender relationships, and could lead to any discussion or activities related to gay rights being banned.Under a colonial-era law, sodomy is punishable by a 14-year jail sentence; and in the country’s mainly Muslim northern states, where a version of Shar’ia law applies, the penalty is death by stoning, although this has never officially been carried out. The National Assembly began debating the latest version of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill in November. Most high-ranking officials have voiced their approval of the bill, signalling it is likely to pass.” (IRIN http://bit.ly/umYRw4)