Back in 2007, Amnesty International launched a ground breaking website, Eyes on Darfur, which showcased satellite evidence of attacks on villages in Darfur. The images demonstrated the ongoing insecurity in the region and the destruction and violence civilians are confronted with on a daily basis. The site also broke new ground by allowing the world to literally “watch over” 12 villages that were determined to be highly at risk but that had not yet been attacked.
Just a few weeks ago, we updated the satellite images on the Eyes on Darfur site and found that sadly, several of these at-risk villages have been attacked and at least partially destroyed. We were able to document that between January 2008 and March 2009, four of these villages were subject to attacks by Janjawid militias and Sudanese government forces, which destroyed many of the structures in those villages.
These satellite images show that there is still much work to be done to ensure peace and justice for the people of Darfur. In addition to providing greater security and humanitarian assistance for people residing in Darfur and eastern Chad, it is also important to end the culture of impunity in Sudan by ensuring that its president, Omar al Bashir, is arrested and surrendered to the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest back in March.
Tomorrow, the United States will be attending the Assembly of State Parties, the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC, in The Hague as an observer. This is a very positive sign, indicating renewed US interest in international justice and a possible future US ratification of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding document. But US involvement cannot stop here.
Act now to urge the US government to continue supporting the ICC’s important work and to pledge to arrest and surrender Sudanese President al Bashir to the ICC if he were to be found on US soil.