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5 June 2007

Barrett calls for urgent action over Darfur ‘genocide’

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called for tougher action against Sudan unless it allows a strong UN peacekeeping force into Darfur. Mr Barrett also attacked Tony Blair over his foreign policy legacy arguing that the Iraq invasion has made it more difficult for the international community to intervene in conflict zones like Darfur.

The Edinburgh West MP was speaking ahead of a special Commons debate on the continuing crisis in Darfur where more than 200,000 people have been killed in the last four years and around 4 million people – more than half Darfur’s entire population – are reliant on humanitarian aid.

The current African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur is struggling to halt widespread abuses and violence, but Sudan has repeatedly rejected plans for a stronger UN mission.

The Sudanese Government have been blamed for supporting and arming Arab militia groups who are responsible for systematic campaigns of violence, rape and torture against black Africans across the Darfur region.

John Barrett said:

“The situation in Darfur is now so dire that we can no longer pretend it is anything other than a full blown genocide, perpetrated by armed militia and supported by the Sudanese Government.

“We urgently need a strong UN force deployed to protect the people of Darfur. The current African Union force simply does not have the funding, manpower or technical support to do the job. The Sudanese Government can no longer be allowed to continually delay and disrupt deployment plans.

“One of the sad legacies of the Blair years is that the concept of justified humanitarian intervention no longer has any credibility after the disaster of Iraq.

“There can be no doubt that the unjustified invasion of Iraq has significantly weakened the hand of the UN and the international community when dealing with corrupt and tyrannical regimes like we have in Sudan.

“Because of the failings in Iraq the international community is now less willing to deliver a force with a strong mandate which is what is so desperately needed. We have to now accept that the people of Darfur a paying the price for our foreign policy failings”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.