"…As we utterly condemn those responsible for the slaughter, we recall the chilling words of edmund Burke that ‘the only thing that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’. For it is to the shame of the international community that this evil took place under our noses, and we did nothing like enough. I bitterly regret this, and I am deeply sorry for it."Thus runs an excerpt from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s recent address marking the tenth anniversary of the massacre in July 1995 at Srebrenica, Bosnia. The irony is merciless; given a decade, and continued inaction over genocide in darfur, western Sudan, Straw will repeat these words.The Foreign Secretary is, no doubt, a man of sincere intentions. At the Labour Party conference he promised to put the UN resolution passed at September’s World Summit on the "Responsibility to Protect" against victims of crimes against humanity and genocide, at the heart of British foreign policy. He referred to those murdered in Rwanda and Srebrenica that would have been saved had a "Responsibility to Protect" policy been implemented at that time. But the Foreign Secretary did not refer to darfur. In the size of Iraq, 300,000 non-Arab Africans have died since early 2003 and two million people continue to languish, starve and die, trapped in dangerous refugee camps, completely reliant on humanitarian aid and vulnerable to Arab militia attacks at night. The Government of Sudan has sponsored and supported locally recruited Arab militias to rid the land of non-Arabs and corral them in the camps. The devout Muslim communities in the camps now suffer from diseases and a batch of social problems new to these people, including alcoholism and sexual abuse. Straw’s neglect to mention the genocide – descriptive of Foreign Office policy towards the Sudanese government – is nothing short of acquiescence in fiction, evasion of reality. Britain and the international community continue to accept the lie that the African Union (AU) can provide protection for civilians and humanitarian aid workers in What a convenient motto "African solutions to African problems" has been to avoid action. The reality is that insecurity and lack of protection puts hundreds of thousands of innocent lives at risk over the coming months. Although the 6,000 troop African Union Mission in Sudan has been effective where it operates, its half-baked observer mandate and wholesale lack of resources prevent it from attaining any potency. The nations that comprise the AU are certainly not displaying the political will necessary to reach its target of 12,000 AMIS troops in spring 2006. The UN has recently been compelled to withdraw all non-essential staff from western A recent attack on the Aro Sharow refugee camp forced 4,000-5,000 innocent civilians to flee; at least 34 were killed. Insecurity now blocks access to "around 650,000 refugees in South and West darfur" according to UN officials. Reuters noted, "British aid agency Oxfam said it could not access any of its West darfur camps by road and were concerned fuel for water pumps could run out, leaving tens of thousands of refugees without access to water."The recent report of Juan Mendez, UN Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Genocide Prevention, noted: "There has been no visible effort by the Government of Sudan to disarm the [Janjaweed] militia or hold them to account in accordance with past agreements, including the N’djamena Agreement, the Abuja Protocols, and Security Council resolutions."Darfur continues to be ignored not only at the international level but at Sudan’s internal peace accords over the two-decade north-south civil war. Sudan is a key provider of anti-terrorist information to the US, and over half of Sudan’s huge revenue from oil comes from China. The recent blockage from the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, of Juan Mendez’s report to the UN on is particularly telling of a hard US determination not to act.It is now blatantly and brutally obvious that something must change. The international community must face the reality in and do the politically unpalatable: it must protect darfur’s African men, women and children. Aegis Trust, joined by many other organisations and politicians, proposes that the UN must work with the African Union to bolster the AMIS force to at least 12,000 immediately. The UN must propose a peace enforcement mandate for AMIS. This stronger mandate would send a huge political signal that the international community is serious about "Responsibility to Protect".Once security is provided and a dramatic increase in pressure is brought to bear on Sudan’s government, the nation may have a chance of peace. Belief in fiction in order to avoid fundamental responsibilities is utterly unacceptable. "Good men" like Jack Straw are key players who can make a difference if they choose to face the realities of 21st century genocide. In British foreign policy, as in the United Nations and African Union, protection of human life must take a towering precedence over considerations of strategic interest.Jonathan Bower is President of the Oxford Aegis Society  ARCHIVE: 5th week MT 2005