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Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called the Sudan government's militia activity in its Darfur region "genocide" yesterday. It marks a dramatic increase in pressure on the Sudan government to stop the attacks on largely Muslim blacks supported by the Arab Muslim government.

"When we reviewed the evidence compiled by our team," Mr. Powell said, "we concluded—I concluded—that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed [militia] bear responsibility."

Ten years ago, the United Nations and the U.S. government refused to call the murders of 800,000 of Rwandans genocide, in part because of legal ramifications. The Associated Press writes, "Under the genocide convention, the United Nations can take any action under its charter that it considers 'appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide,' Powell said. He urged the U.N. Security Council to approve a resolution that asks the United Nations to look into 'all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights that have occurred in Darfur.'" More than one million people have been displaced because of militia raids in the region.

The United Nations and the European Union are hesitant to use the term. "'We want to concentrate on keeping the government of Sudan engaged and not go down a path that could terminate that engagement,' said Munir Akram, the Pakistani ambassador [to the U.N.]. The Chinese ambassador, Wang Guangya, suggested that China might veto such a resolution," according to The New York Times.

"We have not discussed specifically the use of the word genocide,'' said European Union spokesman Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe. "We have noted that there is an extremely serious situation that ...

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Powell Calls Darfur Situation 'Genocide'
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September 2004

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