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US bishop says 'no question' Darfur violence is ethnic cleansing

After a visit to Sudan, the chairman of the US bishops' international policy committee has said there is "no question" that the killings in the Darfur region represent ethnic cleansing.

Florida Bishop John Ricard told Catholic News Service that the Sudanese government is engaged in a policy "to Arabise and Islamise the population".

"This clearly is an example of ethnic cleansing, no question," he said.

Bishop Ricard, who met with displaced persons in Darfur during a visit to Sudan at the beginning of this month, said a small contingent of African Union troops that arrived in Darfur in the past week will do little to protect civilians from further violence.

"The issue of persecution of these people is very real. They are still under attack by the Janjaweed militia or the government forces themselves," he said. "It's still very unsafe for them to return home."

The bishop said that refugees have reported being attacked by government aircraft once they return to their homes, so they are forced to flee again.

"Many of these people will surely die - children, old people - because they have nothing to go to; they have no protection," he said.

Bishop says 'no question' violence in Darfur is ethnic cleansing (Catholic News Service 17/8/04)

US bishops up efforts for Sudan (Catholic News Agency 17/8/04)
Bishops: Darfur threat to peace in South Sudan (Aid to the Church in Need 13/8/04)
Rwandan troops sent to Darfur (Sydney Morning Herald 15/8/04)
Darfur: Conflicting reports on upcoming negotiations (Missionary Service News Agency 13/8/04)
CAFOD Sudan Emergency Appeal reaches 2 million (CAFOD 6/8/04)
Catholic Mission continues its work in Sudan (CathNews 16/8/04)
Darfur Emergency Response
Caritas Australia Sudan Crisis Appeal

18 Aug 2004