Stop Targeting Civilians With Chemical Weapons

Target: Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Goal: Investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Darfur.

According to multiple witnesses and victims, in the last year the Sudanese government has launched at least 30 chemical weapons attacks against civilians in the remote Jebel Marra region of Darfur. These attacks have resulted in an estimated 200 deaths, most of them children. Witnesses report being attacked by bombs that produced white, green, or blue smoke and the smell of chloride and sulfates. Photographic evidence, and accounts from caregivers show children covered with extensive burns, sores, and blisters and tell of children vomiting blood, respiratory failure, and blindness. Many of the survivors lack access to adequate medical care.

Over more than a decade of conflict in Darfur, there have been numerous allegations of war crimes. These most recent allegations come amidst an eight-month military campaign fought by the Sudanese government and allied militias which has seen 171 villages razed. Given that the Sudanese government’s alleged complicity in these attacks, any investigation into this matter poses a clear conflict of interest. Demand the African Union open an investigation into allegations of chemical weapons use against civilians in Darfur.


Dear Chairperson Zuma,

I was disturbed to read the Amnesty International report concerning the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Jebel Marra, Darfur. Reportedly there have been 30 such attacks resulting in over 200 deaths, most of them children. Symptoms have included blindness, miscarriage, the vomiting of blood, respiratory difficulties, lesions, boils, and burns. The consistent nature of the numerous reports compiled by Amnesty International leads me to believe that the reports are credible.

As you no doubt know, as a member of the African Union Sudan has previously committed to the non-proliferation and non-use of chemical weapons. Therefore, the alleged deployment of chemical weapons against civilians is both a war crime and a violation of their duties as a member of the community of African states.

Given the clear conflict of interest in this matter, I believe it is critical that the African Union take a leadership role in investigating this matter. I urge you to ask President Omar Al-Bashir for the authority to investigate these allegations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: World Without Genocide

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