Informal allegations that world leaders are cowards because they have not put the bitter suffering in Western Sudan first on their summit itinerary are well sign-posted.
French photographer Helene Coux’s exhibition at Lisbon’s main Gare do Oriente square is timed to coincide with the media-grabbing political event.
Coux said: “It is crucial to bring through the pictures attention to the plight of the people in Darfur. I think the wider public, you, me anybody in the streets in Lisbon or in other european capitals has to know what it is happening in Darfur and the pictures are one way to show it.”
A UN Security Council resolution authorises a United
Nations-African Union mission in Darfur to start in January. But Sudan has imposed restrictions on the force’s movements and refused non-African troops.
A Portuguese member of non-governmental organisations working in Darfur, Father Leonel, says the effort hasn’t proved very impressive:
“We’re less than a month away from deployment and almost nothing’s been done. We don’t know who will lead, who will supply the troops, who will furnish the equipment or who will back this force with economic aid. We’re almost at square one. We want the European governments to do something at this summit.”
Salih Mahmoud Osman is in Lisbon. The European Parliament has honoured the Sudanese lawyer with its Sakharov Prize for defending victims of torture in his country.
Coux’s photos show a civil war zone where an estimated 200,000 individuals have died of sickness, starved to death or been violently killed.
Experts say more than two million have been driven from their homes.