French NGO Charity Used “Save Darfur” Infrastructure to Kidnap Children
The French “humanitarian” charity NGO Zoe’s Ark (L’Arche de Zoé) involved in Chad and Darfur is under investigation by the United Nations, France and Chad for trafficking in black children in the widely under-reported “L'Arche de Zoé affair.”
Having discovered and criticized the affair, the Chadian President Idriss Déby is under attack for alleging “pedophilia” and “organ trafficking” and for arresting seventeen Europeans intercepted at an airport in Chad attempting to depart to France with 103 “Darfur orphans” aged six to ten. Some of the children were bandaged to suggest injuries that did not exist.
The Zoe’s Ark project began fundraising April 28, 2007 to “evacuate 10,000 orphans facing certain death” to France and the United States. Some 300 European’s paid 2000 Euros ($3450) each as “donations” toward logistics costs to receive an orphan. French news reports have said the group raised and spent 550,000 Euros on the operation.
After the airplane was intercepted before its departure to France the UN High Commission for Refugees determined the children “were living with their families in communities”—they were neither from Darfur nor were they orphans—and their health was not a serious concern.
Outraged Chadians on the border with Sudan had already been questioning the motives of scores of foreign aid groups that work with Darfur refugees. The few Western press articles that have covered this story have been very brief, and several complained that a “mob” of Chadian mothers were protesting, the unstated suggestion being that they were unruly misfits whose outrage and concern about affluent whites with security details child trafficking their children were unfounded.
International NGOs like Human Rights Watch were quick to jump all over President Idriss Deby, complaining that Chad routinely uses child soldiers in it's military ranks. The international press overwhelmed the issue of white Europeans trafficking in black children by flooding the market with stories about the hypocrisy of President Idriss Deby.
“These people treat us like animals,” President Deby said of the members of the association L'Arche de Zoé (Zoé's Ark). President Deby’s lapse in etiquette in speaking the unspeakable truth caused the attention to be shifted to Chad and the failure’s of its president.
The United Nations IRIN Relief Network news service echoed the widely published criticisms of President Deby. “The statements by President Déby and other Chadian officials about L'Arche de Zoé's treatment of children are hypocritical,” IRIN reported, “according to many aid workers including Chad researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), David Buchbinder.”
IRIN quoted the Human Rights Watch expert to say: “It's hard to take them seriously when they talk about children's welfare, when they're definitely not protecting children the way they should.”
The United Nations and other relief organizations initially denied all knowledge of the Zoe’s Ark NGO but the NGO was registered as an international charity with the U.N. Mission in Sudan.
In perfect synchronicity with the "Save Darfur" chorus, the Zoe’s Ark website today (www.archedezoe.fr/accueil.htm) lists 800,000 children “in mortal danger today who must be saved now!”