Sudan's Darfur conflict


Map Of Sudan

Overview

In February 2003, in response to government neglect and a lack of development in the region of Darfur, the Sudanese Liberation Army, rebel group, attacked the Sudanese Air Force Base at El Fasher, North Darfur.

The Government of Sudan could not afford to have another rebellion when it was in peace talks with the South so it enlisted the help of the militias of poor Arab tribes, called the Janjaweed. The Sudanese government told the Janjaweed to wipe out the ethnic groups the rebels were from, marking the beginning of the genocide.

The destruction is systematic: the Sudanese Air Force would carpet-bomb a village in the morning, then the air campaigns would be followed by Janjaweed militia raids. The Janjaweed would murder the men, enslave and rape the women and children, loot the village, and set fire to the entire village.

Over 480,000 people have been killed through this conflict, and over 2.8 million people have been displaced.

In 2006, the Sudanese Government and two rebel groups entered peace talks. The talks led to the Darfur Peace Agreement. However, only one rebel group ended up signing it; moreover, all sides ended up violating the peace deal soon after.

Since then, Darfur’s rebel groups have splintered into dozens of different factions, with each one having its own leaders, army, interests, and demands, making the peace process even more difficult.

On March 4, 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for crimes against humanity and, in July 2010, a warrant for arrest on charges of genocide. However, the government of Sudan refuses to turn him over, and the Arab League and the African Union support al-Bashir, refusing to arrest him.

A UN Peacekeeping force, UNAMID, is currently in Darfur. However, it faces many challenges. For example, it is supposed to have 26,000 troops but only has 9,000. Also, it is under-funded, under-equipped, and under-trained. Moreover, since the DPA was unsuccessful, it has no real peace to keep.

In regards to other humanitarian groups, the Sudanese government has always limited humanitarian access to Darfur. On top of this, humanitarian aid workers are often targets of violence and raids, which prompt many organizations to leave Darfur.

Although Britain, France, and the US have been the most proactive about helping the situation in Darfur, China and Russia have blocked many United Nations resolutions in attempts to appease the Sudanese government. This is because they have economic incentives (such as selling Sudan weapons and buying Sudanese oil) for not stopping the conflict. Other countries being affected by the Sudanese conflict are Chad and the Central African Republic, as they are Sudan’s neighbors and have to bear the spillover of violence, refugees and rebel groups from Darfur, worsening their instability.

Possible Solutions

  • Boycotting Sudanese products/imposing an embargo on Sudan until the government either allows humanitarian organizations to stay or, even better, agrees to stop the aerial campaigns.
  • Pushing the United Nations Security Council to demand the government of Sudan allow humanitarian organizations to stay and/or stop the violence caused by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese Air Force.
  • Increasing the funding of UNAMID and the number of peacekeepers involved in Darfur.
  • Holding perpetrators of violence accountable, such as al-Bashir, by expanding U.S. and UN sanctions against those responsible for violence.

Citations

"Darfur Genocide." World Without Genocide. World Without Genocide, n.d. Web. 02 May 2015. <http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide>.

"Darfur: Background To The Conflict." Darfur Australia Network. Darfur Australia Network, n.d. Web. 2 May 2015. <http://www.darfuraustralia.org/darfur/background>.

Copnall, James. "Darfur Conflict: Sudan's Bloody Stalemate." BBC News. BBC, 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 May 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-22336600>.

Comment Stream