IDPs To Boycott US Envoy

Unless he changes his position and takes account of our demands, he is not welcomed in our camps because he does not consider us.

Those words were spoken by a representative of Darfur’s internally displaced persons, who have decided against meeting US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration when he visits their camps.

The IDPs feel that Gration has “ignored their demand for security” and refused to acknowledge Darfur for what it is – a humanitarian crisis.

Put simply by the representative –

It is better for President Obama to appoint someone else.

Many in the US agree with this view of Gration and what he has accomplished (or hasn’t accomplished). Several had high hopes when he was appointed. Now, many are left wanting more.

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China-Donated School Opens in Darfur

Yesterday, a primary school donated by the Chinese embassy in Sudan opened its doors in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. The school consists of 32 classrooms, 6 offices, 600 desks, and a football field.

The school, built by Chinese peacekeeping forces in Darfur during their spare time, was called “the best gift the local people have ever received”.

There are plans for 54 similar schools to open in the future.

Darfur War is “Over”?

According to a United Nations military commander, the war between Darfur and the Sudanese government has ended

Banditry, localized issues, people trying to resolve issues over water and land at a local level. But real war as such, I think we are over that.

Great news right? Not so fast.

I agree with Sudan analyst Gill Lusk in that, even if the war is “over”, the people of Darfur continue to be overwhelmed with other obstacles. The local issues mentioned by the military commander are very real and debilitating – and also include hardships such as a lack of food, shelter, and medical aid.

In the words of Lusk –

There has been a large decline in fighting in Darfur, and that is undoubtedly a good thing for the people…But it is the government that turns the tap on and off – they can restart the violence whenever they want.

So yes, the military commander’s words should make us happy, but do they mean we should close the chapter on Darfur? Absolutely not.

Darfur Sexual Abuse Unit Established

Darfur peacekeeping mission UNAMID plans to create a unit which will be “responsible for monitoring and reporting on investigations of crimes committed against women and children”.

UNAMID hopes that the unit will aid in “bringing justice to the victims”.

Rape has been used as a weapon of war in Darfur – physically and emotionally scarring countless innocent females. Some cases are reported. However, many are not.

The R2P Debate

The United Nations General Assembly recently debated the concept of “R2P” or the “responsibility to protect” – which describes “a nation-state’s duty to support and defend its population” to prevent atrocities such as genocide and ethnic cleansing from occurring.

The consensus is that there are three pillars supporting the idea of R2P –

  1. Responsibility of nation-states to protect their own people
  2. Responsibility of the international community to assist sovereign states in need
  3. Responsibility of the UN to use collective force when a nation-state fails to protect its own people.

Click here to read a great article discussing the R2P principle and the controversy that the third pillar often creates when it comes to current issues such as Darfur and the Congo.

Text Secretary of State Clinton

US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has asked for an “easing” of sanctions against the country.

Help the Enough project’s efforts to keep sanctions in place  –

Text Hillary Clinton at 90822 – “DO NOT END SUDAN SANCTIONS WITHOUT REAL PROGRESS”.

Darfur – Only “Remnants of Genocide”

What we see is the remnants of genocide.

Those words were spoken today by US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration whose recent trip to Darfur did not convince him that a genocide is TAKING place – only that a genocide TOOK place.

Gration also remarked that the humanitarian gap caused by Sudan’s expulsion of major aid groups in March has been “essentially closed”.

Perhaps Gration is simply trying to exhibit optimism. Perhaps he’s out to improve the image of Sudan.

Whatever the reason behind his words today, I’m left confused.

Just two days ago, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice called Darfur a present “genocide”. Less than two weeks ago, the man who appointed Gration, US President Barack Obama, referred to Darfur as a “genocide that’s taking place”.

How can people working together lack consensus on something like this? Yes, Darfur was a genocide in 2003. It was a genocide in 2006. And it is a genocide today. The means of carrying out the genocide may have changed but the motive is the same.