Is Darfur A Genocide?

An article in today’s LA Times written by Edmund Sanders questions whether or not the situation in Darfur is a “genocide” – by the term’s legal definition.

Sanders’ piece is controversial and provocative – showing us just how powerful the “G-word” can be.

I firmly believe that the Darfur crisis is a genocide – without question. However, I also agree with Darfur advocate John Prendergast –

Well-meaning scholars can disagree, but the debate is a crushing diversion from what we need to do to find a solution.

People can bicker back-and-forth all they want about whether Darfur is or is not a genocide. But, how is that helping the situation on the ground?

Millions of people struggle to survive without food, water, and medical supplies while we question just how bad their situation is? Unacceptable.

Click here to read the legal definition of “genocide” – and decide for yourself.

26 Million Strangers in Their Own Homes

According to a European aid organization, there were 26 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2008.

IDPs differ from refugees because, although they flee their homes, they do not cross any borders. Sadly, they are homeless in their homeland.

Three countries account for approximately 45% of the IDPs – Sudan (4.9 million displaced), Colombia (2.7 – 4.4 million displaced), and Iraq (2.8 million displaced).

According to UN humanitarian chief John Holmes –

The IDPs are the real human face very often of conflict and disaster…the scale at the moment is horrific…the physical and psychological suffering that people go through in this situation cannot be underestimated…too often, I think, they are the forgotten remnants of crises.

Protecting Darfur’s Women

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

African Union – UN hybrid peacekeeping mission UNAMID has teamed up with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to push a new initiative aimed at empowering the women of Darfur.

Efforts will go towards achieving gender equality – both politically and economically – and putting an end to sexual and gender-based violence.

It is important for us to note that women empowerment in Darfur also means girl empowerment as several of the victims of rapes, beatings, and discrimination have yet to even reach adulthood.

UNAMID Delivers Exams to Darfur Schools

News coming out of Darfur has been pretty dire recently (and rightly so given the current situation). With story after story of violence and suffering, it is hard to imagine that any “good” is taking place in the region.

However, there is “good” in Darfur. Consider this –

Today, UNAMID airlifted examination supplies to various secondary schools located in North Darfur. The supplies will be used for national certificate examinations which are held throughout the country.

Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the schools receiving the supplies are lacking resources of another kind. It is also highly likely that the students attending the schools are lacking appropriate nutrition, shelter, and medical care. How exactly is one supposed to perform well on an exam with one’s survival in question?

So, yes, there is “good” in Darfur. Just not nearly enough.

South Sudan Preparing for Darfur Refugees?

Photography Courtesy of Stop Genocide Now

Photograph Courtesy of Stop Genocide Now

With critical aid groups expelled from Darfur, many believe that it is only a matter of time before refugees head south.

The UN and the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) are preparing for a possible mass influx of Darfur internally displaced persons seeking food, water, shelter, and other assistance.

Problem is, South Sudan has issues of its own. Already, thousands of DRC refugees call South Sudan home after fleeing their country due to attacks by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army.

Simple logic – when the number of humanitarian groups present decreases, the amount of aid decreases. Yet the number of people in need of support continues to grow.

Stop Genocide Now LA Event

As many of you know, several humanitarian organizations have been kicked out of Sudan – leaving millions of Darfuris without food, water, shelter, and medical care. And, to make matters worse, the region’s rainy season is quickly approaching.

So, what can you do about this?

Jewish World Watch, Stop Genocide Now, and HOPE invite OC4D members to make a permanent presence in front of the federal building in Los Angeles this weekend and into next week – calling for action by the US, UN, and EU.

Click here to learn more about the event – including the exact location, dates, and times.

Bashir Indictment: The Days After

A lot is going on right now in Darfur and Sudan overall. Here are some highlights – 

The UN Security Council remains undivided about a response to Sudan’s expulsion of aid groups.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, believes the expulsion will leave Darfur aid “irrevocably damaged” yet the Sudanese government maintains that its decision is “irrevocable“.

Khartoum has accused the aid groups of being “thieves” and “messing up everything as far as stability and security in Darfur”.

Despite the issuance of an arrest warrant for him, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir remains defiant. Less than 24 hours after his indictment, Bashir was seen smiling and dancing in the streets with supporters.

Displaying indifference to the ICC’s decision, Bashir uttered these words –

The true criminals are the leaders of the United States and Europe…one day we will take them to justice.

Bashir traveled to Darfur Sunday, where he delivered a strict warning to diplomatic missions in Sudan –

If anyone goes further than the rule of the country, we will kick them out directly.