Sudan is the largest country in North Africa, that became an Independent country in 1960 and soon thereafter conflict aroused. Sudan is a drought prone country that has seen quite a few wars that have left the country in famine and misery. (Bradshaw, White, Dymond & Chacko, 2009). A region of western Sudan, Darfur, meaning land of the fur people, has been getting a lot of attention lately due to an ongoing armed conflict called Genocide.
The genocide, meaning, “deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group” (Merriam -Webster), has been ongoing for quite some time now, and has proved to be a deadly war. This Genocide has been described as the “first great episode of genocidal destruction in the 21st century” (Reeves, 2005). Discussion The genocide in Darfur began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) began attacking governments, accusing Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, of oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs (BBC News, 2010).
Most of the conflict in Darfur is between the Arab Muslim north and the black Christian and animistic south. Recently Arab Muslims controlled the government; however during the years of war Sudan’s economy has significantly weakened which has made it difficult for the government to assert any effective control over the war-torn country. Therefore the government relies on undisciplined troops and paramilitary groups to fight those that oppress them (Bradshaw, White, Dymond & Chacko, 2009).
Sudan has experienced constant civil war with only a brief ten-year pause since its independence in 1965. More than two million people have been killed and twice that many have been displaced in the long-running war between consecutive governments of north Sudan and the people of south Sudan. in Darfur the Sudanese government is destroying African Muslim communities because a few African Muslim have challenged Khartoum’s authoritarian rule. Darfur’s ethnic and racial identities have now also become part of the conflict (Colgan & Booker, 2004).
In early 2000’s armed conflict erupted between the government and non-Arabic tribes of western Sudan. To crush the rebellion the government armed local Arabic tribes who were moving into the western province, Darfur. This only angered the non-Arabic tribes even more and was a part of the cause of the rebellion. The armed individuals soon earned the nickname “Janjaweed”, meaning “devil on horseback with a gun”. These Janjaweed troops began terrorizing the local population, burning villages and raping women on behalf of the government.
International countries began labeling this as “genocide” just like the earlier war in Rwanda, Sudan (Bradshaw, White, Dymond & Chacko, 2009). Families are being uprooted and starved; children are being tormented, tortured and murdered by the thousands. Women are being raped without any punishment. Many people have become victim to unthinkable brutality and many are also becoming homeless and are seeking protection in refugee camps in Chad. The genocide in Darfur has claimed over 400,000 lives and displaced well over 2,500,000 people.
More than one hundred people continue to die every day and over five thousand people die every month (Andrews, 2005). The Janjaweed assaults, characteristically accompanied with the Khartoum’s military forces, including helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers, have been systematically destructing human life in Darfur. Man and boys are being killed, women and girls are being raped and/or abducting and all means of agricultural production are destroyed.
The Janjaweed and the military are abolishing thriving villages by burning buildings, poisoning water sources, tearing up irrigation systems, destroying food and seed stocks, cutting down fruit trees, and looting and killing cattle on an extremely massive scale, causing people to flee from these regions (Reeves, 2005). The Darfur Peace Agreement was signed May 5, 2006 by the rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Mini Menawi and the Sudanese Government. This agreement states that the Sudanese Government will disarm and demobilize the Janjaweed militia by mid-October.
It even sets up for a detailed phasing out schedule that will ensure the African Union will remove the Janjaweed and all other armed militia from Darfur. The people of Darfur can choose their leaders and determine their status as a region due to this agreement. Buffer zones were established around camps for the people that have been displaced and the Sudanese Government would provide $30 million in compensation to the victims of these many crimes (“Darfur peace agreement,” 2006).
However the Sudanese Government failed to keep this agreement. Unfortunately the country is divided across political and religious lines that are so deep rooted that it is highly unlikely that a peace resolution is in the future. It seems as though the civilized world is simply waiting for this deadly conflict to resolve itself without any aid from other countries, its rather distressing how others are ignoring this civil war. For years the UN has chosen to ignore this conflict and not take any action to help the citizens of Darfur.
The UN and AU have tried in the past to open new peace talks between Sudan and rebel groups after they failed to continue a 2006 agreement to end violence. The UN has admitted that they are late in helping the situation in Darfur but they hope to bring in a peacekeeping force in the near future (Lederer 2008). Conclusion In 2011 a new Darfur Peace Agreement, also known as Doha Agreement was signed in July between the government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement/rebels.
Included in this agreement is a compensation fund for the victims of the Darfur conflict and, allows the President of Sudan to appoint a Vice-President from Darfur and establish a new Darfur Regional Authority that will oversee the region until a vote can determine whether it should be permanent or not in the Republic of Sudan (Draft Darfur Peace Document, 2006). However this agreement is still new so it very well could become something of the past like the agreement of 2006. Hopefully for the sake of the refugees in Darfur this agreement will be followed through on both sides.