- Bad news:
People are still dying in Darfur. And, the situation isn't getting any better
- Good news:
More people are becoming aware of Darfur.
Sudan is run by Islamic Arabs, but isn't an Arab country:
- Black 52%
- Arab 39%
- Beja 6%
- Foreigners 2%
- Other 1% 1
- Sunni Muslim 70% (in north)
- Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)
- Indigenous beliefs 25% 1
Since Darfur is still relatively unfamiliar, I thought it might be helpful to pull together a little of what's happening, and what led up to the current situation.
Darfur in the News This Week"U.N.: 100,000 more dead in Darfur than reported"
CNN (April 22, 2008)
- "... 300,000 are believed to have died in the tribal conflict in the past two years, said John Holmes, who also is the United Nations emergency relief coordinator.
"Holmes said that sexual violence has increased and that food allotments for civilians affected by the civil war will be halved in a few days."
- " 'Darfur today is still characterized by insecurity, lawlessness and impunity,' he said. 'A particularly worrying feature is evidence of high levels of sexual violence and exploitation in the northern corridor of west Darfur over the past two months.'
"This is shown by the increased number of women and girls seeking treatment after sexual brutality, Holmes said."
- "Six aid workers have been killed this year, and 42 humanitarian posts have been attacked.
"The supply line also is hurt by soaring food prices: The price of staples such as millet has doubled since April 2007, Holmes said.
"While expressing gratitude to the Sudanese government for improved cooperation under various agreements, Holmes said there still is no physical access to internally displaced persons and some other groups.
"He said he was 'saddened and angry' that after five years, there has been no lasting solution to the suffering."
FOXNews (April 22, 2008)
- "The conflict began in early 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated central government, accusing it of discrimination. Many of the worst atrocities in the war have been blamed on the janjaweed militia of Arab nomads allied with the government."
- "Darfur's main rebel chief said Tuesday he told Security Council representatives last month that no peace talks can be held until security is restored.
" 'Wrong negotiations will only complicate the matter and prolong the suffering of the people of Darfur,' Abdulwahid Elnur, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, told The Associated Press during an interview in Paris, where he lives in exile.
"When former U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland brought the Darfur conflict to the Security Council's attention in April 2004, he said approximately 750,000 people were in danger.
"Today, Holmes told the council, 'of Darfur's estimated 6 million people, some 4.27 million have now been seriously affected by the conflict.' "
- "The U.N. World Food Program announced last week that it will have to halve the amount of food provided to Darfur's needy next month because humanitarian convoys are being attacked. The cut "could not come at a worse time ... as the rainy season approaches," Holmes said.
"Egeland, the former U.N. humanitarian chief, estimated in 2006 that 200,000 people had lost their lives because of the conflict, from violence, disease and malnutrition. He said this was based on an independent mortality survey released in March 2005 by the U.N. World Health Organization.
" 'That figure must be much higher now, perhaps half as much again,' Holmes said Tuesday.
"Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed countered that 'in our own calculations, the total number does not exceed 10,000.'
"He said his government counts only people killed in fighting, saying there are no dead from malnutrition and starvation 'because in Darfur there is no epidemics, no starvations.' "
Maybe, Sunni or Shi'a, Islamic regimes that don't approve of the post-Magna Carta world have a common way of dealing with facts they don't like: pretend the facts aren't there.
Darfur: What's Happened in the Last Half-CenturyI found a somewhat more complete background at another website:
"Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese."
- First civil war ended, 1972
- Civil war broke out again, 1983
- More than 4,000,000 people displaced
- Rebels say 2,000,000 people died
- Peace talks with several signed accords, 2002-2004
- Final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005
- Granted southern rebels autonomy for six years
- Referendum for independence is to be held after those six years
- A different conflict broke out in the western region of Darfur, 2003
- Almost 2,000,000 people displaced in this conflict
- An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people died as a result of this second conflict
- Command of Darfur peacekeeping operation transferred from the African Union to the UN, December 31, 2007
- Peacekeeping troops struggling to stabilize the situation, early 2008
- The Darfur/Sudan mess is becomming increasingly regional
- Eastern Chad is becomming unstable
- Sudan has entered the Central African Republic
- Refugees, mostly from Ethiopia and Chad, entered Sudan
1 Unless otherwise noted, quotes and data are from "The World Factbook, Sudan," CIA