The Darfur Genocide
by: Aaron Castile 

Darfur is a region of far western Sudan, bordering the Central African Republic, Libya, and Chad. It is divided into three federal states within Sudan: Gharb Darfur (West Darfur), Janub Darfur (South Darfur), and Shamal Darfur (North Darfur) (Darfur Conflict, 2006). Darfur has an estimated population of 7.4 million people (Darfur Conflict, 2006).

During World War I, the British invaded Darfur to keep it from Turkish influence. In 1916, the British added Darfur to Sudan and under British rule, all financial and administrative resources of Darfur, and other outer regions were directed towards central Sudan (Darfur Conflict, 2006). In 1956 national independence was declared which caused political wars between Sudan, Libya and Chad. The ideology of Arab supremacy propagated by Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi led to first fighting amongst Darfuris in the mid-1980s (Darfur Conflict, 2006).The conflict continued for the next fifteen years, with the government co-opting and arming Arab militias(Darfur Conflict, 2006). 

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 after the Darfur Liberation Front rebel group began attacking government targets, saying the region was being neglected by Khartoum and the government is oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs (Sudan’s Conflict, 2006). The two rebel groups the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement that joined for a short while to fight against the Sudan government. The Sudan government is using the Janjaweed, a militia group of Arabs to fight against the rebel groups and target ethnic groups for killing and raping. The Sudanese government has denied having ties to the Janjaweed but has provided arms and assistance and has participated in joint attacks with the group to target the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups in Darfur (Darfur Conflict, 2006).

Sudan's government denies being in control of the Janjaweed and President Omar al-Bashir has called them "thieves and gangsters" (Sudan’s Conflict, 2006). The Human Rights Watch who claim have obtained copies of government documents that indicate a government policy of militia recruitment, support and impunity of the Janjaweed that has been implemented from high levels of the administration (Sudan: Government, 2004).

An estimated 400,000 have died and two million people displaced, the United Nations should follow the United States’ example and label the “Darfur Conflict” genocide so United Nation troops can enter Darfur. Currently about seven thousand African Union forces are stretched out in different regions Darfur to protect the people. The refugees who the AU are protecting say the forces do little or nothing to keep the refugees safe (de Montesquiou, 2006). The AU mandate expires later this year and the United Nation force will not be allowed to enter Darfur so the AU will extend their duty in Darfur. The Sudan Government has asked the AU force in Darfur to leave the region, also that “The AU have no right to transfer this assignment to the United Nations or any other party. This right rests with the government of Sudan.” (Darfur Conflict, 2006). In October the United Nations suspended their plans to reinforce the AU forces because of Sudanese opposition (Darfur Conflict, 2006). On October 13, 2006 George W. Bush strengthened the sanctions that would freeze oil related transactions with Sudan (Darfur Conflict, 2006).

Along with militarily forces the Sudan government has tried to use a peace agreement to stop the fighting. The Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in May of 2006 by the Sudan Liberation Movement. Only one group refused to sign the agreement because the group felt it did not protect the people and only dealt with some of the problems.  The agreement stated that the Janjaweed, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the other rebels would disband and join the Sudan army. The peace agreement lasted until July 2006 when the fighting renewed.

The AU forces and peace agreement solutions do not seem to work. The United Nations have to open their eye to see that thousands of people are suffering, dying, or already dead. UN rules state that if genocide is being committed then they are obliged to take action. Then the UN forces can enter Darfur and put an end to the genocide. Otherwise, the UN will not be allowed to enter because the Sudan government is responsible for the ethic cleansing. 

 

References

Darfur Conflict. (2006). Darfur Conflict. In Wikipedia [Web]. Retrieved 10/27,2006, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darfur_conflict

 Q&A: Sudan's Conflict. (2006, 10 3). BBC News,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3496731.stm

 (2004, May 7). Sudan: Government Commits ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Darfur. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from Human

Rights Watch Web site: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/05/07/darfur8549.htm

 de Montesquiou, Alfred (2006 Oct.. 11). African Union Force Ineffective, Complain Refugees in Darfur. Retrieved November 13, 2006, from Washingtonpost.com Web site: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/15/AR2006101500655.html?nav=rss_world