Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Remember Darfur

orgotten twenty-first century genocide. This is how Daowd Salih, founder of the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy in Sudan, referred to the current situation in Darfur. Since February 2003, Darfur, a western Sudanese region, has suffered intense conflicts affecting an estimated five million citizens. Although the United Nations initially paid substantial attention to this region, in recent years there has been an undeniable abatement of active intervention, foreign mediation and media attention in Darfur. The conflict commenced in early 2003, when rebel groups in Darfur revolted against the central government, decrying its negligence in the region. The groups claimed that the policies of the repressive government in Khartoum had done little to solve the chronic food shortage in the west. Many in Darfur believed this abandonment was the result of a deep-rooted ethnic divide. High poverty rates plagued the region, which has scarce access to water and other resources. Therefore, when nomadic ‘Arab’ tribes moved into the area to graze their herds, the settled ethnic ‘African’ farmers were angered. Salih says that the central Arab government in Khartoum did little to intervene in the conflicts that ensued between these groups because they consider the ‘African’ citizens an inferior race to their ‘Arab’ counterparts. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Horror and hope in Darfur

The hunger, sorrow, pain, fear, deprivation, hopelessness, despair and terror the people of Darfur in western Sudan endure every day have been brought to the stage in Uganda. The dance performance, is a fusion of dance, music, and video titled The Power of Hope, was staged at the National Theatre in Kampala on February 15. It was dedicated to the people of Darfur and to all those who are oppressed and refuse to be beaten. In the production, the Darfurians are trapped in a net from which they are struggling to escape. Women and girls are seen taking long journeys in the dry seasons to fetch water, afraid of what will befall them. They later celebrate the coming of the rains. Armed men attack villages and the cries of women and children are heard. The Power of Hope, is about the resilient spirit of Darfurians, one that will not be broken. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Darfur: Severe Food Shortages in North Darfur

Malha — The Minister of agriculture for North Darfur, Howa Suleiman announced severe food shortages in the north-eastern parts of the state. Suleiman named the localities of Malha, Kuma, Melit, Dar el Salaam and Kilimondo as especially affected. In an interview with Radio Dabanga the Minister said there is a deficit of 120,000 tonnes of grain, primarily millet, for humans and animals alike, with many fleeing the area to search for food. She attributed the crop deficit to a lack of rain during the planting season. The state governor Mohammed Yousuf Kibir and the World Food Programme have both reported North Darfur as one of the most affected states by food shortages. Separately, the Minister denied there is any corruption involved in the state's Abu Hamra agricultural project, despite the fact that citizens of the area have seen no benefits in 30 years. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Darfur Women Take on Hard Labour

Across the Darfur region of western Sudan, female workers weighed down by heavy buckets are a common sight on building sites. The work is arduous and the pay pitiful, but many women in Darfur have no other way of earning a living. “This work is very hard,” said Aisha (not her real name), who works on a construction site in Nyala. “Most days, we stay on the site from six in the morning to six at night without eating anything. We drink water perhaps once or twice a day. Anything we do eat is taken out of what we are paid.” Khadeja, another construction worker in Nyala, said, “We earn two Sudanese pounds [about half a US dollar] each day and sometimes we don’t even get that. There are men working with us, but they earn five Sudanese pounds or more. We asked if we could be paid the same as men, but our employers refused.” The strenuous work often has serious health repercussions. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Amnesty: imported arms fueling Darfur conflict

Amnesty: imported arms fueling Darfur conflict (AP) – 7 hours ago NEW YORK (AP) — Weapons from China, Russia and Belarus are fueling the nine-year-old conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, Amnesty International said in a report late Wednesday. The human rights group said arms manufactured and supplied from the three countries — "or evidence of their use" — have been found in Darfur and other conflict areas including South Kordofan near the border with newly independent South Sudan. The report documents how China, Russia and Belarus continue to supply weapons and munitions to Sudan despite what Amnesty said is "compelling evidence that the arms will be used against civilians in Darfur." It said exports include significant quantities of ammunition, helicopter gunships, attack aircrafts, air-to-ground rockets and armored vehicles. Amnesty said the report highlights the urgent need for effective controls by the United Nations over the flow of arms. The 29-page report was released a week before the U.N. Security Council considers existing sanctions against Sudan. U.N. member states are also to resume talks next week on an arms trade treaty. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, February 03, 2012

A diplomat, a dictator, a wedding, a hug: Ibrahim Gambari's faux-pas that wasn't

Advice to aspiring diplomats: Don’t hug war criminals, and especially don’t be photographed hugging them. That’s what happened to Ibrahim Gambari, the UN’s man in Darfur, when he ran into Sudan’s President Bashir at a glitzy wedding in Khartoum. But here’s the thing: hugs and socialising are part of diplomacy, and might be what’s needed to keep the faltering peace process going. By SIMON ALLISON. It was a sweltering night in Khartoum, as they all are, but that didn’t stop the very select group of guests from donning their finest for the occasion. Amani Musa Hilal, the bride, looked radiant in her white, western-style dress, and the exclusive Rotana Hotel was decked out (and in security lock-down) for her nuptials. Conspicuous by his absence was her husband-to-be, a certain Idriss Deby, the 60-year-old President of Chad. But he does have a country to run and the beautiful Amani is merely another addition to his stable of wives. But to make sure the wedding lost none of its glamour, another president was in attendance. Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir, the only sitting head of state ever to have been charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court, didn’t look too concerned about the accusations hanging over his head as he danced and partied. Nor did he seem worried about the breakdown in relations with South Sudan, his government’s severe financial difficulties, the impending famine in certain border states or the smouldering rebellions in various parts of his country. In fact, he was positively beaming when he was photographed with one of the special guests, Ibrahim Gambari. Gambari is head of Unamid, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur. His job is to mediate a solution between the various actors in that nasty little conflict, and do what he can to keep the very tenuous peace. His job is most certainly not to fraternise with its main antagonists. Involved in this particular party were three of them. Bashir, his foreign minister, Abduraheem Hussein and the bride’s father, the infamous Musa Hilal, known as the leader of the Janjaweed militias, which were directly responsible for much of the killing in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Famine in Darfur

By admin On January 28, 2012 · Leave a Comment · In World Famines ....Authors: Joanna Mieczkowska and Dominika Iszczek World Information Transfer UN Intern, fall 2011 Overview In Duran about 2 million people have been displaced by war that began in 2003. This conflict caused problems with trade and markets, severely affecting people’s livelihoods. An increase in conflict in the Abyei area and in the state of South Kordofan displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Strained livelihoods are major concerns and many households are food insecure. In 2004, Darfur, Sudan was described as the “world’s greatest humanitarian crisis” due to conflict. Twenty years previously, Darfur was also the site of a disastrous famine. Darfur is affected by sporadic tribal conflict and poor rainfall, resulting in sudden market fluctuations, livelihood changes and displacement. Seasonal food shortages (hunger gaps) combined with drought are highly dangerous. In West Darfur, 69% out of the 1.3 million population of the state are depending on monthly rations of the general food distribution. The May 2010, West Darfur Food Security Monitoring Survey reported that the cost of a minimum healthy food basket has increased 14% between February and May 20101 The November 2009 West Darfur Food Security Monitoring results indicated a significant deterioration in the food security situation as majority of IDPs (80%) and mixed communities (65%) was moderately food insecure.1 Food Security and Livelihood Assessment2 Started in 2004 Assess the food security and livelihood situation of displaced populations and rural communities and their access to food security assistance and other services. Ran by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FINDINGS: In recent years, the percent of food insecure households has decreased but it was still a staggering 45% in 2008 (1.7 million people). Involvement Improvements: Access to clean water in 2007 stood at 76% (Darfur Food Security and Nutrition Assessment 2007), while 3 million conflict-affected people had access to basic health services (UNICEF reports). Under-five mortality rates have fallen over the last four years from 1.03 in 2004 to 0.67 in 2007 (Darfur Food Security and Nutrition Assessments 2004-2007). Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, February 02, 2012

U.N. Chief for Darfur Attends Celebration Hosted by Top Janjaweed Leader” (Enough Project, February 1, 2012)

by Eric Reeves In March 2004 the U.N.’s IRIN news service reported on the events of the previous month near Tawila in North Darfur. It was a brutal episode, but there would be many hundreds more such: “In an attack on 27 February 2004 in the Tawilah area of northern Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 people killed and over 200 girls and women raped—some by up to 14 assailants and in front of their fathers who were later killed. A further 150 women and 200 children were abducted.” Eight years later, events of a rather different sort were transpiring. The man who had been presiding over the slaughter of civilians in the Tawila area, Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, was now presiding over the wedding of his daughter to the Chadian President Idriss Déby (January 20, 2012). There were a number of ironies in this wedding, including the fact that Déby is a member of the non-Arab Zaghawa tribe, the same ethnic group that has been slaughtered in horrific fashion in places such as Tawila and elsewhere in Darfur. But more than ironic, indeed deeply perverse, was the presence at this wedding party of the U.N./African Union Special Representative to the peacekeeping force in Darfur known as UNAMID: Nigeria’s Ibrahim Gambari. Newswire photographs have appeared that show Gambari in attendance, indeed chatting it up with the leader of the Khartoum regime, President Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir’s presence was both predictable and in its grim way appropriate: It was his regime that had released Hilal from prison (he was serving time for serious felony convictions) and put him to work[LH1] creating militias from his Um Jalal and other Arab tribal groups in North Darfur. The Khartoum regime provided him with weapons, logistics, intelligence, and most important, protection. His instructions were clear: destroy the non-Arab people of Darfur. The Janjaweed, now often recycled into other paramilitary or “police” forces, have continued their brutal predations, if now on a lesser scale; they also continue to enjoy complete impunity, total protection from international justice efforts. So we know why Bashir was at the wedding. But why was Gambari there, photographed in animated conversation with Bashir? Why would he attend the wedding festivities for the daughter of a man linked in all credible human rights reporting on North Darfur with the very worst atrocity crimes—in fact, responsible for directing these crimes? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>