The Darfur Conflict in Sudan
By: Brenden Black
Just a glimpse... (Intro and Background)
Darfur is a region in the African nation of Sudan that is approximately the size of France (United). It is in the western part of Sudan, bordering Libya, Chad, and the Central African Republic. Nearly six million people and one hundred tribes call it their home (United). Some of these people are nomads and some are farmers, but they are all Muslims. In 1989, General Omar Bashir took control of the country using military force (United). As a result, tension among the country's natives has been high. In 2003, two rebel groups took up arms against the government, complaining of their lack of political power and the government's failure to protect its citizens from raiding nomads (United). These groups are known as the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) (United). In response, the government employed Arab militias, also known as Janjaweed. This directly translates to "devils on horseback" (Xavier). Ever since, war has plagued this land and resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.
Darfur's conflict is very complex in nature. The entire rebellion did not get into full swing until the people of Darfur were neglected by the government and attacked by the Janjaweed. As the uprisings began, the rebels seemed to find similarities between themselves and their fellow comrades, despite the fact that they came from different regions and even different countries (Xavier). Their will to fight for freedom and justice united them. Upon the initial uprisings, the government employed Arab nomads to act as mercenaries and to fight the rebels on their home turf in Darfur (Xavier). These mercenaries are known as the Janjaweed. In return for their service to the government, the nomads were promised the land that they ran the Darfur people off of (Xavier). The main cause of village destruction are the Janjaweed (Xavier). However, the international community is hesitant to take action. Even though Sudan is clearly violating international law, it would take lots of time and money to have any effect on the situation (United).
This conflict has turned into a genocide. Over 400,000 people have been systematically killed and over 2,5000,000 displaced (Xavier). On average, just over one hundred people die each day, totaling about 5,000 each month (United). The Sudanese government disputes these statistics and denies any relations with the Janjaweed (United). The Sudanese government appears unwilling to address the human rights crisis in the region and has displayed inadequate efforts in restricting the activities of the Janjaweed. In June 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched investigations into human rights violations in Darfur, however the government of Sudan refused to cooperate (United). In March 2009, President Omar Bashir became the first sitting president to be accused by the ICC for coordinating an operation of mass killing, rape, and theft against the civilians in Darfur (United). The innumerable problems facing Sudan cannot be resolved until peace is secured in Darfur. According to UN estimates, 2.7 million Darfuris remain in refugee camps (Xavier). Resolving the Darfur conflict is not only imperative for the people of Darfur, but also for the future of Sudan and the stability of the entire region.
Although no official proposals have been made to resolve the Darfur conflict, I believe that there are many ways to end this genocide. One way would be to send troops in to remove Bashir from power and to restore order to the country. Another way would be to use military threats to scare the government into stopping their actions. However, these plans are much easier said than done. Sending troops to the region might outrage the international community as well as some Americans who don't think the conflict is worth American lives. Also, many consequences might arise from getting involved in this situation. These include terrorist attacks and other radical actions that might hurt our country at home. This is why no one has taken on the responsibility of ending this massacre. Even though this genocide should be stopped, the UN and its countries are too afraid to take action.
I fear that this conflict is far from its end. It has claimed millions of lives and has resulted in a near extermination of the region. I fear that this conflict will only end when all the people of Darfur are either killed or ran off. This can only happen if nobody takes action. If strong countries join together, the matter could be resolved. This genocide has gone on long enough, and doesn't need to see the light of tomorrow.
United Human Rights Council. “Genocide in Darfur”. United Human Rights. 2014 Web.
10 March 2014.
Xavier, John. Darfur: African Genocide. New York, NY. Rosen Publishing Group. 2008. Print.