Sudan: Escalation in Darfur - 197,000 new refugees
Europe must show more commitment to peace (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has asked Europe to show more commitment to put an end to the war, to lawlessness and expulsion in the west of Sudan. On the occasion of the two-day visit of 16 EU ambassadors to Darfur, which starts on Wednesday, Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Africa-expert stated in Göttingen: “Anyone who aims to reduce the number of refugees from Africa arriving in Europe must show commitment to peace in Darfur. The almost forgotten conflict has now been going on for 14 years – and the country is increasingly characterized by arbitrariness, lawlessness, and violence: in 2016, a total number of 197,000 Darfuris were forced to flee from their villages. Above all, the civilian population in the west of Sudan needs more security, more police, and a trustworthy judiciary. Without initiatives to disarm the militias and to restore state order, there will neither be sustainable stability in Darfur – nor will it be possible to build up the country again.” During their visit to Sudan, the EU ambassadors will also focus on gathering information about development projects in the provinces of North and West Darfur.
In the five Darfur provinces, there are still about 2.6 million people on the run. About 1.6 million of these internally displaced persons are living in 60 camps – in catastrophic conditions, as the camps are usually under-supplied. All in all, 3.3 million people in Darfur are dependent on humanitarian aid, which means that more than half of Darfur’s population needs aid supplies to survive.
“After 14 years, the Darfur conflict appears to be almost forgotten. In the fields of media and politics, attention has shifted to other conflicts,” Delius said. “The United States and Europe are already trying to establish cooperations with the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir, although an international arrest warrant was issued against him for his involvement in the Darfur genocide.”While the EU plans to cooperate with Sudan regarding the refugee question, the US are interested in expanding the cooperation to combat Islamist terrorism.
Conflicts over land and resources are causing a steady increase in violence in the west of Sudan. In a report for the meeting of the World Security Council in January 2017, UN experts stated that the armed conflict currently only affects the region of the Jebel Marra mountains. “For the civilian population, however, the reality is quite far from that. For them, war and lawlessness are everywhere in Darfur. Militia groups – who were armed by the military forces – are involved in lootings and killings throughout the country, committing the most severe human rights crimes,” Delius said. Since November 2016, more than 50 Darfuris have been kidnapped by militiamen, several dozen women have been raped, and villages were arbitrarily looted.
Header Photo: UN Photos/Olivier Chassot via Flickr