DARFUR CRISIS (SUDAN)

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Scholarship Description:

DARFUR CRISIS (SUDAN) is open for . The scholarship allows level programm(s) in the field of taught at . The deadline of the scholarship is .

Summary

The ongoing crisis in Darfur Province in western Sudan has raised serious concerns
about a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated one million people displaced and
more than 140,000 people forced into neighboring Chad. There are no reliable estimates
of the number of people killed as a result of the conflict. The government of Sudan has
denied or severely restricted access to relief officials in Darfur. Some observers and U.S. officials estimate that between 10,000-30,000 people have been killed over the past
twelve months. U.S. officials assert that an estimated 320,000 could die by the end of
2004 irrespective of the international response. This report will be updated as
developments warrant.
The Crisis in Darfur

Background. The crisis in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel groups
emerged to challenge the National Islamic Front (NIF) government in Darfur. The Sudan
Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) claim that the
government of Sudan discriminates against Muslim African ethnic groups in Darfur. The
government of Sudan dismisses the SLA and JEM as terrorists. The conflict pits the three
African ethnic groups, the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit, against nomadic Arab ethnic
groups. Periodic tensions between the largely African-Muslim ethnic groups and the Arab inhabitants of Darfur can be traced to the 1930s and most recently surfaced in the 1980s.
Successive governments in Khartoum have long neglected the African ethnic groups in
Darfur and have done very little to prevent or contain attacks by Arab militias against
non-Arabs in Darfur.1 Non-Arab groups took up arms against successive central
governments in Khartoum, albeit unsuccessfully. In the early 1990s, the NIF government,
which came to power in 1989, began to arm Arab militias and disarm the largely African
ethnic groups.
The Current Crisis
At the core of the current conflict is a struggle for control of
resources. The largely nomadic Arab ethnic groups often venture into the traditionally
farming communities of Darfur for water and grazing, often triggering armed conflict
between the two groups. Darfur is home to an estimated 7 million people and has more
than 30 ethnic groups, although these groups fall into two major categories: African and
Arab. Both communities are Muslim, and years of intermarriages have made racial distinctions impossible. Fighting over resources is one of several factors that has led to
intense infighting in Darfur over the years. Many observers believe that the NIF
government has systematically and deliberately pursued a policy of discrimination against
and marginalization of the African communities in Darfur, and has given support to the
Arab militia to suppress non-Arabs, whom it considers a threat to its hold on power. In
2000, with the ouster of the founder of the NIF, Hassan al-Turabi, and a split
within the
Islamist Movement, the government imposed a state of emergency and used its new
authority to crack down on dissidents in Darfur. By 2002, a little known self defense force of a largely Fur-dominated group emerged as the SLA, challenging government forces in Darfur.
With the NIF regime internally in turmoil and mounting international pressure to end
the North-South conflict, the SLA and JEM were able to gain the upper hand in the initial
phase of the conflict against government forces in early 2003, and appear well prepared
and armed. The rebels also enjoyed the support of the local population as well as officers
and soldiers in the Sudanese army. A significant number of senior officers and soldiers
in the Sudanese armed forces comes from Darfur. The SLA benefitted from outside
support, including from fellow Zaghawa in Chad and financial support from Darfur
businessmen in the Persian Gulf. The government of Sudan has accused Eritrea and the
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) of providing support to the SLA.
The government of Sudan also accuses the founder of the NIF, Hassan al-Turabi, of
having links with JEM. Some observers say that Turabi, through his supporters, provides
political and financial support to JEM. In late March 2004, Turabi, along with a number
of senior army officers, was arrested. The government claimed that Turabi was behind
an attempted coup, although officials in Khartoum seemed to back away from that claim
by mid-April 2004.
The Military Campaign and Human Rights Abuses In mid-2003,
the
government of Sudan significantly increased its presence in Darfur by arming the Arab
militia, the Janjaweed, and by deploying the Popular Defense Force (PDF). The
Janjaweed, under the direction of regular government forces, reportedly unleashed a
campaign of terror against civilians.2 The Arab militia engaged in what United Nations
officials described as “ethnic cleansing” of the African ethnic groups of Darfur. Men
have been summarily executed, women have been raped, and more than 100,000 have
been forced into exile in neighboring countries.3 In early February 2004, the government
launched a major military offensive against the rebel forces, and by mid-February 2004,
President Omar Bashir, in a nationally televised speech, declared that the security forces
had crushed the SLA and JEM, and offered amnesty to the rebels.

The forceful expulsion of the mainly African ethnic groups from their homes was
done in a deliberate, sequenced, and systematic way, according to a briefing paper on the
Darfur crisis by the Office of U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan.
The report describes the mechanisms used to cleanse the area of non-Arabs by “total
disengagement of administration and suspension of all government services.” These
include suspending most government functions, including payment of salaries to
government workers, and abandoning basic government services, such as health care and
law enforcement. According to the United Nations, once government officials leave
these communities, the people are then accused of being rebel sympathizers and are
targeted by government militias. The Janjaweed burn villages, loot the properties of the
non-Arabs, abduct children, rape women, and prevent people from returning to their
homes.4
Negotiations and the Cease-Fire Agreement

In September 2003, the government of Sudan and the SLA signed a cease-fire agreement mediated by President Deby of Chad. The agreement collapsed in December 2003. In early April 2004, the government of Sudan and the SLA/JEM agreed to a cease-fire and political dialogue to peacefully
resolve the conflict. The government of Sudan agreed to negotiate with the rebels after considerable international pressure. The negotiations were conducted under the auspices of President Idriss Deby of Chad and assisted by the African Union. The United States and other international participants played an important role in facilitating the negotiations, although the government of Sudan delegation walked out of the talks in protest when the head of the U.S. delegation began to deliver his opening remarks.
The parties agreed to observe a cease-fire for a period of 45 days, renewable
automatically if both parties agree. In late May, the parties renewed the ceasefire
agreement. The agreement appears to be holding, although the government of Sudan was
accused of violating the agreement.5 Nevertheless, the humanitarian situation in Darfur,
according to many observers, continues to deteriorate, largely due to repeated and
deliberate denial of access for NGOs to the affected areas by government officials.
Moreover, monitoring mechanisms agreed to by the parties are yet to be implemented, and
many observers fear that continued delay could unravel the cease-fire agreement. As part
of the agreement, the African Union, with the help of the United States and the European
Union, was tasked to deploy a monitoring team in Darfur and establish a Joint
Commission, consisting of the two parties, Chad, and the international community.
American and European Union officials argue that the monitoring team must be
independent and credible. The International Community’s Response The international community’s response to the Darfur crisis has been slow and ineffective, in part because of the government of Sudan’s repeated refusal to allow relief workers into Darfur. It was not until late 2003, almost one year after the crisis erupted, that some members of the international community began to speak about gross human rights abuses and a widespread humanitarian crisis in Darfur. According to some analysts, the Bush Administration did not consider the Darfur crisis as a priority; instead the Administration was largely focused on the talks between the government of Sudan and the SPLM. The first statement on Darfur by the White House was issued in early April 2004. Others point out that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officials spoke of a growing humanitarian crisis and visited the area in late 2003. Administration officials were
reportedly concerned that forceful statements or measures against the government of Sudan could
undermine the peace process between the GOS and the SPLM. Some U.N. officials,
however, have been forceful in their statements and have publicly expressed concerns
about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Darfur. The United Nations Resident
Humanitarian Coordinator consistently reported to headquarters about gross human rights
violations in Darfur. In a letter dated March 22, 2004 to the State Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Sudan, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Mukesh Kapila, wrote
that “the war in Darfur started off in a small way last year but it has progressively got
worse. A predominant feature of this is that the brunt is being borne by civilians. This
includes vulnerable women and children...The violence in Darfur appears to be
particularly directed at a specific group based on their ethnic identity and appears to be
systemized. This it is akin to ethnic cleansing.” The African Union and the Arab League
did not make public statements on the Darfur crisis until the signing of the cease-fire agreement.
In late April 2004, the United Nations Human Rights Commission expressed its views on the Darfur
situation by adopting a Chairman’s Statement supported by the overwhelming majori ty of
Commission members. The statement was adopted with 50 in favor, one against (U.S.), and two
abstentions (Australia and Ukraine). The U.S. delegation sought, unsuccessfully, a stronger resolution on Darfur. Two amendments offered by the United States were defeated,
while a motion to suspend further discussion on a U.S.-supported draft resolution was approved by members of the Commission. The European Union, led by France, and the
African Group voted for a statement that simply expressed concerns about conditions in
Darfur. Meanwhile, the release of a highly critical Commission report on human rights
conditions in Darfur was delayed in order to secure access for a U.N. delegation to Darfur.
The report, however, was leaked to the public, although it was not made available to
Commission members during the debate on Sudan.6 A U.N. official later stated that it
was better to delay the release of the report and secure access to the region than to inflame the situation.
The U.S. delegation in Geneva had called for a Special Rapporteur for Sudan to
investigate human rights abuses. In a speech before the Commission, the leader of the
U.S. delegation, Ambassador Richard Williamson, argued that “ The resolution should
call upon the Sudanese Government to stop the events.” He asserted that the government
of Sudan had refused access to Darfur. The representative of the Republic of Congo,
speaking for the African Group, argued that “The African Group remained extremely
concerned by the human rights situation in the Sudan and the draft text would reflect all
the efforts possible that had been made.” Meanwhile, the delegate from Ireland, speaking
on behalf of the European Union, stated that the European Union “was concerned over
the human rights situation in Darfur.” The Cuban delegate stated that “the cooperation
of the government of Sudan in an attempt to solve the situation is applauded.”7 Human
rights groups and U.S. officials criticized the Chairman’s Statement as being too weak on
the government of Sudan. The U.S. delegation declared at the end of the session in April
that Washington will demand a Special Session of the Commission to discuss the situation in Darfur again. A majority of Commission members must support a motion for a Special Session of the Commission to be held.

A United Nations delegation was allowed to visit Darfur in late April 2004 to
examine humanitarian conditions in that region. The head of the delegation, James
Morris, Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), stated that
conditions in Darfur are desperate. At a press conference in Khartoum, Morris stated that
“malnutrition rates among children are soaring and few if any are going to school and this
pattern appears to be repeated across Darfur.” Morris declared that his delegation
witnessed human devastation and that his delegation “received numerous reports of
sexual abuse and harassment that has limited people’s access to water, food and
firewood.”8 Observers fear that the government of Sudan may have attempted to remove
evidence that might implicate its allies. According to press reports, a number of potential
witnesses to atrocities were executed in late April. Moreover, the government reportedly
issued regular army uniforms to the Janjaweed militia to protect them from prosecution.
Some leaders of the Janjaweed were reportedly relocated to other parts of Sudan outside Darfur.
The Humanitarian Situation and the U.S. Response

According to United Nations and U.S. officials, the situation in Darfur is considered
one of the worst current humanitarian and human rights crisis in the world. Out of a
population of 7 million people, one million are internally displaced, over 140,000 have
been forced into exile, and tens of thousands of civilian have been killed. Since February
2003, USAID has provided an estimated $100 million in humanitarian assistance for
Darfur, and the Bush Administration pledged an additional $188 million in early June
2004. USAID has also established a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for
Darfur, although the government of Sudan delayed the deployment of the team to Darfur
for several weeks. The government of Sudan has accused USAID of being too
sympathetic to the rebels. Meanwhile, humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate,
in large part because of continued government restrictions. According to USAID, “due
to GOS impediments that block travel permits and relief operations in Darfur,
humanitarian access to vulnerable populations outside of the state capitals of Geneina, Al-
Fashir, and Nyala is extremely limited, and access to many areas is completely denied.”9
And according to Doctors Without Borders, “because of the lack of appropriate, urgently
needed aid, the health of displaced people in Sudan’s Darfur region–particularly
children–is radically worsening.”10 The House International Relations Committee and the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee held several hearings on Sudan and the crisis in
Darfur. In 2004, Congress passed several resolutions on Sudan and the crisis in Darfur.

Degree Level:

DARFUR CRISIS (SUDAN) is available to undertake level programs at .

Available Subjects:

Following subject are available to study under this scholarship program.

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