The United Nations defines genocide as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. ” In Darfur the Arab janjaweed militias have killed an estimated 100,000 non- Arab people, burned their villages, and sought to destroy their way of life. On September 9, 2004 U. S. Secretary of State Collin Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the [janjaweed] bear responsibility – and that genocide may still be occurring.
People sometimes get the wrong idea of what genocide means. It is assumed that it is a hopeless case, impossible to stop for it is driven by millenniums of racial or ethnic conflicts. But looking back at history, genocide has mostly been created through calculated, intended decision by national leaders used as the most convenient way to solve a problem or to keep their power and destroy a person or group.
And Darfur is not an exception to this. Mr. Bashir and Musa Hilal are not motivated by ancient hatred but of greed to power and influence. They are not extremists but rather coldblooded, amoral opportunists (Kristof).
Drought, famine and civil war represent the interactive array of ecological, socio-economic, and political factors at play. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) were created from 2003 through 2005 (Arsdale). Competition over scarce resources – such as water and fertile land – had long challenged Darfur. The beginning of an oil industry in Durfur added to the tension. Claiming to represent non-Arab Africans in Darfur, rebel protested decades of government neglect. They demanded full economic, political, and social rights for Darfur. They also wanted oil wealth from the region to be shared equally.
To combat the rebels, the government armed local Arab militias called janjaweeds. The Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) arose in response to grievances bring expressed by citizens of Darfur. The SLA’s founding manifesto included its vehement protests against the central government’s “policies of marginalization, racial discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, and divisiveness. The Janjaweeds, on the other hand, traced their origin with raiders and bandits of various types in Sudan for centuries. In recent decades, so-called Arab cattle raiders occasionally would sweep into a non-Arab village and abscond with a few head (Arsdale).
Since 2003, the government of Sudan and its Janjaweed militias has executed a systematic campaign of mass murder, rape, and starvation against the black African tribes of Darfur. As of today, more than 500,000 Darfuris have died, and more than 2. 5 million have been driven from their homes. It goes without saying that other measures have to be undertaken simultaneously to reach a sustainable peace in Darfur. So, the international community should strongly support the Abuja talks between the Sudan government and the main insurgent groups to help them reach a peace agreement, which could be a foundation for equity and good governance in Darfur.
And since the negotiation of a lasting peace in Darfur unfortunately could take months, if not years, humanitarian assistance should be provided. Democracy is a first step in the struggle against totalitarian forces that resort to inhuman practices to impose their whim on others, including ethnocide and genocide (Hoeven et al. ). It is important to create the conditions of security that will allow for a safe and voluntary return. A political solution reached in the Abuja talks is a priority to help bring peace to the region.
At the same time, there is a strong sense in Darfur that an inclusive, credible and grass roots process of inter-communal dialogue is needed to re-establish peaceful inter-communal relations and re-weave the social fabric of the region. Specific measures to address property and land usage rights will be indispensable to achieve peace and restore relationships between nomadic herders and sedentary agriculturalist tribes (Hoeven et al. ). The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) evolved as the African Union has authorized the incremental deployment of thousands of personnel to carry out its responsibilities in Darfur.
The African Union Peace and Security Council provided AMIS II with the following specific mandate for its peace support efforts: (1) to monitor and observe compliance with the 2004 humanitarian cease-fire agreement; (2) to assist in the process of confidence building; and (3) to contribute to a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian relief and, beyond that, the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes, and to contribute to the improvement of the security situation throughout Darfur (“Darfur Crisis: Progress in Aid & Peace Monitoring Threatened by Ongoing Violence and Operational Challenges”).
President Bush had made his statement regarding the issue at the Diplomatic Reception Room, White Palace: America’s commitment is clear. Since this conflict began we have provided more than $1. 7 billion in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance for Darfur. We are the world’s largest single donor to the people of Darfur. We’re working for the day when the families of this troubled region are allowed to return safely to their homes and rebuild their lives in peace. The people of Darfur are crying out for help, and they deserve it.
I urge the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, and all members of the international community to reject any efforts to obstruct implementation of the agreements that would bring peace to Darfur and Sudan. I call on President Bashir to stop his obstruction, and to allow the peacekeepers in, and to end the campaign of violence that continues to target innocent men, women and children. And I promise this to the people of Darfur: The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world (Bush).
Today, there are a lot of anti-genocide movements, recruiting thousands of people around the world advocating justice and human rights for the casualties and victims of this national turmoil. Politicians, Hollywood stars and even fellow citizens have been voicing out their concern and extending their help over the matter.
Works Cited Arsdale, Peter W. Van. Forced to Flee: Human Rights and Human Wrongs in Refugee Homelands. Lexington Books, 2006. Bush, President George. “President Bush Discusses Genocide in Darfur, Implements Sanctions ” 29 May 2007 The White House.
2 December 2007. http://www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070529. html “Darfur Crisis: Progress in Aid & Peace Monitoring Threatened by Ongoing Violence and Operational Challenges. ” Ed. United States Government Accountability Office: DIANE Publishing, 2006. DiPiazza, Francesca Davis. Sudan in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books, 2006. Hoeven, Agnes van Ardenne-van der, et al. Explaining Darfur: Four Lectures on the Ongoing Genocide. Amsterdam University Press, 2006. Kristof, Nick. “Darfur: Driving up the Price of Blood. ” Coalition for Darfur, 2007.