This April, in commemoration of Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is starting a Future Without Genocide Campaign to bring awareness to the Darfur Genocide ― which began in 2002/2003 ― and to highlight the stories, contributions, and futures of the children who were and are still being affected by this genocide.
Starting in 2002/2003, the government of Sudan began a genocidal campaign in Darfur, and by 2006 over 300,000 civilians, disproportionately women and children, had been slaughtered. During the course of the genocide, over 3 million people were forced to flee their homes. 2.7 million are still living in camps and widespread displacement continues to affect the Darfuri people. Beyond the targeted slaughter, countless women and girls were subjected to rape and other forms of gender based violence by government soldiers as a tool of genocide.
Despite the signing of a peace treaty in 2020, Darfur and its peoples continue to face ongoing violence. Violent attacks, widespread displacement, sexual assault, and gender based violence are far from over. We have seen more Darfuris displaced in the last three months than in the entirety of 2020 due to ongoing and escalated violence against civilian populations.
The children of Darfur have grown up during a time of conflict where mass casualties, widespread displacement, and violence have been a part of their daily lives. By concentrating our efforts this April toward those who have grown up during the genocide, we want to invest in their futures by empowering their stories, stipulating their rights, and prioritizing their access to education.
Children were disproportionately victimized during the genocide and now must live with the trauma of their experiences. It was widely documented that throughout the genocide, even through 2020, Darfuri children experienced all six of the United Nation’s (UN) most grave violations against children: killing or maiming, recruitment or use of child soldiers, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.
Furthermore, children continue to face complex challenges today, especially as they make up 80% of the current internally displaced population, amounting to over 1.6 million children. Children are also being educated at lower rates in Darfur compared to the national average. Currently, school enrollment rates in Darfur, South and West Kordofan, and Blue Nile stand at only 47%. Around 1.7 million children between the ages of 4 and 16 need education support. Among those 1.7 million children, about 800,000 are internally displaced peoples (IDPs).
These statistics demonstrate that children continue to face complex challenges today. Confronting violent experiences at young ages, the children of Darfur have lived through and are living with trauma that will likely affect them for the rest of their lives. These are traumas that no adult should experience, much less a child. Despite this gloomy picture of the children of Darfur, there has been a bright story where many children living in IDP camps have been among those to achieve the highest distinction when graduating from high school or college. We must invest in the bright futures of children to transform these challenges into opportunity.
We must act now to ensure that Darfur can strive towards a peaceful future. Therefore, the DWAG team would like to invite our supporters and those who believe in a future without genocide to join us in cultivating a collective effort that will ensure that genocide is a story of the past and not the future.
As part of this month we will be holding events that will not only bring awareness to the Darfur Genocide, but also highlight the experiences of the children of Darfur. These events include:
- April 12: Phone Banking Action Day
- April 10-24: Virtual Walk
- April 26: Letter Writing Action Day
We will accompany these events by posting on our social media pictures, videos, and testimonies from children living in IDP and refugee camps. With these events, our goal is to raise a fund to send 300 children in Darfur to school in commemoration of the 300,000 victims who lost their lives during the Darfur Genocide. In the next coming days we will provide you with more details about our campaign and how you can participate in the multiple action opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the genocide victims in Darfur
Join us this Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month by participating in our events and supporting our fundraising efforts to improve access to education for Darfuri children. Post in connection with DWAG’s efforts this April by utilizing the hashtag #FutureWithoutGenocide so that we may signal our collective support and solidarity with the children of Darfur and victims of the genocide in general.
Children are the future of the societies in every nation and the children of Darfur are not an exception. By investing in the children of Darfur now, we can produce a future of peace and stability for the people of Darfur, ending almost two decades of genocidal violence.
Darfur Women Action Group