We at the Darfur Women Action Group are outraged about the massacre of the helpless internally displaced people (IDP) in the Kalma camp, many who are already victims of the fourteen-year long genocide in Darfur.
On Thursday, President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed against the people of Darfur including those who are in this very camp, sent his forces to brutally attack civilians residing in this particular internally displaced camp, resulting in the death of six people and injuring twenty-five others. Many of those injured remain in life-threatening conditions. His ruthless attack against innocent civilians violates all international human rights and humanitarian laws.
These attacks were the result of the camp resident’s refusal and the organized peaceful protest against a proposed visit by President al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal, and the very man at the head of the ongoing genocide and to the request by the State Governor of Nyala to welcome al-Bashir to the camp. They organized a peaceful protest and delivered a letter to the United Nations African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) which asked that they, as victims of al-Bashir’s ruthless regime, be allowed to refuse al-Bashir in their camp. In response to the peaceful and rightful protest organized by the IDP’s, al-Bashir’s forces surrounded the camp with heavy artillery comprising thousands of ground troops and three helicopters flying over the camp, firing heavy gunshots and terrorizing innocent people, people who have already fallen victim to the systematical and brutal attacks al-Bashir started in 2003. This attack happened in the presence of President al-Bashir, the State Governor of South Darfur, the military and all the high-level leaders of South Darfur authorities.
President al-Bashir’s brutality is all too familiar to those who live in the Kalma camp and under no circumstances should al-Bashir think he could or would be welcomed in the camps by his victims. It is dismaying and deplorable that the man who began the genocidal campaign in Darfur is not only visiting the camps created for his victims but is expecting a warm welcome.
The truth of the matter is that this week’s attack is not a unique incident. The Kalma camp has been consistently subjected to more than a hundred violent attacks in the last decade. However, the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has faced the situation with silence or minimal condemnation.
And it is precisely due to international communities’ inaction and delay in holding al-Bashir accountable which allows him to continue terrorizing innocent civilians. This attack made it quite clear that it is inaction which is allowing al-Bashir to continue victimizing innocent civilians within the watch of a complicit international community.
We are extremely concerned about UNAMID’s mischaracterization of the massacre by referring to these blatant attacks as “clashes.” This massacre was not a “clash”. The Sudanese Armed Forces invaded and violently attacked civilians inside a camp for internally displaced people. UNAMID must not equate the victims and the perpetrators unless they are intentionally undermining the plights of the victims.
We, therefore, call on the United Nations Security Council to hold UNAMID accountable to its standard and nonpartisan approach as it is required by UNAMID mandate.
We, therefore, call on the United States, the member states of United Nations Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the incident and hold the perpetrators accountable.
We call on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the massacre that occurred in the Kalma camp and call on the ICC state parties to speed up the enforcement of the ICC arrest warrant to hold al-Bashir responsible.
We further wish to draw the United States government’s attention to these brutal crimes and call on President Trump and Secretary Tillerson to keep sanctions on Sudan in place for as long as the Sudanese government is destroying the lives of people in Darfur through murder, extortion, and rape.
We call on United States Ambassador Nikki Haley and the entire Trump Administration to publicly condemn the attacks and call for accountability for the perpetrators.
We must remind the world that President al-Bashir is still standing accused of the world’s worst crimes – genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – and has yet to be brought to justice. President al-Bashir’s visit to Darfur is insulting and degrading to the victims of genocide in Darfur. It is equally undermining to the authorities of the UNSC, including the United States, that has referred the case of Darfur to the International Criminal Court. He must be brought to justice or the authority of the world organization comes under question – and, worse, becomes ineffective in the face of ongoing abuse.
Thank you all for your continued support,
Niemat Ahmadi, Norrie Kurtz & the DWAG Team