Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) would like to express grave concern about the recent mass displacement of innocent civilians in South Darfur. Using data collected on October 11 and 12, DTM Emergency Event Tracking (EET) reported that an estimated 4,530 individuals had been recently displaced in Darfur. Many vulnerable people comprise these 906 displaced households, including 114 pregnant women, 37 unaccompanied minors, 72 unaccompanied elders, 32 with chronic illnesses, and 9 with physical disabilities. While many of these displaced people have expressed a desire to return home when conditions improve, most of their livestock and personal belongings have been destroyed forever. This discouraging development is yet another event in a pattern of ongoing and systematic volatility in Darfur that endangers the lives of innocent civilians.
On September 29, it was reported that the Sudan Liberation Movement of the Sharg al-Jabal area, led by Abdel Wahid, and Sudanese government forces had violently clashed in Darfur. At the time, SLM and government forces blamed each other for the violence, and Abdel Wahid remained committed to not participating in ongoing peace negotiations. When a peace deal was reached on October 3, Abdel Wahid refrain from joining the peace deal. He argued that the current deal provides neither justice for victims of the longstanding crisis nor an address of the war’s root causes. This sparked new violent disputes from within his group, as reported by the Sudan Office of the International Organization for Migration. Previous violent conflict combined with recent clashes intensified the security concerns of civilians and forced several thousands to abruptly flee the Sharg Aj Jabal area.
It is alarming that even with the peace deal reached, ongoing violence continues to obstruct the peace of thousands of Darfur civilians. DWAG previously expressed concern that the absence of non- signatories from SLM and SPLM-North groups on the peace deal pose a significant challenge to the peace process. These fears have now been confirmed by the rapid mass displacement of Darfur civilians fleeing ongoing violent clashes.
DWAG again calls on the Sudanese transitional government and all international actors working in the peace process to address the concerns of the non-signatories and respond to their demands of justice and accountability to make the peace sustainable. The inclusion of non-signatories is extremely crucial to the realization of a comprehensive peace and to put an end to war in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Sudan at large.
DWAG further urges both parties to exercise restraint, end the attacks, and make civilian protection a priority. To be effective, the peace process in Sudan must first prioritize ending violence against civilians and violence against women. After many long years of suffering, it is imperative that peace be comprehensive and durable to meet the aspiration of the people of Sudan.