While the agreement reached today by Sudanese negotiating parties brings hope for peace in Sudan, we are extremely disappointed that the agreement overlooks those living in Darfur and their historical grievances. It’s extremely dismaying to see the complicity of the Alliance for Freedoms and Change (AFC) in their agreement with the Transitional Military Council (TMC). The AFC is taking an approach constantly used by the political elite: the exclusion of the majority of Sudanese who have the legitimate right to be included; a sentiment clearly missing from the Sudanese political process.
The people of Darfur have suffered for far too long only to see their concerns repeatedly ignored. The people of Darfur have suffered from genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity for over sixteen years. Today, the rest of Sudan celebrates this step forward after working tirelessly for change. Those in Darfur, however, and their hopes for the future are once again neglected.
The agreement in its current context gives the military absolute power to control and dictate the first interim period. We fear the military will continue to oppress and kill civilians, particularly in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile.
The agreement has further excluded the issues of safety and security for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; it ignores their rights and freedoms. The restoration of humanitarian aid, of which people in conflict-affected areas are in dire need, also isn’t included in the agreement.
The agreement fails to prioritize criminal accountability for perpetrators, and justice for the victims, of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur and throughout Sudan.
The AFC fails to recognize the fact that the underlying causes for the uprising in Sudan are largely results of the intentional exclusion of all Sudanese from the political process––It was this same tactic that brought about the genocide in Darfur.
The danger of this agreement lies in its allowance of the military to protect themselves and to protect those who are responsible for committing crimes in Darfur. This agreement allows war criminals to get away with impunity and to continue to use military means to oppress more people.
This agreement allows the people of Khartoum to return home to some degree of normalcy. This is not the case for the people of Darfur. Women, men, and children have been in camps for almost two decades. Their land has been taken over by the Rapid Support Forces led by Hemeti. This agreement also ignores those in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, where many more are still hiding in caves and lack the minimal means of survival.
To show any legitimacy, the Interim Government must surrender President al-Bashir, Ahamed Haroun, Ali Kosheib and Abdulrahim Hussein to the International Criminal Court to face trial. This step is particularly important to build trust between the Interim Government and the people of Darfur.
For the solution to be sustainable in Sudan, priority must be given to the safety and security of those have been driven out of their homes and are continuously vulnerable to attack. We at DWAG believe that criminal accountability for those involved in the Darfur genocide is the only way to bring justice for the victims in Darfur. Sustainable peace is the only way to ensure a durable solution for victims of Sudan’s ongoing armed conflicts.
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