Introduction

Facts Versus Fiction is a campaign dedicated to providing factual information about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Faced with a lack of media coverage, academic research, and investigations about Darfur the past two years, we took it upon ourselves to collect data about what is happening on the ground. Our team analyzed credible news publications and contacted trustworthy sources from villages and International Displacement Person (IDP) camps. With this information, we have been creating a series of reports that document violent incidents against civilians.

Our goal is to expose the lies that have been circulated since late 2016 by the Sudanese government and some American and international political leaders, who have stated that there is peace in Darfur. This misinformation is an attempt to water down the urgency of the situation and inhibit international intervention – from humanitarian assistance to bringing perpetrators to justice.

The facts show that the genocide in Darfur is still ongoing, now in its 18th year. There are over 4 million people still living in displacement or refugee camps. In the meantime, the mastermind behind the genocide, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, remains free in spite of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

We must act now to expose the FICTION and clarify the FACTS!

DWAG Fact vs. Fiction_New

FACT VS. FICTION

Because of the lack of civilian protection upheld by UNAMID, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), their removal from Sudan will have no lasting impact on the area.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

UNAMID is mandated to protect civilians from physical conflicts and deliver humanitarian assistance among other responsibilities. Over the years, UNAMID has received criticism from Darfuri civilians and humanitarian groups for its failure to adequately protect people from ongoing violent attacks. Yet in many instances, UN Peacekeepers have played an integral role in providing people with limited patrols, educating communities on gender-based violence, and facilitating humanitarian assistance.

The transitional government of Sudan has repeatedly failed to protect the civilians of Darfur from ongoing deadly attacks, and therefore it cannot be tasked with the peacekeeping process. Recent cases demonstrate that the Janjaweed militia and the Rapid Support Forces, government paramilitaries, have continued to terrorize civilians of Darfur. Sudan cannot achieve comprehensive peace if known perpetrators of genocide in Darfur remain at large, and perhaps most alarmingly, in positions of power.

Despite the recent signing of a peace agreement, attacks against civilians in Darfur and other affected regions have not ceased. Millions of Darfuris displaced 18 years ago have yet to return to their homes, the Janjaweed are still in full force wreaking havoc in Darfur, and the perpetrators of the most serious crimes have yet to face trial. While vowing to provide civilian defense, the transitional government of Sudan is too incapable and unwilling to provide this protection. Their forces are not neutral and are mostly responsible for the crimes committed in Darfur.

The news that UNAMID will officially be exiting Sudan this year without alternative civilian protection in place is disastrous for the people of Darfur.

The Sudanese peace agreement, signed on October 3rd, 2020, has brought forth major successful advancements in securing peace and justice in Sudan since its signing.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

As of November 9th, 2020, the Sudanese government has not yet implemented any significant effective course of action towards the security and protection of civilians. On October 20-22th, 2020, not even a month after the signing of the peace agreement, 12 people were killed and 27 injured when armed Fallata herders attacked the villages of Ed Dekka, Haddad, Donkey Abyad, and the Um Asal and Um Zagrad camps for displaced people. Two more died and two more injured on October 24th when the village of Sabrelwagiha, South Darfur, was attacked by a group of 50 armed men riding horses and camels with intentions to loot livestock and property, but ultimately killed two and caused many more to flee the area. The violent conflicts have left hundreds displaced. Violence has not ceased in Sudan since the signing and no prominent action has been made.

Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok has taken vastly effective measures to ensure the democracy of Sudan since the ousting of al-Bashir, and recent improvements in security service and civil society prove that removal of Sudan from the terrorism list would be beneficial to the Sudanese people.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

Despite the immense damage done to the Sudanese people from recent flash floods across the country, humanitarian efforts and aid packages have successfully eradicated the need for further attention and support for flood victims in Sudan.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

The government, UN agencies, NGOs, and the private sector have responded with emergency assistance to affected families, but the initial forecast of 250,000 people affected was surpassed and a shortage of supplies and deliveries continue to leave much more helpless.

Moreover, the relentless heavy rains and flooding have also fueled the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. By October 20, an estimated 59,450 people in North Darfur were suffering from malaria. Additional chikungunya cases in Darfur have been on the rise since this past June. At the same time, Sudan continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, adding an additional 39 cases since October 10 and bringing the country-wide positive case count to 13,724 people. This unprecedented health crisis delivers an extraordinary burden to already resource-constrained healthcare efforts across the country.

It has been well documented around the world that women and girls are especially vulnerable to gender-based violence during humanitarian disasters as well as conflicts. OCHA reporting indicates that flooding in Darfur and other areas of Sudan has forced hundreds of thousands of women to flee their homes, and their double loss of shelter and economic ability to afford necessary health needs increases their risk of experiencing gender-based violence. Access to water may be far from these temporary shelters, and the shelters themselves may be located in areas that normalize gender-based violence. Women and girls in Sudan have faced unequal gender-power relations contributing to discrimination and violence against them, and natural disasters only exacerbate these problems.

Trump’s U.S. Sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) are justified under US Secretary General, Pompeo’s accusations of the “thoroughly broken and corrupt institution.”

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

As stated in a WICC statement opposing the sanctions, signed by 38 other organizations including DWAG, “It is uniquely dangerous, extreme, and unprecedented to utilize a mechanism designed to penalize criminals, their aiders, and abettors, against an independent judicial institution. Asset freezes and entry restrictions are tools intended to combat individuals and entities constituting a threat to U.S. national security. By applying these measures to a court that 123 countries – and on two occasions, the United Nations Security Council – have entrusted with providing accountability for atrocity crimes, the United States has brought upon itself the stigma of siding with impunity over justice. The administration’s actions jeopardize the ability of desperate victims to access justice, weaken the credibility underpinning the use of sanction tools in other contexts, and put the United States at odds with its closest allies. The ICC represents and constitutes part of a global system of international justice of which the United States was a chief architect at Nuremberg and beyond. Today, the ICC, alongside other tribunals, regional mechanisms, and national courts, is carrying forward these efforts through investigations and prosecutions that could help realize justice for atrocity victims from Sudan to Myanmar… The use of sanctions has the potential for wide-reaching impact against this institution dedicated to advancing justice for victims. At an historical moment when the global rule of law is under attack from multiple fronts, institutions like the International Criminal Court are needed more than ever to advance human rights protections and the universal goal of preventing future atrocities. Instead, these sanctions send a signal that could embolden authoritarian regimes and others with reason to fear accountability who seek to evade justice.”

Since the ousting of former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and the formation of a new transitional government, the violence in Sudan has ceased and war criminals have been brought to justice.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

Former Sudanese president, al-Bashir, was ousted from the government and a new transitional government was formed in 2019, but many high-ranking officials from al-Bashir’s regime remain in control and militia groups, affiliated with the former regime, continue to instigate violence towards Sudanese civilians. Wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), war criminals—including Bashir, Harun, and Hussein—remain at large and have yet to face trial for their crimes. A paramilitary force responsible for the killing, raping, and wounding thousands under al-Bashir, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been integrated into the Sudanese national army and is now mandated to protect and serve the Sudanese population. However, daily reports of civilian deaths, injuries, and displacement caused by members of the RSF exhibit a blatant fact that they are unable to secure the protection of the Sudanese people and are a threat to their safety. Mass protests and demonstrations have grown rampant across Sudan throughout the year, demanding peace, security, and civilian representation in the government as well as proper accountability for perpetrators of violence and genocide. These protests have gone overlooked by the government and often result in dozens of deaths and injuries. The transitional government, led by current Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has done little in the past year to address the violence from the militia and civilians. Meanwhile, the international community remains complacent with the new Sudanese crisis.

For 17 years, Darfur has been in a longstanding crisis under former president Omar al-Bashir’s regime.

FACT: The above statement is TRUE.

In 2002, the government of Sudan began a genocidal campaign against indigenous Africans in Darfur. Using militias, they killed innocent people, burned villages, looted properties, and destroyed food and water. Rape is used as a weapon of war and a method of terror against women, resulting in countless women and girls falling victim to sexual violence, left to suffer in silence due to the associated stigma. Over 300,000 civilians had been killed. Over 4 million have been impacted and over 3 million are still living in camps today, subject to constant attacks after 17 years and sadly, they have nowhere to return to today. The situation has been declared as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. To read more, click here.

Sudanese women have suffered disproportionately under and after al-Bashir’s regime, compared to men, due to Sudanese societal norms that enforce male supremacy and strict control over women.

FACT: The above statement is TRUE.

In Sudan, women generally face more challenges in regards to political inclusion, legal and social status, health issues, economic growth, and technological, educational, and health accessibility. Not only are Sudanese women expected to conform to specific inferior societal roles, but they are also targets of gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination. Issues of rape, genital mutilation, sex trafficking, domestic violence, and other forms of GBV are widespread across Sudan and have gone unchecked without proper acknowledgment for decades. In terms of institutional practices, sharia law, harmonized with discriminatory secular laws, has degraded Sudanese women’s legal status. To read more, click here.

Now that Omar al-Bashir is not in power, there is no longer gender-based violence and female discrimination in Sudan.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

In the wake of Bashir’s downfall, Sudanese women are still restrained by cultural norms that render them susceptible to violence and discrimination and subject them to unequal economic opportunities and access to material resources. Despite women’s pivotal role in Sudan’s recent revolution, women continue to be sidelined in terms of political inclusion. The Bashir regime has had a lasting cultural effect in the aftermath of his overthrow, encouraging beliefs of male supremacy and female subordination, which increases risks of gender-based violence (GBV). In terms of institutional practices, sharia law, harmonized with discriminatory secular laws, has degraded Sudanese women’s legal status. Though the 2019 Constitutional Declaration improves the legal status of women on paper, little substantive change has been effectuated through action. To read more, click here.

There is no crisis in Sudan. The current Sudanese transitional government has actively brought peace, justice, and prosperity to the Sudanese people.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

Despite the ousting of the war criminal, al-Bashir, from the Sudanese government and the establishment of the current interim government, there still remains a crisis in Sudan. The current government has made efforts to attain peace and security for the people, but no effective action has eliminated the constant threats of violence and displacement in the country. Several million people in Sudan are still displaced after years of genocide and brutality. Daily reports of civilian deaths, injuries, and displacement prompted mass protests against the transitional government in the past year, calling for effective civilian protection and accountability for the crimes committed. Sudan is in dire need of international attention and action as war criminals remain at large and Sudanese civilians remain unprotected from violent militia groups.

The international community would be helping the Sudanese people by funding the Sudanese government.

FICTION: The above statement is NOT TRUE.

After the former president, Omar al-Bashir was cast from the Sudanese government, a new transitional interim government was formed. Though the threat of genocide may appear to have passed, many high-ranking officials from al-Bashir’s regime remain in the current Sudanese government. Under their control, violent militia groups—including the Janjaweed—have been integrated into the Sudanese national army and have caused thousands of deaths and injuries in the past year. By funding the current Sudanese government, the international community fails to comprehend the complexities of the Sudanese crisis. The people, desiring a civilian democratic government, remain at war with the corrupt officials leading them. Any aid provided to the current government will likely be used against the civilian population.

DWAG Reports

In October 2017, President Trump fully removed US sanctions on Sudan due to what he believed to be a decrease in the level of violence in Darfur. Additionally, US-Sudan relations have begun to thaw due to this misconception that violence in Darfur has ceased. This misconception has proved deadly for all those still in Darfur. Therefore, as part of our ongoing Fact vs. Fiction Campaign, DWAG has created a report to analyze the Sudanese Government’s claims regarding overall violence in Darfur.

DWAG has conducted a careful investigation of all available information, to provide fact-based analysis and to counter the deceitful rhetoric that has been promoted by the US and some members of the international community, and to call upon the United States Government to look closely at the actions of the Sudanese Government. The complacency of buying into Sudan’s new narrative has only served to embolden President al-Bashir’s regime and make the United States complicit in genocide, a direct violation of the human rights norms that the American people hold so dear to their hearts.

We hope that this report will provide greater insight and allow our readers to utilize our analysis to speak up and hold our leaders accountable for misinformation that will undermine a firm response to, and accountability for, the most horrific crimes committed in Darfur.

Throughout the year 2019, we will be publishing detailed reports of violent attacks and genocide-related fatalities as they happen. In these reports, we have also included all of the international laws related to war and conflict that were violated with each incident and links to the original sources of information.

Throughout the year 2020, we will be publishing detailed monthly reports of violent attacks and genocide-related fatalities as they happen. In these reports, we have also included all of the international laws related to war and conflict that were violated with each incident and links to the original sources of information.