For contact: Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group , firstname.lastname@example.org (804) 439 2022
Do not Forget Darfur!
Darfur Women Action Group Called for the UN General Assembly and the UNSC to match its Rhetoric with realities on the ground in Sudan
Darfur Women Action Group wishes to remind the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary General and the UN General Assembly in its call for collective responsibility to protect to not “Forget Darfur!”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks to the General Assembly on August 8th has called for the need for collective responsibility to respond to the crises in the world and has included several countries, however, he has utterly failed to recognize the suffering of Sudanese people particularly in Darfur where genocide has been ongoing for more than a decade. (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sgsm16127.doc.htm).
As stated by DWAG president Niemat Ahmadi, “the ongoing genocide in Darfur and the multiple crises in Sudan are crises of a global magnitude that requires global response, failure by the UN or its Secretary General to recognize will simply mean its enabling. It is imperative that the collective effort for responsibility to protect be inclusive and Sudan should not be an exception.”
It has been 10 years since then US Secretary of State Colin Powell declared, “genocide has been committed in Darfur.” Ten years down the road—millions of men, women, children and the elderly in Darfur remain suffering from the systematic attacks and destruction of lives and livelihood throughout the greater Darfur region that has been ongoing since 2003.
President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan stands accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the world’s worst crimes – genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Darfur. Yet President Al-Bashir remains at large as an international fugitive of justice and still perpetrating the same crimes in Darfur and has extended his crimes to the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions of Sudan with total impunity.
While the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to date has nearly 27,000 forces and civilian personnel, the mission is largely failing to protect civilians or adequately report incidents of attacks against civilians or the systematic violation of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Sudanese government and its allied militias of janjaweed.
UNAMID has not only failed to carry out its mandate but it has been criticized because of its partiality and lack of accuracy in reporting civilian causalities as has been recently disclosed by the former UNAMID spokesperson.
Despite of these failures, last August 31st, the UNAMID’s mission tenure has been renewed. Amidst these internal challenges and changes with new leadership in the UNAMID, sadly, continuous waves of violence, widespread hunger, displacement and disease including the influx of Hepatitis and prevalent malnutrition are the realities that the Darfuri people has had to contend with time and again. It is quite clear that UNAMID’s existence in Darfur is meaningless unless it’s mandate is given a stronger civilian protection component.
Recognizing these harsh realities on the ground, we at the Darfur Women Action Group, demand that the United Nations General assembly must match its rhetoric with realities on the ground in Sudan. The UN Security Council should fulfill its responsibility by providing protection to the suffering people of Darfur and Sudan at large.
We further demand that UNAMID must be granted a stronger civilian protection mandate, press the Sudanese government to immediately cease its attacks against civilians in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile and to disarm the janjaweed. It is also a must to open an unhindered and non-negotiable humanitarian access to the needy throughout Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile regions of Sudan. President Al-Bashir and all perpetrators who committed and continued commit crimes against civilians in Darfur and other regions of Sudan, should be held accountable.
Furthermore, in honoring the commitment made at the 2005 World Summit enjoining the UN as a body and its member states to take initiative and have a collective responsibility to protect—the plight of the Darfuri people must not be forgotten.
The UN Secretary General also said in his August 8th address that “turning a blind eye is unacceptable”—let this serve as a challenge for us all to not turn a blind eye to this decade’s biggest silent genocide and give the Darfuri people the justice, protection and freedom that they so deserve.