Darfur Women Action Group demanded adequate protection and dignified life for the genocide victims within Darfur and in their refuges in other countries
Today, June 20, 2014, Darfur Women Action Group along with its partners and supporters are gathering to mark this day by standing in solidarity with the victims of genocide in Darfur and the multiple crises in Sudan. We gather to call the attention of the international community to the long standing crises in Darfur and the plight of Darfur refugees who are forced to scatter to many countries around the world including many places where they face extreme hardship. We are also here to celebrate the successes and positive contributions made by Darfuri and Sudanese refugees to the advancement of their new community and to the discussion of what they can do to ease the suffering of their fellow citizens.
11 years ago, genocide began in Darfur in which mass murder, destruction of villages, and the brutal rape of women have ravaged the area and forced countless men, women, and children to abandon their land, their families, and friends seeking a safe refuge. Most Darfuris first fled to places closer to home hoping for a quick resolution to the crises and a speedy return to their loved ones.
At the start of 2013, the number of refugees around the world stood at
10.4 million. 4.8 million are registered in camps in the Middle East, and over 3 million are displaced from Darfur alone which make up 30% of the total world’s refugee population.
Despite these extremely alarming facts, we have been tirelessly advocating for peace and justice. Unfortunately, world leaders have done too little to end these crimes and sadly wecontinueto seethe political, security, and humanitarian situation in Darfur worsening every day. Today the overwhelming majority of the Darfur refugees are living in neighboring countries and the Middle East under grave conditions where women, men, and children are confronted with unspeakable suffering. A majority of refugees are young people and women-headed households who have been faced with only two options: to stay, die, and see their children die, or flee for survival and safety. Even though attacks against students and young Darfuris are intensifying in Sudan, the UNHCR, in most cases, does not prioritize the relocation of young people or provide them with education opportunities.
Today, families have been torn apart when household members are forced to live in distant countries thousands of miles away from each other.
The Darfur Women Action Group is gravely concerned, as the situation continues to deteriorate on the ground in Darfur, the number of displaced continues to increase, and the conditions of the refugees has worsened as their number continues to increase.
Today, there are uncountable numbers of Darfuri in Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Ghana, Central African Republic , Syria , Chad, and the volatile South Sudan where about305 refugee where killed in one weekduring the fight between Dinka and the Nuer. In most of the other countries, with exception of Ghana and Uganda, Darfuri refugees have been constantly threatened with death, prosecution, and forced deportation back to Sudanwhere they face long imprisonment, force disappearance, or execution. For example, in 2006 Egyptian police fired gunshots against a peaceful sit-in of Sudanese refugees in Mustafa Mahmud Stadium who were demanding help from the UNHCR, In addition to the killing of Darfuris by Egyptian security forces while crossing the border to Israel seeking better life and protection. In Libya, Darfuris continue to suffer from long-term mistreatment and exploitation; however, their condition has severely deteriorated during the uprising and the oustingt of President Gaddafi where they have been caught between opposing sides. Undocumented numbers have been killed and some have been forced to flee to the North Africa and Middle East.
Currently over 350,000 refugees have been living in Chad for more than a decade under critical humanitarian conditions and are subject to attack by the Sudanese border guards and the Chadian police whose leaders have allied themselves with President Bashir. The competition over scarce resources between the refugees and the Chadian population has led to many more problems for the refugees. In Jordan, the refugees are constantly deported back to Sudan where they face prosecution, If they are permitted to stay, they are not allowed to work in order to sustain themselves, yetthey have often not been provided assistance by UNHCR. In the event that they are found working, they will be imprisoned, tortured, and sent back to Sudan by Jordanian Authorities to face the violence that forced them to fleein the first place.
We are appreciative of what the United States and other countries have done to resettle some refugees and provide them with protection. Nonetheless, the world has done far too little to assist the Darfuris who are fleeing a genocide. The world’s response has not been proportional to the great magnitude of the crisis and its impact on the people of Darfur.
Today the suffering of Darfuri refugees has gone far too long. Darfuri refugees have been victimized over a period of eleven years with very limited options for survival. While fleeing attacks by their own government, they still face a great deal of suffering in the places where they seek refuge, especially in the neighboring countries where Sudan has political and economic influence. We have been hearing grave concerns about the way in which UNHCR has treated Darfuri refugees particularly in Egypt and Jordan. In Egypt there is evidence of families who have been given waiting periods for initial interviews of approximately 3-5 years , and for others some time their cases have taken up to 10 years to be reviewed by the UNHCR during which they have no any kind of assistance from the UN refugee agency. This lack of assistance further traumatizes an already victimized community. In Chad, there are recent allegations that Darfuri refugees were told by the UN agencies that they will now start limiting the humanitarian assistance to the children and the most senior citizens within the camps. Depriving the helpless refugees from means of survival is immoral and it is against the principal of the international humanitarian laws upon which the United Nation was formed.
Today, we align ourselves especially with those refugees from Sudan and Darfur, who have been displaced as the result of genocide and other multiple crises in Sudan.
On this occasion we are deeply moved and strongly reminded of the tremendous impact that the genocide has caused, not just in terms of physical deaths, but also social and familial disintegration caused by the forced displacement of over 3 million people. tWe also stand in solidarity with those who are left in Darfur, imprisoned in concentration like camps where they are visible and vulnerable to attacks by the notorious Arabs Jajaweed operating under the command of the criminal Al-bashir of Sudan.
Therefore, on this World Refugee Day we DWAG call on the United States government and the member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to fulfill their responsibility toward the international laws that they ratified by providing adequate protection and dignified life for the genocide victims within Darfur andtherefugees in other countries.
We demand that protection of refugees and their relocation must be prioritized by all actors especially in places where the their security and safety are threatened by conflict, suchas inChad and South Sudan
We demand that the UNSC provide adequate resources to UNHCR to provide protection and survival mechanisms to refugees, and to establish measures through which UNHCR can expedite their relocation process when and where it is necessary.
We strongly demand that the UNSC conduct investigations into the allegations of misconduct of the UNHCR in Chad, Egypt, Jordan, and especially in South Sudan where UNHCR refused to recognize Darfuris as refugees, which has endangered their very survival.
We call on all people of conscience to speak up for Darfuri refugees and internally displaced people, and demand that the US and the international community fulfill the above demands to protect the vulnerable Darfuri refugees wherever they are.
Niemat Ahmadi, President of Darfur Women Action Group
About Darfur Women Action Group
DWAG, works for the empowerment of the affected communities, to amplify their voices, and provide opportunities for the international community to hear directly from the most affected.