A Future Without Genocide
This April, as we mark Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is launching a month-long campaign to bring the needed attention to the long-standing Genocide in Darfur. This month was chosen because April contains many significant dates in the history of Genocide. These include the beginnings of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Armenian Genocide, and the Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds. Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month aims to share knowledge about what Genocide is, past genocides, and the continuing fight against Genocide today. As we come together this month, we must commemorate the past by recognizing those who lost their lives and demanding accountability for past and present crimes.
Sadly, the Genocide that started 20 years ago in Darfur has not been resolved, and millions of victims continue to suffer while living in deplorable conditions and remain under constant attack. Beginning in 2002/2003, the government of Sudan initiated a genocidal campaign in Darfur, and by 2006 over 300,000 civilians, disproportionately women and children were slaughtered. During the Genocide, over 3 million people were forced to flee their homes, and 2.7 million are still living in camps. Widespread displacement continues to affect the Darfuri people. Beyond the targeted slaughter, countless women and girls are subjected to rape and other forms of gender-based violence by government soldiers as a tool of Genocide.
The crimes committed against the people of Darfur are crimes of a global magnitude. Although some world leaders have made strong statements about the need to hold those perpetrators accountable, they have failed to take concerted action to bring the individuals responsible for these crimes to face justice. Moreover, the recent developments in Sudan are a clear indicator of the consequences when the international community fails to hold despotic leaders accountable. Their inaction has emboldened the military to continue the tactics of the Bashir regime of violating international human rights and humanitarian laws, usurping power through a coup, and killing innocent civilians.
To commemorate the past, we must fight for accountability for present crimes and prevent future occurrences of Genocide. Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) will be commemorating the 2022 Genocide Prevention Month by raising awareness of the Darfur genocide with a special focus on accountability through the theme of “A Future Without Genocide.” Darfur genocide continues today because our leaders fail to impose consequences for those responsible. Additionally, this special focus will also highlight the trial of Abd-Al-Rahman, better known as “Ali Kushayb,” the former Janjaweed militia leader. His trial with the International Criminal Court (ICC) will begin on April 5, 2022. The ICC has charged Kushayb with 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite this progress, four more indicted criminals have yet to be brought to justice, while many Janjaweed leaders and militiamen who committed mass atrocities have yet to be charged or prosecuted. For example, the ICC has charged the former President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir, with war crimes and crimes against humanity, but he remains at large. Al-Bashir orchestrated and is complicit in the Darfur genocide that happened under his regime. Therefore, we must rally our movement and double our effort to fight for justice. We call on the Biden administration and the member states of the UNSC to publicly speak about the Darfur genocide and demand accountability.
The United States has condemned and suspended aid to Sudan, yet more needs to be done to ensure the restoration of a civilian-led government; pressure must be exercised on Sudanese military officials. The United States must prioritize accountability, promotion of human rights, and life with dignity for the people of Sudan. The United States must stand with the people of Sudan in this time of significant loss and work to bring a civilian-led government that will bring about democracy and sustainable peace. Use the letter on our website to draft an email to your legislator or as a script for a phone call. We must urge the United States government to do more to support the people of Sudan.
We must act now to ensure that Darfur can strive toward a peaceful future. Therefore, the DWAG team would like to invite our supporters and those who believe in a future without genocide to join us in cultivating a collective effort that will ensure that genocide is a story of the past and not the future. This month, we will be holding events that will bring awareness to the Darfur Genocide and highlight the importance of accountability for these atrocitie. We will accompany these events by posting updates on our social media and website. Our goal is not only to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur but to demand justice from our leaders in power. In the coming days, we will provide you with more details about our campaign and how you can participate in the multiple action opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the victims in Darfur.
Join us this Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month by participating in our events and efforts to demand justice and accountability. Post in connection with DWAG’s efforts this April by utilizing the hashtag #FutureWithoutGenocide so that we may signal our collective support and solidarity with the people of Darfur and victims of the genocide.
Darfur Women Action Group