We at Darfur Women Action Group DWAG are outraged about the Nertiti massacre and the continuous violence and brutality of the Sudanese government in Darfur. On January 1, 2017, the Sudanese Armed Forces in uniform viciously attacked the city of Nertiti. This brutal attack resulted in a massacre that killed 11 and wounded over 70 civilians, the majority of who were children under 18. In addition, countless of disappearances have been reported. The Nertiti massacre shocked the world’s conscience with resultant urging of the United Nation Security Council (UNCS) to act. This brutal incident has inflicted unspeakable physical and psychological harm on the victims and their families and has terrified many in the Diaspora whose families fell victim.
The massacre of the Nertiti people today is yet another horrific incident in the 13 year old presence of ongoing violent killings, rapes, arrests and torture that have devastated the lives of the innocent civilians of Darfur. Countless men, women, and children have lost their lives while having to endure unimaginable suffering, with nowhere to turn.
While stationed in Nertiti, UNAMID forces were not far from the scene of the incident, yet did nothing to stop civilians from being massacred. The United Nations African Union mission that was deployed 10 years ago to protect civilians is failing regrettably as does not fulfill its mandate by allowing the government of Sudan to continue its surge of violence unreported.
President al- Bashir is an internationally known criminal, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, due to the inaction and silence of the international community, he remains free to continue his genocidal attacks; this most recent massacre is testimony to this fact. Even as millions have been forced to flee their homes for over a decade, they remain under brutal attack.
Furthermore, the Nertiti massacre underscores the reality that the international engagement with Sudan has emboldened President al-Bashir and has enabled him to get away with slaughter with impunity.
In 2016 the European Union (EU) engaged in a new collaborative initiative with the government of Sudan to stop the flow of African refugees into Europe. It is extremely dismaying that the EU majority in the ICC (which legally requires the arrest of al-Bashir), has dismissed its responsibility and has, instead initiated a collaboration that allows giving funding to Sudan. We believe that the corrupt Sudanese regime will use funds from the EU to purchase more weapons, instead of aiding refugees.
On December 27th, the US State Department issued a statement praising Khartoum’s promise to improve humanitarian access in Sudan. The Obama Administration’s State Department spokesman said that “the Government of Sudan’s recent efforts to improve humanitarian access” https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/12/266095.htm and that it “represents a significant step toward improving humanitarian access instead of demanding more access or as proof of what Bashir has promised”.
It’s worth noting that, these kinds of statements about a government that has murdered its own people and denied humanitarian access for years will only serve as painting a nice picture of them and will only embolden and enable the regime to continue its actions against its people. It is particularly important that we speak up and demand that our leaders be vigilant and stand up to injustice wherever it is – at home or internationally.
From speaking with a Nertiti resident, we have learned that the massacre was ordered by the Governor of West Darfur, Gaafar Abdulhakam, who is a well known criminal and who continued to implement al-Bashir’s plan in Darfur. Thus, he has been rewarded to become a State Governor.
- We call on the United Nations Security Council members and urge them to demand an investigation and to authorize UNAMID to use its mandate to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators to face justice.
- We demand that UNSC press for immediate humanitarian access to enable medical treatment for wounded civilians.
- We call on the ICC to investigate and bring charges against Gaafar Amdulhakam, the Governor of West Darfur to face justice for ordering the attack on Nerteti and to implement the pending arrest warrant against al-Bashir to end the cycle of violence in Darfur.
- We call on the UNSC to send a delegate and fact-finding mission to Sudan to investigate and report the details of the massacre and the use of chemical weapon as reported by Amnesty International.
- We call on the US Government to publicly condemn the massacre and call for accountability of the perpetrators
DWAG urges its supporters to continue to speak out and hold our leaders accountable, demanding that they must not stay silent in the face of this kind of brutality.
We implore that you urge the international media to cover Darfur to bring this human suffering to the world’s attention.
The people of Darfur have suffered far too long and we must not allow them to suffer any longer as the crimes against innocent civilians continue unpunished.
We greatly appreciate your consideration.
Niemat Ahmadi, President
Norrie Kurtz, Chair of the Board
Darfur Women Action Group