Don’t Forget Darfur; Sixteen years is too long for genocide victims.

While all the eyes focus in Khartoum, the situation in Darfur is getting worse, with crimes committed most likely going unnoticed. Millions of vulnerable people have been plagued by devastation for years, driven out of their homes. 16 years later, they still remain fearful and with nowhere to go, lacking basic security. While keeping the spotlight on the major events occurring in Sudan right now, we must simultaneously pay close attention to the broader picture of longstanding crises in this country, particularly in Darfur where the longest genocide in history is still taking place. 

While Bashir was ousted, the dream of change was snatched away when the two corrupt generals who have played pivotal roles in the Darfur genocide assumed control of Sudan. Civilians have continued to protest against the unjust transitional government over the course of these past few months, demanding instead a complete civilian government void of corrupt political and military leaders. Darfur has remained a central location of protests, and thus, the frequency of violent acts again civilians in the last few months remains an issue of major concern in the area. According to the UN, in the last 3 months, upwards of 186 civilians have been injured in various parts of Darfur, with at least 47 killed.  163 civilians have been arrested and detained in the last 2 months in connection with protests in Darfur.

On May 28, a 2-day general strike commenced, with professionals, employees, and even small business participating all over the country in order to increase pressure on a transfer of power to civilian authority. Protestors in all 5 Darfur state capitals participated in this organized attempt, which was declared a “resounding success” by the AFC.

As of recent, UNAMID was handing over many bases where they were stationed to protect genocide victims to RSF, as required under the transitional military council. Considering the corrupt leadership within the TMC, results were devastating to the people in these camps.

Following the June 3rd massacre, the African Union- UN Mission in Darfur has decided to suspend handing over any more camps for displaced civilians to the Sudanese government.

Over 3 million people live in these makeshift camps that are supposed to offer security victims following the violence of the Darfur genocide, yet there is rampant and systematic violence in these areas. For example, on June 23rd, the RSF and army soldiers detained 11 leaders within the Gireida camp for the displaced in South Darfur, who were allegedly voicing demands for improvements to health, food and water within the camp.

Violence rages in many areas of Darfur. On June 12,  RSF launched a brutal attack on Deleij camp,  17 people were killed when the Rapid Support Force stormed  a village market. Over 100 houses were completely burned, and at least 15 other civilians were injured.

On June 24, 3 activists in North Darfur were arrested, detained and transferred to El Fasher without charge by the RSF. All over Sudan, activists are being captured and detained for pushing back against the TMC’s rule.

All over Sudan, hundreds of individuals have been dismissed from government associated jobs due to their participation in protests against the TMC. In West Darfur, 30 health care workers were fired between June 10-12 for their role in a political strike.

In the recent millions March In Sudan,  the Alliance for Freedom and Change have adopted six priorities. Sadly, they didn’t include accountability for genocide crimes committed In Darfur or recognize the suffering in Nuba Mountains or Blue Nile regions. This type of exclusion will only aid the perpetrators and help them get away with their horrendous crimes of the past.

We recognize that there is little safety in Sudan as a whole, however the situation in Darfur is especially dire. This region been devastated by the short-term and long-lasting effects of the genocide, and now, exacerbated by isolation and lack of access to humanitarian assistance, is more vulnerable than perhaps any other state in the country.

We urge you to speak up for genocide victims in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile and demand that the international community take effective action to pursue justice and accountability.

Please share this with people in your network and ask them to keep their eyes on Darfur.

picture credit: UN: