Ten years ago…
Ten years ago, 6–year–old Raouda was driven from her home in Darfur, a western region of Sudan, when government militias known as the Janjaweed attacked her village.
Raouda’s peaceful and fertile region of Darfur—roughly the size of Texas or France—has been devastated by violence, war, and starvation since early 2003. As we look back on the past 10 years since the conflict began, we are reminded that more than 300,000 people have lost their lives and another 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Take Action Now
I don’t remember my village, only the place where my village once stood. There is nothing left. It was all burned.
One year after Raouda and her grandmother, Hassanya, fled from their home and found safety in a refugee camp, the United States government declared the Darfur conflict a genocide. This sparked a wave of action from people around the world who raised their voices as part of a global movement calling upon world leaders to “Save Darfur.”
To escape the Janjaweed, we walked across the desert. We walked two or three days, and then took a break, then walked again. We walked for two weeks until we came to a bigger village, and from there the aid groups brought us to a refugee camp across the border.
Slowly, world leaders began to listen. A joint United Nations–African Union peacekeeping force was deployed to help stop the violence. A massive humanitarian operation was put in place to establish camps and aid for people like Raouda and her family.
We don’t even have a mat to sit on; instead we use a tarp. We sleep in one little room, where we also cook and store everything we own. I fetch the water and food rations. When we need firewood, I go with a group and collect all that I can carry. Sometimes it takes me the whole day.
Six years after the initial wave of attacks and the destruction of thousands of Darfuri villages, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al–Bashir on counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, and in 2010 the Court issued a second arrest warrant for President Bashir for three counts of genocide.
Now, 10 years later, Raouda is 16 years old. She has spent most of her life in a refugee camp located in eastern Chad and, due to ongoing violence, she has not been able to return home. While many people and international leaders may have forgotten about the conflict, the violence in Darfur continues today, affecting millions of people just like Raouda.
Back in Darfur, we played games, and I had a stuffed animal that I miss very much. Now I have almost nothing.
Over the past few months, Sudanese government forces have attacked civilians, forced more people to flee their homes, brutally cracked down on protests, and stopped humanitarian organizations from delivering aid to people in Darfur.
Maybe you heard about the Save Darfur movement years ago…
Maybe you’re just learning of this crisis for the first time…
It is time to change the story for Raouda and the millions of Darfuris who share similar stories. And it is time to change the story for people in other regions of Sudan who are terrorized by their government…
Stand up for the people of Sudan and show the world that 10 years of conflict is 10 years too long.
Our world leaders must act to end this conflict once and for all.
Sign the Petition.
Tell a friend.
Ten years ago, the Government of Sudan began a genocide against civilians in Darfur killing more than 300,000 and displacing 4 million Darfuris. Despite attempts at peace, the killing continues today.
Even with a U.N. peacekeeping force on the ground, Darfuris remain vulnerable to attacks and extreme human rights violations. Since 2010, the UN has reported more than 200 attacks in Darfur.
The Sudanese government is the main perpetrator of violence against civilians in Darfur. The government has obstructed U.N. peacekeeping forces, refused to prosecute individuals charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, blocked international aid, used aerial bombardment against civilians, and extended its attacks on civilians beyond Darfur.
The continued displacement of more than 2 million people has created a long-standing humanitarian crisis in Darfur. And the U.N. estimates that another million people have been displaced or severely affected by violence in the states of Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile.
The global community joined together to bring the world’s attention to Darfur once—now it’s time to call for action again. Join us in demanding that the international community and U.N. bring an end to aerial bombardment and other attacks on civilians, condemn unlawful detention and human rights abuses in Khartoum and elsewhere, provide aid to the millions suffering, and push for a just and lasting peace for Darfur and all of Sudan.
More Ways to Take Action
The Conflict in Sudan
Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has experienced more years of turmoil than peace. Fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel movements are commonly rooted in the government’s exploitative leadership and the country’s unequal distribution of power and wealth among the Sudanese population. These internal tensions drove the country into a decades-long civil war, which led to South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011. These same tensions continue to underlie current conflicts in Darfur, eastern Sudan, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile.
The Darfur Conflict
For decades, many Darfuris felt ignored by the central government in Khartoum and believed that the government favored Sudanese Arabs and oppressed non-Arab Sudanese. These frustrations boiled over in early 2003, when two primarily Muslim non-Arab Darfuri rebel groups launched a rebellion against the government of Sudan. The government responded to the rebellion by enlisting the help of some of the nomadic Arab tribes in Darfur, promising them land in exchange for their military allegiance. These groups formed militias known as the Janjaweed, and, with the support of the government, began wreaking havoc throughout Darfur. The Janjaweed has become notorious for abducting and kidnapping civilians, committing widespread rape, burning and looting villages and livestock, poisoning wells, and killing civilians. In 2004, the United States government called the conflict in Darfur a genocide, given the Arabs’ systematic and widespread targeting of non-Arabs in an effort to eradicate the non-Arabs from their lands.
Since the conflict began ten years ago, approximately 300,000 people have lost their lives and an additional 4 million have been displaced from their homes. While nearly half of those originally displaced have now returned to their homes, ongoing insecurity in Darfur continues to cause civilian casualties and displacement.
There have been multiple attempts to implement formal peace agreements, all of which have failed. The rebels in Darfur have splintered many times, further complicating the road to peace. The most recent agreement, the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, offers little hope, as the most powerful and militarily active of the rebel groups did not sign it. As the peace process stalls, violence continues in Darfur. The proliferation of militias, inter-communal violence, and the army itself remain serious threats to the civilian population.
The continued displacement of more than 2 million refugees and internally displaced persons, or IDPs, has become a long-term humanitarian crisis. Those still displaced live in refugee and IDP camps in eastern Chad and within Darfur, where they are dependent on humanitarian support for their most basic needs: food, water, security, shelter, and healthcare. The mission of the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, is to protect civilians, deliver humanitarian assistance, and promote peace negotiations, and it is one of the largest and costliest peacekeeping operations in history.
Sudan must address its governance issues and install a central government that represents the interests of all Sudanese. Only then will sustainable peace and security come to Darfur.
Today, the government of Sudan continues to limit the access of international humanitarian aid organizations throughout Darfur. In early 2013, the United Nations reported that fighting around gold mines in Darfur caused the displacement of 100,000 people. The recent incident underscores the ongoing insecurity in Darfur and the need for the international community to again turn its attention to Sudan and demand that comprehensive governance reform take place in the country.