Darfur is the Western region of Sudan. Since 2003 the Government of Sudan (GoS) has been committing genocide. To understand the roots of the crisis,facts and details about the Darfur movement, please visit:
- Enough Project for policy analysis and “asks” for our leaders
- Stop Genocide Now for refugee stories, videos, and photos
- STAND for student activism
- Save Darfur Coalition for actions and events
- Genocide Intervention Network for long term tools to end genocide
- Investors Against Genocide for divestment
- American Jewish World Service for their Darfur Action Campaign
- While We Wait for current news from inside Darfur
- Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy
On March 4, 2009 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He was charged with:
- Five counts of crimes against humanity: murder; extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape;
- Two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities, and pillaging.
Within hours of the ICC announcement, al-Bashir revoked the licenses of 13 international aid organizations and 3 national aid organizations responsible for delivering essential aid inside of Darfur. The 13 international NGOs that were expelled are: Action Contre La Faim (ACF), Solidarités, Save the Children UK and Save the Children US; Médecins Sans Frontières Holland (MSF-H) and Médecins Sans Frontières France (MSF-F); CARE International; Oxfam GB; Mercy Corps; International Rescue Committee (IRC); Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF); and PADCO.
A joint statement from UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and others describes the effects of the expulsions. “The suspended NGOs account for more than half of the capacity for the aid operation in Darfur. If the life-saving assistance these agencies were providing is not restored shortly, it will have immediate, lasting and profound impacts on the well-being of millions of Sudanese citizens. It is not possible, in any reasonable time frame, to replace the capacity and expertise these agencies have provided over an extended period of time.”
“The decision to expel these sixteen organizations, our main implementing partners, effectively removes some 6,500 staff, or 40 per cent of the humanitarian workforce, from being able to carry out critical humanitarian activities in Darfur. These organizations provide a lifeline to 4.7 million people in Darfur alone, and millions more in other areas of Northern Sudan.”
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, Ameerah Haq, said on March 24 that about 1.1 million people now dependent on food aid will not receive their rations starting in May if the aid gaps aren’t filled.
A comprehensive policy approach must be taken on and carried through by the Obama Administration. Enough Project offers the following key components necessary to bring peace to Darfur and Sudan in President Obama and Sudan: Blueprint for Peace:
Forging a Multilateral Peace Strategy:
The Obama administration must lead in constructing a multilateral strategy for peace by establishing an inclusive peace process for Darfur, re-vitalizing implementation of the CPA and the dangerously neglected Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement, and ending Sudan’s proxy war with Chad. Toward that end, General Gration should focus on building a multilateral coalition of countries with significant leverage. At the same time as the processes are being constructed, the United States should work assiduously to create the necessary unilateral and multilateral carrots and sticks to press the parties in the direction of a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of Sudan’s multiple, interlocking conflicts. It is vital that the administration work closely with other key governments in dealing with Sudan; a reliance on bilateral diplomacy will provide Khartoum the opportunity to play one party off against the other, as it has historically done with great success.
Building the Necessary Leverage:
A serious peace process with credible mediation putting forward fair proposals will secure a deal for Darfur. A competent and higher level oversight mechanism with the involvement of countries with influence will ensure the implementation of the CPA. Having the right balance of meaningful pressures and incentives will ensure that prospects for success are much greater.
In broad strokes, the U.S. should present the Sudanese regime with a choice:
Behind Door One: if the Sudanese government permits unimpeded humanitarian access, removes the indicted president, and secures peace in Darfur and the South, a clear process toward normalization will be
mapped out. Almost all of the incentives for Sudan come in the form of more normal relations with much of the world, the lifting of sanctions, a return to more normal patterns of trade and diplomacy, and the other benefits that would naturally flow from Sudan achieving stability as a result of more equitable power and wealth sharing.
Behind Door Two: if President Bashir and his party remain defiant by continuing to undermine efforts at peace for the country, a series of escalating costs will ensue, including diplomatic isolation, targeted economic sanctions, an effective and expanded arms embargo, and, if necessary to stop massive loss of civilian life, eventual targeted military action.
If the benefits of Door One and the consequences of Door Two are meaningful, the chance for peace in Sudan increases dramatically. The missing ingredients in efforts to date for Darfur and CPA implementation have been adequate leverage and lack of strategic vision for resolving comprehensively the country’s conflicts. Without real sticks and carrots, the warring parties in Sudan will remain focused on military confrontation. The international community needs to help change the incentive structure in Sudan from war to peace
Immediate Points of Leverage:
- Isolate Bashir
- Reinforce the Government of South Sudan
- Support the elections and the referendum
- End simmering regional conflicts
- Re-contextualize counter-terrorism cooperation
- Secure the support of key diplomatic players
- Military planning