Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Invitation to a Slaughter

The UN, in its wisdom, has decided that the displaced people in Darfur, at high threat of being slaughtered by the factions in Sudan that want to be all Arab, and not black, should feel free to do what they want, even though it is clear that what they want is to purge Darfur of its darkness:

The top UN Peacekeeping official on Wednesday rejected the notion that the United Nations could deploy troops to Sudan's war-wracked Darfur region without a firm political agreement between rebels and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's government. (AP) (source)

This basically guarantees that there will be no one around to rescue those when the slaughter begins in the refugee camps, and then the world can sit around and wring its collective hands about how some people are just so bad, pretty much like what happened in Rwanda.

Some background:

The Darfur conflict or the Darfur genocide is an ongoing armed conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, mainly between the Janjaweed, a militia group recruited from local Baggara tribes, and the non-Baggara peoples (mostly land-tilling tribes) of the region. The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided arms and assistance and has participated in joint attacks with the group, systematically targeting the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups in Darfur. The conflict began in February 2003.

Estimates of deaths in the conflict have ranged from 50,000 (World Health Organization, September 2004) to 450,000 (Dr. Eric Reeves, 28 April 2006). Most NGOs use 400,000, a figure from the Coalition for International Justice. The mass media has described the conflict as both "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide." The U.S. Government has described it as genocide, although the United Nations has declined to do so. (See also: List of declarations of genocide in Darfur)

After fighting worsened in July and August 2006, on August 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 20,000 UN peacekeeping force to supplant or supplement the 7,000-troop African Union force. Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders. The next day, the Sudanese military launched a major offensive in the region. (See also: New Darfur peacekeeping force)

Unlike in the Second Sudanese Civil War, which was fought between the primarily Muslim north and Christian and animist south, in Darfur most of the residents are Muslim, as are the Janjaweed (source)

From ReliefWeb:

The current situation (October 1st 2006)

It is now three years since the escalation of the conflict in Darfur into a major humanitarian crisis. Today the situation is as desperate as ever. The sheer scale of the crisis is incredible:

- 2 million people - nearly one in three people in Darfur - have had to flee their homes and are sheltering in camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs)

- A further 200,000 refugees from Darfur are in camps over the border in neighbouring Chad

- More than 3 million people - that's half Darfur's entire population - are now reliant on humanitarian aid

Such a catastrophic humanitarian situation will not improve without an end to the ongoing and brutally violent conflict. In May this year, the government and one of the main rebel groups signed the Darfur Peace Agreement. But far from bringing peace, since then the situation has deteriorated significantly and Darfur has again become more violent and volatile.

Oxfam is working to provide people in Darfur with clean water and sanitation systems, and to promote good hygiene practice in the overcrowded camps. Our programmes within Darfur itself currently reach 415,000 people, with a further 40,000 beneficiaries in refugee camps across the border in Chad.

Getting worse

Throughout 2006, the situation in Darfur has been deteriorating further with every passing week. Civilians continue to face daily threats of violence and there are frequent displacements of entire communities. Humanitarian workers are finding it increasingly dangerous to carry out vital work. The peace deal signed earlier this year included just two of the parties to the conflict. Since then, the rebel movements have splintered into numerous different armed groups and Darfur has become increasingly fractured and lawless. Major clashes have occurred between those who have signed the agreement and those who have not. As always, civilians have been caught in the middle.

Even the people who have fled to the camps are still not safe. Venturing just a short way outside to collect essential firewood or go to the market risks harassment, sexual assault or death. The people of Darfur urgently need protection from violence. There is a 7,000-strong African Union force deployed to monitor the region, but it is under-funded and short of both the resources and troops it needs to cover such a vast area that is the size of France. It needs much more support from the international community and a clearer and more proactive mandate if it is to make the region safe and secure for civilians.

Aid cannot get through

The increasing violence throughout Darfur is restricting the ability of Oxfam and other humanitarian organisations to do our work, and hundreds of thousands of people are going without desperately needed assistance as a result. Roads are frequently too dangerous to travel on; aid vehicles are increasingly being hijacked or attacked, and staff placed in growing danger. 12 humanitarian workers were killed in Darfur between July and September. In July, Oxfam was forced to close two of our North Darfur offices because of regular carjackings and the death of one of our staff

The UN estimates that four out of ten people in Darfur who need assistance are not receiving it because they cannot be reached. Large parts of rural Darfur are completely inaccessible for aid agencies. Many of Oxfam's programmes are now reached by helicopter because roads are too insecure, but helicopters only go the larger towns. In villages and rural areas, where there are no helicopter services, we are often simply unable to get there.

People want to return home

Many of the people in the IDP and refugee camps have now been there for nearly three years. They want nothing more than to be able to go back to the homes, villages and fields where they and their families have lived for generations. But they are effectively trapped. The ongoing insecurity means that safely returning home is impossible. Humanitarian organisations such as Oxfam are working to make life in the camps as bearable as possible, but greater protection and security is needed throughout the region.

Life in the camps

Most people arrived in the camps with virtually nothing. Some people were able to bring animals or a few pots or blankets (if they were not killed or stolen in attacks), but many came with just the clothes they were wearing. Even for those lucky enough to bring animals such as donkeys and cows it is difficult to find food with which to feed them, and taking them out to graze puts the owners at serious risk of attack.

In most camps, the makeshift huts in which many of the families shelter are made of little more than sticks and plastic sheeting. Some camps, such as Abu Shouk on the outskirts of El Fasher, have been running for three years and have taken on an air of permanence, with stone buildings replacing the tents. Others are newer and continue to grow, such as Gereida in South Darfur, which has tripled in size since the start of 2006. Gereida is now home to 130,000 people and many of the camps are the size of cities, with tens of thousands packed tightly together with only the most basic facilities. Such overcrowded conditions are a breeding ground for diseases. The enormous humanitarian response to the crisis has brought most levels of disease in the camps to manageable levels - although this progress now risks being reversed as insecurity prevents us accessing many people.

The main feeling in many of the camps is one of helplessness and frustration - people are trapped here, unable to return home, with limited access to education or any kind of economic activity. The majority of people in the camps are women and children, and many of the young children have now spent a large part of their lives living there. (source)

Rape is rampant, and the only thing standing between the people in threat is a 7,000 man group of African Union troops who are too few to do the job, and running out of funds. When they go, there will be absolutely no one to stand between the women and childen in threat, and the militias and rebels whol will do them in.

And for the most part, it is Muslim on Muslim crime, too...the main difference is the attackers are ethnically Arab and the victims are not.


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