May 6, 2006

Darfuri Refugees Lack a Guarantee of Security

Posted in Human Rights, Sudan at 9:04 pm by greatparanoiac

Newly_arrived_refugees-2.jpgNewly arrived refugees receive assistance at UNHCR’s Gaga camp in eastern Chad….

Reuters‘ story yesterday on the latest situation in Darfur reports that only the largest rebel faction signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government. After two years of negotiations, this will not end the conflict. I hope–but doubt that it can still bring protection to the millions of refugees.

A faction of the SLA–Sudan Liberation Army signed the accord, but rival leader Abdel Wahed Muhammad al-Nor and the group Justice and Equality Movement refused.  The government has said it will allow UN peacekeeping forces once an agreement with the rebel groups has been met.

I’m afraid that all this accord accomplishes is deflecting international criticism and pressure. The sincerity of the government is doubtful because they have reneged on so many agreements in the past. Sudan is under no serious pressure from the rebels or any threats of an external military internvention. Why hasn’t there been any international effort to treat Sudan as an outlaw state?

“Signing an incomplete deal guarantees that there will be no peace in Darfur and that suits the government. I am sure the government will look to exploit divisions in the rebels to fuel fighting in Darfur.” –John Prendergast, senior adviser to the International Crisis Group.

The crisis in Darfur will not be resolved until there is dialogue between all ethnic groups and the government. The reguees in eastern Chad are in no rush to return home as they are also wary of a peace agreement that wasn’t reached between all party members. As reported by AlertNet, some refugees voiced what they want addressed before they return home.

“It’s not just a peace deal that we need. As refugees, we have our own problems. We had our animals and goods stolen, our houses burnt, we need to be reimbursed,” said 48-year-old Ali Yaya Omar, voicing a concern raised by many refugees.”

I was looking through comments left on Daily Kos on its post titled Progress in Sudan. Only 40 comments on one of the most visited blogs? I know Daily Kos focuses on domestic politics, but that’s it? I was hoping for more dialogue and opinions. Where are all the bloggrs from last Sunday’s Darfur rally in DC? Maybe this post got buried under Porter Gross’ resignation from the CIA? But that’s beside the point–there was an interesting comment left by the Genocide Intervention Network:

“Regardless of the outcome of these peace talks, however, the work to ensure peace in Darfur is far from over. Should the two sides fail to make an agreement, “few doubt that Khartoum’s ‘Plan B’ is anything other than a large-scale military offensive.”

This is key if we remember back to Sudan’s 20-year civil war. Once international attention turned away, the government reneged on many of the concessions it had made with the rebels in Southern Sudan, while the ones that suffered the most were the civilians. Are we going to let this happen again while Sudan hems and haws over peacekeeping enforcement?

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