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Sunday, 21st November 2010

Neglecting Darfur

Neglecting Darfur
Source: Enough Project
From Executive Summary:

Although Darfur only rarely makes the headlines lately, the reality on the ground there continues to be defined by profound insecurity, limited humanitarian access, impunity for perpetrators of violence, and the absence of credible human rights reporting. In recent months, the failure of peace talks in Doha has led to increased fighting throughout the region. Meanwhile, the Sudanese government has proffered a plan for Darfur that, although couched in humanitarian terms such as “voluntary return” and “development,” in fact amounts to a continued use of its political and military power to manipulate the region’s resources and ensure that displaced Darfuris remain marginalized. The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, continues to be woefully inadequate as a provider of security, and access to basic services in many areas remains well below levels prior to the mass expulsion of 16 aid agencies from Darfur in March 2009.
 
Recent developments have done little to change the situation on the ground for the average Darfuri citizen and all signs point to a worsening situation in the near future. The Sudanese elections in April only empowered the ruling National Congress Party, or NCP, to pursue a military solution to the problem posed by the remaining rebel groups, and the Chad-Sudan rapprochement only briefly served to bring the main combatants to the table for a few months, after which the talks fell apart. The A.U.-U.N. Joint Mediation Support Team now seems primarily to be pursuing civil society engagement, which, while necessary, needs to be conducted in a more inclusive manner in order to be effective and should be viewed as complementary and responsive to a political solution, rather than as a replacement for one.
 
In the remaining months before South Sudan’s referendum on independence, there is little doubt that international attention will remain focused on the North-South dynamic at the cost of Darfur—in fact, this has already been evidenced by the approach that international partners have taken to the peace negotiations in Doha.

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