In Darfur — for almost 10 years now — innocent men, women and children have been subjected to unspeakable suffering. The systematic attacks orchestrated by wanted war criminal, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and his allied Janjaweed militias, have forced millions of people off their land and into displacement camps. In a devastating pattern that continues to repeat itself, this direct targeting of civilians by the armed forces has been coupled with the systematic deprivation of food and other life-sustaining necessities.
In an interview with the Darfur-based Radio Dabanga last week, U.S. Senior Advisor on Darfur, Dane Smith, expressed concern over the worsening security situation. According to Smith:
In comparison with 2011…the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated…there are particular concerns about North-Darfur that lead me to think that the situation there is less stable than last year.
I continue to hear devastating news from the ground every day. Our families are still battling the same unspeakable horror I witnessed seven years ago. Those of us who have been forced to leave our own country have been using our voices to tell the stories of their suffering in hopes of spurring action. Together, we have cried for protection, peace and justice for our people in Darfur. Our cries have fallen on deaf ears and the political and humanitarian crisis has worsened in recent years.
The ongoing lack of attention and the international community’s failure to respond has only enabled Bashir to continue committing crimes. Now, the violence is targeted at not only the people of Darfur, but the Sudanese population at large, including those at risk of starvation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The international community cannot afford to forget about Darfur. Any successful solution to bring about an end to the violence must address Sudan’s core problem: Bashir and his regime.