Summary of the Crisis in Darfur, Sudan
The on-going genocide in Darfur, Sudan has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris and has displaced more than 2 million more. The genocide began in early 2003 when members of two rebel groups—the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)—revolted against the Sudanese government in Khartoum alleging systematic neglect of the inhabitants of Darfur. The government responded by launching an assault against these two rebel groups. The response has been two-pronged, combining aerial bombing raids with a sustained ground assault. The ground offensive is carried out by Arab militias recruited from local tribes and armed by the government– collectively known as the janjaweed.
The attacks by the janjaweed have continued for more than two and half years, leaving thousands dead and millions displaced. Estimates of the dead and conflict-affected go as high as 400,000 and 3.5 million , respectively. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are estimated to have fled across the border to neighboring Chad.
Sudan is Africa’s largest country, roughly half the size of the continental United States. The western Darfur region is the size of France. Yet only 7,000 African Union troops have been deployed to try and keep the peace in the region, and even those troops lack the mandate they need to adequately protect those at risk of rape or death. Six separate rounds of peace talks have failed to halt the attacks. Now, recent attacks have even targeted international humanitarian aid workers, raising the serious possibility that aid workers will have to be withdrawn and thousands will be denied the aid supplies they desperately need.