|Summery of Findings|
|The Sudanese government and government backed Arab militias are perpetrating violent attacks on civilian populations in Darfur, Sudan. On February 18, 2004, CPG received confirmation of government backed Arab militia raids in the town of Shatatya and its surrounding villages, which resulted in the massacre of 81 civilians. Sources also reported that the militias abducted 32 adolescent girls from Mugjar, a town on the Sudanese side of the Sudan-Chad border (CPG Press Release). Additionally, CPG has received numerous confirmed reports of Arab militia raids and aerial bombings in Darfur, specifically targeting civilians. The violence in Darfur has caused hundred of thousands of people to flee their homes. Restricted access to the region has impeded the delivery of international aid to these refugees and internally displaced people, causing international humanitarian groups to warn of an imminent humanitarian disaster.|
|Civilian Targeted by Continued
Fighting in Darfur, Sudan:
An Impending Humanitarian Crisis
|The Center for the Prevention of Genocide (CPG) is deeply concerned by the deteriorating conditions in Darfur Sudan. Victims fleeing the escalating violence in that province have reported systematic human rights abuses against unarmed civilians, including women and children. They have described the looting and burning of villages by government-supported Arab militias, including the Janjaweed and the Muraheleen, as well as air raids carried out by the Sudanese air force. Thus far, the violence in Darfur has led to the deaths of an estimated 4,000 civilians and to the internal and external displacement of at least 800,000 people. Approximately 700,000 of them are internally displaced, and more than 100,000 of them have fled Sudan in search of safety across the Chad border. The remoteness of the region and restrictions imposed by the Sudanese government have severely limited international humanitarian organization’s access to those in need of assistance, but the few organizations that are operating on the Chad-Sudan border have warned of worsening conditions in refugee camps and of a looming humanitarian emergency should additional resources not reach the region soon.|
For nearly two decades, Sudan has endured a bloody civil war as Northern and Southern armed forces have fought for control of the country’s valuable oil reserves (BBC: “Country Profile: Sudan”). Although with a proposed peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) had raised hopes that stability finally would come to the region, fighting in the Darfur province in Western Sudan continues (IRIN News: “Sudan Peace Talks Resume in Kenya,” Feb.18, 2004; “Special Report II: Chad and the Darfur Conflict,” Feb. 16, 2004; “More Pressure on Parties Urged in Prelude to Talks Resumption,” Feb. 5, 2004).
Historically, both nomad groups, including the Albala, Zeilat, and Mahamid, and settled farmers, such as the Fur, the Masalit, and the Zaghawa, have inhabited Darfur. These groups, aside from occasional conflicts over the region’s increasingly scarce land, generally have peacefully coexisted. Escalating violence in Darfur, however, has magnified those ethnic differences, and the perpetrators of the violence have sought to manipulate the differences to their own ends. As Amnesty International reported in its February 3, 2004 report on the conflict in Darfur, “[t]he attackers portray themselves as ‘Arabs,’ the civilians being attacked are called ‘Blacks’ or even ‘slaves,’ and some groups allege that the violence in Darfur represents an attempt “to drive all ‘Africans’ away from Darfur.” (Amnesty International: “Sudan Darfur: ‘Too Many People Killed for No Reason,’” Feb. 3, 2004.) The increasing ethnic tone of the conflict has raised concerns among international humanitarian organizations that an ethnically motivated genocide has begun in Darfur.
Darfur’s current period of violence began in February 2003 when two regional opposition groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), formally took up arms against the Sudanese government. The rebel groups allege that the government has marginalized and impoverished the Darfur region by consistently favoring the Arab populations over indigenous Africans. The rebels demand greater autonomy for Darfur and a larger share of the country’s natural resources (Amnesty International: “Sudan Darfur: ‘Too Many People Killed for no Reason,’” Feb. 3, 2004). The Sudanese government has met this rebellion with aerial bombing raids on villages and by assisting Arab militias, including the Janjaweed and the Murahaleen, in their attacks on villagers. As of mid-February 2004, the violence has driven more than 800,000 people from their homes in Darfur. Estimates of those killed reach into the thousands (U.N. Wire: “Sudan Government Targeting Civilians, Rights Group Says,” Feb. 4, 2004; The Independent: “Sudan Accused of ‘vicious invisible war’ Against its Citizens,” Feb.3, 2004).
The Sudanese Government is officially located in the northern city of Khartoum and is led by Omar Al-Bashir.>Al-Bashir leads an authoritarian regime comprised of an elite group of supporters, which have sought to enforce strict Islamic law throughout the country.Under Al-Bashir’s rule, Sudan has endured a protracted and bloody civil war that has claimed the lives of approximately two million Sudanese.(2003 CIA World Factbook).
The Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) is an opposition group led by John Garang and was created in 2001 by the people of Darfur. The SLM/A, together with another opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement, began an armed resistance against the Sudanese government in February 2003. The rebels are protesting what they perceive as the Sudanese government’s neglect of the region and have demanded some form of self-determination for Darfur. The SLM/A is the only major opposition group included in the recent peace negotiations with the Sudanese government.
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is also an opposition group fighting against the Sudanese government’s control of Darfur. Like the SLM/A, the JEM challenges the Sudanese government’s rule in Darfur and alleges that the government has impoverished the region. JEM, however, has not been included in peace talks between the government and the SLM/A.
The Janjaweed is one of many armed Arab militias operating in Darfur. The Janjaweed travel on horseback and on camels. Reportedly, they have the support of the Sudanese government to attack villages in Darfur, destroying homes and killing civilians.
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) and Refugees are located across or near Sudan’s border with Chad. According to recent international news reports, more than 700,000 people are internally displaced as a result of the violence in Darfur and more than 100,000 refugees have fled the violence by crossing the Sudanese border into Chad. These IDPs and refugees are primarily civilians, and a large percentage of them are women and children (U.N. Wire: “Sudan Government Targeting Civilians, Rights Group Says,” Feb. 4, 2004; The Independent: “ Sudan Accused of ‘vicious invisible war’ Against its Citizens,” Feb.3, 2004).
|Nature of the Abuse|
Because of the remote location of Darfur and because international relief organizations have had only very limited access to the region, reports of the ongoing human rights abuses have been slow to emerge. Interviews with refugees in Chad, however, have revealed that the principal methods of terrorizing Darfur’s civilian population are regular aerial bombings and Arab militia raids. (Amnesty International: “Sudan Darfur: ‘Too Many People Killed for no Reason,’” Feb. 3, 2004; IRIN News: “Dialogue on Humanitarian Access in Darfur,” Feb. 4, 2004.)
Large numbers of refugees consistently have told interviewers from Amnesty International, UNICEF, and UNHCR of repeated attacks on civilians by Arab militias, including the Janjaweed. These militias, often accompanied by armed Sudanese soldiers, loot and burn villages, abduct and rape women and children, and kill unarmed civilian villagers. The fear and destruction brought by the militia attacks have caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. (Amnesty International: “Sudan Darfur: ‘Too Many People Killed for No Reason,’” Feb. 3, 2004.)
The refugees also have described aerial bombings of villages. International relief workers operating on the Chadian side of the Chad-Sudan border have confirmed hearing loud explosions and treating increasing numbers of patients suffering from shrapnel injuries. Supporting the refugees’ and international aid workers’ accounts of the bombings are international news media reports that Sudanese military aircraft dropped bombs on the border village of Tine, Chad at the end of January 2004. At a minimum, these bombings confirm Sudanese government complicity in the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. (IRIN News: “Hundreds Killed on Daily Air Raids on Darfur Villages,” Jan. 29, 2004; “18,000 Sudanese Flee into Chad Within 10 Days,” Jan. 28, 2004; “Sudanese Bombs Dropped on Chad Town; Three Killed,” Jan. 30, 2004.)
The few international humanitarian organizations operating in the region are warning of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe should substantial international assistance not arrive quickly. Refugees arrive in the Chad border region often having walked for days across rough terrain. The shelters in which they must live once they reach a location of relative safety provide them with little protection from the daytime sun or from the cold night temperatures. Indeed some recently arrived refugees have to survive without any shelter and sleep in the bush. International aid workers are struggling to provide food, medicine, and security to these refugees, who often arrive on the Chad side of the border suffering from malnutrition, diarrhea, and infections. (Amnesty International: “Sudan Darfur: ‘Too Many People Killed for No Reason,’” Feb. 3, 2004; IRIN News: “Darfur’s Invisible Refugees Living Rough in Eastern Chad,” Feb. 4, 2004).
IDPs have not fared any better than the refugees, and generally receive no assistance at all because they are mostly inaccessible to the international aid organizations. Like refugees, IDPs suffer from malnutrition, lack of shelter, disease, and insecurity. Just this week Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), one international aid organization operating in the region, reported “‘catastrophic mortality rates’ among the internally displaced persons … due to displacement, ‘critical living conditions’ and inadequate food supplies.” Additionally, the MSF workers “found a total of 258 severely malnourished and 1,190 moderately malnourished children at several sites.” (MSF Press Release: “Massive Aid Urgently Needed in Darfur, Sudan,” Feb. 17, 2004).
|CPG Compilation of Confirmed Massacres in Darfur, Sudan|
The Center for the Prevention of Genocide has monitored conditions in Darfur since the summer of 2003. On January 20, 2004, eleven elderly people perished in a massacre, which occurred in villages north and south of Kuttum. In addition to the massacres, numerous incidents of looting, rape, torture, and abduction have been reported. Unfortunately, the travel ban on the region has made neutral third party confirmation extraordinarily difficult to obtain.
Date: February 10, 2004
Date: January 20, 2004
Date: January 18, 2004
Date: January 18, 2004
Village Destroyed: Jondo
Date: January 16, 2004
Date: January 15, 2004
Village Destroyed: Shaka
Date: January 10, 2004
Date: January 10, 2004
Date: January 1, 2004
Date: August 15, 2003
Date: July 25 – August 5, 2003
B – civilians killed in Goor Elnaeem area:
Location: villages in Jabir and Abara areas – about 50 km to the north of Kutum
Victims: 29 civilians killed
Location: Atra and Gouz Wadmaein villages – north-west of Kutom province
Victims: 59 civilians killed
A- civilians killed in Atar village :
Location: Shoba town – about 7km to the south of the Kabkabbya city
Victims: 22 civilians killed
Location: Komra area – 75 km to the west of Al-Fasher (the capital of Northern Darfur)
Victims: 10 civilians
Location: Marrah village – 80-95km to the north-west of Nertitay town in Nyala province
Victims: 9 civilians killed