Amal Allagabo, Dafurian exile
My region, the Darfur province, is a representation of Sudan with its diversity and ethnic make-up. African and Arab tribes lived together for centuries with minor scuffling over water and grazing lands. But recently the government supported Janjaweed up-rooted my villages and people and left them in despair. Burning, killing and raping women with no mercy or observation of the norms of the Geneva Convention for Human Rights.
I came to lose contact with my immediate uncle and other relatives, his children, and grandchildren. Now they might be dead, scattered in different camps in Chad, or lost in the desert with no water, shelter, nor sense of security. In my eyes and many eyes, this is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. My family is just like yours, they want to make a decent living and feel secure as human beings with observable rights.
In fact, in perverse irony, the north-south conflict appears to be on the verge of resolution. But because this agreement makes no provision for other marginalized populations and regions in Sudan, many of these people believe that they will continue to be excluded from political power and economic development. The Darfur insurgents are demanding greater political and economic justice.
Khartoum recruited the Janjaweed, militia forces drawn from largely nomadic Arab populations of Darfur. Working in concert, Khartoum’s regular military and the Janjaweed have engaged in what Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, has called a “scorched-earth” campaign of ethnic cleansing. These African tribal populations – primarily the Fur, the Massaleit and the Zaghawa –to mention a few, and many others will also be victims of genocide. For we must remember that the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention specifies not simply acts of direct human destruction, but those which “deliberately inflict on [an ethnic or racial] group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” This is precisely what Khartoum has done.
Our thanks to the organizers of this event.