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       We thought that Darfur would at last have some relief when the United Nations negotiated a plan of action with Sudan last December. The Sudanese government had agreed to allow a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force into Darfur, raising the hopes for a more effective peacekeeping effort in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed in brutal ethnic and tribal warfare since 2003.

       However, to date Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir has refused to allow these peacekeeping troops in to Darfur and the torture, murders and rapes continue under his government.

       As they say, the truth is in the details. To make a difference, you’ve got to know more about the situation in Darfur. So what do you need to know?

  • Darfur is located in the western region of Sudan, and it is approximately the size of France.
  • The conflict in Darfur pits non-Arab tribes against the Arab-dominated government of Sudan, which has armed deadly militias that have massacred civilians.
  • Many of the killings have been executed by the Arab Government-backed Janjaweed militia (translated to "devils on horseback"), which are in a conflict with two rebel groups: the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice Equality Movement.
  • The UN Security Council’s troops have been refused entrance into Darfur because the Sudanese government says that it will create another Iraq. Since then the violence has spread to Chad, where refugees from Darfur crossed the border to seek safety in displacement camps set up by the UN High Commission for Refugees.
       There have been reactions within the world community over the Sudanese government’s refusing to allow the UN peacekeeping troops into Darfur, that it had agreed to last December. Some states like California have divested from Sudan and other businesses that have relations with the Sudanese. There’s even talk from several countries like France to boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because China has been doing business with Sudan and has been accused of supplying money and weapons to the Janjaweed.

       You can help protect the people of Darfur by actively participating in the upcoming third “Global Days for Darfur” scheduled for April 23 – 30. Log on to www.savedarfur.org or www.globefordarfur.org for a list of events in your area, as well as for hats, bracelets, posters and plenty of ideas that could easily turn you into an organizer for saving Darfur.

Research gathered by Ruth Gonzalez

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