The conflict in Darfur is worse than ever, the Government’s forces and militias continue to kill civilians with complete immunity (the rebels too), yet the atrocities remain completely out of the news.
Journalists lazily continue to quote 300,000 deaths, despite the fact that they have been using that figure since 2005! It must have been countless deaths by this point, and that’s before we think of the drought, floods (very bad this month, destroying the crops) and poverty. More babies are dying today and each day from severe malnutrition across Darfur but no one knows or is doing anything about it. The UN has described Sudan’s western Darfur region as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than 2.3 million people displaced, most of them living in squalid camps in Darfur and neighbouring Chad (this figure is based on the 2015 figures which has yet to be updated – further evidence of a lack of interest in the region). Peacekeepers and aid workers have restricted access to those in need, yet the ongoing hardship for the people of Darfur is eclipsed in the news by other crises such as that of the Syrian Refugees. The conflict flared up in 2003 when rebels in Darfur took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region. The government responded with a counter-insurgency campaign. Since then, civilians have come under attack from government troops, pro-government militia and rebel groups. Arab militias are also fighting each other, and there are frequent clashes between tribes. Levels of violence fell after 2005, but have risen since the start of 2013. Nearly 400,000 people were displaced in the first half of 2014 alone.
The question remains, how do we help people to realise the issues that plague Darfur remain with us and pay at least some attention to them?