The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

June 29, 2023

IRIN: SUDAN: Climate change - only one cause among many for Darfur conflict. Climate change may be one of the causes of the Darfur crisis, but to consider it the single root cause would obscure other important factors and could hamper the search for solutions, climate and conflict analysts say. "It [global warming] has become such a trendy issue that everything is being packaged as climate change," said Sorcha O'Callaghan, a researcher at the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI). "Competition for resources has definitely been one of the main issues in the conflict, but undue emphasis on it, at the expense of other causes, is an attempt to simplify the crisis. The complexity of the different factors driving Darfur's conflict need to be borne in mind in efforts towards its resolution and, therefore, over-simplification should be avoided", she added. A report on how climate change posed a threat to global security was produced earlier this year for the think-tank, CNA Corporation, by a group of former US military officials. "Darfur provides a case study of how existing marginal situations can be exacerbated beyond the tipping point by climate-related factors. It also shows how lack of essential resources threatens not only individuals and their communities but also the region and the international community at large," the report commented. In its 50 years of independence, Africa's largest country has been plagued by conflicts rooted, many historians say, in the economic, political, social and military domination of the country by a narrow elite within northern Sudan. Understanding all the causes of the Darfur crisis may need a more nuanced approach. Julie Flint, who with Alex de Waal, wrote the book Darfur: The Short History of a Long War, told IRIN, "There is some truth in this [the link between conflict and the demand for natural resources]. The great drought and famine of 1984-85 led to localised conflicts that generally pitted pastoralists against farmers in a struggle for diminishing resources, culminating in the Fur-Arab war of 1987-89." But attempts to paint the Darfur conflict as simply resource-based "whitewashes the Sudan government", claimed Flint. The "full-fledged tragedy" starting in 2003, was caused by the government's response to the rebellion, "for which two people have already been indicted for war crimes by the ICC [International Criminal Court] - not by resource conflict". O'Callaghan also challenged commentators who "simplistically portrayed the Darfur conflict as an ethnic struggle between Arabs and Africans". "With political and military allegiances shifting between different groups, there is now greater acceptance that this does not adequately reflect the roots of the conflict," she said.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Exhibit to focus on Darfur. The human-rights atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, will hit home in Philadelphia like never before next month through the National Constitution Center's first ever outdoor photojournalism exhibit. Wall-sized photographs taken in the war-torn region of Sudan will be displayed on three of the National Constitution Center's outer walls 8:45 p.m. to midnight July 24-30. The exhibit, named "Darfur/Darfur," is currently traveling in a 24-stop world tour that started in Washington in November. Philadelphia is the 15th stop on the tour and the second city in the United States to display the exhibit outdoors, said Joseph Torsella, National Constitution Center president and CEO. Other stops on the tour include Istanbul, Turkey, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Berlin, Germany. "When the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., approached us about this, they said they had done the exhibit outdoors and it sounded like us and our mission here to be able to take this to a public space and directly engage the public," said Torsella. Members of the Save Darfur Coalition, which partnered with the National Constitution Center to provide funding for the exhibit, said they hope the images of despair and suffering will stir people into civic action. "Just steps from here are great historical symbols of freedom – the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall – and these images will be juxtaposed with these photographs of the anguish and suffering that is still going on," said M. Allyn Brooks-Lasure, director of media relations for the Save Darfur Coalition. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, a native of northern Darfur and outreach director for the University of Pennsylvania's African Studies Center, said the photos are important to him because it will help keep Americans' interest in the conflict from dwindling. "I think Philadelphia is the best place in the nation to host this because of its history of freedom and democracy. People can feel links to this issue because they remember their own country's struggle," he said.

Turkish Daily News: Women suffer most in Darfur conflict. The deep hallow eyes on the blank expressionless face speak of wisdom that only comes with experience and maturity of a long-lived life. The long, drawn out, tired face does all the talking of sleepless nights, burning villages, hiding, murders, starvation and rape. Next, is a photograph of a malnourished child in its mother's arms. A young boy holding a gun. A young child lying motionless on the ground, its body deteriorating and its leg twisted in an awkward position. “This is the face of war,” says Leslie Thomas curator of Darfur/Darfur Exhibition. Part of World Refugee Day, June 20, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) invited people to view a photography exhibit of the people from Sudan on three screens in Istanbul's Ortaköy Square. The exhibition was made possible by UNHCR with the contribution of Be:ikta: Municipality and Save Darfur Coalition. “Nobody will argue with you that the killing needs to stop, whether you call it genocide or not,” says Amjad Atallah president of Strategic Assessments and representative of Save Darfur. “Whether you say 400,000 or 200,000 people have died, should those people have died? Well, the answer is no.” “This is a political conflict caused by a war that is taking place over resource allocation and over power sharing,” says Atallah. “The Sudanese government is primarily responsible because it is the government that is responsible for the well-being of its people.” Reports point at rape taking place in front of children, other women or in gang attacks. Security and violence against women go hand-in-hand says Atallah. Security, protection and punishment of everyone involved in gender-based violence is a must.

Harvard Crimson: Panel Releases Darfur Shares Report. While Harvard added another Darfur-linked oil firm to its Sudan divestment hit list today, the University officially condoned its indirect holdings that have previously been the subject of much debate. In a report released today, the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR)—the two-member panel responsible for reviewing ethical issues surrounding the University’s investments—examined two issues that relate to companies with alleged links to Darfur. They explored the issue of “indirect” investments in Sudan, and they considered the consequences of adopting a broader set of criteria for divestment. In the past two years, Harvard has divested from two Chinese oil firms, Sinopec and PetroChina, both accused of helping to fund the genocide in Darfur through their investments in Sudan. But in January, The Crimson reported that the University maintains indirect holdings—a total of more than $12 million—in these companies through certain funds in its investment portfolio. The CCSR report thus explored whether to revise the University’s previous policy, which did “not extend to investment vehicles over which the University does not exercise direct control over composition and investment decisions.” The CCSR also addressed a proposal from a concerned student organization, the Harvard Darfur Action Group (HDAG), which had garnered over 1400 petition signatures and sent letters to Interim President Derek C. Bok and President-elect Drew G. Faust regarding its proposed divestment model. The model would have established a much broader set of criteria for evaluating direct divestment decisions than is currently in place. According to the CCSR report, HDAG’s model, which was adopted from a nationwide divestment activist organization, would extend divestment to as many as “a few dozen” companies. In ultimately declining HDAG’s proposed divestment scheme, the committees looked into the reasoning that has governed divestment in the past, focusing on Harvard’s role in heavily-politicized situations.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact  Ashley Roberts  at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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