The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

March 20, 2023

Reuters: Aid expulsions spark fears for Darfur camps. Aid officials and diplomats on Thursday said there were fears of growing humanitarian crises in three Darfur refugee camps, after Sudan's wanted president shut down 16 aid groups. Aid officials told Reuters there was a risk of fresh disease outbreaks in south Darfur's Kalma and Kass camps after residents refused to let state-backed aid agencies come in to replace the expelled humanitarian groups. The U.S. embassy in Khartoum released a statement saying it was "deeply concerned" by the situation in Zamzam camp in north Darfur, where the expulsions have coincided with an influx of 36,000 people fleeing recent fighting. Sudanese government aid officials said the expelled groups' work would be covered by surviving international organizations and scores of local groups that authorities were planning to bring into the area. But Hussein Abu Sharati, who says he represents Darfuri refugees in 158 camps, said Kalma residents had met and voted to refuse all aid from Sudanese groups. "They don't see these groups as aid organizations, they see them as tools of the government," he told Reuters by satellite phone.

The following column by Mohamed Suleiman appeared on the Huffington Post on Wednesday.

A Darfuri Speaks Out: Sudan's President Treats My People Like Bargaining Chips

On March 4th 2009, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of President of Sudan Omer Al-Bashir. Within hours, Al-Bashir ordered 13 humanitarian aid groups out from Darfur and Sudan. This was not a mere reactionary move. The regime in Khartoum is comprised of a very calculating gang. That is the secret of their survival for almost 20 years in power. The expulsion of the humanitarian aid groups is meant to present the international community with tough choices. It is the start of the scenario of "Let's talk."

Khartoum is very good in negotiating its way out of troubles. Al-Bashir's bargaining chips here are the lives of 4.7 millions Darfuris. Yes, they are his citizens in the first place, but they also have been his hostages for six years. Some observers say that most of the influential individuals around Al-Bashir are western educated. These individuals understand exactly how the international community thinks, but the international community does not understand how the government of Sudan thinks.

Over the last six years, I have seen and felt the systematic destruction of the once wonderful society I grew up in. Al-Bashir, after killing hundreds of thousands of my people and burning their homes, confined those who managed to stay alive in sub-human shelters called camps in Darfur and Eastern Chad. Their misery didn't end there. Deprived of security and peace, they found the humanitarian aid groups were the only means of survival.

The aid groups provided almost everything to those Darfuris trapped in those camps, but more importantly they provided hope and protection to them. Had it not been for the humanitarian aid workers, Janjaweed attacks would have been deadlier and more rampant. The mere presence of the humanitarian aid workers in the camps and around the Darfuri people was a deterrent from attacks by the Sudanese armed militias. The aid workers were the eyes and ears of the world in Darfur.

After Al-Bashir announced the expulsion of the 13 non governmental organizations (NGOs), the international community seemed caught off guard. China came to the aid of its ally Al-Bashir in the UN Security Council and struck down an attempt to pass a resolution ordering Al-Bashir to reverse his expulsion decision. Seeing the world leaders doing nothing, Al-Bashir was emboldened and expelled three more NGOs. The international community stood by as if searching for words other than those already heard.

Al-Bashir got bolder and announced on Monday, March 16th, that he will get rid of all remaining foreign NGOs within a year and turn over the humanitarian aid operations to Sudanese organizations. Darfuris know exactly what Al-Bashir's announcement means. In the camps, refugees suspect most Sudanese humanitarian organizations are a cover for government security agencies.

Without the NGOs, it is not just security and hope that will be missed in the camps. Now starvation, thirst, diseases, will be added to Al-Bashir's arsenal in his quest to annihilate the people of Darfur.

Right now, as I write this, meningitis is spreading through the Darfur camps for internally displaced persons (IDP). New cases climbed to 38 cases in the Kalma IDP camp and 9 cases have been reported in the Kassab IDP camp. Now more than ever immunization is needed in all camps.

Also, the situation in the Zamzam IDP camps is deteriorating rapidly. There are 63,000 new comers since January without any services or registration. They gather on the bare ground of the camp. They are the first casualties of NGOs expulsion. The water problem is getting worse. Some women and children spend close to 11 hours at the pump just to fill one 4-gallon plastic container. The clinics are closed in the camp. Only God knows how acute the health situation is in the camp in the absence of NGOs.

This is a calculating regime. Each time the international community seems in disarray, that is the time Al-Bashir and his cronies make their moves. They only stop when they are stopped.

In October 2006 in an op-ed, Dr. Susan Rice, Mr. Anthony Lake, and Congressman Donald Payne wrote: "History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force. After Sept. 11, 2001, when President Bush issued a warning to states that harbor terrorists, Sudan -- recalling the 1998 U.S. airstrike on Khartoum -- suddenly began cooperating on counterterrorism. It's time to get tough with Sudan again."

I believe that, with 4.7 millions human beings' lives at stake, now is the time to get tough with Al-Bashir's regime.

Mohamed Suleiman lost members of his family to the Darfur genocide while still others remain in Darfur. Now living in the United States, Suleiman translates English language news about Darfur into Arabic and houses it online in an effort to increase awareness within the Sudanese community in the United States. He is an member of the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition.

The following column by Jim Wallis appeared yesterday on the Huffington Post.

"Once Again" in Darfur

Here we are again, and again, and again. It is not a new message or a new concern. People have been suffering, starving, raped, beaten and killed year in and year out. There are those who have committed years, entire lives, to the cause. They have preached, they have marched, they have sung, they have divested, and they have been arrested to make their voices heard. Politicians, celebrities, faith leaders, and activists have joined together to stand up and speak out. The campaigns have gone on so long and the education so effective that 58 percent of Americans can now locate this remote country on a map. But, "never again" has turned into "once again," and history repeats itself with genocide in Darfur.

Over the past few weeks, 13 international humanitarian organizations have been expelled from Sudan at the dictate of Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan. These actions came soon after the International Criminal Court handed down an indictment of al-Bashir and issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur. As a result, 1.1 million Darfuris are without food, 1.5 million without health care, and more than 1 million without access to clean drinking water. If there was any doubt as to whether or not he was truly acting in the best interest of his people, his use of food and water as weapons of war show that he just does not care about the people of Darfur.

Over the past month, officials have spoken to me about invoking Article 16 of the Court's statutes which would allow the U.N. Security Council to defer proceedings for a year or even more. They argue that this would allow the Khartoum government to take positive steps forward in taking care of its people and moving toward peace. With the expulsion of these humanitarian organizations, al-Bashir has shown that he has no interest in the well-being of the people of Darfur or in bringing peace. These actions show that once again there comes a time when a political leader has so violated standards of international law and morality that he should no longer be treated as a sovereign, even in his own country, but as a criminal. Actions like this show that he should no longer be president, but prosecuted and brought to justice like the international fugitive of the law he now is. If he was serious about peace and progress, the first thing he should do is welcome the aid organizations back into his country, and without that he has ensured that this warrant will be pursued.

Thursday morning, a small group gathered in the Rules Committee meeting room of the Capitol building. Congressmen and women, activists, faith leaders, and celebrities spoke to express our outrage at the flagrant disregard for human life, but press was sparse at the event. AIG bonuses were the headlines of the day. Certainly, that is a revelation worthy of our anger, but in the midst of our financial concerns, we must remember the lives of the millions killed over the past 20 years and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that will come with the support of the Khartoum government.

Where do we go from here? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in response to the expulsion of aid groups,

The real question is what kind of pressure can be brought to bear on President Bashir and the government in Khartoum to understand that they will be held responsible for every single death that occurs in these camps.

We all must ask ourselves what more we can do as we escalate our own response to this offense to our faith and our conscience. The president took a step forward by appointing a new special envoy to Sudan, General J. Scott Gration, but that is not enough. Congresswoman Donna Edwards said it this way at the press conference: "It is not just by our appointments but by our actions that we need to show that what Khartoum has done is unacceptable."

Again, and again, and again. The unacceptable has been accepted, atrocities have been ignored. When the dust clears and the bodies are buried, burned, or left to rot in forsaken camps, the whole world will mourn for what has been done. But, what Sudan needs is not apologies in the future, but hope today. Until the killing has stopped and peace restored, Sudan needs people of conscience across the world who will stand in solidarity today, tomorrow, and the day after that - again, and again, and again.

Jim Wallis is the author of The Great Awakening, Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at

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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