Darfur is regarded as the scene of the first campaign of genocide of the 21st Century, a distinction unwanted in every way. First, of course, because it is terrible to be a member of a people targeted for extinction, and second because it ratifies membership in a collection of peoples given full measures of sympathy and virtually no practical assistance by the world community.
Darfur’s desperate plight is well enough know that it could be first half of a political awareness recognition test in which Darfur and genocide are perpetually paired.
There is no shortage of public affirmations of opposition to this linkage. The perpetrator of the mass killing and ethnic cleansing of non-Arabs from Western Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, has been officially charged with genocide and tagged with a laundry list of economic sanctions and personal exclusions. He has, of course, not been arrested, detained or put on trial. And seems well on his way to outlasting his international rejection.
Bashir has not only been personally denigrated, he’s been forced to accept the presence of a U.N. peace-keeping mission in Darfur. But the effect of this has probably helped Bashir more than it’s hurt him. Two of the veto-power states on the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia have developed increasingly warm diplomatic and economic relations with Sudan, and as a result, the U.N. Mission has been ordered to collaborate as much as possible with the very government it was sent to restrain.
This has meant UNAMID, as the peace-keeping force is called has mostly kept the peace with the Sudanese government in Khartoum by regularly failing to protect the Darfurian civilians from attacks by the Sudanese Army and Air Force and by Arab-ethnic militia known as the Janjaweed.
Since fighting between Darfurians and their Sudanese and Sudanese-supported enemies began in 2003, the New York Times reports, “According to the United Nations, some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, 4.4 million people need aid [for their daily survival] and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.
In 2010, peace talks held in Doha, Qatar resulted in a lot of paper agreements between Sudan and Darfur, but not a quantum leap in peace or prosperity. This year, a new mini-war broke out with Sudanese and Janajweek forces attacking revels in the central mountain area known as the Jebel Marrah.
And piling cruelty on cruelty, thousands of displaced Darfurians are being denied refuge and expelled from Jordan and Israel and barred entry, much less asylum, in Europe.
Ahmed Hussain Adam is a Visiting Fellow with the Cornell Institute for African Development. Mr. Adam is a prominent Sudanese politician and scholar from Darfur. He studied law in Sudan and public international law in the UK, where he received his LL/M in International Law from Westminster University, London. He was previously a Lecturer in Public International Law at Al-Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan. A prominent voice for the people of Darfur and all oppressed Sudanese, he has been one of the principal negotiators on their behalf in various peace talks sponsored by international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, and the Arab League. Most recently Mr. Adam was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, where he was also co-chair of the Two Sudans Project and Forum at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Mr. Adam is currently working on a book manuscript titled Darfur Betrayed: An Insider’s Perspective. The proposed book attempts to offer a scholarly, insider perspective on the Darfur peace processes since 2004. The book will critically examine the role and response of the regional and international community to the crisis of Darfur. Mr. Adam writes opinion pieces and is a regular commentator in many international and Sudanese media outlets, including Foreign Policy, New York Times, AljazeeraEnglish/Arabic, the Guardian, Huffington Post, World Policy Journal, Sudan Tribune, African Arguments and Middle East Eye.