Sudan has undergone two civil wars spanning decades, resulting in an estimated 2 million deaths and 3.1 million displaced. In 2003, rebels from the western region of Sudan, known as Darfur, rose up against the government in Khartoum, claiming inequitable treatment of the “African” Sudanese population. The government responded by recruiting the Janjaweed, an Arab militia, to carry out a systematic slash and burn policy, coupled with aerial bombardments targeting non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur. Darfur is considered the first genocide of the 21st century with 400,000 deaths and approximately 2.7 million displaced. While the conflict has faded from the spotlight, ongoing violence continues to displace, injure, and kill people in the region today. Since mid-2015, Jebel Marra region of Darfur in particular, has seen a significant surge in violence with disturbing reports of mass rapes by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Many of the Darfuris who fled the genocide now reside in one of 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad. These camps hold roughly 360,000 people, some of whom have lived in the camps for over a decade. As the violence in Darfur continues, thousands more have been flocking to the camps seeking safety. These refugees remain dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. While the World Food Program recommends rations of 2,100 calories per person/per day, rations have been cut by at least 60%, potentially leading to serious malnutrition in the camps.
This video, provided by the World Food Program, illustrates what life is like for the Darfuri refugees facing this food shortage.
In addition to the violence in Darfur, civilians in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have been suffering indiscriminate aerial bombardments and denial of much needed humanitarian aid by the Government of Sudan. The government is employing the same kind of widespread attacks against civilians they used in Darfur while claiming to be subduing opposition forces in the region. The security situation in the entire country continues to deteriorate, with millions displaced, hundreds of thousands living as refuges, and millions in need of food and other vital aid.
Jewish World Watch, in collaboration with a number of partner organizations, is calling upon Members of Congress to send a bi-partisan letter to President Obama urging him to increase his engagement on efforts to bring peace to Sudan. The United States can make a difference in Sudan, but we need to prioritize engagement at the highest levels of government. Click here to encourage your Congressperson to sign-on to the letter to President Obama!