Ethnic Cleansing in Sudan
The government of Sudan is responsible for 'ethnic cleansing' and crimes against humanity in Darfur, which is located on Sudan's western border with Chad (. The Sudanese government, along with the Arab 'Janjaweed' militias they arm and support, have attacked the civilians of the African Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. These attacks involved massacres, summary executions of civilians, burnings of towns and villages, and the forceful depopulation of Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa land. The militia, Muslim like the African groups, have destroyed many religious artifacts including the desecrated Qorans that belong to their enemies (Human Rights Watch, 2004, p. 5).
The Sudanese government is breaching at least two articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); Article 3, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person', (General Assembly Resolution, 1948, Article 3) and Article 5, 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'. (General Assembly Resolution, 1948, Article 5) The government has not only killed thousands of Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa civilians - they have, with the help of their Janjaweed allies, raped women, destroyed food supplies, and forced over one million civilians into camps and settlements in Darfur where they are ?on the very edge of survival? (Human Rights Watch, 2004, p. 5) and subject to regular Janjaweed abuses. These breaches are very serious and need to be addressed appropriately.
The conflicts that lead to the human rights breaches were a recent escalation of a long-standing disagreement. In February 2003, the rebel groups SLA/M (Sudan Liberation Army/Movement) and JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) demanded an end to chronic economic marginalisation and sought to share power within the Sudanese state. The government responded to this threat by targeting the civilian population from which members of these movements were drawn - the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups. To help their cause, the Sudanese government formed a military and political partnership with some Arab nomads (now known as the Janjaweed) by arming them, training them and offering impunity for all their crimes.
At the present time (22.5.2004) some action has taken place to address the result of the UDHR breaches. On the 28th of April the World Food Programme (WFP) led a high-level mission to Sudan to gather first-hand information on the humanitarian situation. The outcomes of this mission will not be known for a period of time but it is reported on the 17th of May ?a WFP hired truck driver was robbed, beaten and subsequently hospitalized? (UN estimates?, 2004, para. 6) and ?internally displaced persons (IDPs) who accept food aid (from WFP) were subject to Janjaweed militia predatory attacks?. (UN estimates?, 2004, para. 9) Although expected, these actions show that there is still a long way to go before there is peace.