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Peace/Conflict Bill Brieger | 30 May 2009 07:48 am

Is there less malaria in Darfur today because of the genocide?

Back in 2004 the independent Sudan Tribune reported that, “Malaria has broken out among Sudanese in Darfur who lack clean water and latrines in squalid refugee camps, aid agencies said.” Things have gotten unimaginably worse since then.

In Darfur children don’t live long enough to die from malaria.  Bob Herbert in the New York Times quotes a woman who was attacked by soldiers in Darfur –

They said to us: ‘If you have a baby on your back, let us see it.’ The soldiers looked at the babies and if it was a boy, they killed it on the spot [by shooting him]. If it was a girl, they dropped or threw it on the ground. If the girl died, she died. If she didn’t die, the mothers were allowed to pick it up and keep it.

Physicians for Human Rights is publishing a report of women who escaped Darfur only to suffer further in camps. The women “spoke candidly and openly about their lives in Darfur, the horrific attacks that drove them from their villages, their harrowing flight to Chad, and the struggles of their daily lives in the camp.”

The Editors of The New Republic (TNR) remind us of campaign speeches on the horrors of Darfur, but explain that, “Obama is now president, and Darfur is still a mess. What is taking place there today is not simple to describe. People are no longer being killed at the alarming rate of 2003 and 2004. Yet the region continues to attract the world’s attention because two million people remain housed in camps where they live on the brink of disease and starvation, with little hope of returning home in the near future.”

TNR also notes that past genocides have stopped when the perpetrators were driven from power. The editors declare that if building rapport with the regime in Sudan … “is truly going to be the administration’s strategy, then it is deeply wrongheaded.” They quote the Genocide Intervention Network who wrote, “[T]he Sudanese government responds much more directly to pressures than they do to incentives.”

Donors have side stepped the problem by pretending there are two Sudans.  The Global Fund recognizes a special CCM for the south: “The Sub-CCM in Southern Sudan was created in 15th May 2003 to represent the then SPLM/A controlled areas from the then Health Advisory Counsel for Southern Sudan (HAC). HAC acted as advisor to the then Health Secretary (SOH) and had elected members from different Health agencies operating in Southern Sudan.” USAID is providing food aid in Sudan, including Darfur, but also has a major Southern Sudan strategy.

Time has more than run out – where is the leadership needed to bring the Darfur horrors to an end?

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