August 1, 2007

DARFUR: You Can’t Go Home Again

Driven by environmental pressures and ethnic divisions, the violence in Darfur is reaching across borders to affect black African and Arab communities alike throughout the region.

Aid groups believe Khartoum has rounded out its ethnic cleansing campaign against black farmers in Darfur by resettling their burned-out villages with Arabs from Chad and Niger, who are entering Darfur in “unprecedented” numbers, reports The Independent.

A confirmed 30,000 Arabs have crossed the border in the past two months, according to a United Nations report, and another 45,000 are widely rumored to have already entered the country.

Very few of ask for help from the U.N. Refugee Agency, suggesting that they are not refugees.

When they arrive, they are given Sudanese identity cards and citizenship.

Back in Chad, many local Arabs displaced in attacks by the Janjaweed militia say that are now stigmatized for being Arab and called “Janjaweed” themselves.

The other victims of the Janjaweed, black African groups they live amongst, are harassing and abusing them, and in some cases are even burning their camps to the ground, they say.

Even if Darfur’s 2.5 million refugees ever manage to return to their homes, they will no longer have a guarantee of finding land and water.

Decades of drought have reduced the border-crossing Lake Chad to a tenth of its original size and forced nomadic farmers to head south in search of water and grazing pasture.
Sources:

“Sudan: Climate change escalates Darfur crisis”

Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 2007

“Arabs face discrimination in Chad”

BBC (U.K.), July 10, 2007

“Arabs pile into Darfur to take land ‘cleansed’ by Janjaweed”

Independent (U.K.), July 14, 2007

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