Darfur, a third of its population are refugees

According to a UN report presented in March 2007, "war crimes and against humanity continue in the region". At the beginning of June, the Sudanese government seems to have allowed a joint multinational African force made up of 200.000 soldiers to enter. Immediate action should be taken to protect the civil population and to end abuses.


Conflict history

With the exception of North Darfur, where the population is nomad of Arab origin, black African ethnics live with populations of Arab origin in the Darfur region. The most important African ethnic population is the fur, where the name of the Darfur territory comes from, but there are other ethnics such as the zaghawa and the masalit. These black tribes work mainly in agriculture and share the land with various small ethnic groups of Arab origin known as the baggara (literally "those of the cows") whose main activity is nomad shepherding.

Inter- ethnic problems are due to the competition for the scarce resources of the area and have worsened lately due to the demographic increase and adverse climate conditions.

After 1989, the arrival of an Islamic military regime to power encouraged the hopes of the Arab tribes and various local wars took place. It was at this time when the Yanyauid were organized, Arab paramilitary groups who launched several assaults against the fur and masalit communities.

At the beginning of the 21st. Century, at the time of the Sudanese war, tensions between black and Arab populations increased. The former felt they were being relegated by the government and at the beginning of 2003, two rebel groups, the Movement of Justice and Equality and the Sudan Liberation Movement accused the Sudanese government of oppressing the black population in favour of the Arabs. They led armed conflicts two which the country's army promptly replied. The main demand was to take this Western Sudanese region into account, investing in its infrastructures and putting an end to the discrimination of the so called "African groups".

In the face of the rebel victories and subsequent humiliation, the defeated army adopted a new strategy. It recruited the Yanyauid baggara and they were organized as a paramilitary force.

In the beginning, Chad's president supported the Jartum Government, but later negotiated a cease fire between them on September 3, 2003 in Abeché, Chad. On December 16, the cease fire ended.

As a result, in the spring of 2004 several thousand people, mainly non Arabs, had been murdered and almost 1 million displaced from their homes which caused a great humanitarian crisis in the region. Some sources started to talk about black African ethnic cleaning. Approximately 80% of the refugees were women and children. This high proportion suggested that the men had either been killed or had stayed behind fighting.

The JRS among other organizations, denounced government troops and Arab armed groups. Chad refugees said they were fleeing the "razzias" of armed horseback soldiers (the Yanyauid) which were followed by helicopters who killed the survivors. Then the riders returned to rob and put fire to what remained under the coverage of the helicopters. The crisis reached international dimensions when 100.000 refugees entered Chad, pursued by the Yanyauid who fought the Chad troops at the border.

When the war reached Chad, a new negotiation started between the conflict groups in N'Djamena, with the consequent signing of the cease fire on April8, 2004, between the Sudanese Government and the guerrillas.  However both the Yanyauid and the rebels have continued to attack after the agreement.

On August 31, 2006 The UN National Security Council passed a resolution to send a new peace keeping force of 17.300 soldiers to the area. This resolution, opposed by Sudan, was unexpectedly supported by Chad's president Idirss Déby. At the end of 2006 new blue helmets and Organization for African Unity, OAU, arrived in Sudan although there is still no sign of ending the conflict.

The UN threatens to impose sanctions against Sudan if the government does not implement the necessary measures to end the conflict. Meanwhile, the situation is aggravated and the member of affected increases daily.