Two weeks ago, a UN report confirmed that May was the bloodiest month in Darfur since the United Nations peacekeeping mission deployed in 2007. State sponsored violence, clashes between rebel groups, and regular banditry have resulted in over 400 people killed that month.
Life is hard for Darfur’s refugees in eastern chad. This disturbing video from the UN Refugee Agency shows how Darfuri refugees are coping with shortages of water and cooking fuel as they fight to survive in a harsh environment.
The last time the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, in March 2009, Khartoum responded in kind by expelling several aid workers and organizations from Darfur. The expulsion of aid agencies back then had a profoundly deleterious effect on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, in particular for the provision of health services to victims of sexual assault.
Is history repeating?
The International Criminal Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for the crime of genocide for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Now, you might be asking yourself: “wasn’t he already under indictment.” The answer is yes. But when the prosecutor applied for an arrest warrant in spring 2009, the judges did not sign the warrant for “genocide”–only for war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the time, the judges ruled there to be insufficient evidence to support a genocide charge. An appellate chamber reversed that ruling.
One of the main Darfur rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), signed a preliminary peace deal with the Sudanese government in Doha yesterday. So is this really the beginning of the end of the Darfur conflict? Over at the Enough Project’s blog, Laura Heaton offers some valuable analysis:
Iraq: The SG met with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in Baghdad today as well as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to review the ongoing security crisis. The SG congratulated Fouad Massoum on his election as Iraq’s new President and remarked that a new government “will strengthen the unity of the country, fight effectively against terrorism and ISIS, as well as uproot the seeds of sectarianism and division.”
SG: The SG met with Israeli President Peres in Jerusalem today to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to the press with President Peres, he again underlined the need to stop violence and begin dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict.
SG: The SG briefed the SC today from Ramallah where he reiterated his message from today’s earlier press conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to: “Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict.” The SG will continue travelling this week to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
SG: The SG arrived in Cairo today where he will meet with the Foreign Minister, President el-Sisi and US Secretary of State Kerry to promote the Egypt-initiated ceasefire in the Middle East. Spokesman Dujarric told reporters today that “the overriding messages that [the SG] brings is, first, that the violence must stop, and needs to stop now.”