CHAD: Darfuri Refugee Voices Asking to be Heard Inside Chad

Friday, July 23, 2010
Salem News
Eastern Africa
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Human Rights

Struggling to survive, hour by hour is difficult as security threats continue to grow for the refugees inside the Chad, Darfur border. Darfuri refugees expressed their concerns in hope that their voices will be heard, their greatest fear is inaction by the United Nations (UN) and the United States to respond in favor of humanity. They fear the silence that has been shown to them over the last seven years, it leaves their struggling lives stagnant unable to move forward and unable to see when or how they will ever be able to go home.

Refugees on the ground told "We don't feel safe at all due to daily harassment's by the Sudanese government" spy's", Janjaweed even in Chad and other different groups in different army uniforms that we can't identify. Chadian authorities are incapable to help us secure our lives. The UN peace keepers here are unable to cover all the all the looters, along with SAF Sudanese Army Forces and Rebels of Chad can easily penetrates the camps in a daily basis."

The Chadian and Sudanese government reached a backdoor agreement several months ago, the results of such is highly negative and has increased the for the refugees and displaced in both countries.

We are also very concerned about the continues rape of our women when they go to the outskirts of the camps to gather fire wood and other wild materials.

Many of the armed groups out there are attacking the women in systematic campaigns of rape. No one is there or here to protect them at all.

The lack of food that is given by the UN is not sufficient. We need more to satisfy our daily needs specially for the children. Also Medical treatment is still a real challenge, organizations like MSF (Doctors without Borders) are working only in limited areas.

One person living in the midst of this said, "Schools, there are no High Schools to receive the growing numbers of those graduating from 8th grade. No University to take those that have high school diploma in Chad or inside Darfur. We really need more Schools and at least one University to accept us without any restrictions."

When there is no communication, the availability to call in or out of El Fashir (ELF), the result of those quiet days is usually more despair for those citizens inside. The last few weeks have only brought small but significant text messages that come through in pieces.

Army forces are mobilizing all over the town. The newly imported Meg fighters and helicopters are flying and scaring every single civilian in ELF. It looks like things will get real messy within the next couple of days. Sad that the UN knows more people will be tortured but there is nothing they can do. Also fuel has became a real problem as Government of Sudan (GOS) security ordered all ELF gas stations not to issue any civilian vehicles fuel. Therefore, only government cars are moving around. I have some friend who walk for two hours just to get to work as no taxies moving.

While in development of this article, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to numerous records and insurmountable evidence issued another warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Al-Bashir, three (3) counts for the crime of genocide. A historical moment wrought with a slow exhale of breath from the many activists, refugees and Diaspora waiting for accountability to take priority. To the heartbreak of many the retaliation was instant.

Refugees said, “The Sudanese authorities issued expulsion orders against two top officials working for the ‘International Organization for Migration', an inter-governmental agency that provides relief supplies for Darfur. …ordered to leave Sudan within 72 hours (Saturday, July 17, 2010)”

This is a frequent pattern of retribution on Al-Bashir's part, last year when the ICC issued its first warrant for seven (7) counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He retaliated by expelling thirteen (13) agencies working for the millions of displaces inside Darfur.

The list includes international group Save the Children, Oxfam, CARE, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps. The effect has still not been fully realized, in part because getting into Darfur is still incredibly difficult and the humanitarians that have come in have seen a targeted effort of intimidation and threat.

Since the ICC issued its first warrant 17 foreigners have been the victims of kidnapping, one of which is still missing. The work is being hindered on a daily basis as the GOS continues to refuse unobstructed admittance to those areas that are most affected.

The Goodwill and Confidence building agreement signed February 2009 has not been withheld, Al-Bashir has reacted with complete disregard and disrespect; something again that is an all too familiar pattern.