Protect the people of Darfur
Darfur today is a place of violence and terrifying insecurity. The people are trapped in a web of armed attacks that grow ever more complex with weapons readily available. Janjaweed and Paramilitary forces, armed by the Sudanese government grow ever stronger while more and more armed opposition groups emerge.
Fighting is often between groups including ethnic groups formerly on the same side. One thing has not changed: it is still civilians who pay the price.
Hundreds of people were killed in 2007 in fighting between ethnic groups. As arms proliferated disputes that, in the past, would be resolved by traditional reconciliation processes have led to mass killings.
One of the most recent attacks took place on 31st July during a ceremony to commemorate those killed in a previous attack. The government army was warned the day before that armed men were massing in the area but took no action. At least 68 people were killed.
In May and June 2007, more than 2500 people fled from South Darfur making a painful 10-day trek to the Central African Republic. The refugees said they fled after Janjaweed and government attacked Daffaq between 12 and 18 May.
The camps to which refugees flee are constantly expanding beyond their capacity. There is increasing politicization and militarization. Displaced women and girls in camps are vulnerable and also face rising violence within camps and within their families. The camps also come under attack from outside.
"The NGOs provide food and blankets. They cannot provide security," a displaced person from Mershing camp explains.
Rape and sexual slavery continue to be carried out with complete impunity. For example, on 26 December 2006 in Deribat village, about 50 women were abducted and systematically raped by armed men. Many children watched what happened to their mothers and some were raped themselves.
For years, the internally displaced have campaigned for a UN force to protect them. Amnesty International is calling on the peacekeeping mission to help to ensure the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of the displaced to their homes and ensure the protection of women and other vulnerable groups from violence.
In order to ensure that attention to human rights abuses against the people of Darfur does not fade in the wake of a decision to send a joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission to the region, thousands of activists including many from Amnesty International, staged worldwide demonstrations in a global "Day for Darfur" on Sunday, 16 September.
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