MSF Condemns Violence in Darfur

Over the past year, MSF has systematically denounced the massive campaign of violence directed at civilians in Darfur led by pro-government ‘Janjaweed' militia and Sudanese army units. One of the more recent cited epidemiological evidence from four MSF surveys in West Darfur, published in the October issue of the medical journal The Lancet, illustrating a ‘demographic catastrophe', exceptional because of the overwhelming contribution of violence to mortality.

This repeated denunciation of the atrocities committed in Darfur has been conveniently overlooked by the authorities in Khartoum on multiple occasions, who have instead chosen to use MSF's words to support their assertation that there is no genocide in Darfur. Through a letter to the Independent, published November 3rd, MSF sought to complete the picture.

While MSF has not specifically characterised this violence as genocide, the magnitude of the crimes against civilians committed in Darfur is not in doubt. In a report released on November 2nd, MSF describes the pervasiveness of the vioence and the appalling consequences of the atrocities committed against people in Darfur. Violence that continues today.

Camps of refuge provide anything but. Displaced people have told MSF that they are living under the guard of some of the same armed men that burned their villages and killed their families. Outside of the camps, tribal militia continue to terrorise the civilian population. Displaced families, in order to sustain themselves, have to continue collecting wood, fetching water or working their fields. In doing so, they make a terrible choice, putting a family member at great risk of assault or worse as soon as they are outside the camps, towns or villages. Even if they were to choose to stay within the camps or towns, risking shortages for their families, they have no guarantee of safety.

The situation in Darfur perverts the very idea of refuge. People escape the attackers once, yet they cannot find real safety. In this, the Government of Sudan and the international community have completely failed them.