Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies: Case Study of Darfur, Sudan

Abstract:

Introduction Darfur has been embroiled in a deadly conflict for a full three years. At least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million innocent civilians including women and children have been forced to flee their homes and are now hosted in internally displaced camps in neighbouring eastern Chad. In addition, more than 3.5 million men, women and children are entirely reliant on humanitarian assistance for survival. Since early 2003, Sudanese armed forces and Sudanese government-backed militia known as “Janjaweed” have been fighting two rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The stated political aim of the rebels has been to compel the government of Sudan to address under-development and the political marginalization of the region. In response, the Sudanese government’s regular armed forces and the Janjaweed-largely composed of fighters of Arab nomadic backgrounds-have targeted civilian population and ethnic group from which the rebels primarily draw their support -the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa. Not since the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has the world seen what observers describe as a calculated campaign of displacement, starvation, rape and mass slaughter. In early 2006, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees described the situation in Sudan and Chad as “the largest and most complex humanitarian problem on the globe”.1 The problem statement here is; what makes Darfur a unique complex emergency? What other humanitarian situations can be compared to that of Darfur? And, what therefore are the factors affecting humanitarian assistance in Darfur? Also, the fact, that the Darfur situation has been termed as genocide by some countries such as the United States also warrants further investigations. This study aims at making a critical evaluation of humanitarian actions in post-cold war Africa with specific reference to the two cases of Rwanda and Somalia. However, it is imperative to discuss the factors and events that led to humanitarian intervention in Somalia and Rwanda in the last decade. As was discussed earlier in the paper, the legal basis of humanitarian intervention is compromised from the start. This is because the United Nations Charter very strongly upholds the norm of non-interference with the internal affairs and territorial integrity of any member state. In the same vein, the decision as to when the pacific settlement of disputes should change to a full scale military operation in order to avert genocide and restore peace and order is the prerogative of the Security Council in the top organ of the United Nations system. None of the countries, such as those from the African region (including Somalia and Rwanda) is represented hence, their position(s) are thought to be highly compromised and it is only logical to observe that; it is the needs and wants of the western countries that drive their intervention into conflicts such as those that were or continue to be in Somalia and Rwanda. This study makes a strong case using illustrations and case studies of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies and the legal requirements and obstacles, challenges faced while undertaking this. The study also looks at a critical evaluation of humanitarian response in Darfur since the beginning of the insurgency. Background to the Problem In 2002, a rebel group sprang up in the Darfur region of western Sudan. This group was originally known as the Darfur Liberation Movement but later transformed itself into the Sudan Liberation Army/ Movement. Since early 2003, Sudanese armed forces and Sudanese government-backed militia known as “Janjaweed” have been fighting two rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The stated political aim of the rebels has been to compel the government of Sudan to address under-development and the political marginalization of the region. In response, the Sudanese government’s regular armed forces and the Janjaweed-largely composed of fighters of Arab nomadic backgrounds-have targeted civilian population and ethnic group from which the rebels primarily draw their support -the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa. The Bush Administration has recognized the Darfur atrocities-carried out against civilians primarily by the government of Sudan and its Janjaweed militia-as genocide. The norms of sovereignty, non-intervention, and self determination which are considered essential factors in the maintenance of peace and international security have limited intervention to contain the Darfur crisis. It is however argued, that the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention cannot shield governments or other perpetrators of gross violations of human rights. It follows that where there are widespread deprivations of internally recognized rights, this entails a moral obligation on the part of the international community to take action. The principles of sovereignty and non-intervention are not a moral bar to such action. Under international law, parties to an armed conflict have a responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians. With much international pressure, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was brokered in May 2006 between the government of Sudan and one faction of the Darfur rebels. However, deadlines have been ignored and the violence escalated, with in-fighting among the various rebel groups and factions dramatically increasing and adding a new layer of complexity to the conflict. The violence has made it dangerous, if not impossible, for most of the millions of displaced persons to return to their homes. Humanitarian aid agencies face growing obstacles to bringing widespread relief. In August 2006, the former UN Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) Jan Egeland stated that the situation in Darfur is “going from real bad to catastrophic.”

1 UN, Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretaiy-General-www.un.org

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APA

Ali, L (2024). Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies: Case Study of Darfur, Sudan. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/humanitarian-assistance-in-complex-emergencies-case-study-of-darfur-sudan

MLA 8th

Ali, Luluwa "Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies: Case Study of Darfur, Sudan" Afribary. Afribary, 03 May. 2024, https://afribary.com/works/humanitarian-assistance-in-complex-emergencies-case-study-of-darfur-sudan. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

MLA7

Ali, Luluwa . "Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies: Case Study of Darfur, Sudan". Afribary, Afribary, 03 May. 2024. Web. 17 Jun. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/humanitarian-assistance-in-complex-emergencies-case-study-of-darfur-sudan >.

Chicago

Ali, Luluwa . "Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies: Case Study of Darfur, Sudan" Afribary (2024). Accessed June 17, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/humanitarian-assistance-in-complex-emergencies-case-study-of-darfur-sudan