All eyes have been on South Sudan the last couple of months- and with good reason. Two years on and still no cutting edge solution yet to end the conflict besieging the newest country, but talks will resume this month. However, the situation in Sudan is still very much unfinished business in the Horn of Africa.
Sudan since its independence from Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1956 has since been blighted in conflict. First with the 2003 conflict between Government forces and the Liberation Justice movement and secondly with South Sudan which seceded and formed its own country in 2011.
Sunday July 12th marks 5 years since Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir had three counts of genocide added to the charges the International Criminal Court (ICC) accuses him of. The loss endured by civilians in Sudan is staggering.
According to the Ngo Waging peace, Bashir holds multiple counts of criminal activities against him; some of the figures however may be far more than is estimated.Over 3,000 villages have been destroyed with over 3, 700 bombs having been dropped on civilian areas equalling the size of greater London or Berkshire. And around 2.87 million have been displaced.
The decision for the South African government (as opposed to South African Courts) to not arrest President Bashir for acts of genocide last month was appalling and is a regurgitation of something many Africans and the rest of us have known for a long time- that the majority of African Leaders do not seem to care for anyone but themselves.
Having said that, one cannot be oblivious to the fact that the ICC is not accounting countries such as Britain and America for what could be considered acts of genocide in places like Pakistan which have experienced drones, or the Iraq war, which with or without a concrete conclusion to its authenticity has led to the killing of over 1 million Iraqis.
It might seem that the ICC takes on the role of the playground bully and for African leaders who consider themselves the underdog, last month's debacle was nothing more than a show of defiance. And boy did South Africa sing it loud and clear- 'We shall not be moved.'Whilst Bashir made his move back to Sudan, how many voices in Darfur and the country remains to be heard and acknowledged in what can only be considered an invisible conflict? Let's face it; it's simply not regarded as media caviar anymore.
On Tuesday, I attended a meeting organised by Waging Peace at the House of Lords where prominent international experts, journalists and Sudanese nationals discussed what should be done about Darfur. We were joined by Aicha ElBasri, a former UN spokesperson and whistle blower:
She like CBE Mukesh Kapila who was the UN Development Program Resident Representative for Sudan 2003-4 sees the UN as a complicit to the ongoing conflict.
I interviewed her this week where she called the UN Security council an 'INsecurity Council' denoting its ineffectiveness. She also touched on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) drawn up in 2011 and said that its initials in fact stood for 'Dead, Dead Peace document'. Whilst the agreement was supposed to harness peace between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement, she said it was nothing more than a stalemate, and has failed to produce peace, however the UN still wish to use it as a basis for reconciliation. For those who wish to read this 'dead' document, you can do so here: htttp://unamid.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=11060
One the whole, the event made up for riveting participation with excellent guests, but ultimately the Achilles heel was the question of what other options are there if the UN's response is left wanting. These were the cries of indignant Sudanese nationals who attended. These are the cries of the Sudanese people.Perhaps one solution is for the Sudanese people and Diaspora can work to build an alternative politics; but without international and regional pressure, it's very difficult to see how it can happen Sudan.
It is a matter of effective enforcement on the part of the UN to do more than it thinks it already has. But perhaps the real question is what would it take if the UN does not?'
What is certain is the situation in Darfur should not be reduced to hush hushes. The people of Sudan deserve better than that.